Play Online Video poker

If you are looking for a poker game with simple rules and fast game-play, online video poker may be the ideal choice for you. This game is played on a slot-like machine against the computer. With no betting rounds or other players to wait for the game is fast and exciting. It is a relatively recent game, having been developed only in the mid-1970s – and that helps to make it ideal for online casino play.

Playing online gives players access to a wide range of game variations, each with its own variations in the rules, odds, strategies and betting limits. Play for free in the fun mode of the casino or for real money in the real money mode of the casino and enjoy the many options that are available.

History of Video Poker

Video poker machines were first developed by a company known as SIRCOMA in 1979, although the idea for them may have originated as far back as 1891. Then, a machine was released by Sittman and Pitt that had five spinning drums, each with ten playing cards displayed on it. In total, there was a deck minus the ten of Spades and Jack of Hearts. Players had to pull a long lever to start the drums spinning. Once they came to a stop, they would display five playing cards and the player would win if these cards created a poker hand.

SIRCOMA, founded by Si Redd who received permission from Bally Gaming to take the patent on a video poker game he developed, created the first true video poker game in 1979 together with Fortune Coin Company. The Draw Poker game featured the hold and draw functions that are characteristic of video poker games today.

Online video poker games feature the same hold and draw options as the original game. As online casinos were launched in the mid-1990s and video poker moved online, new variations of the game were developed. While the casino games all have the same basic premise, there are some differences. These include the paytables, the addition of deuces or wilds in some games, progressive jackpots and more.


House Edge and Odds

The house edge in a game of video poker is the advantage that the casino has over the player. Different game variations have different house edges. And players can choose their game based on the house edge available. In addition, because video poker is a game of skill, the house edge can be reduced by playing with basic video poker strategy. This means that just by choosing your game carefully and by playing with basic strategy, you can improve your odds of winning. For example, Deuces Wild, played with optimal strategy, has a house edge of -0.75% - a player advantage.

It is important to understand the odds of achieving the different hands in the game as well as this will help you decide which hands to aim for and therefore which cards to hold or discard. While the payout for a royal flush is very high at 4,000 coins, the odds of getting the hand are 1 in 665,000. It is not worth aiming for this hand at the expense of another, unless you have a good chance of getting it. Two pairs, in contrast, may only pay out 10 coins, but the odds of achieving that hand are 1 in 21.

How to Play Video Poker

The rules of online video poker are simple and straightforward. The aim of the game is to achieve the best poker hand possible with the cards that are dealt to you. To begin you will need to place your bet. Choose the denomination of the coins you will bet with and the number of coins you will use. Then, click on the Deal button and five cards will be dealt to you. You can choose to hold any, all or none of these cards and have the un-held cards discarded with new cards dealt in their place. This will create a new hand which will be your final hand and will be ranked.

Video poker hand ranks, from highest to lowest:

  • Royal Flush: five cards in sequence, from ten to Ace, in the same suit e.g. 10, J, Q, K, A of Spades
  • Straight Flush: five cards in sequence in the same suit e.g. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 of Spades
  • Four of a Kind: four cards of the same numerical value e.g. 5, 5, 5, 5, X
  • Full House: three cards of one numerical value and two cards of another numerical value e.g. 6, 6, 6, 10, 10
  • Flush: five cards in the same suit e.g. 4, 7, 8, 10, K of Spades
  • Straight: five cards in sequence in different suits e.g. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 in different suits
  • Three of a Kind: three cards of one numerical value e.g. 4, 4, 4, X, Y
  • Two Pair: two cards of one numerical value and two cards of another numerical value e.g. 8, 8, 10, 10, X
  • Pair: two cards of one numerical value e.g. 10, 10, X, Y, Z

There may be differences in the paytable of ranked hands depending on the variation being played. Games with deuces or Jokers will have payouts for hands that include these cards. The lowest payout may also vary between games for example, the lowest payout in a game of Jacks or Better is a pair of Jacks, while the lowest payout in a game of Tens or Better is a pair of tens and the lowest payout in a game of Deuces Wild is three of a kind.

Game Buttons

There are a number of buttons available in a game of online video poker and knowing what these all do will help you have a smooth game-play experience.

