Video poker is a casino game based on draw poker that you play on a machine similar to a slot machine. Unlike playing the slots, however, it involves an element of skill. Over the short term, a high proportion of risk and luck are involved – but skill can yield profits over the long run.
Another difference between a slot machine and a video poker machine is that the machine tells you the maximum payback – meaning that you know what the stakes are.
Video poker uses a 52-card deck – or 53 cards including a joker – and cards are dealt and ranked as per the usual rules of Five-Card Draw poker. The most popular variations are Jacks-or-Better video poker and Deuces Wild video poker.
However, there are some significant differences between video poker and a real table poker game. For example,
- a royal flush in video poker is worth at least 16 times as much as a straight flush, whereas in a table game, either hand would most often win the same pot
- all two-pair hands are worth the same, whereas in a table game, the rank of the pairs counts (aces up is much stronger than 7s up, for example)
- in some cases, four 2s, 3s or 4s is worth more in video poker than four of any higher-ranked card
As a more obvious point, video poker differs from table poker in that there’s no room for bluffing or “reading” your opponent – essentially, you play yourself, given the random dealing of cards.
The advertised payout schedule for a video poker machine tells you whether the machine is beatable (that is, whether it’s possible to earn a minimum payback that’s over 100 percent, or over what you pay to play).
The two most popular video poker variations are Jacks-or-Better and Deuces Wild. See Jacks-or-Better payoff schedule and Deuces Wild payoff schedule for details of machines you should consider playing.