Video Poker Strategy
Video poker has been around for decades and though its origins began in land-based casinos, it is now one of the most popular online casinos games. With a variety of variants from Double Double Bonus Poker to Mystery Bonus Poker and more, the game is immensely interesting and with its low house edge, potentially also very rewarding. Millions of people play video poker every day and it is probably because it is one of the easiest games to win at when you play at an online casino. Of course, the law of odds dictates that while you can win a little a few times, the chances of winning big money are not always sky high. That is exactly why the experts recommend using a betting strategy to improve your chances, as well as a card strategy that dictates which cards you keep and which you get rid of.
How the game of video poker works
While video poker may be an easy game to play, it helps to know the rules if you want to form a personal betting strategy. The game begins once you have made a wager of between one and five coins. The cards are then dealt and you need to decide which cards you want to keep and which you want to swap. The cards you choose to discard are replaced with others and the hand is then assessed to determine whether you have a winning combination. Simple, isn't it? Of course, every variant of the game has its own rules in terms of how much winning combinations are worth, but generally, they rank as follows from lowest to highest: a single pair (usually comprised of jacks of better); 2 pairs; 3 of a kind; a straight; a flush; a full house; 4 of a kind; a straight flush; a royal flush.
A few basic dos and don'ts
When you first start playing video poker, it can be very tempting to spend big bucks on the machines, even though you don't have a strategy. However, in the long run, this just wastes time and money and pretty much ensures you won't end up much richer than when you started. That is why when it comes to betting, there are a few dos and don'ts the experts recommend to ensure you make the most of your money:
Shop around - did you know that not every video poker machine has the same paytable? Depending on what casino you play at and what video poker variant you are playing, you could end up making a lot more money on some machines than on others. Always take the time to shop around and check the game's paytable for the highest possible payout and the house edge. These will help you figure out where you should be spending your money.
Get in a few practice rounds - they say that practice makes perfect and frankly, we agree. If you've just started playing video poker, get in a little bit of practice by playing at the free-to-play casinos. This will help you get the gist of what the game is about and could even see you winning more when you are ready to start betting big bucks.
Always bet the maximum - so you've formed a strategy and you're ready to play. The question is, how much money do you want to win? You may have noticed when checking out the casino's paytable that betting just one coin doesn't yield much return. However, if you always bet five coins, your return for a great hand could be huge. Even if your betting increments are low, always bet five coins.
A word about progressive video poker
One thing you may not have known about video poker is that some games are progressive. That's right, progressive jackpots are not just for the slot machines. There are a number of video poker machines that offer these types of jackpots and if you can find them, they could turn out very profitable for you. Of course, you would need to get the best possible hand in order to win these, but the chance to pocket a huge jackpot that grows by the minute is probably a better idea than hoping to win a top fixed jackpot of 1 000 coins.
Strategies for cashing in on video poker
So what do the experts recommend when it comes to winning on video poker? What can you do to ensure you have a better chance of winning? Well, unlike slot machines where your only strategy is to decide how you will bet, video poker allows you to choose which cards you will keep and which you will get rid of in the second deal. Of course, when you have a hand that contains a combination such as a low pair, it will be tempting to hang onto that pair with the expectation that a third card of that type will appear or that you will somehow get another pair. This seldom works, but there are a few tips you can employ to ensure you don't waste your time or your money.
The first rule of thumb to go by is always keep an ace. Even if you have a hand that looks like it will be a total dud, hang onto that ace. The chances are quite high that another ace will appear and this will give you a high pair at the very least. If you happen to already have a high pair, such as two kings, two queens or two jacks, as well as an ace, it will be tempting to get rid of ace, but don't do it. Keep that ace, as it may be your ticket to two pairs and as they say in betting circles, two pairs pay better than one.
The next strategy to employ is: kick out the low cards. If you happen to have a pair of twos for example, don't be precious with them. If you have a chance to get a better hand, get rid of those low cards unless there is a chance you could get a straight. For example, if you have a two, three, four and five as well as a nine, discard the nine but hang onto your low cards. You could have a chance of winning. The same goes with a flush. If you have a two, four, six and seven of the same suit, hold onto them no matter what your fifth card is.
Finally, the experts also recommend that you get rid of high pairs in favour of a better combination. If you have a ten, jack, queen and two kings, get rid of one king. While you may not get the ace you were hoping for, you do have a chance for a higher payout, something you would not have with a pair of kings, which doesn't pay quite as well.
Remember when playing video poker that the game is supposed to be fun as well as profitable. Never lose sight of the fact that you are playing at your favourite online casino to have a good time. If you happen to win, that's a bonus. Always play responsibly, always play smart and keep your betting and playing strategy close at hand to help you enjoy yourself even more.