Introduced in the 1970’s, video poker is an increasingly popular form of gambling. Played fast while involving a combination of skill and luck, video poker attracts players by providing hours of stimulating entertainment.
A typical video poker machine holds a strong resemblance to a regular slot machine, and can be found in either a tabletop form or an upright desktop unit.
The machines come in denominations of nickels, quarters, dollars and sometimes five dollars. The majority of video poker games are based on five-card draw poker. In five-card draw, players are originally dealt five cards and can throw away any of them to try to improve their hand. New cards are dealt to replace the discarded ones, and the final five cards decide your fate.
To begin play, determine the number of coins you are going to play and insert your money. Once you place your bet you push the deal button. After your five cards are dealt you will decide which cards that you would like to keep by pushing the hold button associated with that card.
After making your selections, double check to make certain that every card you would like to keep has the word hold either above or below it. Because one you place the deal button every card that you have chosen to discard (not hold) will be replaced with another card from the deck.
Instead of beating an opponent’s hand as in normal table play, you can win when you hold any of the five-card combinations listed on that particular machines payout table. If your resulting hand holds a winning combination you will be credited according to the payout schedule.
- Pay close attention to the all important “hold” button. Some people hit it too fast or not hard enough and a card meant to be held is discarded. Make sure all the cards you want to hold are held before pushing the draw button.
- Check each machine you play. Some have hold buttons, others discard buttons. Don’t push any buttons before you understand what you’re doing.
- Always look for machines that pay 9 to 1 for a full house (45 with 5 coins) and 6 to 1 for a flush (30 with 5 coins). However four-of-a-kind bonus machines if paying 7 or 8 to 1 for a full house (35 or 40 with 5 coins) and 5 to 1 for a flush (25 with 5 coins), such as four aces paying 80 to 1 (400 with 5 coins) and four 2s, 3s or 4s paying 40 to 1 (200 with 5 coins), are also acceptable. You need these high payouts to keep you playing, as the real key to hitting a royal is playing a large number of hands. Stay clear of machines that only pay 1 to 1 for two pair or don’t pay for jacks or better. Although double bonus and double-double bonus machines can be good if you can get some four-of-a-kinds, otherwise with the two pair 1 to 1 payout, these machines will take your money quickly. Also stay clear of dueces wild machines as the payout is so low that unless you hit four dueces you won’t be playing long.
- Pick a strategy and stick with it. Are you going for a big money Royal Flush, with the biggest payback but odds of 650,000 to 1? Or do you want to play a long time with the best payback? Conservative players would keep a pair, for instance, while others might break a pair if there was a chance for a Royal Flush.
- Never keep a “kicker” — a high card in addition to a pair. The odds are against this strategy working out for you.
- Cash out your credits frequently.
- Seek out Jacks or better machines that pay 9 coins for a full house and six coins for a flush.
- Always bet the maximum amount of coins on a progressive machine to get the bonus for royal flushes.
- If you are a beginner, play on the lowest denomination machine until your level of expertise rises.
- Take your time to study every hand. Because you are playing against a machine, no one will intimidate you if your play is too slow.
- All hail the Jack! Some players don’t realize the ace is not the most important card in the deck, but the Jack is. Holding the Jack over the ace gives you more opportunities of making more lucrative hands than an ace would.
- Never keep a kicker with any pair. Holding a kicker to any pair reduces your return by 5%.
- Never draw four cards if you can draw three to a royal flush.
- Always keep five-card winning pat hands with on exception: if you can, draw one card to a royal.
- Don’t break a flush even if you can draw one to a straight flush, but always break a flush to draw to a royal.
- Never break a straight to draw to a straight flush.
- Never draw five if you have a jack or better.
- Don’t keep a ten for a four card draw.