A Simple Beginner's Guide to Video Poker
Most players here at Juicy Stakes Poker are looking for poker against real opponents. Beginners usually start at low stakes and work their way up to higher stakes as their skill level grows.
We would like to suggest that playing video poker may be an even better way for new poker players to learn how to play poker! Video poker is a popular casino game based on five-card draw poker. It provides strategic experience for players of all skill levels and especially for new players.
Video Poker is Easy on Your Bankroll
Video poker has a very high return to player rate of about 99.5% which new players cannot hope to match when playing against more experienced players. New players are often intimidated by bluffing and video poker solves that problem since there is NO bluffing in the game.
Many books have been written on how to learn to play poker and they all spend a lot of time dealing with bluffing.
So, if you are looking for help in learning how to play poker for beginners, video poker might be the best place to start!
How to Play Video Poker
Video poker is based on two poker ideas: five card draw poker and hand rankings. The hand rankings in video poker follow those in traditional poker. The strongest hand is a Royal Flush and video poker strategy takes that fact into account.
For the true beginners, here are the hand rankings:
- Royal Flush
- Straight flush
- Four of a kind
- Full House
- Three of a kind
- Two pair
- One pair
- High card
A Royal Flush is very rare and a hand without a single pair is the most common hand with five cards.
Begin the Game
Video poker is all digital and the start is entirely obvious once you have the game on your screen.
The dealer deals the cards but is not a part of the hand. You play against the pay scales!
After the deal, you have a hand of five cards and you have to evaluate the hand.
Evaluation of Poker Hands
In poker against real opponents, hand evaluation is a vital aspect of every hand. Video poker gives players the chance to improve their ability to analyze hands with a very high return-to-player rate that makes learning POKER a tutorial with almost no cost!
Learning which cards to discard is the essence of video poker strategy. Learning to evaluate hands and opponents are equally at the core of regular poker.
Video poker takes evaluating opponents out of the equation and therefore makes it a game that helps new poker players learn how to evaluate hands better. Thus, video poker serves a valuable role in teaching new poker players the nuances of poker.
Once you decide which cards to discard, you get new cards and the hand is over. There is no contemplating what the opponents might have. That aspect of poker is outside of video poker. Your final hand is compared to the pay table, and if it matches one of the winning combinations, you receive a payout.
Strategy in Video Poker
Developing a sound strategy is key to maximizing your chances of winning in video poker. Here are some essential strategies to keep in mind:
- Play maximum coins.
- Always play 9-6 video poker.
- Use the strategy chart for the variation you are playing.
- Understand that as counter-intuitive as strategy decisions might seem they are the result of computerized statistical analysis of millions of hands.
- Become a very patient player.
Let’s Look at These Points
There is a big extra payout for a Royal Flush and you have to bet the maximum to qualify for this extra payout. Much of video poker strategy takes into account that it is often best to go for a higher hand rather than “settle” for the winning hand you were dealt.
Online casinos still offer 9-6 video poker. This means that they pay 9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush. Land-based casinos have, in many cases, gone over to 8-5 video poker which means 8 coins for a full house and only 5 coins for a flush.
The difference in return to player rate is substantial!
The next point is obvious: what works for Jacks or Better doesn’t work for every video poker variation. Play the strategy that conforms to the variation you are playing.
Patience is essential. The odds of winning a hand or losing a hand are almost even so there will be many losing hands. Video poker players need patience even when they are going through a losing streak. Eventually, every losing streak in video poker becomes a winning streak!
Variations in Video Poker
As we said, there are several variations in video poker. Here are the most common ones:
- Jacks or Better: The lowest hand that also is a winning hand is a pair of jacks. Jacks or Better is the most common video poker variation.
- Deuces Wild: The deuces are wild cards. This variation offers increased chances of hitting strong hands. Five of a kind can happen in Deuces Wild.
- Joker Poker: This variation has a Joker added to the deck. The Joker serves as a wild card.
- Bonus Poker: This is a variation of Jacks or Better, with larger payouts for some hands with four of a kind.
- Double Bonus Poker: This a variation of Double Bonus Video Poker in that it also has extra payouts for four-of-a-kind hands with Aces.
- Double Double Bonus Poker is yet another variation on Bonus Poker! Payouts are higher for four of a kind with aces and a 2, 3, or 4 kicker.
- Multi-Hand Video Poker: Allows gamers to play as many as 100 hands at the same time. Multi-hand video poker is great fun although it strains the budget of many gamers.
Some Benefits of Playing Video Poker for New Poker Players
Here are a few of the benefits of video poker for new players. There are probably many more!
- There are no opponents! We might say that the only “opponent” in video poker is the player himself or herself. Players own their tactical and strategic decisions. Video poker teaches new players the need for good money management, patience, emotional stability, and quick hand recognition.
- Players learn to believe in statistical analysis. Statistical analysis is at the heart of poker math which you will need when you start to play poker against real opponents.
- Appreciate that the return to player rate is so high. In video poker, as we said, the return-to-player rate is about 99.5%. In poker against real opponents, the RTP ranges from 0% to thousands percent! New players tend to fall into the 0% range but with video poker, new players can become good poker players much faster!
- Video poker is great for practicing hand recognition in poker.
Juicy Stakes Poker Encourages Video Poker for New Players
Video poker helps new players become experts in the esoteric sides of poker such as quick hand evaluation and accepting and using smart strategies. By playing video poker variations, beginners can enjoy the game while developing valuable poker skills.
Video poker allows new players to play with zero need to worry about being bluffed out of a hand. When players are ready to play against real opponents, they should recognize that they are ready to be bluffed or to bluff opponents!
This is a major step and Juicy Stakes Poker has many stakes levels for new players to hone their skills at as they climb to higher stakes.