Smart casino players are always looking for an edge on the house. Obviously, having an edge on the house is the only way to make money in the long-run by gambling. Of course, casinos are businesses and skew most games to give themselves an edge. Video poker is one of the few games on the casino floor or at online casinos where players can still maintain an edge. Many online casinos allow players to play 100 hands at a time to really take advantage of this edge. For this reason, it is advised that players who want to try to make some money while enjoying themselves at their favorite online casino should play video poker.
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Video Poker History
Video poker began to show its face at casinos around the world right about the time the first personal computers were being manufactured, the mid-1970s. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that video poker really took off. Many Las Vegas locals began to play video poker at casinos off the Las Vegas Strip to take advantage of better paytables that actually gave veteran players an advantage. Additionally, players that may have been too intimidated by table games flocked to video poker.
How to Play Video Poker
It’s easy to play video poker though there are many different video poker variants. However, all video poker variants share the same rules. A player inserts money into the machine and plays 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 credits (a player should always play 5 credits). They are dealt five cards and choose a number of cards to hold. The rest of the cards are discarded and redrawn. The final hand is paid out according to the game’s paytable. The paytable shows exactly how much each poker hand is paid.
Finding an Edge in Video Poker
Again, video poker is one of the few casino games in the world that gives smart players an edge. To reach a point where they have an edge, players must study video poker for years while continuously going to the casino to practice or play video poker. Luckily, casinos are now online and players can play cheaply from the comfort of their own home.
An advantage of playing video poker online is the ease of finding full pay video poker paytables. Most online casinos feature full paytables which takes a lot of the hassle out of choosing a machine. At brick-and-mortar casinos, a player would have to go through hundreds of video poker machines and examine each paytable to find a “full pay” game. A full pay game is one that features an optimal paytable that will give a perfect player a positive long-term expected value.
The most popular video poker variant is Jacks or Better, which is sometimes known as “Draw Poker.” Ironically, this variant of video poker has one of the worst paytables. Played optimally, its 5-credit paytable offers a theoretical return of 99.5%. That is, for every $100 wagered, an average loss of $0.50 will be incurred. Any video poker game that doesn’t have a positive expected value should be avoided.
Another popular variant of video poker is Deuces Wild. In Deuces Wild, every two in the deck is a wild card. The increased possibility of a four of a kind makes this game very profitable. As a matter of fact, the four of a kind payout makes up for about 1/3 of the payback percentage of this game which is set at 100.8%. A full paytable is standard online but can only be found at brick-and-mortar casinos in Nevada. This is a big reason video poker players should play video poker online.
A final reason to play video poker online is the fact that full pay games are a lot cheaper online than at live casinos. Live casinos try their best to make full pay games inaccessible to most players. One way to do this is to make each game cost a lot. Usually, full pay games are reserved for players that will pay $0.25 per credit. This is not so online. Players can find full pay games for as little as $0.01 per credit. This gives new players learning the game an ample opportunity to practice and play video poker. As their skills improve, players can increase the amount of money they bet per spin. Additionally, experienced players can play up to 100 hands at a time online, something which is difficult to find at brick-and-mortar casinos.