Again, there is a great deal of variety afforded Video Poker enthusiasts. Online casinos will typically feature a lineup of Video Poker games that includes Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces, Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker and Joker Poker.
The History of Video Poker
The earliest Video Poker games surfaced at about the same time that PCs were being introduced to the public back in the mid-70’s. Basically, the moment that it became a commercially viable possibility to utilize advances in technology to create such a game, the gaming industry moved forward.
In 1979, Si Redd’s Coin Machines (SIRCOMA) introduced the Video Poker game Draw Poker. The popularity of Draw Poker firmly established Video Poker’s position in the world of gaming. Video Poker blossomed throughout the 80’s and enjoyed a great deal of action presumably because most players found it far less intimidating then playing conventional poker at the tables. These days, Video Poker games maintain a prominent place on the floors of land-based casinos and are incredibly popular online.
How To Play Video Poker
The first thing that players must do when playing video poker is “feed the machine”. At land-based casino this means either inserting money or a casino card into the Video Poker machine and at online casino simply entails clicking a button. The action begins with the player making a wager of one or more credits and pressing or clicking the Deal button. The player is then dealt their virtual hand. The player may discard one or more of the cards dealt to them in exchange for new cards from the virtual deck. If the player’s hand (or hands) after the draw matches one of the possible winning combinations then the Video Poker machine will pay the player. All of the winning combinations of Video Poker games will be posted somewhere on the machine in a pay table.
Video Poker pay tables list all of the possible winning hands and their associated payouts. The payouts that a Video Poker machine offers the player for different hands are determined by the variation of Video Poker played, the probability of hitting the different hands and the discretion of the Video Poker game operator. Pay tables will typically start with a pair of Jacks, paying even money. The remaining hand combinations in Video Poker are exactly the same as they are in conventional table poker; two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush and royal flush.
To add a little flavor to the crock pot of fun, most Video Poker games will offer a variety of bonuses and progressive jackpots in order to attract and keep players playing.
Video Poker Game Variety
There are countless variations of Video Poker games available. Most popular amongst the different varieties include:
Deuces Wild: Video Poker game where the  is wild.
Pay Schedule Modification: Video Poker game where quad Aces with a  or smaller kicker will pay some sort of bonus amount (these varieties will usually include the word “double”, “triple” or “bonus” in their names.
Multi-Play Poker: Video Poker game in which players can play multiple hands simultaneously. Multi-Play Video Poker games can be found in “Triple Play”, “Five Play”, “Ten Play”, and other such versions.
Full Pay Video Poker Games
When the more modern versions of Video Poker first made their appearance on the gaming scene, the Video Poker games with the most favorable house edge were known as “Full Pay”. While the term “Full Pay” is still used to describe certain Video Poker games, the truth is that many of today’s Video Poker variants offer far more favorable house edges then ever in the game’s history. In fact, many of today’s games offer players payback percentages hovering just under 100%. Take the game Full Pay Jacks or Better, for example, that offers a payback percentage as high as 99.54%.
It is important to note that the payout structures of most Video Poker games will generally pay proportionately more for certain specific hands only when a bet of the maximum number of credits is made. Players not making wagers of the maximum number of possible credits, in these instances, will be playing with a lower theoretical return.
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better is also known as Draw Poker and is, by far, the most commonly played variation of Video Poker at casinos. The Full Pay version of Jacks or Better will sometimes be called 9/6 Jacks or Better. This is due to the fact that the payout for hitting a full house is 9 credits and the payout for hitting a flush is 6 credits.
The payouts received from different hands in Jacks or Better are heavily influenced by the size of the wager made. The Jacks or Better payout structure is as follows:
Tens or Better
Tens or Better is a very simple little twist on 6/5 Jacks or Better. As the game’s name implies, with Tens or Better, the minimum playing hand is a pair of Tens rather than a pair of Jacks. This is the only difference in the strategy between the two games. There is; however a significant difference in the Flush and Full House payouts between the two games.
Deuces Wild is a simple variation of Video Poker where, as the name implies, the Two cards are wild. The term “wild card” simply means that the card can substitute for any of the other cards in the deck in order to optimize the player’s hand. If you take a look at the payout structure of Deuces Wild, you will notice that approximately 33% of the payout percentage of the game goes towards the payout for a Four of a Kind. Thanks to the Two’s being wild, players will encounter a Four of a Kind approximately once only every 15 hands.
Apparently, there are Deuces Wild Video Poker games available in Nevada that offer players a theoretical return as high as 100.8%. I imagine these machines are far and few between when you consider that with such theoretical returns, the casino would stand to lose money and casinos are not in the business of losing money.
All American is a Video Poker game almost identical to Jacks or Better. The difference is that All American offers better payouts for Flushes, Straights and Straight Flushes while offering reduced payouts for Full Houses and Two Pairs.
The Full Pay version of All American offers a 50x return on Quads. This version presents players with some of the best returns found in Video Poker. These machines have become rare of late.
Bonus Poker is almost exactly like Jacks or Better, the only difference being that Bonus Poker will offer players a bigger payout for Quads.
Double Bonus almost exactly like Jacks or Better, the only difference being that it offers a bonus for Quad Aces.
Double Double Bonus
Double Double Bonus is almost exactly like Double Bonus; however, it offers different bonuses for different Four of a Kinds. Double Double Bonus Video Poker games can be found with payout structures that can offer a theoretical return of up to 100.1%.
Low Pay Video Poker Games
Casinos will sometimes offer games with a reduced maximum payout percentage in order to increase the house edge and provide the casino with more revenue.
6/5 Jacks or Better
With 6/5 Jacks or Better, the payout for hitting a Full House is decreased from 9 times the bet to 6 times the bet and the payout for hitting a Flush is decreased from 6 times the bet to 5 times the bet. The remaining payout structure is identical to that of the Full Pay version. This decrease in payout reduces the game’s payout percentage to 95% for players making five coin bets.
7/5 Jacks or Better
With 7/5 Jacks or Better, the payout for hitting a Full House is decreased from 9 times the bet to 7 times the bet and the payout for hitting a Flush is decreased from 6 times the bet to 5 times the bet. The remaining payout structure is identical to that of the Full Pay version. This decrease in payout reduces the game’s payout percentage to 96.15% for players making five coin bets.
8/5 Jacks or Better
With 8/5 Jacks or Better, the payout for hitting a Full House is decreased from 9 times the bet to 8 times the bet and the payout for hitting a Flush is decreased from 6 times the bet to 5 times the bet. The remaining payout structure is identical to that of the Full Pay version. This decrease in payout reduces the game’s payout percentage to 97.30% for players making five coin bets.
8/6 Jacks or Better
With 8/6 Jacks or Better, the payout for hitting a Full House is decreased from 9 times the bet to 8 times the bet. The remaining payout structure is identical to that of the Full Pay version. This decrease in payout reduces the game’s payout percentage to 98.39% for players making five coin bets.
9/5 Jacks or Better
With 9/5 Jacks or Better, the payout for hitting a Flush is decreased from 6 times the bet to 5 times the bet. The remaining payout structure is identical to that of the Full Pay version. This decrease in payout reduces the game’s payout percentage to 98.45% for players making five coin bets.
Video Poker Games With Progressive Jackpots
Casinos will often offer Low Pay Video Poker Games with progressive jackpots. These progressive jackpots will not only offset some of the lower payouts offered by the Low Pay Video Poker Games, but will sometimes even boost the games into positive theoretical returns. Most casinos will often advertise a video poker game when its progressive jackpot arrives to a certain amount.