Bet Max: Bet with the maximum number of coins and deal the cards automatically.

Bet One: Increase the number of coins you are betting with by one coin.

+ and -: Increase or decrease the coin denomination used in your bet.

Deal: Deal the cards for a new game or re-deal cards that were not held during a game.

Click to Hold: Hold a specific card.

Held: Release a specific card that was held.

Double: Gamble to double your winning payout from your last hand. This takes you to a side game.

Double Half: Gamble to increase your winning payout by half. This takes you to a side game.

Collect: Add your winnings from your latest hand to your casino balance.

Strategies and Tips for Winning

Online video poker is a game of skill and there are strategies that you can follow to decrease the house edge in the game and increase your odds of winning.

  • Always hold cards that form a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind or full house.
  • Hold a three of a kind, but discard the other two cards in an attempt to get a four of a kind or a full house.
  • Hold a two pair, but discard the 5th card in an attempt to get a full house.
  • Break a flush or a straight if you have four cards to a royal flush, so if you hold a 5, J, Q, K, A in one suit, you should discard the 5 in the hopes of drawing a 10.
  • Never break a straight flush in an attempt to get a royal flush. In other words if you hold a 9, 10, J, Q, K in one suit, do not discard the 9.
  • Only break a pair of Jacks or better if you are holding four cards to a straight flush or a royal flush.

In addition, there are some important tips to keep in mind when playing that can help limit your losses and improve your chances of winning.

  • Discard cards that are not useful. If they cannot help you towards a ranked hand, rather discard them and start again.
  • Choose a machine with an advantageous payout. Even within one variation of the game you can find differences in the payout table. For example, in a game of Jacks or Better you can find 9/6 machines – machines that pay out 9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush vs. 8/5 machines or even machines that are as low as 7/5.
  • Make sure you understand the rules of the game. Each game has slightly different rules and a slightly different payout table and understanding these differences will help you make informed decisions about which cards to hold and which to discard.
  • If you are playing a progressive jackpot game you must make sure to bet with the maximum number of coins in order to be eligible for the progressive jackpot.

Glossary of Terms

Deuce: A card with the value of 2 that acts as a wild card in games such as Deuces Wild.

Double: A gamble feature that allows you to play to double your payout after a winning round.

Double Half: A gamble feature that allows you to play to increase your payout by half after a winning round.

Joker: A card in the deck that acts as a wild, substituting for other cards to form a ranked poker hand.

Multi-Hand: A game that allows you to play more than one hand at a time.

Paytable: The table of ranked hands with their payout.

Progressive Jackpot: A jackpot that continues to grow with a percentage of every bet that is placed in the game. It grows until a player hits the jackpot at which time it resets to its base amount.

Single Hand: A game that plays only one hand at a time.

Wild: A card that substitutes for other cards to complete a ranked hand. It is a 2 (deuce) or a Joker in video poker games.

2 Ways Royal is a favourite among players that enjoy special features, as it has multiple flushes to aim for. As well as the standard flush and Royal Flush, there is also a low flush hand: this is a hand of suited cards, Ace through to 5. This game also pays out for a pair of Jacks or better. All American is a classic and traditional game, with a sleek look and feel and plenty of winning opportunity. For players who like some extra action, it also boasts a Double or Double Half feature that gives you the chance to increase your winnings via a bonus game.

Joker Poker is played with an extra card in the deck; you guessed it, the joker! This card adds to the game because it acts as wild, substituting other cards to help you make more winning combinations. And its closely related cousin, 50 line Joker Poker offers all the same benefits, but with 50 lines to play on every round. When you hold cards in this version, you will hold the same positioned cards across all 50 hands – with the potential to win up to 50 times per game.

Opening an Account And Play For Real Money

Once you are ready to play for real money you will need to register an account and fund it.

  • Register a real money account by completing the online form with your personal and contact details.
  • Choose your currency as New Zealand dollars.
  • Read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  • Choose a payment method from the range available at the cashier.
  • Make a deposit by following the required steps, entering a deposit amount and confirming the transaction.
  • Claim your bonus. New Zealand offers a 100% up to $400 (plus 200 free spins) bonus for new players.
  • Choose an online video poker game in the lobby of the casino and start playing.