MORE RECENT VIDEO POKER VARIATIONS

In the previous section we talked about some of the ‘new breed’ video poker variations. Video poker was first introduced to casino floors in the 1970’s and change came about very slowly. In fact, until the 1990’s you could count the different variations of video poker that had found traction with players on your fingers and have a few left over. There were several reasons for this—for one thing, players didn’t trust newer versions of old games. The thinking was that if the casino updated an older machine and particularly if they changed the rules in the process that the player was getting the worst of it. This fear isn’t entirely unfounded but it was a large part of why there were so few updates to the basic video poker rules until the past decade.

The limitations of technology were also a factor—simply put, it’s much easier and far less expensive to offer multiple rule options on the same machine. At one point, if you wanted to add a different game variation to the casino floor you had bring in a dedicated machine. Today, gaming devices that offer only one type of game are a very significant minority. Most machines offer dozens of variations with some offering video poker, slots and keno on the same machine. Players can pick and choose from the rules they like—no longer does a game have to be a ‘hit’ to justify a casino offering it.

Customers have also changed and now want more ‘slot like’ excitement in their video poker play. Some games have done this by offering ‘extra bet’ features and bonuses while others have tried to up the excitement by changing the game play entirely:

MORE VIDEO POKER VARIATIONS

With over 60 different types of video poker machines on Las Vegas casino floors it’s not possible to list them all. These are some of the more popular variations:

DOUBLE DOWN STUD POKER: This surprising popular variation combines elements of traditional five card draw poker with stud poker. The player places his bet after which he is dealt four cards with one down card. He can then decide to double his bet before the final card is revealed. Either way, the final card is flipped and the player’s hand graded. A pair of 6’s or better is a winning hand. A Royal Flush pays 5000 but on a ‘doubled’ hand pays 20000.

DOUBLE PAY POKER: Another interesting and popular video poker variation pays twice per hand. Double Pay Poker has two pay tables—one for the ‘dealt’ hand (first five cards) and one for the ‘draw’ hand (final hand after discards and draws). Most Double Pay Poker variants also pay a bonus for certain 4 of a kind hands (eg: 4 aces = 400 dealt, 160 draw). Note that a ‘draw’ hand gets paid on both tables. For example, if you’re dealt four aces you’re immediately paid 400. You’ll obviously hold that hand after which you’ll be paid another 160. Another difference—you’re paid 5 for a pair of 6 through 10 on the ‘draw’ hand. The ‘deal’ hand rankings are identical to a traditional machine.

MULTIPLE PLAY POKER: These games offer identical rules to the classic video poker variations—Draw Poker, Deuces Wild, etc.–with one big difference. You’re playing multiple hands at the same time! Ten Play, Twenty Five Play, Fifty Play and One Hundred Play are the most common multiples and the gameplay you get is what is says on the box. You’re dealt five cards which are identical across all of your hands—so if you’re dealt K-K-5-2-6 on a One Hundred Play you’ll hold the pair of Kings. You’ll then be dealt individual cards on all 100 hands. Don’t forget that you’re paying the usual ‘5 coins per hand’ for each one—so for 100 play you’ll be playing 500 coins per hand. Strategy and gameplay is the same but the volatility increases with the number of simultaneous hands you’re playing.

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SPIN POKER: This is easily the most ‘slot machine’ like of the many video poker variations. It’s essentially a slot machine/video poker hybrid. Five ‘reels’ dealing 52 (or 54 in some variants) cards on three lines. The slot similarities don’t stop there—Spin Poker Machines offer multiple paylines from 9 in the basic ‘Spin Poker’ to 20 lines in ‘Spin Poker Deluxe’. Otherwise it’s like a multiple hand video poker machine like we discussed above. You’ll find spin poker machines in all of the popular versions like ‘Deuces Wild’, ‘Jokers Wild’, ‘Jacks Or Better’–there’s even spin poker variants with the ‘Dream Card’ feature. Strategy is identical to the ‘basic’ version video poker game so if you’re playing Spin Poker Deuces Wild you’ll play it just like regular deuces wild. It’s important to play max coins per line activated. You’re better off playing fewer paylines or at a lower denomination machine than you are playing max lines without max coins per line.

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