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Some things to know about Video Poker

Sitting down to a game of video poker is always a treat. Regardless of the variation that you find to be the best online poker option for you, playing poker on a video screen is easy, fun and suitable for everyone. There’s none of the intimidation that you encounter when you play poker in a brick-and-mortar casino.

No one is pushing you to make a decision before you’re ready, there are no time limits and you can bet as much or as little as you want. 

Making the most out of your play poker online adventure involves doing a little bit of homework. You don’t have to prepare but if you do you’ll experience a more rewarding and satisfying poker adventure.

Some things to keep in mind when playing video poker.

Know your Goals

Some people open up the games lobby in the poker section of the online casino site and pick a game based on name of the game. If the name of the poker variation has a catchy ring to it, that’s the game that they choose.  Obviously, that’s not a great idea, especially if you are focusing on a positive end result (payouts!)

You need to identify your goals in playing poker and use those goals to find a game that meets your needs and expectations.   The payout percentages in the different poker variations are more or less the same.  But if you’re enjoying the game, you’ll be more engaged, and that will enable you to experience more success. 

Some of the options that you may want to consider include:

  • Lowball games where the lowest hand wins the pot.  This is a low-key type of poker where everything stays calm and there’s not as much pressure as in other types of games. Just be sure that you check with your casino regarding the rules because opinions vary about whether or not aces will be counted as low or now as well as how flushes and straights effect the game.
  • Collaborative games in which players can pass cards to one another.
  • Games in which stripped decks are used. Originally, poker was played with only 20 cards. There are still variations that follow this tradition. One option is similar to Texas Hold ‘Em.  It differs in that players must use both hole cards and only one card is dealt at a time.
  • Kill games that involved fixed limits and doubled stakes when a player wins two pots in a row. If the game combines with a lowball game players have the option to place a double bet after seeing their first two cards for a kill.
  • Wild card games.
  • Games with twist rounds where a player can buy another card (or two) from the deck.
  • High-low split games where the highest and lowest hands split the pot. In some variations a flush does not matter for a low hand.
  • Roll your Own Stud games that give players the chance to determine the cards that are to be turned up so that they’re visible to other players. Sometimes this applies to the first 3 cards.

Math Skills

You don’t have to know math to play poker but it helps.  Knowing some basic math can help you understand the probability aspects of the game so you can choose which games to play and how to play them.

You might decide to rely on software programmers, authors, podcasters and other “experts” who have already done the math. They’ll give you information about payback percentages and playing strategies. But if you do it yourself, you can fine tune the information to fit exactly what you want and need. 

Perspective

Poker has one of the lowest house edges of any game in the casino. Payback percentage is anywhere from 99% to 97.5% (sometimes it deviates from that a bit but those percentages are an average). That means that the game gives you one of the highest win ratios in the casino. It’s a much better deal than many of the games - even slots gives you only a 96% payback percentage.   

The payback percentage of video poker is closer to 97.5%. But if you review the statistics you can find a game that gives you more of a payback percentage than others.

Some of the best video poker payback percentages include

  1. Aces and Eights – 99.78% payback percentage with options to get the house edge down to .22%. The game is similar to Jacks or Better and includes bonus payoffs for four of a kind of aces or eights.
  2. Double Jackpot – with a payback percentage of 99.63% this is a game with a lower house edge than full pay Jacks or Better. Also known in some casinos as Double Double Aces & Faces.
  3. Bonus Deuces Wild - has a 99.45% payback rate. It’s similar to Jacks or Better but has a few additional elements that make it a bit more entertaining.

Strategy

Everyone always tells you that you have to know poker strategy.  The problem is, there’s a recommended strategy for almost every possible occurrence.

Before you drive yourself nuts trying to memorize dozens of strategy options, try out the simplified strategies. Once you master the simpler strategy, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step and you’ll be better able to bring up the right strategy at the right time.  

You might even want to try a strategy chart. Keep a printed strategy chart next to you while you play. (This is one of the advantages of online video poker – land-based casinos will likely frown on you bringing a printed chart to the poker table). Together with experience and practice, the strategies will help you get the best payback for your gaming efforts.  

Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer to poker or you’ve been playing for awhile, these basic tips can help you get more out of your game.