Video poker is largely overshadowed by its all-conquering cousin: the pokie machine. Nevertheless, electronic poker games are hugely popular all over the world, and we believe they provide a stimulating alternative for slot players looking for something familiar but a little different. Let us look at what separates this game style from the pokies, what complexities it offers for the more traditional gambler, and where we can enjoy the best real money video poker online.
Best online casinos for video poker
Best video poker sites
Our recommended Internet casinos all carry real money video poker. Most importantly, they each cater for multiple currencies and take the strictest measures to ensure that all cash deposited remains safe and sound, with SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital encryption technology in place to protect every transaction.
Royal Vegas Casino
This is our blue-ribbon gambling site for online bettors, with more than 500 interactive casino games, real money mobile gambling for smartphones and tablets, and so much more. Here you’ll find a large collection of Microgaming’s video poker variants. Get up to $1,200 free just for signing up.
G’day Casino is an Aussie themed instant-play casino, where all games are available to play directly over your Web browser with no downloads required. Under the poker game category you’ll find 30+ video poker titles, all available for free play or real money bets.
All Slots Casino
This is another prime destination for gaming online, with more than 400 virtual casino games by Microgaming – the global leader in Web gambling software – including a selection of video poker games. New players at All Slots can claim up to $1,600 in complementary bets, one of the biggest bonuses you’ll find online.
House of Jack
With a game catalogue available entirely through instant-play over your Web browser, House of Jack Casino is perfect for real cash video poker on Mac and other non-Windows computers. Receive up to $450 in welcome bonuses and 100 free spins when you sign up.
How to play video poker
When it comes to video poker, there are multiple variants available. While all variants follow a standard format, each game comes with specific rules. These are some of the most popular video poker variants you’ll find at our recommended online casinos:
- Aces & Faces
- All Aces
- All American
- Bonus Deuces Wild
- Deuces Wild
- Double Joker Poker
- Jacks or Better
- Joker Poker
- Multi-Hand Video Poker
- Tens of Better
- Aces and eights
- Bonus video poker
- Deuces & Joker
- Double bonus
- Double Double Bonus
While there are myriad varieties of video poker, most games follow the basic principles of five-card draw. This is the stock-standard style of poker most of us will have grown up with, where each player is dealt five cards and may discard and draw anew in the hope of creating a stronger hand. The only significant difference is that in video poker we do not play against anyone else; instead, our completed hand is paid out (or not) based on a predetermined pay-scale, which will be clearly visible on the screen or the case of the machine.
The typical run of play is as follows:
- Place your bet
First up, we must decide how much we wish to wager. Most video poker games allow us to bet between one and five coins per hand – and the more we bet, the greater the rewards. The house edge is often lower when betting the maximum.
- The deal
Once the wager is placed, we click ‘deal’ to receive five cards at random. Most games use a standard deck of 52, with Deuces low and Aces high; however, some wild-card versions will include at least one joker.
- The discard
Next, we decide which cards (if any) we would like to throw out and replace with new ones from the deck. Click on the cards you wish to keep or ‘hold’; then tap the ‘draw’ button, and the rest will be swapped for fresh cards. We can hold any number of our original cards, from none to all five.
- The payout
Once our discards have been replaced, our hand is complete and it is time to collect any winnings we might have struck. Payout scales vary from game to game, but generally the lowest paying hand is a pair of 10s or Jacks and the highest is a royal flush.
Some video poker games also give us a double-or-nothing option when we hit a paying hand. This functions much like the ‘gamble’ feature in Australian pokies, where predicting a certain outcome correctly (e.g. red or black) means we win twice our original stake. However, getting it wrong means we must forfeit the lot.
Top video poker titles
Since the first video poker machines appeared at brick-and-mortar casinos in the 1970s, dozens upon dozens of different styles have gained popularity all over the world. Here are a few of the most common electronic poker games available to Australians, whether on land or the World Wide Web.
Far and away the most popular style of video poker, it is so called because the minimum paying hand is a pair of Jacks. Complete pay-scales vary greatly, from ‘full pay’ games (also called ‘9/6’) down to ‘6/5’ versions with lower payouts for certain hands and thus a much higher house edge. Common variations include All American (straights and flushes pay more) and Bonus Poker (four of a kind pays more). Play now at Royal Vegas.
Here, all Twos (a.k.a. Deuces) act as wild cards – that is, they can substitute for any other card in order to form the strongest possible hand. The lowest winning combination is a three of a kind, while royal flushes are segregated into ‘natural’ (no Deuces used) and ‘wild’ (at least one Deuce used) with the latter paying significantly less than the former. Four Deuces can pay up to 1,000 credits. Play now at All Slots Casino.
As you may have surmised from the name, this take on video poker brings the often excluded Joker back into the fold. Because the Joker is a natural wild card (i.e. it has no face value), its presence results in a new type of hand: the five of a kind. The standard incarnation of this game features a single Joker card, while Double Joker Poker adds a second wild to the deck. Play now at Royal Vegas.
Video poker vs pokie machines
While the two formats are related, there are a few very important points of distinction. For one, pokies are games of pure chance, while video poker brings strategy and skill into the mix. This is due to the hold and draw features in electronic poker (which, funnily enough, were first introduced in the automated Skill Draw game created in 1901 by Charles Fey – inventor of the original Liberty Bell slot machine). Another obvious contrast between video poker and pokie games is that the former uses only digitised playing cards, while the latter can boast a wide array of unique (often animated) symbols and features such as free spins, bonus rounds, multipliers, et cetera.
Perhaps most telling of all is the difference in winnability. The strategic elements of video poker make it one of the most user-friendly casino games around, with a house edge significantly lower than the vast majority of pokies. In fact, when correct strategy is applied, some video poker machines can return at over 100 per cent – i.e. the player gets the edge, not the house. This makes it one of the only casino games that can be expected to produce a long-term profit when played properly. Compare that to standard Internet slots, which carry a house edge of up to 5 per cent – and that’s still a damn sight better than land-based pokies, which can go as high as 15 per cent in Australia.
Real money video poker online
Internet casinos are the easiest, most comfortable and, if you play your cards right, the most profitable way to enjoy video poker. The selection of titles is far more diverse than in any b&m gaming venue, and we can change between games in seconds without even having to leave our seat. The online format also allows for video poker progressives, such as Microgaming’s lucrative Jackpot Deuces game. And if we want to practice our skills without putting any hard-won cash on the line, the free play mode gives us that option. But best of all, we can win real money from the privacy of our own homes. No dingy casino floor, no reserved machines – just quality online video poker for Australians.
Can I play video poker on mobile?
Video poker adapts beautifully to mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. The fact the game is played basically on one screen means playing on a phone makes sense. Those of us who grew up in the 80s would remember the handheld video poker devices that got an entire generation interested in cards – it’s a very similar thing at online casinos.