Learn How to Play Video Poker for Real Money

Video Poker at Bovada

It’s been 40 years since the casino poker experience was changed forever. That’s when Draw Poker was introduced; this was the first video poker game to gain traction in Las Vegas casinos, and over the next few years, these video poker casino machines would spread to every corner of the poker gaming landscape. And they’re even more popular today, now that you can play video poker games online. The gaming world has said deuces to live casinos and have opened up to online poker games fully. 

Like any casino poker game, online or live, players can win more often at video poker if they play the cards right. Whether players are brand-new at the game or a seasoned veteran, this is the place to be if a player wants to build a complete video poker strategy that will maximize the results. We’ll show you what makes video poker at casinos so popular, the different games available at Bovada Casino online, and how to make the best decisions when you play for real money.

Top Three Reasons to Play Video Poker

Low House Edge: Every video poker game you play at the casino (aside from poker, which pits you against other players) carries a small house edge – this is basically the commission you pay the casino for providing the entertainment. Video poker games features the lowest house edge you’ll find at just about any casino; for example, if you play Jacks or Better Video Poker using an optimal strategy, you can whittle that house edge down to 0.46%. That’s even less than the 0.54% edge for six-deck Blackjack.

Play at Your Own Pace: When you play table games at a bricks-and-mortar casino, the Dealer controls the pace of play, which will also be affected by how many other players there are at the table. You don’t have to worry about this when you play video poker at Bovada Casino online. You’re the one in control – you can play as quickly or slowly as you like, giving you the opportunity to think through your strategy and make the right decisions while playing video poker for real money.

Strategy Delivers Results: Playing the slots will give players many of the same benefits as video poker, but players won’t get the same low house edge, and they won’t have control over the results. If you prefer a game that will challenge you while remaining easy to play, video poker is the game for you. This online video poker guide will show you how to hone your skills; use it the same way you would any table games guide at Bovada, online for real money, to get the most bang for your casino buck.





Rules on How to Play Online Video Poker

Casino Video poker is based on the classic card game of 5-Card Draw, which was the most popular way to play poker back in the day. In 5-Card Draw, you’re dealt five cards, then you get one opportunity to discard anywhere from zero to five of your cards, and “draw” to replace them. The idea is to make the highest poker hand possible at the casino table. In a video poker game like Jacks or Better that uses the familiar 52-card deck with no Jokers or other Wild Cards, the standard poker hand rankings apply:

  • Royal Flush (Ace through Ten, same suit)
  • Straight Flush (five consecutive cards, same suit)
  • Four of a Kind (four cards of one rank)
  • Full House (three cards of one rank, two cards of another)
  • Flush (five cards of same suit)
  • Straight (five consecutive cards)
  • Three of a Kind (three cards of one rank)
  • Two Pair (two cards of one rank, two cards of another)
  • Pair (two cards of one rank)

Your real money payout in video poker will depend on which hand you make and how large your bet is; the higher the rank/bet, the bigger the prize. Note that in most video poker games at casinos, you need to have at least a Pair (High Card won’t win you anything), and that Pair has to be big enough to qualify. For example, Jacks or Better is exactly what the name says – you need at least a Pair of Jacks to win.

Other video poker casino games that include wild cards will give you the chance to make even more playing hands than what you’ll find in the standard poker rankings. When you play Deuces Wild, each of the four Deuces in the deck is a wild card. The basic Royal Flush is still the highest rank, but there are now three other ranks that will beat a Straight Flush: Four Deuces, Wild Royal, and Five of a Kind. Also, the minimum qualifying hand for Deuces Wild is 3 of a Kind.

Understanding Video Poker Paytables

You can find out the hand rankings and the real money payouts for your chosen video poker game by consulting the casino paytable at the top of the game display. The ranks are listed in order from top to bottom, and there are payout columns for however many coins you bet. To give you as close to a live casino experience as possible, you can bet anywhere from one to five coins, at a denomination of your choosing from the ones available. With Jacks or Better, your coin can be 5 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, $1, or $5.

Since the online real money paytables determine what the prizes will be when you make a certain playing hand, they also determine what video poker strategy you should play to get the largest real money payback percentage possible. You can use web-based calculators to help you devise these strategies for different video poker games; just plug in the numbers from the real money paytable, and the calculator will do the rest. Make sure to use a reliable source for these strategies before trying them out at Bovada Casino online.

Video Poker Variations: Which One Should You Play?

Because there’s always a house edge (however small it may be) when you play online video poker at Bovada, choosing which video poker games to play is a balancing act between entertainment value and low house edge. If you want the lowest edge, Double Jackpot is the best choice at 0.37%. If you want the most entertainment value, that’s a more subjective choice; you might prefer a game with Wild Cards like Joker Poker.

Note that many of the video poker games at Bovada's online casino also come in different games that allow you to play multiple hands at once. With Joker Poker and Jacks or Better, you can play 1, 3, 10, or 52 hands at the same time. Again, you have control over the pace of play – just make sure your bet size and number of hands fit the size of your bankroll, so you can play your chosen game without having your session end prematurely.





Video Poker Betting: Everything You Need to Know

Before we get into the wild nuts and deuces bolts of video poker strategy, here’s the king of all video poker tips: Always play for the maximum five coins. If you look at the real money paytable for Jacks or Better, you’ll see that a Royal Flush pays out at 250 for one coin, 500 for two coins, and so on – until you get to five coins, where the prize is a mammoth 4000. To play the game optimally, you need to be able to win this real money jackpot, so choose a coin size that allows you to hit the “Bet Max” button. If you normally play one $5 coin at a time, play five $1 coins instead.

All the other decisions you’ll make playing casino video poker online have to do with the cards themselves. Which ones should you keep, and which ones should you discard? Again, that will depend on the real money paytable for your chosen video poker game. It’s all about balancing risk and reward; you might have a hand with a small chance of drawing to a large prize, or a better chance of drawing to a smaller prize. Figuring out the right call boils down to working out the math when playing video poker online for real money.

This is where the internet comes in handy. Most online video poker calculators will figure out the optimal video poker strategy for your game, based on the casino paytables, but beware: These online strategies can be very complex and take a long time to learn. For example, if you get dealt a Jacks or Better hand that contains both four cards to a Flush and three cards to a Royal Flush, you normally want to draw to the Royal – unless two of those cards are an Ace and a Ten, and the off-suit card is also a Ten. 

That’s using the optimal strategy. A near-optimal, or simplified video poker strategy, will be much easier for you to learn and implement, although you’ll also be adding slightly to the house edge in return. It’s the same trade-off you might make when using a simplified blackjack strategy at Bovada's online Casino. Newer casino video poker players are recommended to start with a near-optimal strategy, refining your online video poker plays as you develop your online poker skills. We’ll help you get there; keep referring to this online guide for the latest in video poker games strategy, and we’ll see you at those online video poker machines. 

Video Poker at Bovada

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