No one really knows where poker originated from. However, we do know that 5-Card Draw poker was first seen in the United States. It then developed into numerous variations of the game such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud Poker.
Early reports of 5-Card Draw poker’s existence came from Louisiana where a derivative of a French game called Poque was being played. By 1834, 5-Card Draw was the most popularly played poker game in the USA. Today it is notoriously associated with outlaws and sheriffs who played in taverns seen in western movies.
Today, 5-Card Draw is mostly played in online casinos in the form of ‘Video Poker’; a game where you get 2 shots at making a poker hand and an astonishing ‘return to player’ (RTP) of up to 99.92% in some cases. This makes it one of the best paying online casino games to date.
What is Video Poker?
Online video poker takes the concept of 5-card draw poker and turns it into a digital version of the game with a single draw. It has become very popular amongst mobile players because video poker is not graphic intensive, so it is perfect for those that want to play poker on your mobile or smartphone device.
Video poker uses the traditional 5-card poker hand ranking system to form a winning hand where the famous royal flush is the most valuable hand. However, some variations of video poker add in 5-of-a-kind hands just to change things up a bit. On top of this, high cards do not count, and so your hand will need to meet a minimum hand rank to qualify for a pay-out for example, a pair of jacks or better.
Plus, the game has some similarities with video slots; such as the inclusion of a progressive jackpot and/or gamble feature.
- Uses 5-Card Draw single draw rules
- Perfect for mobile and tablets
- Progressive jackpot games available
- Gamble features sometimes added
How to play Video Poker
Learning to play video poker is actually very simple. The game gives you two chances to create a poker hand that qualifies for a win.
1. The Deal
2. The Draw
To make things easier, all possible winning hands are shown on a ‘paytable’ clearly visible on the video poker slot. The pay-out value associated with each winning hand is not the cash value you will win but instead the number of coins you can expect to be paid for a successful bet.
Here are the 4 simple steps to playing video poker:
Step 1: Place your bet
Most video poker games use the same simple betting system. You can place 1 to 5 coins on your bet. You will then need to configure the monetary value of your coins. This is called the ‘coin value’ and is usually between $0.01 and $5.00. For example, if you bet 2 coins with a ‘coin’ value of ‘$1.00’, then your bet will be $2.00. However, you will be paid in coins if your bet is successful.
Step 2: Hit the ‘deal’ button
Once your bet is ready, hit the ‘deal’ button to receive 5 cards which will be dealt from a standard 52-deck of cards or a 54-deck of cards if 2 ‘joker wildcards’ are included.
Step 3: Holding cards for the draw
You now have the option to hold between 1 and 5 cards for the draw phase. You should only hold cards with the best chance of making a poker hand. If you already have a winning hand, you will need to make sure the cards creating this hand are 100% held. The best way to decide which cards to hold is by using a poker strategy known as ‘calculating your outs’.
Step 4: Hit the ‘draw’ button for the single draw
Once you have made a decision on which cards to hold in ‘Step 3’ press ‘draw’. Any cards that were not held in ‘Step 3’ will be replaced with new ones. This is basically your second chance to land one of the poker hands listed in the paytable.
How to get paid playing Video Poker
Note that you will get paid in coins and not cash. Therefore, if you land a winning hand with a pay-out value of 100 coins, and you set the ‘cash value’ of each coin to $2.00, then you win $200.00 in cash. (100 coins x $2.00 = $200.00).
How to find the best video poker games?
If you are looking for a video-poker casino, then look for an online casino review that mentions video poker slots. The best Video Poker casinos use a brand known as Microgaming, which is an online casino gaming developer that produces the largest number of video poker games.
Here is a step by step guide on how to find the best online video poker slots hosted by trustworthy online casinos:
Check the casino has a license: All online casinos should be regulated by a government body that issues a casino license. These licensers ensure online casinos use privacy policies, abide by data protection laws, use cybersecurity, and they cover you under consumer rights acts.
