Video Poker was first really developed in the 1970s. The earliest versions were simply video monitors hooked up to in integrated circuits which held the programs for the very simple games. These early version were considered a fad and no one expected them to last.
But then, early in the 1980s, SIRCOMA – the company that would eventually become IGT – decided to focus on the game and make it better. It was the company’s first great success. Indeed, players uncomfortable with playing against others at a large table were now able to simply sit in front of a monitor and play against the computer – the faceless opponent. And they were still able to win as long as they knew the rules.
Video Poker may not be the main game in Vegas or at most online casinos, but you will rarely find a casino (online or offline) that doesn’t at least have a few Video Poker games available.
Interestingly, although online casino games get more and more sophisticated in graphics and gameplay (especially slots), Video Poker games tend to maintain a classic appearance. Players seem to prefer that simplicity.
The basics of Video Poker are really not that difficult at all. The game (regardless which version you’re playing), is based on five card draw poker. That means you get dealt five cards in the beginning and after choosing which card or cards you wish to hold, the remaining cards are re-drawn, hopefully giving you a batter hand.
That really is the gist of it, but you are sitting at the computer, so things look a little different here. Most Video Poker games look very similar. You get a simple layout that shows you the paytable applicable to the chosen game and you get to look at the back of five cards.
You may have a number of buttons to change the settings of the game and you will always see the “Deal”, “Draw” and “Bet” buttons. You hit the “Deal” button when you start each round and the cards are handed out. You’ll be looking at the faces of five cards now and choose which ones you may wish to hold and which ones will consequently be discarded. Some games will do so automatically, but you can always change that around, especially if you wish to discard the entire hand.
Once you’ve made your choice which cards to hold, you then hit the “Draw” button and the remaining cards that you didn’t want to keep will be re-drawn. With any luck a more advantageous set of cards will appear and you’ll get to collect the winnings.
With some games you may have to do so manually, because they may offer an option to “Double” your winnings. In such a case a single card will be shown to you and you have to click on one of the four other cards with their faces down, usually hoping to pick a higher card than the one you just looked at. If that happens, your winnings will be doubled.
Special versions of the game aside, the standard winnings hands in Video Poker are the same you would find in most Poker versions, including 5 card draw Poker. Thus you can generally walk away a winner with the following hands:
There are a number of different versions for Video Poker. Depending on the version you play the rules will change, but usually only ever so slightly.
The main varieties, four usually, are these:
Less common varieties of Video Poker are:
As with any other casino game, there are strategies you can employ when playing Video Poker. They depend somewhat on the version you’re playing and how far you want to go. There’s something called a ‘perfect strategy’, which you can follow to the letter. But winning is never guaranteed, even with a perfect strategy. We will include Video Poker strategy articles into our “Strategies” section as well. Here we shall stick to the basics:
Of course, many online casino players nowadays also like to gamble on the go. Mobile play is still the fastest growing market and it is certainly not exclusive to slots. Table games and live games are available for mobile play as is Poker.
Indeed, Video Poker can be played mobile as well. The only snag you may hit is the fact that many Video Poker games have been around for a while and are usually flash based. Finding a HTML5 Video Poker game is not that easy and thus you may end up with only two different versions in a mobile casino. That’s hardly ideal and given the popularity of the game, we would hope that developers would update the classics to accommodate mobile players as well.
Thankfully there are some newer versions of the game, but they may not be available at every casino. Worst case scenario? You have to go chasing for a decent mobile version.
Naturally we also check all our reviewed online casinos for the availability of Video Poker. We’ll mention if it is available and whether you find a decent number of games or perhaps just a handful. Two or three may always be available, though we have found that Video Poker doesn’t always get its own category or at the very least a filter. That makes these games a little more difficult to find. Often you will get at least a version of Jacks or Better, though.
Other casinos feature their own section for Video Poker, however, and some casinos focus especially on Poker games, including Casino Poker and, of course, Poker networks. Those casinos tend to have a great Video Poker offering as well.
Check out the review for the casino you’re interested in and we’ll tell you whether or not Video Poker can be played there.