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Introduction to Video Poker

Video poker is one of the most popular games in the casino, both land based and online. The game combines strategy, a low house edge, play is quick and easy, and some games offer very exciting jackpots.

Video Poker Basics

Video poker hands are ranked the same as in regular poker; Royal Flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, and one pair. The basic object of any video poker game is to have a hand that consists of a pair of jacks or better (some wild card games have a minimum winning hand.) Online casinos like Titan Casino, offers basic Jack or Better video poker as well as a large number of popular variants.
Video poker allows you to wager one or more units per games, each unit is called a “coin in.” Games with jackpots usually require a minimum of five bets to win the jackpot. (In a .25 minimum game, for example, you would need to wager a total of $1.25 per hand.)

To decide on how much to wager, look at the payout table.

On even pay games, meaning games that pay a multiple based on the number of coins in, consider a progressive strategy. Start with 2 coins and drop back to 1 coin after a win. Add a unit after each win until you is playing the maximum number of coins in. After a loss drop back to 2 units and start the progression over again.

On jackpot games, you should consider playing the maximum number of credits needed to be eligible for the jackpot, unless the jackpot is only slightly better than previous line.

Picking your game
Once again the payout table is your key to deciding on which game to play.

For Jacks or Better games you want to look at the payouts for a full house and a flush. Look for games which pay 8 units for a full house and 5 units for a flush. These are known as “8/5” machines and have an excellent payback of 97.3%.

Made Hands
Pair of Jacks or Better, or the minimum winning hand – Keep the winning cards and discard the rest.

Two Pair – Discard the unpaired card. If your game pays the same for two pair as for one pair, and one pair is a winning made hand, discard the remaining cards in hopes of a bigger payout.

Three of a Kind – Discard the unmatched cards.

Four Aces
Photo Credit: “Quad Aces - Jacks or Better” by Kvuo, CC BY-SA 3.0 via creative commons.
Draw to a flush only when you have four of the suit. The same applies to straights; only draw if you have an open-ended straight draw, meaning you need the cards on either end to complete the straight. If you have an inside straight draw, meaning a card in the middle, draw only if you do not have a Jack or another cards that will pay off if paired.

Playing Draws
Draws are really where the action is at in video poker. There are plenty of things to consider in every scenario but there are some easy rules to keep in mind that will help you get the most out of the cards in the long run.

In some scenarios, it can even be better to break a high-valued made hand in order to play a draw for an even better hand. This is the case for a straight or a flush that can become a royal flush with the perfect card exchange. Four-card royal draw is the best hand to have after a straight flush and a royal flush due to the significant increase in the payout between a royal flush and a straight or a flush.

With a hand like K-Q-J-T-T you should throw away one of the tens and look draw for a straight. You also have three cards, the King, Queen, and Jack, that will result in a payoff if they pair.

With a hand like Ac-Kc-Jc-6c-6d, avoid the temptation to go for the Royal Flush. Discard the off-suit 6 and go for the regular flush. You will also win with an Ace, King, or Jack

Titan Casino offers free play as well as real money games. This gives you the perfect change to learn the game and the various strategies.
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