Video poker is a casino game based on five-card draw poker in a computerized console similar in size to a slot machine. The game is very easy to use and requires no interaction with the dealer or with other players.
In early 1970’s, when video poker was introduced and was still struggling for acceptance, the machines were referred to as “poker slots.” Today, it is one of the most popular forms of gambling. The rules are simple: you play 1 to 5 coins, the machine gives you five cards, you choose which to hold and which to discard, the machine replaces your discards and pays you off according to the value of your hand.
You can’t raise, call or bluff the computer. The computer deals you five cards. You can keep all of them, half or bet everything. The computer then deals replacement cards as necessary. There’s no hidden house edge or any secretly tight machines. Each draw is from a freshly shuffled deck. The new combination is your hand. Every Player has a chance and a choice. Winners are paid according to a pay table posted on the machine.
Some games offer a double-up feature. This, and the odds in craps, are the only bets you can make with no house edge. Whether you make the double-up bet should depend on your reason for playing. If you want low volatility, with long “time on device”, you should decline it. If you are playing a 100%+ game, you should decline it. If you want high volatility, you should accept it. If you want to maximize return, including money bet on the double, then you should accept it. If you should take, up to what point, you may ask? That is something you can decide for yourself, according to how much you value risk versus reward.
The best video poker machines, played skillfully, offer odds that rival any table game. The basic game, Jacks or Better, in its full-pay version returns 99.5 percent with optimal play over the long haul. Other machines, especially some versions of Deuces Wild, offer a positive expectation to the player — that is, over the long haul, they’ll return more than 100 percent with optimal play.
Tipping in video poker, as well as any in any casino game, is a matter of much debate. I think a good rule of thumb is to tip 0.5% to 1.0% on any jackpot requiring a hand pay. The smaller the jackpot, the larger the percentage. An exception can be made for games in which you get hand pays frequently, like $5 10-play. In this case, tipping on just big wins, or at the end of the session is acceptable. If you lost badly, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t tip.
It is not enough to just know the payback of a video poker machine. In order to achieve the maximum return you must play the game using a set mathematical strategy. It is very important that you learn the strategy for each game and play them correctly. Making a few mistakes in strategy when playing can increase the house edge against you. Each video poker game has its own strategy. For example you can not use the strategy for Jacks or Better when playing Deuces Wild.