Play Real Money Video Poker

Video poker is a relatively late arrival to the list of top casino games. For so much of its history, people got the video poker machines mixed up with the slot machines. Those who played them were the anti-social people sitting in front of a game screen, instead of getting in on the action at the seven-card stud, Texas hold’em, blackjack, or craps tables. In the 1980’s, gaming machines were converted from mechanical to electronic devices, and this opened up a whole new era of real money video poker gaming.

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Video Poker History

By the 1990’s, gambling analysts were starting to use computers to study the video poker pay tables. These people started writing about the fantastic house edge offered by the real money video poker machines, which were better than most any other game in the casino. This started a mass movement to play and learn the strategies of video poker. Land-based casinos soon learned that the secret was out and they got rid of (most of) the best pay tables, but the game still offers some of the best odds in the casino.

Online Video Poker Real Money

With the advent of the Internet, online casinos began adding online video poker for real money to their software package. These days, Microgaming, Playtech, Rival, IGT, Net Entertainment, Realtime Gaming, and countless other online casino software providers offer comprehensive video poker software for real money gambling. Name any game you’ve ever seen in a brick-and-mortar gaming establishment and it’s likely to be found in the licensed and legitimate online casinos.

Common Variants of Video Poker

It would be next to impossible to list all of the many variants of the game without the list becoming a jumble of words. A culled list of the top games would have the following titles: jacks or better (sometimes called “draw poker“), tens or better, joker wild (also called “joker poker“), deuces wild, aces and eights, aces and faces, All-American, chase the royal, deuces and joker wild, loose deuces, double bonus, five aces poker, Nevada bonus, super draw poker, three-way action, bonus poker, bonus poker plus, and bonus deuces wild. In fact, assume you can put “bonus” in front of most game titles, along with the words “super“, “double“, “triple“, and “ultimate” in front of many more.

What Is Full Pay?

Full pay” is a term used to describe the best version of a video poker machine. Many of these titles offer six or eight various pay tables, each with a different payout structure and house edge. The best version is considered full pay. In jacks or better gaming, the full pay version offers a 9:1 payout on the full house and a 6:1 payout on the flush. You’ll find versions which offer the full house at 8:1, 7:1, and 6:1. Commonly, you’ll find the flush paying at 5:1. In fact, you’re most likely to find the 8/5 jacks or better or 7/5 jacks or better wherever you play: the first number indicating the payout for the full house and the second number indicating the payout for the flush.

Each title is going to have its own full-pay version, so any time you start to play a new version of video poker, it pays to read the pay tables and find a reliable source which posts the house edge for each version. The pay tables can be confusing to decipher because it’s a common trick to put a higher payout on one of the top hands (four of a kind is common) for the less-than-full pay games, which might make you think this is the best version of the game. Don’t just look at the higher 4 of a kind and assume that’s the best-expected return, because it often isn’t. This is the video poker equivalent to setting up a single-hand blackjack table with a 1:1 payout on the blackjacks.

Play Real Money Video Poker

While most of the variants of real money video poker offer pretty good odds for betters, some titles offer better odds than others. Jacks or better was the first game offered and it’s still the most popular because it has consistently good odds. Deuces wild and loose deuces also provide an excellent house edge. You’re probably aware that the full-pay versions of these games offer a positive expectation betting proposition, but don’t expect to find this option on the Internet. While it might exist somewhere, the word would get out real quick if this were a permanent situation, and the casino operator would lose a ton of money.

Instead of trying to find the 9/6 version of these games, look for the 8/5 pay schedule. This still provides a nice betting opportunity. The 8/5 version of super aces bonus poker pays out at 99.94%, while the 10/7 double bonus and 10/6 double bonus payout at a positive expectation. Don’t expect to find these games online or offline, but try to find pay tables as close to them and you should do fine.

You might wonder how casinos can offer such games and still make money. Remember several things about video poker. One, it’s an automated game, so most sessions have a bunch of hands per hour, compared to many other games in the casino. Two, it’s an automated game, so besides the original investment in buying the equipment (or software), the casino doesn’t have to pay the labor costs of having a dealer deal you cards. Three, most gamblers won’t pay optimal strategy, so the practical house edge actually will be higher than what’s usually stated in articles. All in all, gambling operators still do nicely.

Best Odds

Online video poker may be the best casino game you can play for real money on the Internet. If you’re a serious gambler and you want the best odds, then you want to play something like video poker or blackjack, which offer the best house edge from a gambler’s perspective. Of these two games, video poker translates better to computer gaming than blackjack, because twenty-one is traditionally played with a live dealer.

Sure, you can play live blackjack online for real money, but this still has a much different vibe than what you’d get in a brick-and-mortar casino. Jacks or better video poker, on the other hand, uses a random number generator whether you play online or offline. The game plays the same, though the graphics might not be what they are in the land-based casino. That’s one of the reasons online slots are so popular, because the gaming experience is not that different than the live casino version. But video poker has much better odds than the slot machines, so real money video poker is the best game online.

When you want to play for real money, it won’t be enough to simply sign up for an online account. You’ll need to use a credit card, debit card, prepaid card, gift card, web wallet, online bank, or e-voucher service to fund your account. VISA and MasterCard are available at most reputable online casinos. Their equivalent debit cards, such as Electron, Maestro, Solo, and Switch are also available. Diners Club International and JCB are available in select locations, though American Express tends to stay out of the online gambling industry. You’ll see an occasional Amex-friendly gaming website for deposits, but never withdrawals.

