Video Poker Online — Play Smart and Minimize the House Edge
Video Poker machines have been some of the most popular attractions in Vegas casinos for the last 40 years. However, most online players overlook them, which is often a costly mistake. If you’re here, you’re likely a veteran looking for excellent online video poker variants. Alternatively, you might also be a newcomer who has learned about the many advantages of these games.
Our review has something for everyone. In the below list, you can check out the top online casinos for video poker. Those who want to get a better understanding of the genre are welcome to read our full report, which contains lots of useful tips and information.
The Pros and Cons of Online Video Poker Games
The lowest house edge in gambling — If you pick the right title and play it correctly, you will benefit from return rates that are on par or better than blackjack. This makes video poker online a better choice than all slots, roulette, baccarat, and just about any other casino game under the sun.
A feeling of control — With most games of chance, you place a bet and hope for the best. This type of Poker gives you the power to influence your outcome as you select which cards to keep or discard.
It’s private and convenient — Unlike traditional table games, you won’t have to interact with other people or feel pressured by time. This is why the genre is a hit at land-based operators. A video poker online casino is even better, as you can play within seconds from any location with Internet access.
You can play for free — Each iteration of video poker has a distinct strategy that guarantees the best results. The good thing is that the gaming sites on our list have demo modes that allow you to find your favorite release and become a master at it without risking your money.
It takes time — Learning to read and employ the strategy charts requires time and a bit of effort. If you’re not experienced, you will need to focus on practicing in the beginning. Fortunately, it’s easy to find a video poker online trainer and combine it with the demo modes to dramatically reduce the learning curve.
The house can no longer be beaten — In the past, land-based casinos didn’t have a way of accurately determining whether they have an advantage over the player. This allowed some smart individuals to find and exploit machines with positive return rates. Nowadays, this is sadly no longer the case, especially with online products. Still, smart plays, discipline, and a little luck can lead to great results.
Real-Money Players Need to Know This
The first step to mastering online video poker games is to understand the genre-specific terms and card combinations. Here, we’ll give you two lists that can help you out whenever you’re playing or learning something new about these games. Let’s begin:
- Hand — The five cards that appear on the screen after you bet are your current hand.
- Hold — Once you see your hand, you can choose which cards to keep with a press of the “Hold” button. Alternatively, you can click on a card for such a sign to appear.
- Draw — After you’ve decided which cards to hold or discard, you press the “Draw” button to deal additional cards and find out if you’ve won.
- Multi-Play/Multi-Hand — A term used for online video poker iterations that allow you to simultaneously play with more hands. This increases the volatility.
- Volatility or variance — Another way to describe the risk/reward factor. Highly-volatile pokers usually come with larger jackpots but pay smaller rewards on card combinations with a lower value. In multi-play iterations, each extra hand requires a separate wager, so you’ll win or lose more money over a shorter period.
- House edge and Return to Player — These are two sides of the same coin. The terms are used to describe the long-term mathematical advantage that a video poker online casino has over you. For example, if there’s a 0% house edge, the Return to Player (RTP) rate is 100%, and your chances of winning are equal to a coin toss. Nowadays, there are no online games of chance where you can find a neutral or negative house edge, but video pokers often come with RTPs of 99% or more.
A List of Common Winning Hands in Video Poker
10’s/Jacks/Kings/Queens or better — gives you a description of the lowest winning hand in the game and is often a part of the title. For example, in “Jacks or Better,” you’ll be paid when your final hand contains a pair of Js. In these online video poker games, getting a couple of 10s or something lower won’t bring you a reward.
- 2 pair — Grants a payout for a hand with two 2-card pairs.
- 3-of-a-kind — When you score 3 cards of the same rank (e.g., three Queens).
- Straight — A straight occurs when all five of your cards are of sequential ranks (e.g., 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
- Flush — If your entire hand is of the same suit, you have a flush.
- Full House — When you have a 3-of-a-kind plus a pair in one hand.
- Four-of-a-kind — Four cards of the same rank.
- Straight flush — Five cards of the same suit with sequential ranks.
- Royal Flush — This one is the jackpot of video poker online. To score it, you need an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit. On average, it happens once in 40,000+ hands, but due to variance, it’s possible to land it much sooner or later.
How to Play Video Poker Online for Free
Seasoned bettors know how to make the most of their gaming sessions. However, if you’re new, the best thing you could do is to start playing a demo today and have some fun with it. This way, you’ll get used to the controls and learn the ropes without getting overwhelmed with complex strategy guides. If you enjoy the experience, it’s likely that you’ll naturally develop an interest to get better and a desire to play online video poker for real money at a later point. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to begin your adventure:
- Go to the beginning of this article and pick a proper casino. Cherry Jackpot, Slots.lv, Sloto’Cash and Miami Club are intended for US residents; 888casino is a large international site that is also licensed in certain American states; Royal Panda accepts newcomers from the EU and Canada, Mansion is great for the UK, Canada, and the EU.
