Video Poker History

Before we can discuss the history of video poker we should look at poker itself. You see, poker has its origins back to the 17th century or earlier depending on the type of game. This means that video poker has the same roots. Sittman and Pitt just took the idea of poker for a table game and turned it into a solitary affair in 1891. This is along the same time that the slot machines were being created by Fey. The first video poker machine was a 50 card symbol with five drums. It had the jack and ten of spades removed from play to make it more difficult to get the better hands.

Fey in 1897 began work on the first slot machine called the 'Liberty Bell'. This slot used the kings, queens, and jacks as the symbols to pay out. So you were seeing the cards on the reels, even though the game was not really based in poker. It was not until the 1970's that the poker hands returned to the machines in the way we now see them. Dale Electronics had the Poker Matic Video Poker Machine. It was introduced into the Las Vegas casinos, but was largely un- played.

In 1975 Walt Fraley designed a different type of video slot for Las Vegas. These machines got a little popularity, but for the most part the fact that you couldn't see the reels spinning caused a lot of disgruntled customers. It was in 1979 that video poker like we see today was created. IGT was the first company to create Draw Poker. It was a success because you weren't spinning reels, but playing an actual poker hand. In the 80's we saw more and more slot machines and video poker games hit the casino floors. Now you have several types to choose from that are largely based on five card draw.

The variations of poker include draw poker, deuces wild, aces and kings, jacks or better, and several others. They all have the same base, but offer different payouts and bonuses. The internet has taken the video poker world even further since 1994. You can now play your favorite games at home and save the travel fare. In 1994 Microgaming came into the picture with the first online video poker game. You can download the software or just play it online at a casino in the quick play sections.

Video Poker Rules

With video poker online you are able to bet as small as 25 cents or as much as five dollars per round. It will of course depend on the online casino as well as the game you are going to play. Usually you must have at least 20 dollars in the machine to start playing in any of the denominations listed.

After you choose your wager you are going to click on the deal or deal draw option. This will give you the five cards you are waiting to see. We are going to give you information on the possible poker hands you can have. In most online video poker you need to have at least jacks or better as a pair to get a payout. Sometimes you need more than that in the cards like kings or better as well as three of a kind.

To get a better hand you will be able to hold the cards you would like to keep and get rid of the other cards. Once you have the cards you want to keep you are going to press the draw or deal button again.

Here is how it works:

  1. You will put in the amount of money you are going to wager with

  2. Then you select draw

  3. Once the cards are displayed choose to hold those that will give you the best hand possible and discard the rest.

  4. Click on the deal button again.

  5. At this point the machine will offer winnings based on the pay tables for the hand you have showing. If you don't have a hand that offers a payout you lose the bet.

  6. Once you are done playing you will need to get your cash from the machine.

Depending on the version of draw poker you are playing you may get to double your winnings. You can double your winnings by a secondary game. In this game the computer asks if you want to double. If you say yes, you need to choose the higher card. You see the computer will lay down five cards. One will be facing up. That is the computer's card. To win this bet and get double your pay out you have to have the higher card. If the card is a king you would need an ace. If the card is a three, any card higher than that will win you double. Once you enter this mode you cannot decline and the computer card is not shown until after you agree. It is a dangerous option.

To win in video poker you may need the hands outlined below:

  1. When you have a pair of Jacks or higher you can win

  2. In some games you need Kings are higher to win the bet as a pair combo.

  3. If you have two pair you will win. This is when you have two 3's and two kings or another variation of pairs.

  4. Three of a kind- in which the cards all have the same face.

  5. Four of a kind- in which you have four cards of the same face.

  6. Five of a kind is possible with a wild card- when you have four cards of the same face and the wild card.

  7. A straight is five sequenced cards not of the same suit- i.e. ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

  8. Flush: this is five cards that are of the same suit, but not sequenced- i.e. ace, 2, 3, 4, and 6 of spades or 3, 6, 9, king, ace of clubs.

  9. Straight flush is where the cards are sequenced and the same suit such as 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of spades.

  10. Royal Flush is when you have the ten, jack, queen, king and ace of one suit such as hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs.

  11. Wild Royal Flush is when one card is not of the actual sequence in the royal flush, but acts like that card. For example the joker could be the ten of spades if that was missing from the royal flush you have going for spades.

Video Poker Strategy

Poker requires strategy before you ever begin playing. You need to research the game you want to play as far as poker goes. Most who play poker have a special game they like and will not vary. That is because there are several strategies out there and they differ from game to game. Video poker may not be played at a table against other players, but it is important that you have some type of strategy. First of all the computer is the house and it has the advantage over anyone playing the video poker game. You can't lower the house edge that the machine has, no matter how you play. That is out of your control as the machine is based on a random computer program. The strategies will help you in some way though.

There are many video poker game varieties. This means you should really understand one of the types out there before you ever play. You can start off by learning the poker rules to five card draw as that is what most video poker machines are based on. You also need to learn the pay tables for the video poker games. You want to choose a machine that allows for the better payouts when you hit on a hand, even when that hand is a pair of jacks or better. The different casinos offer changed pay tables and sometimes different odds. Some of the machines actually have multiple decks rather than a single deck making it even harder to win. So know the machine you will be playing on. That way you know where you can perhaps beat it because of a weakness.

After you learn about the different games you can choose the one you want to play. Most stick with jacks or better or a variation of, so that you can still win with a pair of something in the face card level. Those that you need two pair or a three of a kind are going to be hard to beat. You need to manipulate the offerings as much as you can in order to win. If you don't win on the first machine you choose in that variation, you can try a different machine or go back to the drawing board.

Jacks or Better or five card draw are the best games in video poker for learners. You get to learn about the different options while still making a bit of money playing.

Before you begin you need to choose a machine that will allow you to play the bet you want. In other words playing for a dollar when you want to play for five cents is silly. There are games online and in casinos for small wagers. As long as you bet the max coins in the machines you will still get the best payouts according to the pay tables. The pay tables are based on how much you wager as well as the odds of getting that particular hand. To get the best jackpot make sure you wager the right amount. This can be on the nickel machines with a progressive jackpot or on a dollar machine. It just depends on you. You should never bet the minimum even if you are not playing for the jackpot. Stay at least a couple coins above that for the better pay day. The machines are going to be random, so keep that in mind for the payouts as well.

After the machine is picked and you set the ground rules for how you are going to play and how much you want to spend on the machines that day, you are ready to start. You will place the bet and then the machine will give you the five cards. This is where strategy can really help you out.

You need to know what cards you are going to keep and what cards you are going to discard. In other words you need to know the hands you can have and still get winnings as well as your chance of getting the best hand. Then you discard the cards that can make that chance happen. For example if you have an ace, king, jack, ten, and five you would discard the five and keep the other four. You have a potential of a royal flush. On the other hand if you have 3,3, 10, jack, 5 you would want to keep the pair of threes and try for a three of a kind, four of a kind, or even two pair. The possibility of getting those hands outweighs the possibility of getting some type of straight or flush.

We are going to look at Jacks or Better and Deuces wild below because these are the two most common games you can find on the internet and in casinos. They are also the better pay out machines because of the hands required to win. In Deuces wild you have the 2's that are going to be wild cards. Jokers Wild is a variation of this in which the joker is the wild card. It is also very popular so we will allow for some tips in that area as well.

These tips are towards beginners rather than players who really know poker, so some things could be a little simplistic for you.

Jacks or Better

Deuces Wild

Jokers Wild