If you like video poker, you’re loving the 21st century. Thanks to slick software technology, the casino staple has been assisted greatly by certain plusses made available by advances in online gaming software. The result is the wide availability of variations on video poker now in play (so to speak) at mobile and online casinos to keep players interested in this fascinating game combining luck and skill.
Players today have access to numerous variations on the video poker theme that simply aren’t widely available at online casinos’ real-life counterparts.
Today viewed as akin to a combination of poker and slot machines in most parts of the English-speaking world (excepting contrarian Austrailia, which refers to video poker and slot machines under the single banner of “pokies”), video poker actually predates slot machines.
Back in the latter half of the 19th century, the first video poker machines were installed at various gaming halls and saloons. Resembling in format the 5-reel slot games of the present, these machines were based on the drawing of an ideal poker hand, with payment typically given in prizes like cigars or drinks. Common practice dictated the removal of a couple of face cards from a deck or two in order to reduce the probability of jackpot payouts on hands like royal flushes.
Video poker plays out somewhat like classic five-card draw poker (you know, that’s the variant you play strip poker in) without competitors at the table. The player is dealt five virtual cards; he/she may discard anywhere for zero to five cards and redraw. The objective is to get the highest-ranking poker hand possible, and payouts are based on strength of hand.
With cyberspace free of limitation on, you know, space, a decent online casino will stock at least a few variations on straight-up, vanilla video poker; a number of video poker apps for mobile devices are in ready supply as well, though these are typically limited to a single, visually uninteresting, free-play only video poker game.
Important for players to note is that, as wild cards are added to the game, odds and payouts decrease, and some hands may be denied payout altogether. For example, in a standard video poker game, a payout for getting a hand with a pair of jacks is expected. With wild cards added, pairs become far too common and so the basic wild-card variations won’t pay for any pair. In a game with, likesay, 2s wild and two jokers added won’t pay on two-pair hands, either!
Aside from the traditional five-card games, today there are multi-hand games and variations with wild cards added as well.
Multi-hand games may offer the simultaneous play of anywhere between five and 100 hands. When playing a multi-hand video poker game online, first choose the number of hands you’ll be playing; though for purposes of excitement, up to 100 “hands” are promised, but all are based on a single deal. Here’s the way it works.
The player is dealt five cards, usually placed at bottom center of the display screen. Elsewhere on the gameboard are displayed the four to 99 other hands, all five cards of each placed face down. The player chooses how many and which cards to discard and does so. Then – this is the wonderfully hypnotic and exciting bit – each of the hands is filled in with different draws, and each winning hand payouts out.
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