Online video poker is a casino game, similar to an online slot machine and is based on traditional five card poker. Online video poker is played with a standard 52-card deck and players must form the best 5-card hand. There are several types of online video poker, although the principle and objective of each game is the same. The low house edge and higher odds of winning are a major attraction to this game of skill.

online video poker at the best usa online casinos

In the game of video poker, as you and other players may already be familiar with, you find yourself sitting at a table, either in a land-based or virtual environment, and competing against other players. Most of the time you make decisions based on what the other players are doing, what you anticipate they are going to do, or what they may have in their hand.

Like classic poker, the game of video poker also has a psychological element. The successful video poker player must also have a strong mathematical command at his disposal to calculate the probabilities involved in playing poker hands. The player’s instinct really has to take over, because the goal is not necessarily to compile the best hand at the table, but to beat the people around you, by whatever means available. In fact, there is very little you can do to improve your hand. For example, in Texas Hold’em poker you get 2 hole cards and then share 3 of the cards that are on the flop because they are community cards. What the players do next is up to them.

Generally, casinos have no financial interest in the poker game, they only take a percentage of the rake, of the pot. Logically, the casinos do not take any risk, so that is where the revenue is derived from. The player, then, is not competing in a head-to-head against the casino in particular. It thus follows that the skill level of the player, in relation to the skill level of the other players, is the main determinant of success or failure. This makes the “normal” poker game a different paradigm than most games of chance played in online casinos.

Overview of online video poker

Video poker is not to be confused with the classic game of poker. When you play on an online video poker machine, you are competing against the online casino and not against other players. So instead of the odds being in your favor or against you in a changing way, this creates a static set of odds that you will have to beat on any given hand. The payouts for the various winning hands set by the online casino are obviously relative to the probability of those hands coming up.

In traditional poker, you might be able to win a pot with a pair of fives at the poker table by bluffing, as long as you can sell it to the other players. Obviously, that’s not going to work in online video poker. On the contrary, if you have three of a kind in video poker, you are going to be a winner, according to the payout table paid by the online casino and nothing else. There is no question of being beaten by another player who has four of a kind, as would happen at a regular poker table.

In addition, and perhaps this is a surprise to some, the online video poker player can do more to improve his hand than the player in a game of Texas Hold’em. When the cards are dealt in Hold’em, the players are left with these cards, but the online video poker player can change the cards. This is an important consideration as it gives the player a greater degree of control and is a key factor in the application of strategy.

There really isn’t much difference between the video poker game you will find in an online casino or the land based casino, both are based on a computer program. The results of both are based on an RNG (random number generator), and both are games where you are basically in control of your own decisions and the speed at which the game is played.

A beginnersโ€™ guide to playing video poker

Learn how to play video poker with our beginner’s guide to this popular five-card draw based video poker machine. And then get hands on with some great video poker bonus offers at the best online casino sites in the USA.

Video poker is the common name for a fixed odds poker game based on a 5-card draw and played in online casinos or on terminals similar to slot machines in land-based casinos.

For this reason, video poker is often referred to as poker slots. However, it differs from slot machines in one key aspect. Unlike slots, video poker has an element of skill, which is playing the hand that is optimally dealt according to the poker hand rankings.

How to play video poker

Video poker has many variants, but they are all based on one of the simplest varieties of poker, 5-card stud. The player is dealt a five-card poker hand, and then given a chance to keep the cards he wishes to keep and discard the cards he does not wish to keep, receiving new cards in return. This constitutes your final hand.

Below are simple steps to play a hand of video poker:

  • Deposit credit into the video poker machine.
  • Place your bet
  • Place your initial five-card poker hand.
  • Discard any cards you don’t consider useful (you can discard up to five)
  • Receive replacement cards from the same “virtual deck”.
  • Winnings are paid according to the paytable.

Video Poker Basic Strategy

Bet One
This will determine the amount of money you will bet on any particular game round. If you click once, you will bet one unit. Each time you click, you will add one more unit to your bet.

Bet Max
This is what you click when you want to bet the maximum number of units allowed for a game.

You will click this button to initiate the deal, at which point you will receive five cards, displayed right in front of you, from left to right, on the interface. You will not be able to activate the deal until you have placed your bet.

After you have been dealt your initial hand of five cards, you are going to make the decision to hold certain cards and discard others. If, for example, you have been dealt a pair of jacks, while none of the other three cards have done you any good, you will probably want to discard the other three. What you will do here is not designate the cards you want to get rid of, but select the cards you want to keep, or “hold”. To do this, click on the “Hold” button below the card. Simply click below the cards you want to keep – in this case the Queens – this tells the software that you want to keep those cards. The others will be removed. At this point, you move on to “draw”.

When you click this button, you will “draw” cards, which means that you will get new cards to replace the ones you discarded. The resulting hand will be either a winner or a loser. The degree to which you win on a hand will depend on what the paytable indicates, as well as the amount you bet.

