Video Poker

Simply put, video poker is an electronic version of the popular card game, poker. It usually differs from the card game slightly and it has more characteristics of of slot machines, with a little more of a reliance on luck than skill, but it all depends on the video poker machine itself and some of them are very similar to the actual game of poker. Like the real thing, video poker is also available in many variants, although 5-card draw and three-card poker tend to be the most widely used variants.
Video Poker Basics

Video poker began to surface in the 1970s, with the early games using large screens that offered 5-card draw, which was at the time the most popular variant of poker. For many these games offered a way of playing poker away from the intimidating world of poker rooms, but for others it was a great and fun game in itself, offering the potential for big jackpots with small payments. In Las Vegas there are thousands of people who make these machines their life, people that know them inside out and play them everyday, but they have also gained a huge following elsewhere.

It has been said that Maureen O’Connor, who was once the major of San Diego, had an addiction to video poker machines. She reportedly won and lost an amount that totaled over $1 billion on these machines, a fortune by anyone’s reckoning.

As far as legality goes, in the United States they are legal only in certain states, and through Indian Gaming Laws, whilst they tend to be more widely available in Canada. In other countries, they can be found in hotels, bars, restaurants and more.

How to Play Video Poker

If you know how to play poker then you’ll learn the basics of video poker in no time, although some times the two differ greatly. The one thing that they all have in common is the hand values, so this fundamental of poker should be remembered when playing video poker.

Many video poker games use Hold’em, which also happens to be the most popular game of live and online poker, but Draw and Stud games are also used, and another very common video poker game is 3-card poker, which is typically only played in select casinos away from video poker machines.

Skill can help you when it comes to video poker, but if it was entirely based on skill then poker pros could make a small fortune from playing on these machines, and that is simply not the case. A lot of it is down to luck, which is another area in which it differs from standard poker. The trick to playing video poker is to treat it like you would a slot machine, one that has a poker theme but doesn’t necessarily operate like a standard game of poker does.

Although the game differs, the standard 5-card draw game is played by inserting money or a ticket, placing a bet using the options on the screen, and then pressing “deal”. The player will then be dealt five cards and they must choose to discard any number they please, before pressing “deal” again. The aim of the game is to get a good hand, with the game paying out depending on which hand you have. The payments typically begin with high pairs, and the jackpots are usually paid out for royal flushes (which is a 10, jack, queen, king and ace of one suit) but there is also a lot of money to be won for scoring straights, flushes and full-houses.

Where to Play Video Poker

Video poker is played around the world and you will find these machines wherever you find slot machines. There is no shortage of them in casinos and they are particularly popular in Las Vegas, but also in Atlantic City and other gambling hotspots across the United States. Known as Pokies, they are also popular throughout New Zealand and Australia, although the term Pokies doesn’t just refer to video poker (even though that was the origins of the name) and actually refers to any type of slot machine.

There is no shortage of video poker machines in online casinos as well, and some sites specialize in them. At Platinum Play, for instance, you will find stacks of video poker machines, including three-card poker, which is very popular in this format, but less so when it comes to online poker rooms. There are also games available for tablets and smartphones that will allow you to test your mettle without losing any money, but bear in mind that these games don’t always closely resemble the real thing, so just because you can win “money” on one of these games, doesn’t mean you will do the same on the real thing.

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