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Video Poker Introduction

S. Stoynova (editor) |

Video Poker 101

Video poker is among the most popular casino games out there as it combines chance with skill and strategy. It debuted across landbased casinos in the 1970s to great success as it is one of the few casino games where players can improve their winning odds and reduce the house edge by incorporating optimal strategy. The gameplay is relatively straightforward, which further adds to the undying popularity of video poker. Multiple variations have emerged over the years, each offering a unique paytable and requiring a distinctive strategy.

This article is intended as your introduction to video poker, covering all the basics rookie players should familiarize themselves with. It features the basic rules of play and outlines the structure of the gameplay in video poker. Also covered in brief are the winning hands qualifying for a payout, although these may vary depending on which video poker variation you play.

Additionally, we have included some of the main advantages associated with playing video poker, starting with its low house edge and decent winning odds. A brief parallel with slots is also drawn as the two games share several nominal similarities. Are you ready to learn the basics of video poker? If so, let’s dive right in.

Basic Rules and Gameplay

Video Poker Player CasinoAs already mentioned, video poker is fairly simple to learn. First, players must size and place their bets by selecting their preferred number of coins in their chosen denomination. Afterward, they are dealt five cards that comprise their starting hand and have the option to discard all, some, or none of them. Provided they choose to replace some cards, the software will deal new ones in their places. At the end of the round, players are paid according to the paytable on condition they have formed a qualifying poker hand.

Different winning combinations can be formed during the course of the game and it is best to consider them before playing. These combinations are variation-specific but commonly include the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and High Pair (Jacks or better). It is always a good idea to double check the qualifying hand combinations in advance. In contrast to standard poker, video poker players do not compete against each other or a dealer. They play against a machine instead, which renders the game suitable for gamblers looking for privacy and fewer distractions.

The game is quite similar to classic poker as it uses a lot of its basic rules and principles.

Advantages of Playing Video Poker

Video Poker CasinoOne of the biggest advantages of video poker is that it gives you the freedom to play whenever you like. Also, there is no need to put up with the antics of other gamblers or wait for them to make playing decisions. These aspects of video poker enable you to completely immerse yourself in your gaming experience and enjoy it to the fullest. Also, online video poker games are fair and unbiased provided that you play at licensed casinos. All regulated online gambling operators submit their games for regular testing by third-party auditors to ensure the outcomes are fair and square.

Video poker games run on Random Number Generators /RNGs/ that ensure the cards are always randomly dealt. The same goes for the discards you select and their replacements. Independently tested RNGs are implemented by all leading online casinos, which is a clear indicator of their reliability. Another great advantage of video poker stems from the fact players can impact their long-term winning odds by implementing an appropriate strategy. In turn, this makes it possible to decrease the house edge you are up against and generate more profits in the long run.

Nowadays, players can enjoy a number of exciting variations in almost every casino. This huge diversity of different games gives them the chance to experience video poker in a whole new light and choose the variants that best suit their personal preferences. Moreover, some casinos offer progressive video poker and if players can apply a reliable strategy correctly, they have very realistic chances of winning big. It is also possible to double their profit in case they had a winning hand as most video poker games offer an extra round known as a “gamble” or “double-up” round.

Another thing that makes video poker so great is that it gives players the flexibility to choose when to join or leave the game since they don’t have to take fellow gamblers into consideration. This allows for greater privacy with minimal distractions. Nobody is denying that a poker night with friends can be fun, but scheduling such an event can be hard, especially with the busy lifestyle that most people have today. In addition, when you play alone, you can enjoy the game at your own pace and take your time with your playing decisions.

Differences and Similarities between Slots and Video Poker

Slots Player CasinoWhen novice players see a video poker game, it usually evokes associations with slots. The similarities between the two are easy to spot as both games usually allow you to bet multiple coins per round and have paytables where winning combinations are outlined. Some people refer to video poker as the “thinking man’s slot machine” due to the fact it resembles slots to a certain extent but requires skill and knowledge on top of luck. This is the biggest difference between the two games. Unfortunately, some players fail to make this distinction and, instead, treat video poker as a game of pure chance, which only works to their detriment.

In video poker, players can efficiently use strategies to reduce the house edge, something that is impossible with slots. Said strategies enable them to make better playing decisions when it comes to which cards should be kept and which ones should be replaced. In turn, this allows them to boost their chances of forming a winning combination and improves their odds significantly.

Even though both games can be played on video machines, they are very different in nature and their fundamental basis is not the same. When playing slots, all you need to do is pull the lever of the machine or click the spin button and hope for the best while colorful symbols are spinning rapidly before your eyes. With video poker, players have the chance to put their skills and knowledge to the test and can impact on the final outcome of a round.

Statistically speaking, using a strategy does not ensure you will win every hand but rather improves your long-term odds of winning.


Video poker is a fun and exciting game enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. Due to the fact that it is a game of both luck and skill, it is possible to apply a reliable strategy and decrease the house edge. Therefore, players have the unique opportunity to profit in the long term while playing this casino game. Video poker also has a number of interesting variations available for play at brick-and-mortar and online casinos.