Do you know the main difference between a slot machine and a video poker machine? If you say that real online pokies are games of pure luck, while video poker machines are games of skill, you are correct.

When you play a slot machine, you push/click the “Spin” button and wait for the combination to land on the reels. It is up to RNG (Random Number Generator) to pick up random numbers.

When it comes to video poker, it is all about your skill and cards that affect the outcome.

Video Poker Basics

Video Poker is a game where you play against the machine. A poker machine deals five cards. With them, you should aim at forming a winning hand (below we will discuss poker-hand rankings). So, you have to get the best hand. To do this, you should keep specific cards and exchange others to get the winning poker hand. The better your hand, the more money you can win.

There are different video games available both at land-based and online casinos. Different games mean different rates of returns. The best game in terms of odds is “9/6 Jacks or Better”. The rate of return here is the max of 99.54%. It means a casino has only 46% of your money — less than half.

You won’t be able to win at video poker until you know the components of a poker machine. No matter where you are playing the game, the names will be the same:

  • Paytable: this is the box on the screen showing how much each poker hand is worth. Always try to choose a table with the highest payouts, the highest number for a hand. A paytable shows how many coins you may count on in case of winning a particular hand.
  • Display area: the place where players receive cards.
  • Credit total: it is at the bottom of the screen. Credit total shows how many credits you have remaining.
  • Deal/Draw button: this button helps deal the next hand to you. After choosing the cards to hold, click/push this button and you will draw replacement cards. If you have a winning hand, the poker machine will add the number of credits to the total balance.
  • Hold buttons: as a rule, these buttons are below the screen. When a video poker machine has dealt cards to you, push/click the buttons corresponding to the cards you want to keep.
  • Cash-out button: once you decide to stop playing, click/press this button. It will help you to withdraw your winnings.

These are all the buttons you should know about before playing video poker. If you know the place of each button on the screen, it will be half of success.

Learn the Basic Strategy

Typically, most newcomers start playing poker without learning any strategy, even the basic one. It won’t do. Keeping in mind at least a basic strategy may help you win quite a sum. Yes, you may win just guessing while playing, but you are more likely to do this if you decide to stick to a specific strategy and understand the general rules and components of video poker.

Choose One or Two types of Poker

To improve your chances of winning, focus on one or two types of poker as different games have different strategies. So, if you choose three or more poker games, you will probably lose at the end of the day.

If you are bored with one type of game, move on to another one. The best way is to stick to the game you like and play it. Don’t try to memorize all of the games, as there is a high probability to mix up strategies.

Know Poker-Hand Rankings

The poker hand rankings are the essential information you should study before the gaming session. If your goal is to win, you must know all the hands by heart:

  1. Royal Flush

It is the highest-ranking hand in the game. It involves five consecutive cards of the same suit from 10 to Ace.

     2.   Straight flush

The second best hand contains five consecutive cards, all of the same suit.

     3.   4 of a Kind

This hand consists of four cards of the same rank and one unmatched card.

     4.   Full House

This hand involves three cards of the same rank and two cards unmatched.

     5.   Flush

The hand consists of cards of the same suit, not in a sequence.

     6.   Straight

The hand where all the cards are arranged in sequence, but they are of different suits.

     7.   3 of a Kind

The hand contains three cards of the same rank and two side cards.

     8.   2 Pair

This hand contains two cards of the same rank and two cards — of another.

     9.   1 Pair (aka Pair)

This hand consists of two cards of one rank and three cards of three other ranks.

   10.   High Card

The hand does not contain any matching suits or ranks.

Understand Probabilities

Before immersing yourself in the game, you should understand your chances of winning. The most significant facts are:

  1. The odds of receiving a royal flush are approximately 1 in 40,000.
  2. Players hit a four-of-a-kind about once an hour. The probability to get it is 24%
  3. When you throw one card away and hold four, you have a great chance of getting a card with the same rank or a suit.

Bear in mind these facts. They will help you understand what the probability of winning is.

Trust your Intuition

Sometimes the best decisions you can make are unconscious. It is called “intuition”.

Your intuition can be a powerful tool when playing video poker. If you are feeling that a certain hand is going to be a winner, go for it! Likewise, if you have a hunch that a particular card is going to come up, don’t hesitate to bet on it.

Of course, you should use your intuition as a guide, and not rely on it completely. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in video poker, so always remember to use your head as well as your heart. But if you trust your instincts, you just might be surprised at how often they lead you to victory.

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