Video poker is played on a slots like machine and like slots pays out if the combination drawn matches with one on the payout table. However unlike slots it allows the player to make a decision and thus introduces some of the skill of poker in the game.
The player first inserts the coins purchased into the machine and registers his balance. The newer video poker machines accept a ticket that is coded with the amount paid at the cash counter. In online casinos the player can transfer the balance from his account with the casino. He then selects the denomination of the bet and the number of coins he wants to wager. The number of coins varies from 1 to 5. The total amount wagered is the denomination of the wager multiplied by the number of coins. This amount wagered is deducted from the player’s balance. Then on clicking the Deal button five cards are dealt to the player. The player can decide to keep any number of the cards dealt and replace the rest. He can opt to keep all the cards or change all of them as well. This is done by clicking on the Hold button below each card. The objective is to get the highest possible poker hand ranking. Hence the player should discard those cards that cannot result in improving the ranking of the hand. Once the player clicks on a Hold button that card gets marked with “HOLD”. The player can change his decision by clicking on the card marked “HOLD”. The card will then be replaced. Once the player is done with the hold decision he clicks the Draw button. This time the cards that are not on hold are replaced. This gives the player’s final hand.
The hand is immediately compared to the payout table and if the combination figures in the payout table then the player’s account is immediately credited. If the payout for the final hand is 3 to 1 and the wagered amount is $5 then the amount credited to the player’s account is $15.
Once the deal is over the player can choose between three options. If he wants to play again with the same wager then he should click on the Replay button. The same wager will be placed and the amount deducted from his balance. If the player wants to play more but wants to change his wager then he should click the Reset button. He can then choose the denomination and the number of the coins as before. If the player is through with playing he should click the Cash button. In the coin type machine the coins as per his balance will be dispensed in the coin tray and he can redeem them for cash at the counter. The ticket type machine prints out a ticket with the player’s balance, which can be cashed at the counter. And in online casinos the balance is transferred back to his account.
In video poker the only decision the player makes is after being dealt the first five cards. The player has to decide which cards to hold and which to replace. There are many games available in video poker and each has a different payout table. Therefore the video poker strategy differs from game to game.
However there are two cardinal rules that should be followed. The first is that if you are dealt a winning hand no matter how low in the ranking do not break it in the hope of getting anything better, because a bird in the hand is always worth two in the bush. The second is that unless you in desperate need to stretch your bankroll always wager 5 coins. The payout table has five columns. The first column is the payout for one coin wagered and so on. For all winning lines but one the payouts for subsequent columns are multiples of the first column. Hence in these cases it does not matter how many coins are wagered. However for the royal flush 5 coins wagered pay out not 5 times but 16 times. Hence if you get a royal flush and have not bet five coins you will be kicking yourself.
Given below is a summarized strategy for jacks or better. Jacks or Better is the standard game of video poker and all the variants are based around it. The following hands feature on the payout table: royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pairs and jacks or better. Hold all cards that contribute to any of the above hands.
If the player has four cards that can contribute to a flush (royal, straight or otherwise) he should hold them and discard the fifth card. If the player has unsuited ten, jack, queen and king he should hold them and discard the fifth card. If the player has four cards to an outside straight or an inside straight he should hold them and discard the fifth card. If the player has three cards that can contribute to a royal or straight flush he should hold them and discard the remaining two cards. If the player has unsuited jack, queen and king he should hold them and discard the remaining two cards. If the player has any pair he should hold it and discard the other three cards. If the player has any two suited cards from ace, king, queen, jack or ten he should hold them and discard the other three cards. If the player has any two unsuited cards from ace, king, queen or jack he should hold them and discard the other three cards. Single ace, king, queen or jack should be held and the remaining four cards should be discarded. If the first five cards do not fit into any of the above combinations then the hand is known as a garbage hand and all five cards should be discarded.
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