Since its arrival in casino floors in the 1970’s, video poker has earned itself a special place among the most loved games by both experienced players and novices. Although it is not particularly colorful or visually stunning, it is, in fact, a wonderful combination of skill, chance and winning opportunities. Video poker is often considered a player’s advantage type of game, along with table poker and blackjack, where skilled, well-informed players can turn the odds in their favor. It also eliminates the sense of intimidation that comes with sitting at a table and playing against others.
The popularity of the game has increased rapidly and continues to do so, especially after it became available in a virtual, online form. It is now simpler than ever, while at the same time it comes with all the thrill and the challenges of regular poker, so even well-versed poker players would sometimes find it difficult to come up with a mathematically correct strategy to win. Almost all web-based casinos are now offering at least several variations of video poker. Some of them are even extending their gaming collections with unique titles that offer different bonus games, increased payouts, or progressive jackpots.
With this seemingly endless number of gambling sites and the ones launching every day, finding a good online casino for playing video poker may be a hard task. Many experienced players, however, have their favorite places to gamble and these are not necessarily the largest or the most famous ones.
Basics of Online Video Poker
Video poker in online casinos is very similar to the original, console-based game found in almost every brick-and-mortar casino. It derives from the 5-card draw poker, which is considered to be one of the simplest forms of table poker, but instead of being played on a bulky, slot-like machine, it is a computer game, much like all the virtual table and card games we play today. Unlike in regular poker, where you play against other gamblers or a dealer, you play against a computer. Sophisticated software, called RNG (or Random Number Generator), determines what cards you will receive, while the outcome of the game depends only on your decisions and the randomness, generated by the RNG algorithm.
How to play
At the start of the game, players choose the denomination and the number of coins they wish to bet. After clicking the Deal/Draw button, they are given 5 cards which they can choose to hold. Then, another set of cards are dealt upon clicking the same button and the discarded cards are replaced by new ones. The goal is to collect a certain combination of cards, which qualifies for a winning. In most games, the winning hands, as these combinations are called, are 9.
The lowest paying hand is a Pair of Jacks (or a Pair of Tens in the game Tens or Better), followed by Two Pair, Three of a Kind, and Straight, which consists of 5 consecutive cards of varying suits. Next in the hand ranking are Flush, 5 cards of the same suit in no numerical order, Full House, which is 3 cards of the same order and a Pair, and Four of a Kind, which is self-explanatory. The hands that bring the highest payouts are Straight Flush, or 5 consecutive cards of the same suit, and Royal Flush, which is the strongest Straight Flush. It is formed by a Ten, a Jack, a Queen, a King, and an Ace of the same suit.
Each of these winning hands is paid a particular amount of money, determined by the pay table of each particular game. There are numerous variations of video poker and each of them has its own pay table that is in direct correlation with the payback percentage of the game you play. Typically, most video poker variations have RTPs (Return to Player) of 98-99%, but every modification in the pay table shows in the payback – it can decrease to 95% or goes beyond 100%. This means that if you bet $100 on a game with 100% payback, over time, you will win back your entire investment.
Video Poker Variations
The aforementioned rules apply to the most basic variation of table poker called Jacks or Better. However, some games have differently designed pay tables and additional winning hands, which reflect on the expected return, of course. For instance, in Tens or Better, the lowest hand that qualifies for winnings is a Pair of Tens, while Bonus Poker is a game where a hand of four Aces is better paid than four Twos, for instance. There are many other games, based on Jacks or Better, but with slightly different payouts.
Another highly popular video poker game that gave birth to many other variations is Deuces Wild. The Deuces in the game (in other words, the Twos) are Wild Cards, which means that you can use them as substitutes if you are missing one card to a winning combination. For example, a hand of three Tens and a Deuce will turn into a Four of a Kind hand and paid out accordingly. Wild Cards also make it possible for a new winning hand to emerge in certain games, the Five of a Kind. Logically, a Royal Flush without Wilds pays more than a Royal Flush with a Wild Card. This is also true for Joker Poker, where a single Joker is added to the deck of 52 cards and it serves as a Wild Card.
