What is ‘Video Poker’?
Video Poker is a gambling device found in land-based and online casinos, and is similar to a slot machine because they are not only easy to play, they require no interaction with a dealer or other players. Also, the card combinations are governed by a Random Number Generator, just like a slot machine.
‘Video Poker’ Explained
There are several variants of Video Poker games available in both land-based and online casinos, and all the games function under the same basic principles:
• Standard Poker hand ranking is used
• 5 starting cards are dealt
• Option to discard up to all 5 starting cards
• Discards are replaced with a single random draw of cards
• Qualifying Poker hands are paid according to the paytable associated with the Video Poker machine played.
The cards dealt in a Video Poker machine are randomly dealt from a shuffled standard 52 card deck, or a 53 card deck in the case of Joker’s Wild video poker machines. When the possible combinations are known, calculations of the combination frequency can be accomplished to further devise an optimal playing strategy.
Until voters changed the laws in Missouri regarding casinos on riverboats, Video Poker machines were not forbidden because they were considered to be games of skill.
When Video Poker machines are played skillfully, the odds in winning rival any table game at land-based or online casinos.
Jacks or Better Video Poker machines have a 99.5% return to player over the long haul. Most versions of Deuces Wild offer positive results in the long haul, which means they will return more than 100% with optimal play.
Land-based and online casinos offer the kinds of games that can be beaten because only a very small percentage of players know the basics of optimal play. There are enough mistakes made playing Video Poker machines that these casinos actually pay out up to 4% less than expected for skilled players.
Weaker players are any casino’s bread and butter customers, and most land-based and online casinos walk the tightrope between their 2 choices, which are to offer a paytable so good that experienced players can expect to make a profit in the long term, or to offer a paytable with lower payouts, and risk losing the weaker player’s interest.
In markets that are not as competitive because the demand for playing space is far greater, lower-paying Video Poker machines are offered because the games will be played despite the lower payouts.
Video Poker are becoming increasingly popular because players are familiar with Poker hand rankings, and as gambling markets become more mature, and players become more experienced, the demand for Video Poker games have become stronger. In fact, Nevada casinos with a regular clientele of locals devote over 50% of their allocated slot space to Video Poker machines instead. There are even Video Poker bars that offer no other gambling options.
Early in the 1980s, Mr. Si Redd and his newly founded company, International Gaming Technology, known in the industry as IGT, entered into a licensing agreement with Bally Manufacturing for IGT to hold the exclusive rights to Video Poker machine manufactoring. The potential for this went unrecognized, which gave IGT the ability to become the main competitor for Bally. Currently, both IGT and Bally manufacture Video Poker machines that take up most of the floor space in land-based casinos devoted to electronic gaming devices.
Video Poker machines feature a video screen where the images of cards are dealt. Winnings are compiled as credits, and these credits can be cashed out at any time. Credits are displayed on a meter on the video screen. Some of the machines also display the paytable onscreen, while others have the paytable painted somewhere on the machine’s external housing.
The external housing also provides a console below the video game screen, and this is where the bill validator is located. Bills slide in the validator, and these credits are displayed onscreen.
There are usually buttons marked ‘Cash Out‘ and ‘Bet One Credit.’ There are 5 center buttons that correspond to each of the cards on the display screen, and they are marked ‘Hold/Cancel,’ and to the right of those there is a button marked ‘Deal/Draw.’ There is also another button marked ‘Bet Max.’
Play is initiated by pushing the buttons to bet and deal. There are 5 cards dealt onscreen, and then from those 5 cards, players must choose to hold/discard their cards based on the strength of the cards.
All cards not held are discarded when the Deal/Draw button is pushed, and will be replaced with new cards. This is the final hand, and the hand is compared to the paytable and paid according to its rank if the hand is a winner.
With Royal Flushes being the best possible hand to get, they are also the highest payout in a Video Poker machine. Royal Flushes are expected to be dealt once every 40,000 hands, or once every 80 hours of play.
Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker’s Wild are the most common forms of Video Poker machines available in both land-based casinos. There are also single-hand options or several multi-hand options available.