This article serves as an introduction to playing video poker online, including pointers on basic rules and strategy, the different kinds of games available, and which Internet casinos offer the best titles for Australian players.
With simple rules, low house edge and an element of strategy, video poker machines have always ranked among the best value games in land-based casinos. It’s the same story at real money gambling sites, where you can enjoy dozens of electronic poker titles all day, every day, without ever having to wait around for your favourite machine to open up.
Best online video poker casinos
The best and safest video poker websites are accredited by respected licensing jurisdictions and have reputations that precede them. They generally have a handful of video poker games from either one or multiple software providers. Video poker games can either come in a downloadable casino or in instant-play format.
Real money deposit & withdrawal options
Each of our top 10 real money video poker sites accepts Australian currency, with a number of fast, secure and highly convenient transaction methods available:
Credit cards and debit cards – Visa, MasterCard, Maestro
Web wallets – Neteller, Skrill, EcoPayz
Prepaid cash cards – Ukash, PaySafeCard
Instant online banking – POLi, Citadel Direct
You can also opt for more traditional means such as wire transfers and cheques. The payment options available vary between each casino, so always check the banking terms and conditions before signing up if there is a particular payment method you’re hoping to use.
How to play video poker
Almost all forms of Internet video poker follow the same set of gameplay rules:
1. Place your bet – Before you start the hand, you must decide how much to wager. Most machines allow you to bet up to five coins each turn, with a few different coin sizes available.
2. Start the hand – Once you have selected your bet size, hit the ‘Deal’ button. The game’s random number generator (RNG) will give you five cards from a standard deck of 52.
3. Discard and draw – Now you can choose to either keep (hold) or throw away (discard) any of your five cards. Every discarded card is replaced with a new one from the deck.
In all cases, the aim of the game is to qualify for a payout by drawing at least the entry-level poker hand. Each game has a unique pay chart which lists the winning hands and their respective returns per coin wagered. In standard Jacks or Better video poker, for example, you need at least a pair of Jacks to win anything, while the best paying hand is a royal flush:
|Hand||1 coin bet||2 coin bet||3 coin bet||4 coin bet||5 coin bet|
|Four of a kind||25||50||75||100||125|
|Three of a kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or better||1||2||3||4||5|
Many Web-based video poker games give you the option to either collect or gamble after a win. The gamble feature is much like those found on classic Australian pokies machines, where you are asked to choose ‘red’ or ‘black’ and a card is drawn at random. If you pick right, you double your winnings and you can choose whether to collect or go again; but as soon you get it wrong, you lose the whole lot.
Most popular game styles
Jacks or Better – The most common form of the game, and the one upon which most variants are based. It gets its name from the fact you must draw at least a pair of Jacks in order to earn a payout.
Deuces Wild – A very popular format in which all the Deuces (Twos) act as wild cards. This allows for unique hands such as the five of a kind, as well as separate payouts for a ‘wild’ royal flush (at least one Deuce) and a ‘natural’ royal flush (no Deuces).
Joker Poker – Another wild poker style, except this time the Joker is added to the standard French deck for 53 cards in total. Double Joker Poker includes a second wild card.
Bonus Poker – While Jacks or Better offers a flat rate for all four of a kinds, Bonus Poker awards increased payouts for a quad of Aces as well as Deuces, Threes and Fours. Double Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus offer even bigger payouts on four of a kinds.
All Aces – Take the Bonus Poker premise and add increased payouts for straight flushes, and you get one of the most user-friendly casino games around. Microgaming’s All Aces video poker title has only a 0.08% house edge – one of the lowest in any form of online gaming.
Aces & Eights – Not unlike the Bonus Poker variants, except the four of a kind bonuses are redistributed to include Eights and Sevens. The straight flush pays even better (70 for 1 in the Microgaming release) than in All Aces.
Aces & Faces – All the face cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) and Aces earn bonus payouts on four of a kind hands.
All American – This is maybe the most unique twist on the Jacks or Better pay chart. Flushes, straights and full houses all pay the same (8 for 1 in the Microgaming version), but there is a huge hike on the straight flush (200 for 1).
Microgaming power Poker & More multihand games
There are two kinds of video poker games online: the traditional single-play format, where players take on one hand at a time; and multi-play video poker, where you can cover numerous hands at once. The latter system creates ultra-fast gameplay with the chance to win huge jackpots on a single round, which makes it an ideal option for high-stakes video poker players.
Probably the best known multi-hand games are the Power Poker releases at top-ranked Microgaming casinos such as Royal Vegas, Casino-Mate and All Slots Casino. There’s also the Net Entertainment video poker collection at Thrills, Bgo and other secure NetEnt casinos, where you can choose to play five, 10, 25, 50, or 100 hands per turn on top titles like All American, Jacks or Better and Joker Wild.
Mobile video poker on iOS & Android devices
Online slot games notwithstanding, video poker is among the most widely available real money casino games for smartphone and tablet products. The best Australian mobile casinos carry as many as half a dozen varieties, including the most popular releases from Microgaming – the most prolific maker of online video poker products for remote devices. Easy touch controls make for smooth interactive gameplay, as you can simply tap on the cards you wish to hold or discard. For the best Android and iPhone video poker access, try the official Royal Vegas Casino app – available at the App Store and Google Play.
Tips & advice for playing online
Besides learning the game and signing up at a trusted, secure casino site, there are a few little tips and tricks which will help you get the most out of playing video poker online:
Always bet five coins per hand – The vast majority of Internet video poker games feature a big jackpot on the royal flush, but only when you bet the maximum amount of coins. Always wager the full five coins, as it opens the door for bigger rewards and keeps the house edge down.
Learn video poker strategy – What separates video poker from online pokies, roulette and many other games of chance is that we can influence the outcome through our own decision-making. For all the most popular video poker styles, you can find dedicated strategy charts which describe the best play for any given situation. Learn them, as they will greatly improve your chances of success.
Beware short pay machines – Some video poker games may tilt the odds in the casino’s favour by offering shorter payouts than usual on certain hands. One to look out for is 8/5 Jacks or Better, where the full house (8 for 1) and flush (5 for 1) both pay one unit less than standard (9/6). That might not sound like much, but it drives the house edge up by around 2.24% – nearly five times the initial figure.