People often wonder how video poker works and how it differs from having a hand of cards to spinning reels of a slot game. The hand combinations may be a bit tough to remember and find the best versions of video poker which feature the highest payouts may be a bit challenging as well.
The primary difference between video poker and slots is the fact that a slot game relies heavily on luck, there is no skill attached to the game, you make a bet, you spin the reel and hope for the best. However, video poker enforces the rules of conventional poker, a strategy is put in place, use the house edge to your advantage, and score a better win ratio when compared to slots.
Video poker also provides what’s known as a payback table, this helps players to determine what the payout percentage will be or choose the machines which are programmed to pay the highest dividends.
When analysing the various payback tables of poker games, you should pay attention to two sets of info, the flush hands and the full house hands. In the first column, the payback may vary from 8 to 6 points whereas flush odds may switch from 5 to 6 and vice versa. This may sound complex, but to narrow it down, a game which offers 7 points for a full house and 5 points for a flush hand will decrease the return to player percentage to 96.15% which is the weakest rate you’ll find on a video poker game, but it’s pretty standard for a slot game.
It’s common for slot games to have RTP rates in the range of 93% - 96%, they’ll rarely hit the 97% mark. Whereas a video poker game which holds 9 points for a full house and 6 points for a flush hand will deliver an RTP of 99.54% of your wager back over long-term play.
Video poker games are played with 52 cards or 2 decks, the random number generator or RNG will provide the numbers for your hand and the ones that are visible on the screen. It’s up to you to make the decision on which cards to keep and which cards you’ll discard, as per the conventional rules of poker.
Royal Flush – 10, J, Q, K, A, this rare hand involves the highest cards that are straight cards from A to 10 in the same suit.
Straight Flush – 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, this involves 5 cards of the same suit.
Four of a Kind – 3, K, K, K, K, this involves four cards of the same rank and they may be a combination of different suits.
Full House – 10, 10, 10, A, A, this involves three cards of the same rank and they may be a combination of different suits.
Flush – K, 7, 3, 4, 5, this involves five cards of the same suit; however, if two flushes fight each other, the one possessing the highest ranked card wins.
Straight – 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, any five cards in the following order, the suit doesn’t matter.
Three of a Kind – A, A, A, x, x, three cards of the same rank in different suits.
Two Pair – 10, 10, A, A, two cards of the same rank + two cards of the same rank.
One Pair – 5, 5, x, x, x, one pair of two cards of the same rank.
High Card – x, x, x, x, J, five cards in no particular order, the highest-ranked card determines the value of the hand, and an Ace in the hand is the highest high card hand.
These hands require some time to get used to and it’s vital to know each one by heart before you start making any bets on video poker games. Even though the games are completely random, it’s in your best interest to formulate a sound strategy that will prevent disappointment.