About Video Poker


The concept of video poker initially became a commercial possibility and viable when technology advanced to the point when it became possible and economically viable to design a television monitor with a one piece, self sustaining central processing unit. Video poker as been around as long as there has been personal computers. The history of video poker is remarkable as the technological advances have reflected the continued popularity of the game of poker.

The concept of video poker really did not become firmly established until the advent of the company “SIRCOMA.” (“Si Redd’s Coin Machines”). This would later develop in time to be known as “International Game Technology,” which introduced the video game of Draw Poker during the period of 1979. During the video gaming ere of the 1980s, video poker began to became more popular in traditional casinos. Players found the video poker units to be more friendly user and less intimidating than being at a game table with experience poker players. The popularity of video poker continues today and video poker gaming devices can be found dominating a significant amount of space on the floor of a number of casinos world wide. Video poker is especially a popular game in Las Vegas and the modern gaming units are easy to learn by new players as well as experience poker players.

The game is fairly simple to play. Once a player inserts money or a barcoded card or voucher with credit into the video poker machine, play begins just like the table game of poker by the player placing a bet and pressing or initiating the “deal” button. The player drawn cards are issued and just like the table game, the player will have the opportunity to discard one or more of the cards in exchange for new cards drawn from the same electronic or virtual deck. Following the draw of the cards, the video unit pays out to the player if the dealt hand or hands played matches one of the drawn winning combinations displayed by the video unit.

Some video poker machines offer progressive jackpots, or other special bonuses. This drives dedicated player to continue to play more and more coins or credit, which in turn increase the frequency of play.

The regulation of current video poker machines in licensed casinos in the United States are strictly regulated by local, state or Indian (Native-American) gaming agencies. These oversight agencies normally require that the video poker machines deal a random card sequence using a virtual standard deck of cards. This is drawn from the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) regulations, which were later adopted by other states authorizing gaming authority. All video poker machines are regularly tested to ensure full compliance with this gaming requirement before the units are offered to the public for use.

Some casinos offer video games which appear to be a video poker game, but is actually just “front ends” for a random drawing similar to a slot machine game. These types of games are not video poker games and instead are called “video lottery terminals” (VLT). These types of units are required to have the term “VLT” embedded somewhere on the front of the machine. Because these machines are not drawing cards from a standard virtual deck, each hand has no relation to the previous hand and the player is essentially playing a slot type machine.

There are many types and variations of the video poker game. These types include “Deuces Wild,” in which a two serves is the wild card; “PSM” (pay schedule modification), in which four aces jointly with a five or smaller pays out an enhanced sum. These types of games are label with the term “bonus” or “triple or double” payout. There is also “multi play poker,” in which the player starts with a standard hand and then each additional hand played draws from a different card set with the base hand.

In video poker games which do not present a wild card, a normal player will, on average, draw the rare “four of a kind” hand about once in every 500 hands. Contrary, a player may have to play tens of thousands of hands even before a very extremely rare royal flush is drawn, which of course usually has the highest payout.

With the advent of internet, video poker games designed for online play is now available in the United States in three different states. These states include Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. Game play is permitted by players in these states if they are of legal gambling age and are residents in the states where the video poker play is permitted.

When the modern video poker card games first appeared, the highest paying schedue of any particular game was called a “Full Pay” game. Video poker games with variants that returned a little lower payout percentage were coined “Short Pay” games. Although the term “Full Pay” is still being used today, there are several game variations which return more to the player. Payout percentage simply express the long term anticipated value of the player’s bet as a percentage if the poker game is always played perfectly.

The calculated payoff schedules for most modern regulated video poker machines are designed with a pay schedule which pays out proportionally more for specific hands (example; the Royal Flush), but only if the maximum bet is placed. Thus, players who play with smaller bets play with an anticipated smaller theoretical return.

Deuces Wild Game
The “Deuces Wild” game is a variation of the standard video poker game in which all twos in he deck are wild. This means the wild cards can be substituted for any other drawn card in the deck in order for the player to to enhance their poker hand. In the game Deuces Wild, the payout, for example, for a “four of a kind” makes up about one third of the calculated payback percentage of any played game, while a “four of a kind” can occur only on average about every fifteen hands. Deuces Wild games can be found with calculated pay schedules which offer a theoretical payout return as high as 100 or more percent, but this is only if the player plays with a perfect strategy. This version of the video poker game is only found in Nevada and can be found with various calculated pay schedules.

Joker’s Wild Game
The “Joker’s Wild,” video poker game is a standard wild card game using the Joker cards. The joker cards are fully wild in value and can be substituted to make the player’s existing card hand stronger. By including the wild jokers the dealt game creates the possibility of a five of a kind hand.

All American Game
The “All American” video poker game is based on the value of Jacks or better with the addition of an increased payback for all flushes, straight flushes and straights, however there is a reduced payback for full houses as well as two pairs. The calculated payouts can be very high but the winning hands require a complex a very detailed strategy. This is not one of the mainstream video poker games that one would find on a normal basis.

Tens or Better Game
The “Tens or Better” video poker game is a slight variation of the Jacks or Better game. The minimum payout hand is a drawn pair of tens, rather than a standard pair of Jacks. The strategy is similar as between the two games, despite the variant full house and flush paybacks.