We can assume that most readers of these pages are die-hard poker fans who love the intensity of the action around the table. However, we suspect that a number of readers will rather play casino online video poker as a way of satisfying their poker sweet tooth without the pressure of bluffing and reading bluffs.
Here, then, is a short introduction to video poker.
Name That Opponent
Video poker is five card draw in which you have no actual opponent. In a real sense, you’re playing against yourself! The dealer makes no decisions; he never has any cards.
This means that if you make the right decision based on the odds, you have a good chance of winning.
In addition to making the right decisions based on the odds, you have to play the right games. It’s easy to choose the right game to play: some games offer a better pay table and others offer a worse pay table.
The pay tables in video poker indicate exactly the return to player rate for any winning hand. The most difficult hands to get are always Royal Flush, straight flush, and four of a kind. You have to look at the payouts for those hands as well. But first you need to look at the payout rates for full house, flush, and straight.
Next you have to decide how many coins you’re going to bet on each hand. The best payout is for a Royal Flush if you bet the maximum number of coins. If you choose to bet the max, make sure that the payout for a Royal Flush is at least sixteen times the payout for the same hand played with one coin.
If you decide to bet the max, the best rates are in games where the number of coins won with a full house begins at 9 and for a flush at 6. In the long run, you stand to win more in these games but only if you bet the max.
There are very volatile games with lower average payout rates but a lot more pizzazz. If you’re looking for exciting poker action, you might look into playing video poker as a practicum as you prepare for the real fireworks which take place when you play against people!
To Bet the Max or Not to Bet the Max
Many players feel that it’s counter-intuitive to bet the max. The vicissitudes of the random number generator mean a natural Royal Flush may come up much more often or much less often than the statistical norm. Betting the max enables you to win the big Royal Flush payout if it hits.
However, you also have to stay within your budget. If betting the max would necessarily reduce your playing time enough to matter to you, then by all means bet less than the max. In such a situation, we would recommend betting the minimum and have fun!
Advantages of Online Gaming
At an online casino, you’re never seated next to an obnoxious drunk or a man who never stops ogling you. When you play online, it’s easier to keep your alcohol intake to zero or close to it. And when you play online you know where the hands that last touched the keyboard have been!
When you’ve decided what size bet to make and which game to play, you’ll need a strategy card for that particular game. Here is a strategy card for Jacks or Better. As you’ll see, there are 16 different hands you can have. The list runs from least likely to most likely.
- Keep any hand that you can’t improve: Royal Flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, or straight.
- If you’re lucky and get four to a Royal Flush or four to a straight flush, keep those four even if you’re pulling to an inside straight. You might not get the Royal Flush but you might get a flush or a straight.
- Keep three of a kind and hope for another.
- If you get two pair, keep them and hope for a full house.
- If you have a winning pair, keep it. Even if it doesn’t improve, you won’t lose money.
- If you have only three to a Royal Flush, keep them if you’re betting the max. But if you have another card to a regular flush, and you’re not betting max, go for the flush.
- Some players like to go for a straight if they have four to a straight but the best strategy is to hold a low pair over four to a straight.
- Again, if you don’t have a pair, some players like holding one high card. The best paly is to hold two high cards if they are suited. Similarly, two unsuited high cards are considered slightly better than holding a single high card.
- If you have no useful combinations, toss in all the cards and draw five more. And may the force be with you!