Worldwide, video poker is one of the most popular and celebrated casino games in history. Typically based on the five-card draw variant of the game, video poker has been doing its thing in millions of gaming halls for at least four decades.
Nowadays, online casino gamers are comprehensively spoilt for choice. To such an extent that many simply get in and out of video poker from time to time, never giving the whole thing much thought. The problem being that as is the case with all casino games, you need to know what you’re doing to maximise your enjoyment and minimise potential losses.
For newcomers, video poker often comes across as rather on the complex side. If you want to get into the finest detail with every possible strategy and precise odd calculations, it can be complex and extreme. But at the same time, simply getting to grips with the basics of video poker can be surprisingly simple.
So for anyone new to video poker looking to enjoy a hand or two, here’s a brief rundown of some of the most important tips and guidelines you need to know:
- Understand the Game You’re Playing
First and foremost, you need to pay close attention to the precise variant of video poker you will be playing. The reason being that there are countless different types of video poker available from just about any leading casino. Depending on which variant you choose, you could be looking at an entirely different set of rules. Just because one particular hand means pay-dirt in one variant doesn’t mean it has any value whatsoever elsewhere. If dealing with a type of poker you aren’t currently familiar with, feel free to download and print a chart detailing the various hands, odds and so on.
- Play Sensible Coin Bets
Video poker is the same as any other casino game, in that bigger bets open the door to bigger potential prizes. Technically speaking, the amount you bet doesn’t have any bearing on your respective likelihood of hitting any specific hand. Just as the odds of hitting two pairs are relatively good at all times, landing a royal flush is unlikely to happen irrespective of how much you bet. It’s therefore up to you to determine exactly how much you put on the line – common sense dictating it best to start with relatively small bets.
- Check Pay Structures
It’s important to know the pay structure of the variant of video poker you decide to try out. The reason being that if you have no idea which hands pay which prizes, you technically won’t have a clue what represents a sensible or foolish move. You could be one card away from an incredible payout and not even know it. Once again, it can be useful to print and retain a pay table, given how difficult it can be to memorise pay structures from top to bottom. And once again, don’t forget that pay structures differ enormously from one variant of video poker to the next.
- Practice Makes Perfect
The only realistic way to master the art of video poker is to practice, practice and practice some more. You can read all the helpful guides in the world, but it’s not until you get down to business that the whole thing starts making sense. It’s always advisable to do your homework alongside your video poker play, but be sure to put in as much practice as you can. This is precisely where the value of relatively modest wagers comes into the equation, along with the option of playing for free if your casino allows you to do so. It simply isn’t worth putting any decent amount of money on the line, before first getting to grips with things and knowing what you’re doing.
- Manage Your Bankroll
One of the most important rules of casino gaming in general also applies here. When playing video poker, you need to keep a close eye on your bankroll and ensure you never get carried away. Think about how much you can afford to lose, at what point you intend to walk away and how much time you plan to spend playing. You need to be as careful as you can with managing your time and money – lose track for a moment and the consequences could be catastrophic.
- Choose a Reputable Casino
For the most part, it’s rare to come across an online video poker machine that isn’t comprehensively trustworthy and safe to enjoy. That said, there will always be certain substandard casinos on the web that don’t make the grade. As is the case with all casino gaming, the key to maximising your safety and enjoyment lies in selecting the best possible casino for the job. Check out the reviews and recommendations of other gamers, along with independent specialists who know what they’re talking about.
- Take your Time
Attempting to rush things simply for the sake of it really is nonsensical. There are no specific time limitations (with most video poker machines) so there’s nothing to stop you taking your time and enjoying the experience. In fact, the moment your enjoyment stops, you should probably stop playing entirely. Taking your time means giving yourself the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, analyse what’s going on and gradually build your video poker prowess.
- Ignore Inane Strategies
Last but not least, avoid the temptation to buy into any so-called ‘winning’ strategies for video poker. The simple fact of the matter being that there isn’t a single video poker strategy in existence that guarantees your success. If there was, every casino worldwide offering video poker machines would have gone out of business long ago. The odds are always tipped slightly in favour of the provider, meaning that sooner or later, the house always wins. There’s plenty you can do to improve your chances of winning and minimise potential losses, but actually guaranteeing success is completely out of the question.
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