Video poker is one of the more popular forms of US online gambling.
Avid video poker players rue the misconception that video poker and slot machines are the same thing. There are general similarities between video poker and slots, but there are many contrasts as well.
Video poker offers some of the highest return to player (RTP) in the gambling market, including online. With some games, you can achieve over 99.5% RTP.
If you’re interested in playing online video poker, you can learn more about the game, odds, payouts and where to play for real money or free through this guide.
Best online casinos with video poker
How to play video poker online
You can play video poker within a few steps, even if you’ve never played online before.
The following steps will help you get started as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Choose a quality video poker casino
First, you want to research the online casinos to help you choose a quality gaming site. Legal and safe US casinos are licensed and regulated by the state. This includes the New Jersey Division and Gaming Enforcement and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
You can use our review to figure out which casinos you prefer.
When looking through our review or doing your research, you should keep the following factors in mind:
- Reputation: You should consider the brand’s reputation before depositing your money.
- Game Selection: Game variety, especially in the video poker department, is vital to your entertainment.
- Bonuses: You want opportunities to make extra money through bonuses and VIP rewards.
- Website Navigation: Any quality US casino will offer simple website navigation.
- Customer Support: You want to interact with a friendly support staff whenever a problem arises.
- Deposit and Withdrawal Options: More banking methods will give you an easier path toward depositing and cashing out.
Step 2: Register for an account
After you choose a reliable casino, you must sign up. To do this, you’ll need to fill out the online casino’s registration form.
Gambling sites will require basic information, such as your name, email, phone number, username and password. You’ll also need to provide your Social Security number.
Casinos require the latter for identification purposes. Also, regulated casinos must ensure that you’re not on the excluded gamblers list.
Step 3: Play free online video poker
Now that you’re a registered for an online casino, you can play free video poker. Free online video poker provides both entertainment and the opportunity to improve your skills. Furthermore, you can test out video poker variations and determine if you like them. This option is perfect for exploring the video poker world without simultaneously risking your money.
Step 4: Make a deposit (optional)
If you like a particular online casino, you should consider depositing and playing for real money. All online gaming sites offer plenty of deposit methods.
- Visa and Mastercard: Fund your account with one of the two biggest credit card brands.
- ACH: Send an e-check directly form your bank to an internet casino.
- E-Wallet: PA casinos accept e-wallet payments from Neteller, PayPal or Skrill.
- PayNearMe: You can visit a 7-Eleven convenience store and deposit with cash.
Which video poker games are available online?
Game King currently holds the monopoly for online video poker. It supplies video poker variations to each active casino.
You can see which variations are most likely to be available at video poker casinos below:
Free to play video poker games
What is the best video poker game to play for real money?
Jacks or Better is universally one of the best video poker variations available. It offers a nice combination of high 99.54% RTP and low volatility.
Game King’s Double Double Bonus Poker is another quality real money game. It features a high payback of 99.51% and bonus payouts.
Bonus Poker also gives you a solid chance to win. This game offers 99.17% RTP and moderate volatility.
Standard video poker payouts
Online casinos offer a variety of pay tables throughout the online market. Each of these vary, depending on the specific game.
You should choose games that meet your expectations as far as risk and volatility. For example, Jacks or Better is the least-volatile video poker variation.
It offers a standard pay table that’s void of bonus tables. You can see the Jacks or Better pay table below:
|Hand||1 Coin||2 Coins||3 Coins||4 Coins||5 Coins|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
You may seek a more-volatile video poker variation that offers extra payouts. In this case, Bonus Poker should prove satisfactory.
Here’s the pay table for Bonus Poker:
|Hand||1 Coin||2 Coins||3 Coins||4 Coins||5 Coins|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
Currently, there is no progressive video poker jackpots in either the PA or NJ markets. The most you can win is 4,000 coins through a royal flush on a five-credit bet.
Perhaps these internet casinos will eventually add progressive jackpots. However, the most significant current payouts revolve around a royal flush and bonus prizes.
Video poker apps
Every video poker casino site is compatible with various mobile devices. PlaySugarHouse, Unibet and Hollywood offer a casino app.
Here’s what to expect with each Pennsylvania gaming site’s mobile compatibility:
- Hollywood and Unibet: Both casinos offer an Android and iPhone casino app.
- PlaySugarHouse: This casino offers an Android app; however, you must download GeoGuard (from GeoComply) to play through an Apple device.
Do video poker games qualify for bonuses?
You qualify for a welcome bonus when you register for an online casino account and/or deposit at any of the gambling sites above.
Common welcome offers include both a no-deposit bonus and deposit bonus. You can also earn VIP rewards through real-money play.
Here’s more information on each type of deal.