The basic video poker games are played with a single deck of cards (from Twos to Aces), but there are also variations where you bet on multiple hands simultaneously. And the cards in each hand are dealt from an individual deck, making the winning strategy more complex. Along with single-hand and multi-hand variations, we can also split video poker games into two other major groups – full pay games where the payout for Full House is 9 times the bet size, while the payout for Flush is 6 to 1, and the rest are low pay versions, which usually have less attractive payback percentages.
How to Choose a Casino
Some video poker games are more favorable to the player than others. There are literally hundreds of variants that are developed by different software providers, so the pay tables, the in-game features, and the quality of the graphics are varying. In addition, thousands of online casinos have added video poker among their offerings. There are, obviously, plenty of factors to take into account when choosing a good casino to play video poker at.
For most players, the first concern is the welcome bonus for new players (among other promotions), which sometimes makes your time in the casino worthwhile, helping you to play for free for several days or even return your investment. However, there is something more important and this is the credibility and the fairness of the casino – players should always choose sites which are properly licensed and certified to provide fair games with random results. The licenses can be issued by various regulators, depending on the gambling jurisdiction the casino and the player are in.
It is necessary for the websites to use TLS or SSL encryption – this technology encrypts users’ personal and banking data and keeps financial transactions secure. Of course, online casinos should clearly display all the important information on their sites, including the Terms and Conditions, which are sometimes perplexing and tricky, to say the least. All these are essential when it comes to real-money gambling and players are investing their own finances into the games.
Everything else is a question of personal preferences – whether players use credit cards to deposit or find e-wallets more convenient; whether they look for a casino which offers more diverse games; whether they want to contact the customer support via a live chat or by the phone; which currency they prefer to make payments in, and so on.
Top 10 Online Casinos for Video Poker
This online casino was established in 2012 by Broadway Gaming Ltd., the gambling operator behind multiple online bingo operations, as well as several web-based casinos. Lucky247 has multiple licenses from regional regulators, as well as an international license from the Malta Gaming Authority. It provides professional 24/7 customer support and several English-language communication channels – live chat, email, and phone service. Payments are safe, reliable and relatively fast – withdrawals are pending between 24 and 72 hours before being transferred. The available payment methods are MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Neteller, Skrill, Ukash, Euteller, iDeal, InstaDebit, and others.
The casino has a modern design and a simplistic layout, so it is easy to navigate. Powered by industry giant Microgaming, it offers a large collection of games – slots, video poker games, table and card games, as well as scratch cards and many progressive jackpots. Compared to most online casinos, the selection of video poker titles is quite extensive, as it includes more than 20 games, ranging from classic single-hand variations to more action-packed multi-hand variants. Among the most played ones are Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Louisiana Double, Double Double Bonus Poker, and Deuces Wild Power Poker.
888Casino is a respected international casino with over 20 million registered players from all around the world. It is licensed and regulated under the laws of Gibraltar and is available in multiple languages. The casino works with various software providers, so the games on offer are exceptionally diverse and all are of high quality – hundreds of online slots, video poker, virtual and live dealer table games. The site also has a separate poker room, as well as a bingo section for those who need a break from the roulette or the slots. The video poker section is not particularly rich but it hosts all the popular variations, including several multi-play games.
The casino software can be downloaded on a Windows PC but all games and features run ideally in the Flash version, as well. Players can rely on professional assistance in 11 languages via email, live chat, or telephone. The casino offers 24/7 secure banking and various payment methods including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and Neteller. The promotions at 888Casino are among its greatest advantages over other gambling sites – there is a welcome no-deposit bonus of up to $/€888, but Canadian players can also enjoy a 100% first-deposit bonus of up to CA$200, as well as a CA$1,200 Welcome Bonus Package, which consists of 12 reload bonuses credited each month. There are also plenty of free spins bonuses, friend referral programs, limited-time promotions, and VIP Club rewards.
Royal Vegas is one of the most beautifully designed Microgaming casinos on the Internet. It is modern, user-friendly and fully mobile compatible. On your desktop, you can either play the Flash games or download the Casino Client. The casino offers a true Vegas-like experience to all gamblers with over 500 games across various categories and styles – online slots, table games, video poker, scratch cards, bingo and Keno games, etc. The video poker collection has all the classics such as Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Aces and Faces, Aces and Eights, Joker Poker, as well as popular Microgaming titles like Bonus Poker Deluxe, Tens or Better Power Poker, Deuces Wild Power Poker, Louisiana Double, and many others.