Make sure the casino tests its RNGs: Online games use ‘random number generators’ (RNGs), which are algorithms designed to give random results that are close as humanly possible to the result you would get if you were playing 5-card draw versus a real-life dealer.
Check the laws of your state: Each state in the US has different laws and governing bodies that pertain to the legality of playing video slots for real money is legal.
Check cryptocurrency casinos: As many cryptocurrency wallets are hosted by companies outside of the US, there are circumstances where online gambling is not illegal as long as the funds used to deposit with casinos do not come from a US financial institution.
Check to see if the casino encryption: All online casinos should use 128-bit encryption. Therefore, from the moment you log on to the casino, your connection is fully encrypted.
Look for customer support options: If you play at an online casino and you run into issues, you will need to contact a support agent. The very best casinos offer 27/7 live chat support options or a telephone support number.
Types of Video Poker
Another quality video poker has is that much like games such as blackjack, it comes with an array of different variations to play. You can play straight forward games or versions that come with wildcards. Some games come with a double up gamble feature giving you the chance to gamble your winnings in a 50/50 game versus the house which has a 0% edge on the outcome.
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better is one of the most played video poker games in the United States. It comes with a 99.5% RTP at most casinos. To get paid, you will need to land a hand that has a pair of jacks or better.
Tens or Better
Tens or Better is another popular style of video poker. The key difference is that Tens or Better requires you to create a hand with a pair of 10s or better. However, despite the easier odds of winning, the pay-outs are usually giving this game a slightly lower RTP of 99.15%.
Also known as Joker Poker, this variant of video poker adds 2 jokers to the 52-deck of cards. These are wild cards that substitute for any other card in the game thus helping you win more hands. You will usually need Kings or Better to land a winning hand and with this comes a 98.6% RTP with most versions of this game.
Deuces Wild uses all ‘2s’ as wild cards. However, the minimum hand you can make to get paid is a 3-of-a-kind. Most Deuces Wild games have an RTP of 96.5% or more.
This variation of video poker is effectively Jacks or Better with higher pay-outs for bigger hands. As a result, the lower value hands’ pay-outs are reduced. The 4-of-a-kind hands are split into groups, so if you land 4-of-a-kind 10s, the pay-out will be higher than 4-of-a-kind 2s. This variant can come with an RTP in excess of 99%.
Double Double Bonus
This is exactly the same as Double Bonus video poker except more hands are added to the paytable such as any other 4 of a kind with an ace kicker. The RTP is usually quite high at around 99%.
Triple Play video poker is for those that prefer to get through their poker hand variations faster than single hand games. You can play jacks or better, tens or better, deuces wilds, and other variations of video poker, but you will be playing with 3 hands at once.
Multiplay is much like Triple Play except instead of 3 hands being played at once, you will be playing with up to 10, 50, or up to 100 hands simultaneously.
Video Poker Casinos – FAQ
Do video poker slots come with progressive jackpots?
Yes. Some casinos will have a progressive jackpot version of the game which will release the jackpot for hitting the crème de la crème of poker hands – the elusive ‘Royal Flush’.
Can I play video poker games for free?
Yes. If you can find an online casino with free-play versions of the game, you can test the game out as well as test out your video poker strategy.
What are the min-max bets to play video poker?
Most video poker games will let you bet as low as $0.01. However, you may find the minimum bet is restricted to $0.05 at some online casinos. As for maximum bets, if you find a casino that offers high stakes video poker or if you play multiplay games, you can bet into the $100s.
Can I play video poker on my mobile?
Video poker games have a fairly simple design, so you can play on your tablet or smartphone with no lag whatsoever.
Which video poker game is the best for beginners?
Start by playing jacks or better ‘or’ tens or better. These are very easy to play and learn the rules of the game.
Is there a strategy for playing video poker?
As with all poker games, you can apply a strategy, and it is always best to do so in order to minimize your losses and maximize your winnings.