If you are standing in a casino lobby, either literally or in an online setting, and not sure which game to play first, video poker is a shrewd choice. For one thing, it serves as the ideal introduction for beginners to the wonderful game of poker. But it is more than just a training tool or a stepping stone to more advanced versions of the game.
Video poker is, in itself, highly nuanced and there are several versions you can play, with subtly different rules and pay tables. Whether you play online casinos at Gambleonline.co or explore one of the flagship casinos on the Las Vegas strip, video poker can offer a lower house edge than any other real money casino game if you adopt the optimum strategy and choose the right variation. Here, we explore three of the most popular choices.
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Jacks or Better
This is the “basic” video poker game, and the one with which new players should start. The clue is in the name, payouts start with a pair of jacks or better, and there are no other complications such as wild cards to worry about. This might be the “entry” version but if you literally play your cards right, the house edge is still less than 0.5 percent for the 9/6 version. This means a full house pays nine to one, and a flush pays six to one. Some platforms offer lower odds, so check the pay table before you begin and if necessary, look elsewhere.
Once you are comfortable playing Jacks or Better, you might consider graduating to Deuces Wild. Again, as the name suggests, twos are wilds, so it is easier to form winning hands. However, this is evened out by the pay table, where the lowest paying hand is three of a kind. Serious gamblers love Deuces Wild, as on a full pay table, the house edge can slip below zero – in other words, if you play with optimum strategy, you can beat the house in the long run. Full pay in this case means you should check the pay table and look for five to one odds for four of a kind. Of course, casinos are not in the habit of giving away money – few players manage to make the perfect strategy call every time. Also note that Deuces Wild is a highly volatile version of the game. You can enjoy some big wins, but the losing streaks can be very hard.
Aces and Eights
This variation of video poker has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past couple of years and is well worth seeking out. It delivers extra rewards for four aces or four eights. Full pay means 25 to one for four of a kind and eight to one for a full house. It is particularly important to check the pay table if you choose this version, as payouts tend to vary significantly from one casino to the next.