- Register a free account and look around. Every operator will offer you online free video poker with no download required. These titles either have a separate section or are found under “Casino/other games.”
- Select a single-hand product to avoid any unnecessary confusion. It’s a good practice to insert the maximum amount of coins, as they have the largest jackpots. You can control the overall size of your wager by adjusting the coin value.
- When ready, press “Deal,” and 5 cards will appear. Try to form winning hands as the ones described above this section. Most online video poker games will display a paytable that will show you when you have a winner.
- Once you get a payout, you’ll likely receive the option to double your winnings by gambling them. Your chances of success are 50%, so it’s up to you.
The Most Popular Video Poker Online Casino Products
Jacks or Better – This one is easily the most well-known variant, and it also played a huge part in popularizing the genre. It’s a great recommendation for first-time players and a go-to title for veterans. As its name suggests, the lowest winning hand is a pair of Jacks. The royal flush in such online video poker games pays 4,000 credits when you wager 5 of them, translating to a payout of 800:1. The optimal RTP for this type is 99.50% or more, so we always advise you to check the “Help” section to confirm the house edge.
Bonus Poker – You may also encounter double, double double, and triple iterations. What you need to know about these products is that they are an augmented version of “Jacks or Better.” Basically, the payouts for frequent but lower-value winning hands such as 2 Pair are decreased to increase the winnings you get from high-value hands like 4-of-a-kind. As such, you want to pay attention to the paytable when determining the correct online video poker strategy. “Aces & Faces” is another similar variant.
Wild Card Pokers – If you know what Wild symbols in Slots do, you’ll easily understand how these versions work. In a nutshell, a single card rank is picked to act as the “Wild,” meaning that it can substitute any other card to help you form combinations. In the popular “Deuces Wild,” the 2s take this role. For example, if you have a hand with an 8, 9, 10, Jack, and a 2, that’s a straight, as the deuce acts as a 7/Queen.
Joker Poker – Works on the same principle as “Wild” card games. However, a Joker is added to the deck, which increases the total number of cards to 53. Unsurprisingly, the Joker acts as the “Wild.” Again, before you play this take on online video poker for real money, it’s recommended to consider the house edge and look at where the increased payouts are.
Casino Promotions and Video Poker Usually Don’t Mix
Gaming sites around the world always offer bonuses to welcome new arrivals and keep regulars coming back for more. If you’ve ever claimed one, you’ve probably noticed that such deals come with T&Cs that need to be completed before you can cash out. The rollover or wagering requirement is one of the most important stipulations. It’s a multiplier that tells you how much you need to bet before withdrawing. For example, a rollover of x30 on a bonus of $100 means that you have to wager a total of $3,000.
Since video poker online has an almost non-existent house edge, it’s easy to assume that playing it would give you a good chance to complete the wagering requirements. However, most operators either exclude the genre from their promotions or limit the wager contribution to 5%-20%. In other words, it’s best to avoid using promo credits on these Pokers.
The History of Online Video Poker
Poker machines have been around since the end of the 19th century. The first such terminal was produced by the Sittman and Pitt Company in 1891, while Charles Fey introduced the “hold and draw” mechanic we all know today in 1901.
The first video poker machines were conceived by William “Si” Reed in the 1970s. If it weren’t for Reed’s determination, online video poker games wouldn’t be here today. The businessman tried to sell this concept to his employer, Bally Distribution, but it was rejected. He subsequently left to create his own enterprise, SIRCOMA, later known as the International Game Technology, to produce these gaming devices. The original version wasn’t a smash hit, as it had 2 Pair as its lowest winning combination. When it was augmented to Jacks or Better, the genre took off and became a Vegas sensation during the 80s. All-virtual adaptations were made shortly after the advent of online casinos and have been available online for more than 20 years.
Ready to Play Your Hand?
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you are in a prime position to start playing video poker online for free. You’ve learned about the pros and cons of these games, the different versions you may encounter, and have easy access to the most important lingo & poker hands.
The only thing left to do is to put your knowledge into practice. Pick a trusted operator from our list and see if you’ll like this form of gambling. If you decide to stake real money, remember to find a strategy guide, play slowly, and insert the maximum amount of coins for a chance to win the largest jackpot. You can always adjust the size of your credits to lower the overall wager. Good luck!