CAFE CASINO | VIDEO POKER
Everything you need to play Video Poker at Cafe Casino is right here at your fingertips in this handy guide.
Video Poker has come a long way over the last 40 years. That’s how long it’s been since an unassuming machine called Draw Poker made its debut on casino floors in Las Vegas; the game was a smash hit, and before you knew it, these machines were everywhere. Now you can play real money video poker any time you like from the comfort of your home, or on the go using your mobile device. We’ll show you how in this quick, easy-to-read guide.
Video poker didn’t get so popular by accident. These games have a little bit of something for everyone, from old-school fans of poker to slots enthusiasts. Real money video poker offers the lowest house edges you’ll find at any casino – if you make the right decisions with your cards. The basic strategy behind video poker is simple to pick up, and the more you immerse yourself in the game, the more you’ll get out of it.
Chances are you’ve played poker at some point. Texas Hold’em is the game of choice these days, but when poker was first making its way across the United States, Five-Card Draw was the game they played. It’s still a familiar home game, and arguably the simplest way to play; you receive five cards, then you get one chance to throw away as many cards as you like and draw new ones. Once the draw is finished, you have your final five-card poker hand.
In live poker, the general object is to have either the highest-ranking hand at the end, or to get all of your opponents to fold. But there aren’t any other opponents when you play video poker online for money – it’s just you and the machine. Your payouts depend solely on the strength of the hand you make, using the following standard poker hand rankings as a baseline:
Royal Flush (Ah-Kh-Qh-Jh-Th)
Straight Flush (5s-4s-3s-2s-As)
Four of a Kind (7s-7c-7d-7h-4s)
Full House (Qs-Qd-Qc-2s-2h)
Three of a Kind (3s-3h-3d-Kc-6c)
Two Pair (Kh-Kd-Qc-Qh-4s)
In order to win a prize at video poker, you need to have a hand that’s strong enough to qualify. Jacks or Better is the simplest game on the menu; if you have a pair of Jacks (or Kings, Queens or Aces), you’ll get paid out at even-money for each coin you bet. Two pair will get you a 2X prize, three of a kind is worth 3X, and so on, all the way up to 250X for a royal flush. There’s also an extra-large royal flush jackpot if you bet all five coins – instead of just 1250X, your prize gets bumped up all the way to 4000X.
Video poker gets even spicier once you introduce wild cards to the mix. These cards can stand in for any other card in the deck, giving you more ways to win. When you play Joker Poker, you can make Five of a Kind, or a Royal Flush with or without a Joker; the big 20000X jackpot is reserved for a Sequential Royal, which is Ten-Jack-Queen-King-Ace of the same suit, reading in that exact order from left to right.
Poker-based table games like Caribbean Hold’em or Pai Gow Poker are a lot of fun to play, but they’re very different games compared to video poker – especially when you play live. Even when you’re online, without any dealers or other players to worry about, video poker stands apart from the table games. It’s as close as you can get to “real” poker without leaving the casino and stepping into a dedicated poker room; you’ll even find many poker pros who play video poker on the side.
Getting a game of video poker started is a piece of cake. First, you choose the game you want to play from the Cafe menu. Then you decide how much you want to bet. You can wager anywhere from one to five coins per hand, and those coins can be five cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, $1 or $5 each. Once you’ve made your choices, hit the Deal button, and you’ll receive your five cards.
The next decision is the big one: Which cards do you keep? Tap or click on the cards you want to hold onto, then hit the Draw button. That’s all there is to it; if your final hand is strong enough, you’ll be rewarded according to the paytable at the top of your display. Then it’s on to the next hand.
Online video poker games should be played for entertainment only, but if you make all the right moves, you can maximize your returns and whittle the house edge down to a fraction of what you’ll find with other casino games. The first thing to remember is to bet the maximum five coins every time, so you can qualify for the souped-up royal jackpot. You can do this and still keep your budget in mind; if you normally bet one 25-cent coin per hand, bet five 5-cent coins instead.
Once you’ve placed your bet, deciding which cards to keep is what video poker is all about. The trick is to calculate the chance of making each hand from royal flush on down, then look at the paytable and decide whether the reward is worth the risk. Unless you’re a savant, you won’t be able to do this in real time, but thanks to the power of computers, it’s possible to figure out all the right moves before you play. You can find optimal strategies on the internet for every video poker game and payout structure; if you want to use these, make sure to get yours from a reliable source before playing.
These video poker strategies work by asking you to look at your original five cards, then classify your hand based on which cards you hold. Your hand could fall under any of several dozen categories, which the strategy will list from best to worst; choose the highest category on the list that describes your hand, and keep those cards. For example, let’s say you get dealt the following cards in Jacks or Better:
You don’t have a “made” hand (i.e. a winning hand) yet, but you do have three useful cards: the King, Queen and Jack. You could keep those and draw to a straight. If you don’t get the Ace-Ten or Ten-Nine you need, you can still make Jacks or Better, two pair, or even three of a kind. However, the recommended strategy in this case is to keep only the King and Queen of Spades, which sit higher on the list than unsuited KQJ. That decision will pay out more in the long run, since you have a shot at making a royal – and making royals is where the big bucks come from.
There are a lot of steps to these optimal video poker strategies, so before you dive in, consider starting with a simplified near-optimal strategy instead. You won’t have as many categories or exceptions to deal with, but you’ll still get most of the possible return for your chosen game. Once you have the simplified Video Poker strategy down pat, work your way up to intermediate and expert strategies to capture as much value as you can.
Cafe Casino is proud to offer the best video poker games on the planet. There are 11 unique games to choose from:
You also have your choice of how many hands to play (1, 3, 10 or 52) in a single round of betting when you play Jacks or Better and Joker Poker. Each of these games has a unique twist on the rules, and will require a different strategy in order to get the maximum return possible. As a general rule, the more wild cards there are in a video poker game, the more challenging – and fun – the game will be to play.
As much fun as it is to play video poker at home, you might get even more enjoyment from this game when you’re out and about. All the same video poker games you can play on your desktop are available for your smartphone or tablet; log in at Cafe Casino as you normally would, then turn your device sideways into “landscape” mode and start playing.
That’s Video Poker 101 in a nutshell. Now that you know the rules and how to start playing, give video poker a try at Cafe Casino, and see which of these games you like the most. Customer Service is here 24/7 if you require further assistance, and don’t forget to check out our growing library of casino articles for more tips and winning strategies.