Poker really grabbed the attention of TV audiences all over the world. We need to thank the hugely successful televised tournaments for that. If you don’t fancy your chances in a high stakes tournament, perhaps free video poker is the game for you. Online video poker allows you to play the popular card game without the need for bluffing or showing your poker face. In this guide, we’ll teach you the basics, as well as how to improve your chances of winning using video poker strategy.
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How to play free video poker
Online video poker is a simple and fast-paced version of poker. You simply choose your stake and hit the ‘deal’ button to receive five cards, then decide whether or not you wish to keep any of the cards you have been dealt. You can hit ‘hold’ beneath each card you wish to keep. Or you can have the game automatically hold good card combinations for you.
You then hit ‘deal’ once more. If you have a winning hand, you are paid out immediately. If not, you can try another hand. The game is really that easy.
The hands in free video poker are ranked the same as in other poker games and are as follows from lowest to highest:
- High card
- One pair
- Two pairs
- Three of a kind
- Full house
- Four of a kind
- Straight flush
- Royal flush
The majority of free video poker games don’t reward a high card with a win, but some might do so for a single ace. In many cases, a pair must also be at least a jack, such as in the game Jacks or Better. Check the rules of a game before playing to see if this is the case. Some free video poker games have wild cards. They can replace other cards to form a winning hand. In Deuces Wild, 2s are wild and in Jokers Wild it is the jokers that perform this function.
Typical payouts for winning hands are the following number of coins:
- One pair – 1
- Two pairs – 2
- Three of a kind – 3
- Straight – 4
- Flush – 6
- Full house – 9
- Four of a kind – 25
- Straight flush – 50
- Royal flush – 250
Video poker strategy
Whenever you play a casino game, you want to maximise your chances of winning and video poker is no different. There is no video poker strategy that guarantees you’ll always win – that would be too easy. Yet, there are a number of things you can do whilst playing that will make the best out of the cards you’ve got and give you an increased chance of winning.
In some cases, you will be dealt a winning hand immediately and there will be no point in playing any further part. A royal flush, straight flush, or full house will not be bettered. Two pairs do of course give you the chance of a full house, but even on its own it’s a nice win.
In some cases, you might want to risk a win. For example, if you had 9, J, Q, K, and A of clubs you’ve got yourself a flush, a guaranteed payout of 6. Why not hold everything except the 9 and go for a royal flush? It might seem crazy to throw away a win but risking 6 for a potential win of 250 can be a worthwhile risk to take.
You should always hold a pair, but don’t hold a single Ace. It’s often best just to let it ride on the re-deal if you only have a high card.
Where to play online video poker
Free video poker can be played at pretty much every single online casino. You can play for free without having to join the casino. It’s a great way to try out all the different free video poker games which are available to you.
Once you’ve practised and found your favourite game, you can sign up and play with real money for some added excitement.