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Video poker History
Video poker is a hybrid game deriving from both slot machines and the game of poker. While little is known about poker’s creation – and what is known is usually controversial and widely contested – it is generally thought that poker as we know it today began in earnest on the Mississippi River where it became a favorite pastime on riverboats.
At the same time, games operated by coins were popular in parlours and stores all over the United States. While Charles Fey was developing drop card machines such as the 6-Way Paying Teller, it was his first slot machines that were really capturing the public imagination. Slot machines soon outclassed the old coin operated machine games to be the most popular games of their day.
During the 1960s mechanical poker games gained fluctuating popularity with game fans. As technology advanced however, casino games became more widely recognized and in the 1970s the Dale Electronics firm’s ‘Poker-Matic’ proved to be the toast of the town in Las Vegas.
In 1975 the first hybrid machine was born when the Fortune Coin Company’s video bell slot machine was modified into a draw poker machine for casino purposes. The invention was an instant hit and spawned a dynamic and competitive industry focusing on the manufacturing of video poker machines. Among the leaders of this new industry was William Redd, founder of the present day giant International Game Technology.
With the invention of the microchip in the mid 1970’s, the game of video poker machines underwent a series of revolutionary changes, spreading to casinos all over the country. To this day, the video poker machine along with the slot machine remains among a casino’s best-loved and successful games and consistently the casino’s major source of revenue.
Video Poker Rules
The fast paced world of video poker offers players a variety of machines to try their luck at: All American, Joker Poker and Deuces Wild to name just a few. Each version of video poker gives a player a different aim as betting strategies and the types of payouts differ from game to game.
On most standard video poker machines, the option of playing at Max Bet enables a player to potentially achieve more in the way of payouts. Each level of betting may have a different corresponding level of payout but to be in to win the entire pot it is worthwhile to play at the Max Bet level.
Payout ratios differ from machine to machine so a successful player should study the payout charts at each machine to fully understand what type of betting strategy they should employ. For example, it is far more favourable to bet on Jacks or Better if you are playing All American than if you are playing the Joker Poker variety of video poker. All American poker rewards the Jacks or Better bet with a 30 to 1 payout. In comparison Joker Poker only pays out 20 to 1.
Betting itself is relatively easy to grasp in video poker. Machines offer a player a choice on which coins to bet ranging from 25 cents through to 5 dollars. Usually the maximum bet is five times higher than the minimum, for example on a $2 machine the maximum bet would be $10. In this case, betting the Max Bet of $10 would make a player eligible for the entire jackpot.
To protect their interests, casinos sometimes add machines with a lower payout rate to a group of video poker machines in order to even out the odds of winning. Therefore sometimes players playing what they believe are the same machines could be playing at a mix of superior and inferior video poker machines. This is why it is important to check out the payout and betting information for each machine and not to make assumptions about the game.
You can also ensure you are playing at the most favourable machines by being aware of how each model works when it comes to payouts. The 6/5 video poker machine has the lowest rate of payout averaging a jackpot once in every 70,000 rounds. The 7/5 machine payout averages out at once every 50,000 hands. The 8/5 machine payout is once every 45,000. By far the most favourable video poker machine is the 9/5 which pays out once in every 40,000 hands.
Video Poker Strategy
Video poker is a popular casino pursuit, known for its low house edge and its fast and exciting pace. Various types of video poker exist. The four most common are Deuces Wild, Jokers Wild, Jacks or Better and All American. Each variation of video poker offers different incentives to the player and so obviously each requires a different strategy in order to win. The following information lists some useful game strategies to remember when playing these four popular versions of video poker.
