Video Poker is a land-based electronic gambling machine that can be traced back to the 1970s. Based on five-card poker variants, most games feature a computer monitor and an arcade-style interface. Although online gambling has started to dominate the industry, video poker remains extremely popular in bricks-and-mortar establishments and online.
The emergence of video poker machines coincided with the introduction of solid-state circuitry for use in slot terminals. By the mid-1970s, it had become fairly common practice for manufacturers to incorporate microprocessor components to control system mechanisms such as the reels. Random number generators were also used to determine combinations and pay-outs.
These technologies were used in the creation of the world’s first video poker game: Draw Poker. Unveiled in 1979, the game became extremely popular, facilitated in no small part by the arcade craze of the 1970s and 1980s. Today video poker still enjoys a major presence on casino floors, especially in Las Vegas.
How does Video Poker Work?
The process is similar to playing physical slots. The player inserts a coin, places a bet and presses the ‘deal’ button. Five cards are then presented on-screen, some of which can be discarded by the player in exchange for new cards from the same virtual deck. Once the draw is complete, the machine pays out to hands with winning combinations.
As with online slots, winning combinations are set out in a pay table which allocates pay-outs for each winning hand. Most video poker games feature the same hand combinations as traditional table poker such as ‘two pair’, ‘three of a kind’, ‘straight’, ‘flush’, ‘full-house’ and so on. Some also feature their own pay-outs which sometimes includes progressive jackpots.
Why is Video Poker So Popular?
For many gamblers, video poker is less intimidating than playing at an actual table, with the computer their only opponent – ideal for shy and retiring types. The game is also cheap to play and offer a better chance of winning than online slots with certain variants featuring a 100% RTP (more of this later). Although video poker isn’t exactly a millionaire-maker, it’s entirely possible to win frequently with machines that have liberal pay tables and multiple prizes. Additionally, unlike most slots, the player has an element of control over the outcome.
Video Poker Odds
Video poker is renowned for its low house edge. In comparison with typical slot games, which hold an edge ranging from 6% to 20%, video poker games often range from 25% to
Rules of Video Poker
Despite numerous variations, most video poker games observe the same rules as their table top counterparts. Standard five card poker hands are almost always used, cards can be discarded or held by the player, discarded cards are replaced in random draws and, as already mentioned, winning hands are usually the same or similar.
Famous Examples of Video Poker
Numerous video poker games have become iconic, thanks not only to their popularity at land-based casinos, but also because developers have ported them over for play via standard web browsers. Here are a few examples.
Aces and Eights
Also known as Dead Man’s Hand, Aces and Eights is a popular video poker variant played with a 52-card deck. Five cards are initially dealt, with the player permitted to hold as many cards as he chooses. Discarded cards are replaced with new cards from the same deck. Although similar to Jacks of Better, Aces and Eights features higher pay-outs for certain combinations.
Jacks of Better
Jacks or Better is one of the most popular video poker versions of all and can be found at both land-based establishments and online casinos. Although the game features a five-card draw, the object of the game is drastically different to standard variants. As the name indicates, the object is to at least land a pair of Jacks.
Deuces Wild follows a similar format to standard games of poker and is played with a usual deck of 52 cards. Players are dealt five cards to begin with and may hold or discard all of them in order to receive a better hand. However, deuces (cards with a value of 2) are wild and can substitute any card to help form a winning hand. Although the chances of winning are better than many other video poker variants, the pay-tables are usually less generous.
Another variation on the Jacks of Better game, Jokers Wild has the same rules, save for the size of the card deck which is 53. As with Deuces Wild, players can use a specific card, this time the Joker, to replace all cards in a deck.
Tens or Better
Heavily based on Jacks or Better, this variant is a one-hand game in which five cards are dealt from a 52-card deck with the player able to choose the cards to hold and discard. However, the objective is to obtain a hand with at least a pair of 10s.
Double Bonus video poker is yet another variation on the Jacks of Better premise. The only discernible difference is the bonus payout for landing four aces. However, the game is more volatile than its illustrious cousin with a variance that’s almost three times that of Jacks of Better.
Quick Tip for Playing Video Poker at Black Spins
Always seek out ‘full-pay’ machines which feature the highest pay-outs for landing a winning combination. To do this, examine the game’s pay-tables, looking specifically for the amount that’s paid out for a full house and flush. ‘Full Pay’ machines should pay 9x the wager for a full-house and 6x the wager for a flush. Sticking with these types of video poker games and using a sound video poker strategy will increase your chances of winning.
Head over to our game lobby to try your hand at video poker games such as Aces and Eights. It’s constantly being updated so be sure to check back for the very latest online casino games.