Video Poker Basics

Video Poker Basics & Machines Playing Strategies

Video poker machines are wildly popular online and in casinos all over the world, and there’s hardly a pub in the country where they don’t have at least one of these machines running, so, it goes without saying that its important to know some important video poker basics.

Based on five-card-draw, video poker machines are the favorite for people who are easily intimidated by players at a real live poker table.

They don’t take up a whole lot of room either, thus they’re incredibly lucrative to operate. Similarly to slots and online slots, these machines can be linked up on a wide area (a whole city or a state as it’s often the case in the three gambling towns of Colorado – Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek) thus generating huge wide-area jackpots. Whoever hits the winning combination ( ex: 4 deuces ) will receive a jackpot comprised of a percent of all losses registered on all video poker machines that are part of the same network.

Video poker machines have made it online too, one can’t find a single online casino that doesn’t feature a variety of these games.

What can you do strategy-wise to better your chances of winning at video poker? Selecting the right machine is a huge part of the picture. Also, contrary to online slots, when playing video poker machines there’s plenty you can do even after you start playing to improve your hand:

In Jacks or Better, if you have a bunch of offsuit ragtag cards, with a J mingled in, you will obviously hold on to that J and hit the draw button in the hope that another J will pop up. Remember, in Jacks or better this is the minimum hand you can win with. A pair of 7s or 8s will do you no good.

If you possess the same starting hand described above with the exception that there is a Q instead of the J, you’ll obviously want to hold on to the Q as another Q would make a winner.

In case you have both a Q and a J in your rainbow hand you’ll hold on to both of them. It is true that this way only 3 of the cards are going to be exchanged but your chances to hit either a Q or a J on the swap are bigger than before with a single high-card.

What if you get 3 high cards in your hand? Do you hold on to all three thus seriously diminishing your chances at a right one coming up on the swap? Nope.

What you need to do in this situation is hold on to the lowest two of the three high cards and hit the deal button.

In case two of the high cards are suited (no matter whether one of them is the highest card) you hold on to these. This way you’ll preserve your chances for a high pair or even two, you’ll also get a shot at a royal flush which is the jackpot. In case you hit that you get a huge amount of money, courtesy of other players who lost playing in the network your VP machine is hooked up to.

In case you get a three-of-a-kind from the get-go, the choice is obvious: since it’s already a winning hand, you just hold on to all three. Not only are you a sure winner but you still stand a chance for a fourth card of the same kind hitting you.

What happens when you have a low pair in your starting hand but nothing more? Remember in Jacks or better this hand is not a winner. You simply hold on to the pair and hope a third one of the kind will hit you. That’s the best call you can make in this situation.

Whenever you have four to a straight you obviously hold on to those four cards and hope the fifth one will come a right card to complete your open-ended straight. The draw will present you with twice as good chances to draw a winner than it does in the case of a gutshot straight. Never draw to a gutshot straight because the chances of one coming through are too meager.

A particularly tricky situation is when you have 4 to a flush but you also have a pair in your hand. Many players tend to overlook the very clear possibility for the flush because their eyes are generally tuned to spot pairs. Keep the four to the flush and lose the pair or part of it if you have to, but only if it’s a low pair.

We hope our article on Video Poker Basics has been handy to you.

To learn more about video poker machines and how to play with optimum strategy, our other pages: Win at Video Poker and Play Longer-Risk Less