Deuces Wild Video Poker
If a player has only a single two in his hand, he should try holding onto these hands in order of preference:
Royal Flushes over Straights, Straight Flushes and Flushes
All varieties of Straight Flushes
All varieties of Royal Flushes
All Straight Flushes
All Inside Straights
All Jack or Queen High Straight Flushes
If a player is in possession of two two’s, he should try holding onto these hands in order of preference:
Those cards with potential to make a Royal Flush, Five of a Kind or Straight
Those cards with potential to make Four of a Kind
Those cards with potential to make Four of a Royal Flush
If a player is in possession of three two’s, he should try holding onto these hands in order of preference:
Those cards that will make Five of a Kind or a Royal Flush
Obviously if the player has four two’s he should keep them. The same applies to any Five of a Kinds or Royal Flushes.
Being prepared to throw away unnecessary cards is a useful habit to get into when playing Deuces Wild. Many players tend to retain unwanted cards and in doing so miss the opportunities to make a Deuce.
It is also worthwhile to hold onto Inside Straights when playing a Deuces Wild version of video poker. This increases your chances of obtaining a Deuce and could win you a sizeable jackpot.
All American Video Poker
Your strategy in All American is to get as many Flushes and Straights as you can. Bearing this in mind, you should onto cards of three that could make a Flush. Pairs and High Pairs should give way to Four Card Straights and Four Card Flushes, and Inside Straights should receive precedence over random high cards.
Jokers Wild Video Poker
Only Aces and Kings are the goal in this version of video poker. So it is worthwhile to remember the following:
Aim for Straight Flushes which are more common in this version
Discard any Inside Straights
Always keep a Joker
Discard pairs if you can already have three cards on your way to a Straight Flush
Jacks or Better Video Poker
Try the following strategy: Try making Flushes and Straights from four card Royal Flushes
Try for Straight Flushes
Try for High Card Pairs
Try for three card Royal Flushes
Try for four card Flushes
Try for Three of a Kind, which means retaining low card pairs
Hold four card Straights
Hold any two cards of the same suit
Try for four mixed high cards, three of which share the same suit
Try for three mixed high face cards, e.g., Jack, Queen, King
Try for two mixed high cards or any one high card
Video Poker Tips
Before you start a game of video poker, it is advisable to know the odds. An understanding of the different versions of video poker and their respective strategies is also important. For instance, your strategy approaching a game of Deuces Wild would differ substantially from a Jacks or Better strategy.
Studying the payout schedule particular to each machine will help you decide which one to try your luck at. For a 100.7% payout try a 9/7 slot machine. For a 99.5% payout try a 9/6 machine. An 8/5 slot machine will yield a 97.3% payout, whereas a 7/5 offers 96.3%. The lowest payout comes from a 6/5 machine at around 95.2%. Many people prefer to play Jacks or Better on a 9/7 machine to increase their chances of a top payout. However remember that these are partial payments only. There are no guarantees that you will be successful.
Memorizing the odds on video poker is slightly more complicated but it is worthwhile to study the information below based on Jacks or Better video poker on a 9/6 machine.
For a Straight or Royal Flush the odds are 1:40,390 for a payout of 4000
For a Straight Flush the odds are 1:9,148 for a payout of 250
For Four of a Kind the odds are 1:423 for a payout of 125
For a Full House the odds are 1:86 for a payout of 45
For a Flush the odds are 1:90 for a payout of 30
For a Straight the odds are 1:89 for a payout of 20
For Three of a Kind the odds are 1:13 for a payout of 15
For a Two Pair the odds are 1:7 for a payout of 10
For Jacks or Better the odds are 1:4 for a payout of 5
So now that you know what you’re up against, why not study up on a few handy video poker tips? These ten tips can help you gain greater enjoyment from a game of video poker and can also help you to win.
Remember the Jacks if your most valuable card
Play Jacks or Better on machines that offer a payout of six on a flush and nine on a full house
Always make the maximum bet on progressive machines
As a beginner, learn the ropes by playing on machines that accept lower denominations of coins
Relax and take your time to ensure you make sound decisions
If you have the option of drawing three to a royal flush, reject the fourth card
Hold onto five card winning hands
Never break a flush for a straight flush, or a straight for a straight flush
Discard a kicker if you have a pair
Don’t take five cards if you have Jacks or Better