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VideoPoker Basics

Video Poker was introduced in the 1970s and is an increasingly popular form of gambling. Involving a combination of skill and luck, video poker attracts players by providing hours of stimulating entertainment.

A typical video poker machine holds a strong resemblance to a slot machine, and can be found in either a tabletop form or an upright desktop unit.

The machines come in denominations of nickels, quarters, dollars and sometimes five dollars. The majority of video poker games are based on five-card draw poker.

In five-card draw, players are dealt five cards and can throw away any of them to try to improve their hand. New cards are dealt to replace the discarded ones, and the final five cards decide your fate.

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How to Play Video Poker

To initiate play, you decide on the number of coins you are going to play and insert your money. Once you make your bet, push the deal button. As your five cards are dealt, you decide which cards you would like to keep by pushing the hold button associated with that card.

After making your selections, double check to ensure that every card you would like to keep has the word hold either above or below it. You then press the deal button and every card that you have chosen to discard (not hold) will be replaced with another card from the deck.

Instead of beating an opponent's hand, you win when you hold any of the five-card combinations listed in the hierarchy of winning hands. If your resulting hand holds a winning combination you will be credited according to the payout schedule on the face of the machine.

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As with poker, video poker hands are valued based on their five-card ranking. These rankings are detailed below, 1 being the highest rank:

Rank Hand Name Description of Hand
1 Royal Flush A, K, Q, J, 10 all of same suit
2 Straight Flush Five cards of the same suit in sequence
3 4 of a Kind Four cards of the same rank
4 Full House 3 of a Kind and a Pair
5 Flush Five cards of the same suit
6 Straight Five cards in sequence
7 3 of a Kind Three cards of the same rank
8 2 Pair Two cards of one rank, plus two of another
9 1 Pair Two cards of the same rank

The minimum ranking hand that is required to win is different for every game. Jacks or better was the original video poker game, but now there are many more...

Types of Video Poker Machines

Jacks or Better
This is a game of draw poker where you are dealt five cards face up. At this point you should decide which cards to keep and which you want to discard. Once you have decided and chosen to deal again, the dealer will deal the replacement cards. Whether you win or lose is determined by the rank of cards in your poker hand. The minimum rank for a winning hand is one pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces, hence the name jacks or better.

Joker's Wild
This game is played with the standard 52-card deck, with a joker thrown in as a wild card. This wild card can be used as a substitute for any other card, or can be used to create a five of a kind. The machine will automatically compute the best hand when a joker is present, and the joker can be expected to show up about ten percent of the time. Because of the added bonus of the wild card, the minimum rank for a winning hand is two pair.

Deuces Wild
The standard 52-card deck is used, with all deuces designated as wild cards. Because of the added bonus of the four deuce wild cards, the minimum rank for a winning hand is three of a kind.

King of the Decks
In this game, five sets of the standard 52-card deck are used. If you get five kings of clubs you win the progressive jackpot. Because of the added bonus of the increased number of potential pairs, the minimum rank for a winning hand is two pair.

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Video Poker Strategy

While there are many different strategies involved with each machine, there are a few points that should be followed for all:

  • Don't hold four cards of an inside straight - an inside straight is one where the potential straight can be completed only one way. An outside straight is one that can be completed in two ways and so is twice as likely to be successful. The only exception to this rule is an ace-high straight.

  • Don't hold three cards of a straight except for K-Q-J

  • Don't hold three cards of a flush- do not hold three cards of the same suit unless it is also a potential straight flush.

  • Don't hold a kicker with any pair or with three of a kind- a kicker is a single high card (J,Q,K,A) that has the potential to turn into a winning pair. The pair or three of a kind should always be played and the kicker discarded.

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  • Play Free Deuces Wild Video Poker
  • Play Free Jacks or Better Video Poker
  • Play Free Jokers Wild Video Poker

More Video Poker Games

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