Believe it or not, the very first coin-operated gambling machines were mechanical poker machines. The company Sittman and Pitt produced the machines out of New York. First created in 1891 they were hugely popular and widely accepted to be the pre-cursor to the slot machine.
Leap forward nearly one hundred years to the 1970s and video poker made its first appearance in the casinos of Nevada, right alongside the first video slot machines. Playing video poker is a contest between you and the machine.
Many people wonder why you would want to play video poker when the real game is just as easily available. It completely depends on the kind of person you are. Maybe you don’t want to sit at a table and play the game with others and it’s also reasonable to assume that if it’s you and a computer you have a better chance of winning.
Aside from the significant difference that you are not playing against anyone, you are also trying to achieve the highest hand possible to gain higher payouts. At the computer, you will place your bet and be dealt five cards. You have the option of holding your hand, discarding any number of cards and replacing them with new cards, or drawing a whole new hand completely.
Video Poker Hand Rankings
The hand rankings are exactly the same as table poker i.e. a royal flush is Ace – 10 of the same suit. Your bets are placed using the ‘Bet One’ button e.g. if you originally wagered £5 and you hit the ‘bet one’ button three times, your new wager would be £8.
Unlike the table, you will not be challenged by the computer i.e. the computer is not going to call you or try to bluff you, you simply have to make the best five-card hand to win.
There are a couple of things to note though: many online casinos offer different types of video poker so the advice is to play for free on a few types to work out which suits you the best.
Also, note that many do not offer payouts on a pair or even two pairs and the lowest hand you can win with is three of a kind.
Some also use more than one deck so you can actually get 5 of a kind which clearly you can’t do in a one deck table game.
Video poker is a great game and you are definitely in more control of your hand. You can bin the useless cards and have them re-dealt to up your chances of winning.
Top Tips for Playing Video Poker
- Keep an eye on the Paytable – Now you probably know which poker hands are the strongest. But the best thing about playing Video Poker is that you can see how much each hand will pay.
- Maximize your payout – It’s fair to say that this is the big benefit of the payable. The idea is to play the maximum amount of coins. This varies in different games.
For instance, if you’re playing American Poker you can bet between one and five coins. If you get a Royal Flush with one coin that could pay 250, yet five coins could give you a whopping 4,000.
If you are playing Bonus Deuces Wild and get a royal flush with one coin that could pay 800, but five coins is 4,000. If you play Joker Poker and get a royal flush with one coin the payout is up to 500, but betting five coins would knock your socks off with a 10,000 payout!
- Play Strategically – Just as you would if you were playing poker at a table, each game has its own strategy and it’s always best to take a considered approach to each game that you play.
However, the best strategy of all is to keep an eye on your bankroll. It’s easy to get carried away and blow the lot, so be careful and enjoy the game.