Among the e-wallets, you’ll be able to use Neteller and Skrill-Moneybookers on most casino websites. PayPal is often available for deposits, but not cashouts. Click2Pay, Eco Card, iDeal, ClickandBuy, and a ton of regional services also line up to process your payments and withdrawals. UKash is available as a web voucher. The same payment methods for online casinos tend to work with mobile casinos. A bank wire transfer tends to be good for depositing and withdrawing funds, though this might cost a little extra and take a couple of days longer when cashing out (payments are instantaneous, of course). Still rare, but with more frequency all the time, Bitcoin is an option.

Video Poker Strategy

Whether you’re playing land-based gaming machines or online video poker for real money, it pays to study strategy for the game. So many casino games have no degree of skill attached to them, but this game is different. Most of the time, you won’t need to buy a book to study the suggested methods of play. You can find simple, intermediate, and optimal strategy primers online which are every bit as good as what you’ll find in a published book. Also, these are free and printable, though I’ll admit the price of printer ink is getting out of control. Video poker cheat sheets exists in HTML and pdf form, which can be downloaded or printed off, as you need them. Each game has its own strategy, so be certain you’re getting the game tactics you need.

For those who want to study the game in practical terms before you start betting for real money, find any one of the video poker analyzer found online. These are tools which show you the perfect play every step of the way. You can even set it to tell you when you click the wrong button and play at less-than-optimal strategy levels. Rarer, yet still available, is a house edge calculator which can tell you what each deviation from the rules is likely to cost you.

United States Video Poker Casinos

Of course, the major gambling destinations offer video poker. But what about states which don’t offer much gambling? Some of them have video poker games available, but some don’t. New York  and North Dakota, for example, aren’t usually thought of as major casino destinations, but you can find several full-service casinos with the game there. North Carolina, on the other hand, is a good example of a state where you won’t find video poker games. Oklahoma has games resembling video poker, but they have a strange “bingo-based” algorithm to all their games, so it’s not like the game you’re used to.

Video Poker Questions and Answers

Video poker has long been a popular casino game because it combines stimulating strategy with a potentially low house edge. And while online video poker may not be as popular as slots, it still has a large niche following.

Below you can see some common questions that arise from those who enjoy playing video poker, along with the answers.

  • Decades ago, many land-based casinos offered video poker machines that gave players a positive return if they used perfect strategy. But that changed when strategy became widely available and players began earning +100% returns on games like Deuces Wild, Double Bonus, and Double Double Bonus.

    These days, the best video poker game that you’re going to find in a land-based casino is 9/6 Jacks or Better. This is not only one of the easier video poker games to learn from a strategy perspective, but it also offers 99.54% payback when played perfectly.

  • Given that positive-expectations games are largely gone from land-based and online casinos, it’s hard to consistently beat video poker.

    But by using perfect strategy and taking advantage of rewards, you can nearly play the casino at even money. In this case, all you need is a little luck on your side to win profits.

  • The best video poker strategy differs based on what variation you play. Every game has its own strategy, and you need to know the little nuances to succeed.

    A good way to start learning is by picking up Jacks or Better strategy first because most variations are based on this game. You can find Jacks or Better strategy in various forms throughout the internet, including step-by-step guides that tell you what cards to keep and discard.

  • Each video poker game has different paytables, and full-pay is the highest-paying version for a game.

    For example, 9/6 Jacks or Better pays 9 credits for a full house and 6 credits for a flush. 8/5 Jacks or Better, on the other hand, only pays 8 for a full house and 5 for a flush, making it a worse-paying game.

    The obvious goal is to stick with the full-paying versions because they give you a better long-term chance to win.

  • Besides using a strategy guide, there are two main ways to improve at video poker: 1) play free games, and 2) use a video poker trainer.

    Video poker pro Bob Dancer offers some nice training software for serious players, while you can find trainers elsewhere on the internet too.

  • You won’t have to look hard because pretty much all online casinos offer free video poker. Most casinos list their video poker games in a separate section, allowing you to find the free games with ease.

    Some Flash casinos don’t even require you to sign up before playing their free video poker.

  • There are plenty of quality internet casinos that offer real money video poker. Read reviews and visit some of the top video poker casinos yourself to find what you’re looking for.

    When you’re ready to make a deposit, find a payment option that you can use – i.e. credit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, Bitcoin – and ensure that it has funds available.

  • Yes, online video poker is legal in most countries. Many parts of the United States and Canada don’t regulate the game, which is why so many offshore online casinos offer video poker to Americans and Canadians.

    Other countries like the UK, France, and Spain have regulated online gaming markets that involve the federal government.

  • The thought of playing video poker at unregulated, offshore sites might seem unnerving. But in nearly every case, even offshore casinos are reputable operations that have licensing jurisdictions.

    In order to protect their reputation and adhere to licensing policies, it’s in these casinos best interests to offer fair play.

  • Due to the low house edge, some casinos offer video poker bonuses while others don’t.

    If a casino does offer a video poker bonus, it will carry higher wagering requirements than a slots bonus because of the low house advantage.

See Also

Video Poker Strategy Guides Appendix

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