Video poker is the game of choice of many Indian gamblers that are knowledgeable. Why? Because they know video poker has the smallest house edge of all casino games, it’s simple to play and very similar to a slot with a big difference: the player has a say in what happens.
This means that video poker requires skill unlike slots or even popular card games like baccarat, but also luck and some strategy. And, unlike table poker, in video poker you play alone in your own privacy at your own pace, so there is absolutely no stress and no one stares at you waiting for your move. You can deliberate every move in peace and harmony.
Video poker games weren’t as popular in the past as they are today in India. But, thanks to some changes that manufacturers and game developers introduced in the past, the game grew bigger than ever.
The precursor of video poker games are not video poker games. No. Video pokers originate from slots, which is why slots are known in Australia as ‘pokies’ meaning ‘poker games’. But, when Sittman and Pitt invented the first slot, the reels didn’t have poker card symbols.
Seven years later when Charles Fey invented his slot version, the poker symbols were introduced. So, this was basically the first video poker machine. And each time a coin was inserted and the lever pulled, the reels would spin and when they stopped they would form a random poker hand.
If it was a winning hand, the player won. You could even decide which cards (reels) to hold and which will be re-spun. However, because there were only 5 reels with 10 card symbols on each of them, only 50 cards were used instead of 52. The ones missing were usually jack of hearts and ten of spades, so it was very difficult to hit a Royal Flush.
At the turn of the century, poker machines were produced heavily by Sittman and Pitt. They were really popular and even more popular than slots. The reason why they took off so easily is because it wasn’t all just blind luck like in slots. Instead, poker machines gave you the power of decision.
In the beginning, poker machines could be played anywhere, from bars to liquor and convenience stores. And just like slots, the prizes were paid off in cigars or food instead of currency so they wouldn’t be banned as gambling games, since gambling was not legal in most of the United States.
The 1970s was the golden age for casino games. Electronic slots and poker games were introduced, which meant no more mechanics and ‘hello’ to the future. A computer processor was used, a video screen and buttons. This is why we know them today as video slots and video poker games.
Dale Electronics introduced the first video poker game in the world in 1970. It was called Poker-Matic and you could find it all over Vegas. It wasn’t a very big hit, but it paved the way for the modern video slot games.
How to Play
Video poker is extremely easy once you know all the poker hands. The game play is simple too, and don’t need much explaining. First you need to set your bet size and bet amount. When you’ve done that, just click ‘deal’ to get a hand of five cards.
Now you get to decide which cards you are going to hold, and which one you will replace with new cards at re-spin. It is at this moment that is essential to have basic poker knowledge of poker hands and their strength. Otherwise you would be holding and discarding cards at random.
Hit the re-spin button and the computer will replace the discarded cards with new ones. If your new hand is a winning hand, you will be paid out according to the payout table. If not, you start a new round. The biggest hand you can get is Royal Flush, and usually pays 4000 coins. But, since there are dozens of video poker variations, the payouts can differ.
Many video poker games have the ‘wild’ card, which can replace a missing card in your hand thus helping you to win the round. The wild card usually is a deuce or a joker. Some games have more than one wild card in the decks.
Making Money with Video Poker
Unlike its relative, the slot machine, video poker has a much better house edge. In the golden days of the 70s, profitable video poker games were bountiful. If you were skilled enough, you could turn the house edge against the house i.e. you would have a return more than 100%. Sadly, when casino’s realized that, they tightened the edge, but it still was one of the best paying among all casino games.
A fun fact is that Indian blackjack players have shown to be the very interested in video poker. Mainly because it is possible to apply a basic or specific strategy just like in blackjack. People like fair game, and video poker is as fair as it gets.
The most important truth in video poker is that you can’t get a better chance of becoming a winner than with other games. The most popular video poker game among Indian players of all time is Jacks or Better. Try it, learn it and win at it. The house edge is close to 0%!
And remember, whenever you want to try a different video poker game, don’t forget to check the pay table first to see how big the payouts are. Also, try to learn a simple strategy first, one which will introduce you into more complex ones.