In addition, although it is not a “button” per se, there is also a “paytable” available on the machine or interface that will tell what the payout is for the various winning hands that can be obtained. All players are advised to examine the pay tables for the game they intend to play. No one should play video poker with the intention of winning money and not have some sort of strategy in place – that’s something we’ll get into eventually – but even the casual player should always know how much they are supposed to be paid out.

The Importance of the Video Poker Paytable

When playing online slots, it is vital to consult the paytable before wagering any money, and the same goes for online video poker, where the payouts for different hands can vary greatly from game to game. Online video poker pay tables should be easily accessible when playing and can usually be found in the game specific information or in the “i” section. Below you will find an example of a paytable commonly found in full pay “Jacks or Better” video poker.

Royal flush$250$500$750$1000$4000
Straight flush$50$100$150$200$250
Four of a kind$25$50$75$100$125
Full house$9$18$27$36$45
Three of a kind$3$6$9$12$15
Two pairs$2$4$6$8$10
Jacks or better$1$2$3$4$5

How to win at video poker

Any player wants to know how to win at video poker? While there is no foolproof way to win at online video poker, there are a few factors to find a winning combination. One of them is to play only the video poker slots with the most advantageous RTP%.

Much more difficult to execute is to play each hand in the mathematically optimal way. However, players of all levels can improve their chances of winning payouts on each hand if they take the time to consider how likely they are to improve their hand based on poker hand rankings.

All American Poker 10 Hand

Types of video poker

As mentioned above, there are many different types of video poker slots. Listed below are 4 of the most popular varieties played at US online casinos:

Jacks or better

The most common version of video poker, Jacks or better is so called because a pair of jacks or better is the minimum winning hand.

Deuces wild

In this version of video poker the deuces are wild, meaning that when they appear in a hand they can act as a substitute for any other card, potentially helping you to get a better hand.

Bonus poker

Based on Jacks or better, Bonus poker offers a bonus for four of a kind.

Double Bonus

Another game based on Jacks or Better, this time the bonus is offered for four aces.


You’ll find all the video poker action you can handle at the best USA online casinos. It’s not easy to find one with a payout percentage higher than 100%. Even then, you’ll have no trouble finding one that pays better than almost every other online casino game; blackjack and baccarat included.

Plus, at the best online casino sites in the USA you’ll find live dealer action for a game of poker or blackjack. All you need is your debit/credit card, a person-to-person transfer or the virtual currency Bitcoin, which is fast, easy and without a transaction fee!

Online Video Poker – Frequently Asked Questions

What is online video poker?

Online video poker is a casino game, similar to an online slot machine and is based on traditional five card poker. Online video poker is played with a standard 52-card deck and players must form the best 5-card hand. There are several types of online video poker, although the principle and objective of each game is the same. The low house edge and higher odds of winning are a major attraction to this game of skill.

Where can I play video poker online?

You can play video poker online for free and in demo mode or for real money at the best USA online casinos.

What is the difference between online video poker and physical video poker machines?

The only difference is the place where they are played. Most online video poker games are adapted from land-based machines, so they follow the same rules and style of play.

How many cards and hands are there in video poker?

Online video poker versions usually have a single deck of 52 cards, or 53 if the Joker is included. On the other hand, the number of hands you can play varies from game to game. Some allow you to play up to 5 hands, while others allow even 10 and more. Just remember that multiple hands also means multiple bets and simultaneous play. This can be quite confusing, especially for beginners.

Are video poker strategies effective?

It is very important to understand and know that no video poker strategy guarantees 100% efficiency. Strategies are ways to increase long-term odds and avoid mistakes, but they are not an exact science. There is no uniform rule to which all video poker professionals adhere.

Which online video poker variant is the best to play?

There are quite a few variants of online video poker, most popular is Jacks or Better, because it has the highest RTP. However, it should be noted that the returns vary depending on the game, the size of the bets and the odds given by the online casino. The online video poker variant with bonus can also be rewarding. Bonus Poker has an estimated RTP of 99.17%, while Double Bonus Poker has an expected RTP of 100.17%.

How does progressive online video poker function?

Like progressive slots, progressive online video poker games have a jackpot pool that increases over periods of time. This pot is filled by the bets of players trying to win the jackpot. To do so, you usually have to place a side bet.

Can the online casino be rigged in video poker?

Just like online slots, video poker games also use a random number generator (RNG) that ensures a random outcome. However, online casinos can adjust the performances by modifying the settings, but they can never interfere with RNG results. It is extremely important to only play at online casinos that have an official license from a strict regulatory body (such as the UK Gambling Commission and Malta), this means that their random number generator (RNG) has been inspected for any suspicious practices. In addition to a third-party audit certificate is a sure sign that you are playing online video poker that is not rigged.

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