One of the few games where it is possible to maneuver the House Edge in your favor at online casinos is video poker. To play the game, you need to be familiar with the hand rankings in poker. Add to that the chance factor in games such as slots, and you have captured the essence of video poker. Video poker is available in multiple variants, single hand or multi hand, and presents players with many hours of fun and the chance to win generous rewards.
The history of video poker cannot be examined without first taking a look at the origins of slot machines. One of the first slot machines was introduced by the father of the modern slots, Charles Fey, who also brought the world the Card Bell. This machine paid out cash prizes to lucky winners and a later model, introduced in 1901,carried a 'hold' feature. This, according to history books, was the beginning of the five card draw game – a central feature in video poker.
Slot machines continued to grow in popularity and became the main feature in many casinos across the United States. In the 70's a company called Dale Electronics created the Poker-Matic video poker machine. Later Sircoma, which went on to become IGT, created a video poker machine and started to distribute it widely among casinos. It wasn't long before players began seeking out these games at their favorite gambling institutions, and game producers picked on public sentiments and created a wide variety to suit all types of video poker fans.
When casino games went virtual with the birth of online gambling, video poker games were introduced in their current form, and continue to be among the leading choices for online gamblers.
Video poker is a game where it is possible to swing the odds in your favor. While it is true that luck also plays a part in the outcome of the game, knowledge of a basic strategy in video poker and how to best make up a winning poker hand, could significantly alter the odds. In some variants of video poker, it is even possible to beat the House Edge.
Optimal play of video poker sees some of the best odds in any form of casino game. For example, Jacks or Better has odds of 99.54%, while Double Bonus Poker and Deuces Wild have over 100%!
There are several factors that determine the odds of video poker, with each variant carrying its own odds. If a deck has 52 cards for example, the odds will be different to a game where there are 57 cards in the deck.
The odds are also affected by the actual cards that a player is dealt, as well as what the player decides to do with the cards themselves (which to hold on to and which to discard). It is clear at this point that a sound knowledge of poker card rankings is very useful in improving the odds.
Learning a basic strategy is possible online, with many players applying the theory they learn to free practice sessions at sites such as Mansion Casino Canada, before moving on to real money play. Free video poker is an excellent way to try out the different variants of the game and hone skills so that odds can be improved over time.
Watching a game of video poker will quickly reveal that there are simple rules to follow in order to play. The main objective of the game, as has been noted, is to make the best possible poker hand. Players are dealt cards at the beginning of the game, and then make a decision about which cards to keep and which to discard. They are then paid out according to a pre-determined pay table for any winning hands.
A game of video poker begins after players decide which variant they wish to play and how much they wish to wager. Once the 'deal' button is pressed, the online casino dealer will deal five cards to the player. The next step is to 'hold' those cards which the player feels will help create a winning hand, and throw out ('discard') those they won't. The deal button is pressed once more to replace the discarded cards. The game is essentially over at this point, with any winning hands resulting in a payout according to the paytable.
Although this is the basic premise of online video poker, which is traditionally played with 52 cards in a deck, rules will vary from type to type. Online casino software providers have thought up different twists to video poker, and thus the rules may change slightly. Take as an example Deuces Wild video poker, so named because the Deuce, aka the number two, is the wild card. As such, being dealt a two is a positive outcome in Deuces Wild as it could result in a winning hand.
One of the biggest benefits of video poker is that there are many things that players can do to win at the game, which is not dependent on luck alone (as in video slots, for example).
Here are a number of strategies followed by seasoned video poker players:
There are not many buttons on a game of video poker, making it easy to understand, even for beginners.
Some of the more common game buttons include:
Bet Max: Clicking on this button allows players to wager the maximum number of coins (ie. five) on the game.
Bet One: Click each time to increase the number of coins the player wishes to wager.
Cash Out: Click this button the end the game and have winnings credited to your account.
Draw Deal: Click to have cards dealt after placing a bet; also after deciding which cards to hold.
Hold: Deciding which cards to hang on to in order to create a winning hand.
Aces and Eights: Video poker variant.
Aces and Faces: Video poker variant which pays out extra if four Ace cards are landed.
All American: Video poker variant which pays out extra if a Straight Flush is landed.
Bet Max: The maximum wager possible in a game of video poker.
Bonus Deuces Wild: Video poker variant where the number two (Deuce) is the wild card and an extra bonus is paid.
Cash Out: Ending the game and having winnings credited to one's account.
Deuces: Two card.
Deuces Wild Video Poker: Video poker variant where the number two (Deuce) substitutes for other cards in the game to form winning combinations.
High Card: Jack, Queen, King or Ace.
Jacks or Better: The most classic form of video poker.
Kings or Better: Video poker variant where at least two Kings are required to complete a winning hand.
Max Bet: The maximum number of coins wagered.
Multi Play Video Poker: Multiple hands of video poker are played simultaneously.
Odds: The chances of winning.
Payout Schedule: A table displaying which cards are needed to form winning hands.
Quads: Four cards of the same kind.
Rank: Value of a card.
Royal Flush: A hand made up of a Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.
Straight: Five cards in sequence although not of the same suit.
Straight Flush: Five cards in sequence and made up of the same suit.
Three of a Kind: A hand made up of three cards of the same denomination.
Tens or Better: A video poker variant where at least one pair of tens is needed for payouts to begin.
Two Pairs: Video poker hand made up of two pairs.
Wild Card: Card that stands in for others in to create winning combinations.
Real money wins can only be made once players open a real money account at Mansion Casino Canada. Playing for real money can be done on the instant play (Flash) platform or by downloading the software to your system. The process is extremely simple and is completed within minutes.
The first step is to click the icon Play for Real Money. Players are then asked to click Create Account which will whisk them to a form. There, they are required to fill in different fields in order to provide important data. Once players agree to the Terms and Conditions, their final step is to click Create and they will then have created a Real Money Account.