Looking for the best video poker online casinos? Check our complete guide to the best experience available online!
Video poker is a game that all casinos have, but somehow also one of the games that’s most overlooked by players. Whether online or off, video poker never seems to be given a very prominent position in the casino. As a result, players tend to gravitate more toward the slot machines and the more common table games.
Many players are fooled by the look of a video poker machine. They bare a striking resemblance to slot machines, so people tend to think of them like a slot machine with a different face. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Whereas slot machines operate completely on their own, based on random numbers, the results of video poker machines can be influenced by the skill of the player.
When playing at any casino, if you want to maximize your chances of winning. The first thing you need to do is identify games that are random and games that can be affected by skill. Roulette is random. Blackjack involves skill. Craps is random. Poker involves skill. Slots are random. Video poker is affected by skill.
The Best Places To Play Video Poker Online
Here you will find a complete guide to video poker: how to play and which machines to look for. So you just need to find the right places to play. So here’s a quick list of the best online casinos that offer video poker games. And just so you’re not wasting your time, we’ll break it down by the casinos that accept players from the three major regions.
The Best USA Friendly Casinos To Play Video Poker
It can be difficult to find online casinos that accept players from the USA and have a good selection of games. Lucky for you, however, we’ve done all the work. We listed online casinos that are USA friendly and have a great selection of games, including, of course, video poker.
The Best Australia Friendly Casinos To Play Video Poker
Like the US, our Australian friends can have some trouble finding a friendly online casino that will deliver the experience they’re looking for. And again, we’ve scoured the net to find the best of the best available to Australian players.
The Best European And UK Casinos To Play Video Poker
European and UK casino players have the most choices when it comes to where they’d like to play video poker — or any other game for that matter. There seem to be so many choices, that in itself is sometimes a problem. One big advantage, however, is that with all the choices available, European and UK players can really shop around for those bonuses and promotions that can help turn the tables in their favour.
Video Poker Casinos Intro
There’s nothing wrong with playing games based completely on chance if that’s what you want to do, but if you want to have some influence over the outcome of a game, you need to know which games can be influenced.
So if we’ve decided we want to play a game where our skill counts toward the outcome of the game, and the game we’ve decided to play is video poker, there are a few questions we should answer before we sit down to play. It all comes down to three basic things:
- Which casino(s) will offer the best video poker games to play?
- Out of the selection of video poker games available, how can we identify games with the most favourable odds for the player?
- What is the strategy that we will use to maximise our advantage at video poker?
Since there are so many variations of video poker games, it’s impossible for us to offer a complete strategy for every game you may come across. So, in order to try to convey as much information as possible, we’ll concentrate most of our attention on one of the most common video poker variants, Jacks or Better. Most of the advice and ideas should, however, also be easily portable to other variations of the game.
How To Find Video Poker Games With The Best Odds
The biggest mistake novice video poker players make is thinking that all the games are the same. For example, you may see a couple of variations in a given casino such as Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild. It’s a big mistake to think that all of the Jacks or Better machines are the same simply because they all share the same name. The same goes for the Deuces Wild machines. The payouts from one machine to another can, and often do, vary.
Before you sit down to play video poker anywhere, you should first look at and compare the pay tables on all of the machines available to you. Slight variations in the pay table that you may not even notice at first can indicate a machine with odds that are much more favourable for the player.
Jacks or Better
On a Jacks or Better video poker machine, we’re looking for what is known as a 9/6, or full pay, pay table. The nine and the six refer to the payouts for a full house and for a flush respectively. In many cases, the payouts on these two hands are the only subtle difference you will find between machines, but they can affect your expected win rate significantly. The best-paying Jacks or Better video poker machines offer a payout of nine coins to one for a full house and six coins to one for a flush. With a 9/6 payout scheme, playing a perfect strategy, a player can expect to win back about 99.50% of the money they wager over the long-term.
If you’re wondering just how much variations in those payouts can affect the return to player (RTP) rate of the machine, here are a few examples:
- 9/5 – 98.45%
- 8/6 – 98.39%
- 8/5 – 97.30%
- 7/5 – 96.15%
- 6/5 – 95.00%
When you look at the percentages above, it might not seem like such a big difference. If you do the math, though, the difference between a 9/6 payout and a 6/5 payout is huge. With a 9/6 payout, you can expect to lose about €.50 for every €100 that you bet. With a 6/5 payout, you’ll lose about €5.00 for every $100. Those few percentage points mean you’ll end up losing ten times more money on the machine with the lower pay table. That’s not a small difference at all.
Of course, if it’s at all possible, we want to play on a 9/6 machine. If that’s not possible though, you should still take the time to look over everything that’s available to you and find a machine with the highest payout possible.
A Basic Strategy For Jacks Or Better Video Poker
Of course, a good or bad payout scheme isn’t going to make much of a difference if you’re playing badly. A losing play is a losing play. Better payouts for winning hands aren’t going to make up for consistent losing moves.
Following is a (somewhat simplified) basic strategy for playing Jacks or Better video poker. It’s not what you’d call a “perfect” playing strategy, but it will keep you very close to the maximum payout amounts listed above if you follow it religiously and don’t deviate.
Wait! Dont Forget this Rule
Before we go into more detail, there is one cardinal rule that you must follow. You should always play the maximum number of coins on each hand. You are not eligible for any bonus payout unless you play at the maximum. Giving up the possible bonus payout reduces your expected return considerably.
Note that, in general, the idea is to not give up a made hand in an attempt to try to hit a hand of higher value, with a few exceptions. Here are some of the most common situations and how you should react to them:
You have a low pair (less than jacks) and a four card, open-ended straight draw:
-Keep the pair
You have a high pair (jacks or better) and a four card, open-ended straight draw:
-Keep the pair
You have a high pair and four cards to a flush:
-Keep the pair
You have a high pair and four cards to a straight flush:
-Keep the straight flush draw
You have an inside (gutshot) straight draw or discard all:
-Keep the straight draw
You have two pairs and a gutshot straight flush draw:
-Keep the two pairs
You have two pairs and an open-ended straight flush draw:
-Keep the straight flush draw
You have four cards to a flush and four to a straight:
-Keep the flush draw
You have a made straight and four cards to a straight flush:
-Keep the straight
You have a made flush and a draw to a royal flush:
-Keep the royal flush draw
You have a made straight flush and a draw to a royal flush:
-Keep the straight flush
Most other situations should be easy to play. For example, if you have a high pair and no other draw, you’re obviously going to keep the pair and discard everything else. If you have a straight and no other draw, you’ll keep the straight, etc.
How To Gain The Advantage In Video Poker
Although every video poker machine has a built in advantage for the casino, when you’re playing the right strategy on a machine with the right pay table, it is possible to turn things around and actually get a slight edge in your favour by paying attention to some other things.
What we’re talking about here is casino promotions, bonuses and comps. If you’re an avid video poker player playing on games that offer a 99.5% RTP rate, it really doesn’t take too much to make up that half of a percentage point and then gain a few points in your favour.
For example, if you make €2,000 in wagers, you’d expect to lose about €10 to the video poker machine. But, if that €2,000 worth of wagers can earn you a €15 or €20 bonus through a VIP program, you come out ahead. Don’t be afraid to explore and do some math. You just might find yourself a very nice hidden deal.
So, in addition to shopping around to find the video poker games with the right pay table, you should also take into account things like bonuses, tournaments, VIP programs, etc. By incorporating these factors into your play, you can actually start to generate a small income rather than expecting to lose a small amount. It’s not going to be anything life-changing, but gaining any kind of advantage over the casino always feels good.