Although it’s nowhere on the same page skills/odds-wise as actual online poker, video poker is among the most popular casino games for a good reason: those who know the rules and know how to work optimal strategy can actually eliminate the house edge on some of these games. When we’re talking about video poker rules, we first need to specify exactly which variant we’re discussing because there are several out there, and although most of the rules are the same, there are some minor deviations here and there.
The general rules of the game are as follows: the machine deals 5 cards for every round. The goal of the player is to make the best paying 5-card hand of course, so he/she will hold the cards that he/she considers will be the best suitable for this purpose and discards the rest. The machine then deals as many new cards as the player discarded for the new 5-card hand. If the hand is a qualifying winning hand, the player will get the chance to pick up his/her winnings or – depending on the type of machine – there will be a bonus gamble round where the winnings incurred in the previous hand can be doubled up (or lost).
The Jacks or Better video poker variant is one of the most popular. Its name pretty much says it all: in order to make a winning hand, players need to make a pair of Js or a better hand. The pair of Js earns the smallest payout. Two pairs, three of a kinds, straights, flushes, boats, four of a kinds and straight flushes earn gradually bigger payouts. The Royal Flush is at the top of the payout pile.
Jacks or better basic strategy is simple really, but since that is not the object of this article, we won’t go into details on that.
Deuces Wild is yet another popular video poker variant. The deuces in this game (the four 2s) are wild, which means that they basically substitute any other card in a winning hand. If you get a 3,2,3, 6,9 for instance, you’ll have a three of a kind.
In Deuces Wild, the hand rankings start from three of a kinds, with an additional paying hand: five of a kind. The five of a kind is obviously made possible by the wild deuces.
Jokers Wild is a rather similar game, only in this one, instead of the deuces, the jokers are the wild-cards. Hand rankings in this game start at two pairs. Five of a kinds are also possible here.
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