Video Poker is a casino game that is one of the most sought-after variety of poker, based on the 5 draw poker, both in land-based and online casino websites, mainly due to the ease of the game play mechanics and huge jackpots that comes with the game. The game is called "Video Poker" because it is played against a machine, similar to how a slot machine or video slots is played.
Early Video Poker Games
Early versions of Video Poker were operated by coins. One of the main manufacturers of these machines way back in the late 1800's was a Brooklyn company called "Sittman and Pitt". The players had to pull a handle for the 5 drums that held poker cards to spin. In this version of the Video Poker game, the 10 of Spades and the Jack of Hearts were not included in the machine. This was to slightly reduce the chances of winning. Winners were awarded with free drinks or cigars.
In the year 1976, Video Poker games were all black and white. However, it was not long after colored machines were manufactured, just 8 months after the black-and-white versions were launched.
Today's version of Video Poker comes with a lot of game variations and payoff schedules that are adapted depending on the variant. Progressive jackpots are also introduced in the game, making it more exciting to play. And when online technology was introduced in casino gaming, Video Poker became available to the Internet in the year 1994.
How To Play Video Poker
Video Poker is a game between a player and the machine that acts as the dealer. But in this game, the player only plays against the house and game odds. The goal of the player is to form the highest possible final 5-card poker hand ranking.
The game starts when a player places coins on the Video Poker machine to bet, much like how a slots game is started. The usual number of coins that are accepted by most video poker machines are 1 to 5 coins, After betting the desired amount, the player pushes a button in order for the machine to deal the player with 5 cards.
From the dealt cards, the player is allowed to choose whether to keep all 5 cards if it's poker hand ranking is good enough for a win, or to discard some in hope to be dealt with more useful cards to complete a very strong poker hand combination. If the player has dumped one or more cards from the starting 5-card combination, new cards will be dealt in place of the discarded ones.
Then the Video Poker machine will evaluate the final set of cards and determine whether it's poker hand ranking is enough for a payout.
Video Poker Hands
Video Poker uses the standard poker hand rankings in evaluating the final hand as well as the prize schedule. Most Video Poker games usually requires one pair of Jacks or higher ranked hand in order to have a payout. The following are the poker hands that are used in the game:
Royal Flush - a hand consisting of 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit
Five Of A Kind - a hand consisting of four cards of the same rank plus a wild card for the fifth card (in Video Poker variants where there is one or more wild cards)
Straight Flush - a hand that contains five consecutive ranks of the same suit
Full House - a hand that contains two cards of the same rank (a pair) and another three cards of the same ranks (a trip)
Four Of A Kind - a hand consisting of four cards of the same rank and a fifth unmatched card
Straight - a hand consisting of five consecutive ranks but with one or more card having a different suit.
Flush - a hand that contains five cards of the same suit but with no sequential order of ranks
Three Of A Kind - a hand that consists three cards of the same rank and three unmatched cards
Two Pairs - a hand containing two cards having the same rank, another two cards of the same rank, and a fifth unmatched card
Jacks or Better - a hand that contains a pair of Jacks, Queens, or Kings, and three unmatched cards
Types of Video Poker
Video Poker comes with a handful of varieties that players can choose from, especially in online casino games. These varieties mostly differ in payouts for different hand rankings and in wild cards used.
Jacks or Better - the most common Video Poker type. It is sometimes simply called the "Draw Poker". In this variant, the lowest hand ranking that the machine will payout is any pair of Jacks, thus the name Jacks or Better.
All American - a variant based on Jacks or Better that has increased payout for Flushes, Straight, and Straight Flushes, but reduced payout for full houses and two pairs.
Tens or Better - a variant based on Jacks or Better in which the minimum hand ranking that will payout is One Pair of Tens, instead of Jacks.
Bonus Poker - a variant based on Jacks or Better that offers a higher percentage payout for Four of a Kind, in which there are three different payouts for Four Aces (80:1), Four 2s through 4s (40:1), and Four 5s through Kings (25:1).
Double Bonus Poker - a Bonus Poker variant that doubles the payout percentage for the Four of a Kinds in the Bonus Poker (160:1, 80:1, and 50:1, respectively).
Double Double Bonus Poker - a Bonus Poker Varian that also doubles the Four of a Kind payouts in Bonus Poker, and if the 4 Aces has a fifth card of 2, 3, or 4, it pays 400, and if Four 2, 3, or 4 has a fifth card of an Ace, it pays 160.
Super Aces - a Bonus Poker variant that also pays more on Four Aces (400:1).
Aces and Faces - a Bonus Poker variant that has increased on Four Aces and Four Jacks, Queens, or Kings, in which the payout for Four Jacks through Kings is swapped with the payout for Four 2s through 4s.
Bonus Flush - a variant based on Jacks or Better that has increased payout for Flushes, but reduced payout for Two Pairs.
Deuces Wild - a Video Poker variety in which all deuces (2) are considered as wild cards, and can be used as substitutes to any card rank of any suite in order to form the best possible hand ranking. However, any Royal Flush that is formed using one or more wild cards (Wild Royal Flush) pays lower than a Natural Royal Flush. Four wild cards (the deuces) has an increased payout (200:1) in this variety, and the lowest hand ranking that will payout is any Three of a Kind.
Anything's Wild - a Video Poker variant based on Deuces Wild in which the player selects any card rank to act as the wild card before the cards are dealt.
Joker Wild (Joker Poker) - a variant of Video Poker that uses a 53-card deck, in which one Joker is added and acts as a wild card. This game requires at least a pair of Kings or better, instead of Jack.
Double Joker - a Video Poker game that uses a 54-card deck, in which two Jokers are added and act as wild cards. This game requires at least a hand of Two Pairs or higher in order to be paid out.
Deuces and Joker - a game that is played with five wild cards, the four Deuces and a Joker. It is played with a 53-card deck and the combination that pays out the most at 2000:1, even greater than any natural Royal Flush, is a hand that contains all the five wild cards.