Video poker may not be the most popular game in the world, but there’s no denying that the players who enjoy it are especially passionate about playing these machines.
The same games that players can enjoy in brick-and-mortar establishment are also available at online casino sites. The games offer the same great odds and exciting, strategic gameplay whether you play them at a resort or on the Internet, making them an excellent choice for any online gambler who enjoys playing games where they can take some control of their destiny on every hand.
Free to Play Video Poker Games
How to Play
To start a game, players must choose how many credits they want to play on each spin, with one to five being the typical range offered. On many online machines, you might also be able to decide how much you play for each credit; prizes, of course, will scale depending on how much you are playing for and can be found in the pay table.
Once you’ve paid your credits, you will be dealt your initial cards. In almost all games, the machine is a simulation of five-card draw, meaning you’ll be given five cards from a standard 52-card deck (with one or more jokers sometimes added). The object of the game is to make the best five-card hand possible. You’ll need a certain qualifying hand to win a prize; in the game Jacks or Better, for instance, you’ll need at least a pair of jacks to win something. The better the hand, the more you’ll win.
The strategy of the game comes in to play when you choose which of your initial cards you want to hold, and which you would like to discard. Once you’ve locked in your selections, the cards you’ve chosen to discard will be replaced with new cards from the deck. The resulting hand will be final, and if you’ve made a winning combination of cards, you will receive your payout before moving on to your next hand.
Some machines will give you the option of playing in a multi-hand format. In these cases, you’ll pay for all of your hands up front: if you play a 10-hand machine for five credits per hand, for instance, you’ll be on the hook for 50 credits at the start of each hand. You’ll still be dealt just one initial hand of five cards, but after you choose which cards to discard, you will receive new cards for each of the hands you paid for. These new hands are each draw independently, so it is possible to get the same replacement cards on different hands. All of your winning hands will award prizes, just as in a standard, single-hand game.
There are many different machines available these days and each one requires a completely different strategy to play. Some of the most popular games include:
- Deuces Wild
- Jacks or Better
- Tens or Better
- Joker Poker
- Bonus Poker
- Double Bonus
Video poker strategy is complex and intricate, and even the basic forms of strategy for a single machine are beyond the scope of this page. Many players enjoy learning the perfect strategies for at least one machine, as that helps them get the best odds possible while playing. On some rare machines at live gaming establishments, it is even possible for a perfect player to have a slight edge!
Of course, you don’t actually have to memorize the strategies in order to play the game reasonably well. Even if you want to play optimally (or close to it), there are numerous resources online that you can read from while you play, rather than trying to play from memory. As you play a particular machine more and more, you’ll find yourself relying on these “cheat sheets” less and less, and find that you have a better handle on the strategies needed to win on each game.
Why Play This Game?
If you enjoy playing strategic games—whether that’s games like blackjack, or mind games like poker and chess—then you’ll find that video poker is right up your alley. Not only that, but most machines offer some of the best odds to players who are willing to learn the best strategies on each machine. Even at online gaming sites, many games offer potential returns of well over 99%, making them some of the best games around for players who want to have an excellent chance of coming out on top against the casino.
At the same time, most would agree that it is a pretty easy game to play, with few rules to remember and only one round of decisions to make on each hand. That means that if you just want to play for fun you can.
Play Free Online
Since video poker is a game of strategy, it definitely pays to get some practice in before you start playing for real. This isn’t possible in a brick-and-mortar casino, but online casinos give you the chance to play for free for as long as you want, learning the games you’re playing without putting any of your money at risk.
If you would like to give it a try, we have plenty of options to recommend. If you sign up at one of our highly-rated online casinos in your country, you’ll find a plethora of options, all of which you can try for free today. Give a few games a try, see which machines you like best, and then decide whether or not you’d like to play for real money once you feel ready!