Video poker is one of the oldest games available in the online casino world. It originated from casino halls and quickly gained popularity when moving over to the internet.
Poker itself is now one of the biggest games in the world, with millions of people competing on the poker tables with cards and chips in hand.
But what exactly is video poker, and how can you win at it? In this guide we will take you through the basics of video poker and the general rules the main games abide to.
You will learn video poker strategy, as well as gaining an understanding of how to start playing video poker.
Once you have read this guide you should have a more rounded understanding of video poker, meaning you can enter the Unibet Casino with confidence.
What is video poker?
Video poker is a form of poker that developed in casinos. Much like slot machines, people play video poker in front of a screen, where they can place bets on the outcome of the action in front of them. In video poker, you are dealt five cards and have the option to ‘hold’ as many as you like. Once you have held them, you can change the other cards. Once this has happened, you will have the hand. Now, the hand usually has to beat a strength value in order to win. This is often called ‘Jacks or Better’, where you need at least a pair of Jacks or better to win the game.
Video poker is played on a game screen and is not live in a casino. You can always check the information sheet that accompanies each game in order to familiarise yourself with it.
How to play video poker
We will now take you through a game of video poker to show you how it works. First of all, you need to decide which video poker game to play in the Unibet Casino suite. For this example we will choose Jacks or Better, which is one of the most popular versions of video poker.
Enter the game
First of all enter the Jacks or Better game in the Unibet Casino. You will see to the left of the screen the payout table. Next to that table will be the level number. When you bet on video poker, your balance is converted into coins. For example, if you have C$5 with a bet value of ¢20 each, you have 25 coins.
Level 1 in video poker means you will place the minimum bet on the game, with the minimum payout table. So, landing a Jacks or Better will land you 1 coin, Two Pair earns 2 coins, Three of a Kind earns 3 coins, and so on.
If you increase your level, the bet amount and the payout table also increases. More experienced video poker players will therefore bet on higher levels than Level 1.
Example: You enter the video poker game and select Level 2 on the minimum coin value. This means you will bet two coins worth ¢20 each.
Play first hand
Once you have chosen your level and coin value, click Bet in the centre-bottom of the game to see your cards.
Example: You click bet and these cards emerge: 5C 7S KD 5H 9S.
Time to hold
Once you see your five cards in front of you, it’s time to hold some of them. You can click the ‘Hold’ button below each card if you want to keep them in your hand. The cards you don’t hold will be replaced when you click the Bet button again. If you land a pair of jacks or higher, the game will hold them for you.
Example: You decide to hold the two fives and change the other three cards.
Did you win?
Once you click Bet that second time, the cards you didn’t hold will change. Now you will see if you have a winning hand or not! Remember, you need a pair of Jacks or higher to claim a win. If you do win, make sure to bank the coins.
Example: The cards you change come back as 5D AC QD. You therefore win with a Three of a King hand of 5C 5H 5D AC QD! A Three of a Kind on Level 2 pays out x6. So you win 12 coins to the value of C$2.40.
Different video poker games
There are a number of different video poker games available in the Unibet Casino. Jacks or Better is probably the most popular and straightforward version. But spin-offs such as Jacks or Better Multiplier and Jacks or Better Double Up are also worth checking out if you want to find the best game to suit you.
Joker Wild is another versions of video poker, where the joker is added to the deck of 52 cards. If you land a joker then it counts as any card to help complete a hand.
Indeed, Deuces Wild plays on the same theme. Here, all cards with the value of 2 count as a Wild, which can be used to complete hands. This means there are four Wilds in the pack, making Deuces Wild a popular game. However, be aware that the minimum win here is Three of a Kind.
Video poker strategy
There are plenty of ways to play video poker and the best method for newcomers is to test the games with low bets, so you can work out which games are best for you without taking on much risk. Here are a few other video poker strategy tips…
Always look at the payable
This is key before starting the game. Make sure you know what is the minimum winning hand strength. In Jacks or Better, the minimum is a pair of Jacks. But in other games, such as Deuces Wild, it could be Three of a Kind.
Hold pairs even if they are low
Assuming you’re playing Jacks or Better, holding a low pair is smarter than holding individual high cards. A low pair gets you halfway to a strong hand. You might get another pair on the change, or eve land a card of the same value to earn Three of a Kind.
Hold four cards of same suit
If you get four cards of the same suit, it is worth holding all four of them. You’re very close to a flush, which has a big payout attached to it. Flushes are not very common in video poker so this is your chance to possibly strike big.
Hold four cards for an outside straight
If you initially receive four cards that are on for a straight, it’s time to go for that straight. However, there are two ‘versions’ of straight here. One is the outside straight, where your four cards are together in numerical order, such as 5 6 7 8. In this instance, you need an outside card - either 4 or 9 - to complete the straight.
An inside straight in when you need one specific card value. For example, if you have 5 6 8 9, then you need a 7.
In video poker, there are eight cards in the deck that could complete your outside straight, but only four to complete an inside straight. So, definitely hold the four cards if an outside straight is possible, as your chances of nailing it is 8/47, which is roughly a one-in-six chance.
Your chances of nailing an inside straight are 4/47, so roughly a one-in-12 chance.
Bet higher than the minimum bet
This is advice many experience video poker players will give. If you bet on the lowest level, the chances of a big payout - even if you land a really good hand - are daily minimal. But betting on higher levels increases those chances of a big payout. Of course, the higher the level, the greater the risk as you will also increase your initial bet. Therefore, make sure you only bet at a level you are comfortable with. It’s advised to bet little and often, rather than using your entire budget in one game
Hold three or more picture cards
Remember that in Jacks or Higher, you need a pair of Jacks or better to win the game. So, if you are dealt a non-paired hand but do have high picture cards, it is advised to hold them. This is especially the case if you have three or more picture cards. For example: 4S 6H JH KS AD. In this instance, hold the Jack, King and Ace. This is because you are just two cards away from a straight, but also a winning pair. It would be foolish to keep hold of the four or six. Your chances of winning at least a pair here is 9/47, so roughly one-in-five.
If you hand is a miserable one then don’t be scared to change them all. You never know what might turn up!