Published on August 1st, 2006 8:00 pm EST

How to Play Video Poker

A Video Poker machine will look somewhat similar to a traditional Slot machine in the way it is built. But that is pretty much where the similarities end with traditional Slots. The rest of it resembles more of a Video Slot machine, with its TV-like screen. These are the steps to playing a basic game of Video Poker, though the specific rules of each will be discussed in detail in separate articles:

1. Decide the coin size you want to play. In Video Poker terms, ‘coin size’ refers to how many coins you are playing at once. Depending on the machine you are playing, that can be anywhere from a minimum of one coin to a hundred. Of course, each ‘coin’ could be a quarter or even a dollar, depending on the game itself.
2. Once you have decided on a coin size, hit the ‘Deal’ button. Five cards will now be dealt to you on the screen in front of you. Your goal is to make the best Poker hand out of these cards. You will get one chance to replace any where from one to all five cards that you deem necessary to improve your hand. The better your hand, the higher the payout.
3. You must now decide which of the five cards in front of you to keep, and which ones to discard. Below each card is a button that gives you the option of holding or discarding each. Once you have pressed the appropriate button, you can now press the ‘Deal’ button again.
4. Any cards that you got rid of are now replaced with new cards. The machine will automatically award all payouts to you. You can choose either to play another game using some of these credits (if any) or cash out and play a different type of game.

Whether or not you decide to keep or get rid of a card highly depends on the type of Video Poker game you are playing. For instance, if you are playing Jacks or Better, this means that the smallest hand that pays out is a pair of Jacks. So if you get a pair of fives in your hand, it is best not to keep them, unless you are hoping to get Three of a Kind or Two Pairs (or already have two pairs).

Your strategy will also very much rely on what your goal is while playing the game. If you are happy with frequent, small payouts (such as those that come with pairs), then you should keep small pairs that have smaller rewards. However, if you are going for the gusto and want to try and win the biggest payout, you will want to break up a pair of Jacks or Queens in order to try and get a Flush, straight or higher paying hand.

In order to win the absolute biggest Video Poker payout, you must play max coins, whatever that happens to be for your game. Many times this is five coins but sometimes more. Remember, ‘coin’ is a generic term that can refer to anywhere from a quarter to a dollar, or on rare occasions even five dollars.

There is also a type of Video Poker that may have a Progressive jackpot attached to it. A Progressive jackpot is a large sum of money that gets bigger the more a machine is played. The jackpot could be specific to that particular machine, or it could be a part of a multi-machine setup where the jackpot gets bigger based on play for all the machines in the platoon. Either way, only a Royal Flush played on max coins will win you this Progressive jackpot.

As stated earlier, there are many variations of the classic Video Poker game. It is advised you start with an easy game like Tens or Better or Jacks or Better. As you get the skills to these down, you can move up to intermediate games and then eventually advanced games like 50 or even 100 hand Video Poker, which requires a whole new set of skills and strategies.

Poker King will be with you and guide you through each of these types of Video Poker until you are familiar and hopefully successful with them.


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