Rules of Video Poker
Video poker explained in 5 easy steps:
There are tons of great online video poker games to choose from at our recommended Canadian online casinos. For our step by step guide, we’ve chosen a popular version of Jacks or Better which is available from NetEnt as well as a number of other online casino game software providers.
Once you have chosen your preferred version of video poker, take a moment or two to see how that particular game works. In our example, you can clearly see that there are a number of options available to you. Starting on the left, you can select how many hands you want to play and you can select your bet level. As you increase your bet level, you will notice at the top of the screen that the payout per winning hand combination also increases. In the middle of the screen is the deal button along with an option to bet the maximum amount on each hand. This particular video poker game also offers a side bet feature to increase your potential winnings.
After you have selected your bet level, you can go ahead and click on the bet button or on the bet max button if you prefer the high roller approach. Clicking on the bet button will produce a 5 card hand as can be seen in the above example. You can now decide which cards to keep and which cards to discard. Clicking on the hold button at the bottom of the card will hold the card and, when you click on the deal button again, cards without a hold will be replaced.
As you can see in the above screenshot, we have chosen to hold the two 5’s in hopes of creating a good hand with a pair. The game has now replaced the cards that we did not want to keep.
Unfortunately our aim to create a winning hand with a pair came to nothing and we lost the hand.
Our next hand produced a good selection of cards and, since the game is called Jacks or Better, the game automatically detected the two jacks present in our initial hand. This is a great feature of NetEnt video poker, making it fun and easy even for absolute beginners to enjoy. Since our two jacks were now on hold, we could deal again, discarding the remain three cards in this hand.
The result after two rounds shows a win with our two jacks and the game proclaims a “Jacks or better” win. You can now click on the bet button again which has transformed into a winnings collect button, very handy indeed.
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Online Video Poker Strategies
Unlike other online casino table games strategies, video poker strategies can be applied to specific video poker games. Video poker offers one of the lowest house edges of any online casino game and also offers a return to player of 98%-100% in some cases. As video poker borrows a lot from conventional five card table poker, similar strategies can be employed in how cards can be selected by value to make a winning video poker hand. Let’s take a look at some video poker games and their accompanying strategies.
Jacks or better strategy
Jacks or Better is one of the most popular of all video poker games and offers a range of easy bets and card combinations. As the name implies, you need at least two jacks in your hand to a win. Some versions of Jacks or Better, the jacks can also be wild, meaning they can replace other cards for easier wins. Top winning hand combinations in Jacks or Better include:
- A straight flush
- A royal flush
- Four of a kind
- Three of a kind
- A full house
- Two pair
Getting any of these in your first hand is good and you should certainly hold those cards and discard any others that don’t fit in to the combo. Let’s take a look at some potential hands that you may be dealt in Jacks or Better and what the appropriate strategy should be:
You get: a jack of hearts, a 4 of diamonds, a 5 of spades, 8 of clubs and a 9 of clubs
You should: keep the jack of hearts (the game is Jacks or Better), the rest of the cards won’t really help your winning hand so it is best to discard all of them. Your next hand might contain another jack in which case you will have a winning hand.
You get: 2 of clubs, 7 of diamonds, jack of spades, queen of hearts, and ace of spades
You should: you have an automatic pair of same suit cards in the jack and the ace of spades. This could potentially turn into a royal flush or at least a flush which is a winning hand. Discard the remaining cards and deal again.
In Deuces Wild, you can substitute any other card with a two card which can make winning hand combinations much easier to get. Let’s look at some basic five card hands in Deuces Wild and the appropriate response to each.
You get: queen of diamonds, 2 of spades, 6 of diamonds, 7 of diamonds, 8 of diamonds
You should: you already have what is known as a pat flush but can use the 2 to create a 4 card straight flush.
More on video poker odds
All video poker games work on a five card hand combination and these different card combinations are based on standard poker hand values.
Video poker hand values range from:
- Royal Flush: suited 10, K, Q, J, A
- Straight Flush: Sequence of 5 suited cards
- Four of a Kind: Four cards all with the same number value
- Full House: Three of a kind + a pair
- Flush: Five cards all of the same suit
- Straight: Five cards in a straight sequence
- Three of a kind: Three cards of the same number value
- Two pair: two different pairs of two different card values
- One pair: a pair of the same card value
Winning odds on most video poker machines are good as most machines will require a simple minimum hand such as a pair (jacks or better for example).
Reasons to love online video poker:
- Video poker is very easy to learn to play
- Video poker offers the fun and excitement of slots with the challenge of poker strategy
- Top Canadian online casinos offer great video poker games with great bonus and promotions to play them
Some things you may not love:
- Online video poker is a solo game with no interaction with dealers or other players
- Video poker is a fast game and it can be easy to lose track of your playing budget