The Beginner’s Guide to Video Poker

videopokDo you want to play a game that is as easy as a slot machine to play, but with a much lower house edge? Then, you’re in luck. Casinos often have gaming consoles called “video poker machines” that combine people’s universal love for poker and the no-nonsense approach to gambling that makes slots popular.

History

Though the first video poker machine was first introduced in the 1970s (back when the use of television monitors in gambling establishments became in vogue), it was only in the 1980s that the frenzy over the machines really started. The first popular machine was Draw Poker that was manufactured in the late 1970s by SIRCOMA. This is the same company that would later become known as International Game Technology- the world’s premier manufacturer of slot machines. In some places, video poker has overtaken slots in terms of popularity due to the fact that particularly skillful players can easily overturn the house advantage and make a profit for themselves.

Gameplay

The look and feel of a video poker machine is very similar to that of a normal slot machine. Players insert money or an electronic barcoded ticket into the machine, place their bets, and watch the screen for the results of their wagers. But the similarity stops there.

First, the buttons are quite different. There are the familiar Cash Out, Bet One Credit, and Bet Max buttons. Plus there are two buttons called Hold/Cancel and Deal/Draw. Second: As the name suggests, video poker is heavily influenced by poker. After placing a bet and pressing the “DEAL” button, the player receives five cards randomly drawn from a standard 52-card deck (or 53, in a Joker’s Wild machine). He or she can choose to discard one or more of the cards to be replaced by new ones. A player can also choose to keep the whole hand if he or she so wishes. After this step, the machine pays out your winnings, if any, which is dependent on what is posted on the pay table.

The pay table details out the amount of winnings that you’ll receive from the combinations that you have in your hand. The combinations are all based on poker hands, and their values are directly correlated to their rarity. For example, flushes, straights, and three-of-a-kinds are valued less than rare hands such as a royal and straight flushes, and four-of-a-kinds.

Tips

1. As much as possible, bet the maximum number of coins that the machine can accept. Betting the maximum nets you bonuses.

2. Use a club card if you want to score comps from the establishment you’re playing in.

3. Yes, there are machines that are more “generous” (i.e. programmed with a much lower house edge) than others, so to speak. So, do your homework. This kind of information can usually be found on sites, forums, and online communities that are dedicated to video poker fans.

4. Some machines offer a “double-up” feature on your bets. If you want to play for a much longer time, it’s best to ignore this option as much as you can.

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