Royal Vegas is a safe, trustworthy casino, which is fully licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority and is part of the Fortune Lounge Group, one of the leading online gambling operators. It owns brands like All Slots Casino, Euro Palace, Red Flush, Casino LaVida, and more. Royal Vegas is among their best creations, well-known among players for its secure, verified payments, highly professional customer support, and excellent loyalty program. The bonus for newly registered players is given upon making the first three deposits into the casino and reaches a total of CA$1,200.
Spin Palace is a popular Microgaming casino and is a great place to play for real money whether you are a fan of video poker, online slots, or classic table games. The casino offers a smooth, nicely designed instant-play interface, but it can also be downloaded and accessed from the desktop of your computer. With over 50 titles, its video poker section is one of the largest and most diverse on the web right now and customers can play for free or for real money games such as Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Tens or Better, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, and many others. There are also plenty of multi-hand, power variations they can choose from.
The casino has introductory, How to Play sections and a beautiful blog where players can find useful information about the games. The support teams can be contacted in different languages at any time of the day and week via live chat, telephone or email. For those who want to use locally available methods for depositing and withdrawing, Spin Palace provides a flexible and safe banking system and services such as MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Neteller, Skrill, Trustly, iDebit, Paysafecard, EcoPayz, eCheck, and many more. It is certified for fair gaming by eCOGRA and holds licenses from the MGA and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
This is another excellent Microgaming online casino which accepts players from almost any corner of the world and is available in various languages. Ruby Fortune is part of the Palace Group Casinos, along with Spin Palace and Mummy’s Gold Casino, so players can rely on professional assistance and 24/7 customer support, as well as a good rewards program which is common for all casinos in the group. Ruby Fortune can be opened in the browser of any computer with Adobe Flash Player installed, or Windows users can download its software and play the games directly from their desktop.
Ruby Fortune offers an average payout ratio of 97% and more than 400 games – table and card games, online slots, and of course, many video poker options, developed by Microgaming. They include Jacks or Better, Aces and Eights, Double Double Bonus Poker, Aces and Faces Power Poker, Bonus Deuces Wild, and more.
The casino holds licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The payments are relatively fast and players can make payments in USD, EUR, CAD and GBP. The accepted deposit and withdrawal methods are Visa, MasterCard, Ukash, Skrill, Neteller, Entropay, PayPal, instaDebit, Paysafecard, etc. Players will receive up to CA$750 on their first three deposits into the casino.
Betway is certainly one of the most popular gambling brands in the world and although it started as a book maker, its online casino quickly turned into one of the most visited Microgaming casinos. It offers high levels of security and fairness, reliable payouts, and great customer service. Its licenses are issued by the Malta Gaming Authority and the Great Britain Gambling Commission. Along with casino and sportsbook sections, Betway also has a separate poker room and a bingo operation.
The games in the casino are provided by Microgaming and can be played in-browser with no download required. They are divided into various categories including Slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Video Poker, Jackpots, and Live Casino. Players can place bets on more than 20 video poker games – classic single-hand variations such as Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild, exciting games like Double Double Bonus Poker, Double Joker Poker, as well as multi-hand versions of almost all video poker titles.
Betway casino has a great welcome bonus of $/€1,000 and even a more attractive one for new players residing in Canada – they will receive 100% match bonus on their first deposit of at least CA$20, as well as additional match bonuses on the following four deposits. The total amount of the package is CA$1,500.
When it launched in 2006, Eurogrand focused on providing premium gambling services to European players but since then, it has become globally oriented, accepting players from all around the world. It is part of the prestigious British William Hill Group and is in partnership with Playtech, offering an instant-play interface, as well as a downloadable casino software. The casino has a fantastic collection of online slots, video poker, card games, roulette, and even live dealer games. The Playech video poker variations include Jacks or Better, Aces or Faces, Deuces Wild, Tens or Better, Two-Ways Royal, and the progressive jackpot version Mega Jacks.
