Video poker is still hugely popular across Las Vegas casinos and nearly every online casino will carry at least one version of a video poker title.
Here is how to get the best from your video poker experience, and here are the best sites at which to play video poker:
If you want to play video poker online, then you will need to sign up with an online casino. When you complete your registration, you are likely to be offered some kind of bonus. Here are some of the best types of bonus that you can take advantage of.
A welcome bonus at an online casino is the very first bonus that you will receive at the site. Typically, an online casino will match your first deposit with bonus cash up to the same amount, within a limit. A welcome bonus ‘100% up to £100’ will match your deposit completely (100%) with bonus cash up to the limit of £100.
Bonus cash is cash you can use to wager – you cannot withdraw it. You can though, typically withdraw any winnings that you make from it, as long as you meet wagering requirements. Such requirements are stated as ’30x deposit + bonus’ which means you would have to place wagers totalling 30 times the amount of your deposit and bonus.
In the example we listed above, this would be 30 x (£100 (deposit) + £100 (bonus)) = £6,000. Please be aware that this is the amount you have to wager, not spend. You can play 600 x £10 hands using a video poker game, for example. You would not lose every hand and indeed, with video poker, there’s a fair chance that you could end up with more money than you started with!
A reload bonus is identical to a welcome bonus except that it is offered to you after you have completed any wagering associated with your welcome bonus (if you received one). Some sites will offer you a reload bonus on your 2nd, 3rd, 4th and even 5th deposits with the site. Others will offer regular reload bonuses on a monthly, weekly or even a daily basis!
Free / no deposit bonuses
A few sites may offer you a free or no deposit bonus. This is a bonus for which you do not have to make a deposit, so to all intents and purposes, it is free bonus money. Again, this is money you can only use to wager – you cannot use it to withdraw and spend elsewhere.
Free or no deposit bonuses tend to be small (say, around £10) and the wagering requirements are also usually high. A free or no deposit bonus should be looked upon as a great way of getting used to the wares at an online casino as opposed to earning free money … although you never know!
VIP / high roller bonuses
If you have mucho wonga to spend at an online casino, then a VIP or high roller bonus is something you should be looking out for. These are decent bonuses with excellent wagering expectations but you will have to deposit a fair amount of cash if you wish to receive one.
Online casinos do not generally advertise their high roller bonuses. If you are signing up for an online casino in the hope that it does offer a high roller bonus then you may have to contact the online casino directly.
Here are some of best bonuses currently found at online casinos:
As nearly every online casino offers video poker, you may ask how can you tell which online casinos are worth dealing with, and which should be avoided. Here are three things you should definitely look out for.
Properly licensed and regulated
If you are in the UK and you want to join an online casino, then you will need to check to see if the online casino has proper licensing from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). Any site that does not have a UKGC licence and yet offers its services to UK-based players is doing so illegally and as such, should be completely avoided.
A UKGC licence is designed to keep you completely safe. It means that the online casino is regulated and uses fair software that in turn uses an independently-audited random number generator to generate the outcome of its games, including its video poker games.
A variety of video poker titles from different game vendors
If you go to a cake shop, and they sell only one kind of cake, then you will soon get bored of getting the same cake every day that you go into the shop. The same is true of video poker at online casino sites. If a site just has one version of video poker, then you may soon get bored of playing the same game every time you visit.
The best sites will have a variety of online video poker games, including different titles from different vendors. The two game vendors you need to look out for are NetEnt and Microgaming.
Bonuses and fair wagering requirements
Most online casino sites will offer you bonuses along the way, but some bonuses are better than others, and indeed some bonus terms are so bad that there really is no point in signing up for an online casino that offers it.
As you become more experienced with online casinos you will learn how to recognise good bonuses from bad bonuses. You will also come to understand wagering conditions and game contributions, and how they affect a bonus deal’s worth.
