Video Poker machines combine the endless versatility of modern technology with the best-loved card game on the planet – poker. Video poker games offered at online casinos can be even more impressive than their offline casino counterparts, allowing players to adjust their stakes, play multiple hands (some machines allow you to play up to 100 video poker hands at a time!) and shoot for massive progressive jackpots. Another advantage of playing video poker online is that virtual video poker machines don’t take up any floor space, so many online casinos offer dozens of different variations for you to choose from.
For those of you who have yet to discover the joys of video poker, the game is actually very simple. You press the DEAL button and the machine deals you a hand of five cards. You choose which of these cards you want to keep (if any) by pressing the HOLD buttons, and the rest are replaced when you press the DEAL button again. The hand is then checked and any prize is paid out automatically.
The aim is to make the best hand you can, and video poker hand rankings are as follows (listed from best to worst):
10-J-Q-K-A of the same suit.
Five cards of the same suit and of consecutive rank. For example, 7-8-9-10-J of spades.
Four of a Kind:
Four cards of the same rank. For example, 9-9-9-9-8.
Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. For example, 9-9-9-8-8.
Five cards, all of the same suit, but they do not need to be consecutively ranked. For example, 2, 6, J, 4, A of clubs.
Five cards that are consecutively ranked but not of the same suit.
Three of a Kind:
Three cards of one rank. For example, 9-9-9-A-2.
Two pairs of cards that have the same rank. For 7-7-K-K-A.
These are all standard video poker hands but you should check to see what the video poker game you are playing requires before betting with real money. Some video poker variations pay on a single pair of tens or better or jacks or better (these games are often called 10’s or Better or Jacks or Better, if you need to identify them!) Other games have wild cards that can be used to substitute for any other card. For example, in Deuces Wild games, the deuce (2) can substitute. In other games the Joker may be used as a wild card. With so many different variations of video poker available, it is important to know what rules are being implemented beforehand.
Multi-Hand Video Poker
Multi-hand Video Poker works in much the same way as a single-hand game, but in this case you choose how many hands you want to play at a time, up to the maximum offered by the machine. Five cards are initially dealt and the player decides which ones to keep. These cards are then kept for all of the hands that are being played, and the rest are replaced. The advantage of playing multi-hand games is that if you are initially dealt a good hand (such as three of a kind) all of your hands are automatic winners, and several may be improved to a full house or four of a kind. The only downside to multi-hand games is that you will obviously have to pay to bet on each hand in play.
Progressive Video Poker
Progressive jackpot video poker machines are ones which have a jackpot that gets progressively larger with each play until it is eventual won. Generally speaking it is the Royal Flush that awards the progressive jackpot, but in many cases the player needs to be betting the maximum number of coins in order to qualify for all of the progressive amount. Again, you should check this aspect of the game before playing.