Eurogrand offers secure withdrawals which take, however, longer to process in comparison with many other online casinos – they are in pending status for up to 4 days. In order to deposit, players can choose their preferred payment method from a wide range of services, including most major credit and debit cards, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, Paysafe, eChecks, Bitcoin, various electronic vouchers and online banking services. Eurogrand is licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission in the UK and the Government of Gibraltar.
Casino Action is a very popular gambling site powered by Microgaming, one of the leading gaming studios. The casino has a beautiful, user-friendly software package which can be downloaded for free, giving access to hundreds of games. Players can also open the Flash Casino, but it looks outdated and features only a small part of the games. The full version hosts all casino classics – slots, table and card games, video poker and even scratch cards. It offers an extensive range of video poker variations including Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, Tens or Better, All Aces, Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, and more than 40 others.
The casino offers 24/7 live chat support but it also has a support email, as well as toll-free numbers for players from all over the world. Multiple languages are supported, as well as several currencies – USD, CAD, EUR, and GBP. There are dozens of deposit and withdrawal methods accepted and some of the most popular services are PayPal, Skrill, Neterller, Visa, MasterCard, instaDebit, Paysafecard, iDEAL, Trustly, and Euteller. There is a lovely CA$1,250 welcome package for new players and it includes bonuses for the first five deposits. However, in order to claim it, players first need to download and install the casino client.
Videoslots is among the most exciting online casinos for slot fans – as its name suggests, it has a huge collection of classic and video slot games, as well as a great range of progressive jackpot slots. It works with a plethora of software providers including Microgaming, Play’n GO, NextGen, IGT, NetEnt, Yggdrasil, and many others. The casino may focuse on online slots but its video poker section is just as impressive, featuring more than 20 titles from Microgaming and several games from NetEnt. Players can expect all classic variations like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild, in combination with All American, All Aces Poker, Deuces Wild Power Poker, Double Joker Poker, and other multi-hand and “bonus” versions of the game.
The casino site has a stylish, design and is easy to navigate and search through all pages and sections of the casino. It is available in English, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and Russian, while payments are accepted in several currencies – USD, CAD, AUD, EUR, GBP, SEK, and NOK. Videoslots is licensed by the MGA, the UK Gambling Commission, and the Government of Curaçao. The tempting promotions include a welcome bonus of 100% on the first deposit, plus CA$10 free cash. There are also various limited-time offers, tournaments, and a Weekend Booster, which gives you a free cash reward every week.
Crazy Vegas is a modern, elegant online casino where gambling enthusiasts can play games from various software developers like Microgaming, NetEnt, Play’n GO, Evolution Gaming, Quickspin, an NYX. The choice of games is almost overwhelming – hundreds of traditional slot, video poker, blackjack, roulette and other table games. Players can place bets on different variations like Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Tens or Better, and a lot of other single and multi-hand video poker games.
The casino is instant-play, so no download is needed to play the games. The site is available in several languages and you can make deposits in various currencies, which makes Crazy Vegas a convenient gambling spot for international players. Security and fair gaming are guaranteed by SSL encryption and regular audits from independent testing agencies. The casino is also licensed and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority, so players can be sure that this is an entirely legal and reliable gambling site.
Another great online casino with an impressive collection of video poker games is Golden Tiger, a Microgaming-powered casino which offers secure services and reliable, professional support. It has a download version which gives access to hundreds of casino games – online slots, classic table and card games, plenty of progressive jackpots, and video poker. Players can also open the Flash Casino but the number of games available is quite limited.
Among the more popular video poker titles at Golden Tiger are Aces and Faces Power Poker, All Aces Poker, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Double Double Bonus Poker. There are many power or multi-hand variations players can choose from, while the most exciting game in this category is Jackpot Deuces which has a progressive, constantly increasing jackpot.
The welcome bonus is a bit untraditional – once they download the casino client and register, new players receive CA$1,500 Free Play money. They need to play it through within 60 minutes and collect winnings of CA$20 over the bonus sum. There is also a 100% match bonus on the first deposit. It reaches CA$100 and is followed by four additional deposit bonuses.