The first thing you need to learn about when it comes to online video poker games is the poker hands themselves. Here is a list of all possible poker hands, ranked in order of value:
- Straight flush: Five cards in sequence of the same suit
- Four of a kind: Four cards of the same value + one spare
- Full house: Three cards of the same value + one pair
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit but not in sequence
- Straight: Five cards in sequence but not of the same suit
- Three of a kind: Three cards of the same value + two spare
- Two pair: Two pairs + one spare
- One pair: One pair + three spare
- High card: A hand that does not fit into any of the above categories
Usually in poker, hands are ranked in order of the highest card, but in video poker this does not matter. You are rewarded by the highest type of hand you obtain.
You start a game of video poker by issuing your stake. This can be a fixed amount, or you can choose how much you want to wager. The more you wager, the bigger your potential prize.
Once you have placed your stake you hit ‘deal’. The video poker game will issue you five cards. You can then choose between one and five cards to ‘hold’. Once you have done this, all cards that are not held are re-dealt. This then forms your final poker hand. The object of the game is to obtain as valuable a poker hand as possible.
The amount you win depends on the hand you achieve. Each video poker game will have its own pay table, so you can see how much you are likely to win with each specific type of hand.
With most video poker games you will receive the chance to ‘gamble’ any winnings. This is in the form of a side game where you have to guess whether the next card dealt will be red or black, or if the next card dealt will be higher or lower than the previous one. If you are correct then your win is doubled, and if you are incorrect then you lose your winnings. Most games will allow you to keep gambling up to a fixed limit.
There are many different types of online video poker game. Here is a quick review of some of the most frequently found.
Jacks or Better
This is the most popular online video poker game, and the one most commonly found at online video poker sites. This is also the most simple type of video poker game. It is called ‘Jacks or Better’ because in order to win, you need to finish with a hand that contains at least a pair of jacks. If you finish with a hand that contains a pair of tens or less than you do not win.
Obviously, all hands that rank above a pair of jacks are winners too.
In this game, all deuces (twos) are wild, can be used for any other card. For example, if you end up with a hand containing JJ962 then you have finished with a hand containing three jacks, as the deuce is ‘wild’ and can be used as the third jack to score a very good hand indeed.
Some hands containing wilds, for example, a royal flush, score less than hands that are ‘natural’ (i.e. contain no wild cards). In addition, a new poker hand ‘five of a kind’ is now possible. This scores higher than a straight flush. You will also win big if you finish with a hand containing all four deuces.
This game can also be called ‘Joker’s Wild’. In the game a joker is added to the pack, making fifty-three cards. The joker is wild and can be used to substitute for any other card in the pack.
As with Deuces Wild some hands without a joker score higher than the same hands with a joker, and ‘five of a kind’ is a possible hand.
Aces and Faces
Aces and Faces is identical to Jacks or Better except that bonuses are paid for hands containing four aces, kings, queens or jacks.
Tens or Better
Identical to Jack or Better except that the minimum qualifying winning hand is a pair of tens.
Is it possible to win real money playing online video poker?
Video poker is one of the best games to play if you want to make money playing online, although don’t expect to become a video poker millionaire overnight! Even the best games take some getting used to, and you will only win money if you know what you are doing. Take time to learn your game and the optimum strategy needed to play if you want to give yourself the best chance of winning some cash.
Is it safe to play for real money?
What is RTP?
RTP stands for ‘return-to-player’ and is the expected amount of money that will be returned to someone playing online video poker for an extended period, expressed as a percentage. For example, if a game has an RTP of 99% then after an extended playing period in which a player starts with £100, then should expect to have £99 left.
RTP is only a guide, and if you play video poker without an idea of what you are dong, then your return is likely to be much less. It should be used as a guide to the different types of video poker games and your chances of coming out on top. For example, Jacks and Better has an RTP of around 99.54%, and Joker Poker has an RTP of 98.6%.
Video poker is a fun and quick-fire game to play, and you won’t get eaten by poker sharks as yoy may do when playing with other online poker players. Why not sign up at one of our recommended casino and fine the video poker game that you like the most?
Author And Contributing Editor
Anita is a well-known bingo-lover and has been involved with online bingo since the late 1990’s. She has been along for the ride and seen the industry grow and develop into what it is today. She has worked with the biggest names in the industry and has a reputation for being fair and to the point in her writing.