No deposit video poker bonus
You qualify for a no-deposit bonus after completing the registration and using the appropriate promo code. A no-deposit bonus allows you to earn money without risking anything. The downside, though, is that you can only withdraw what’s left of the bonus, plus winnings, after satisfying terms and conditions.
Here’s an example:
- You receive a $10 no-deposit bonus.
- Wagering requirements are 30x the offer.
- 30 x 10= $300 that you must wager.
- You will have $8 remaining after satisfying the rollover.
Video poker deposit bonus
Casinos require you to make a deposit to qualify for these deals. A deposit bonus is worth a match percentage of your deposit amount. Upon satisfying the terms and conditions, you can withdraw the entire bonus amount.
Here’s an example:
- An online casino offers a 100% match bonus that’s worth up to $250.
- You deposit $150 and qualify for a $150 bonus.
- Wagering requirements are 20x the bonus.
- 150 × 20 = $3,000
- You can withdraw $150 after satisfying the playthrough and other terms.
Earning comp points with video poker
Online casinos feature VIP programs with loyalty benefits. VIP rewards include cash back, free spins and higher banking limits. Most active casinos tie in their loyalty programs with their brick-and-mortar locations. For example, you can use PlaySugarHouse loyalty points at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino.
Do you need a promo code?
Some online gambling sites will ask you for a promo code or bonus code to qualify for either bonus. Be sure to use our codes to get the best deals. You must enter a promo code during the registration process so that you qualify for the casino’s welcome bonus.
Depending upon the site, you may need to enter a code whenever you deposit. This process qualifies you for reload deposit bonuses.
How to win at video poker
Video poker is a strategic game that gives you a better chance to win if you use proper strategy. You should keep the following tips in mind when playing online.
Choose games with a high RTP
Video poker games with high RTP improve your long-term chances of winning. Variations with higher payout percentages will award you more winnings over time.
The highest paying online video poker variants include:
- Jacks or Better: 99.54% RTP
- Double Double Bonus Poker: 99.51%
- Bonus Poker: 99.17%
You aren’t guaranteed to win more money with these games. After all, anything could happen in the short run. Nevertheless, high payout percentages boost your odds of winning profits.
Always bet five coins
You must wager all five coins per hand if you want to achieve the highest payback. By betting five coins, you unlock the full value of the royal flush payout.
Below, you can see how much a royal flush pays, depending on the number of coins you wager:
- One-credit bet = 250 coins
- Two-credit bet = 500 coins
- Three-credit bet = 750 coins
- Four-credit bet = 1,000 coins
- Five-credit bet = 4,000 coins
The royal flush payout increases proportionately up until you wager five coins. At this point, the royal flush value experiences a large boost.
Use a video poker trainer, strategy chart
Optimal payback requires expert strategy; however, the perfect approach varies, depending on which video poker game you’re playing.
Jacks or Better, for example, requires a different strategy than bonus poker. That said, you need to find the relevant materials for whatever game you’re playing.
Here are the two best resources for improving your video poker skills:
- Strategy Chart: This shows the order of importance for each hand.
- Trainer: This allows you to play video poker hands while correcting your mistakes.
You can significantly increase your video poker knowledge by using either of these tools. Again, you must use strategy materials that match the variation you’re playing.
Practice with free video poker
After you register for an account at an internet casino, you gain access to free video poker. Free video poker makes for great practice when you’re learning the game. You can implement the strategies you learn through charts and trainers in the free version. Once you feel comfortable, you can move on to real-money video poker with a better strategy.
Video poker – History and development
Video poker appeared on the gaming scene in the 1970s when the technology arose to combine primitive computer technology and a TV monitor.
For those who recall what TVs were like in the mid-1970s, the VP monitor was certainly no LED flatscreen. Players used a row of buttons below the monitor to hold the cards that appeared on the screen before drawing to a final poker hand.
By 1979 and into the 1980s, IGT made video poker one of the most popular new games in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. They did so with their title Draw Poker. IGT then released Jacks or Better. This is still a popular version of video poker today, and IGT became a booming, publicly traded company.
As technology progressed in the following years, the appearance of VP machines stayed about the same. However, touch-screen capability relieved players of having to hit physical buttons.
One of the most popular VP terminals in the world is IGT’s Game King. The machine represented the pinnacle of digital casino technology for decades. It remains a favorite of regular video poker players. The Game King allowed casinos to offer multiple VP variants and denominations in a single terminal.
Ultimately, expect to find a variety of video poker iterations on one machine. Some of the most popular include Deuces Wild, Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus, and Ultimate X. Remember that not all video poker is created equal, so check the pay tables and freshen up on the optimal strategy for the variations.
Video poker revenue in the US
The trickiest question to answer when it comes to video poker is how much it contributes to general gaming revenue.
Unfortunately, the Nevada Gaming Control Board neither reports nor asks licensees (casinos) to record video poker revenue. It’s simply lumped in with slot revenue. The only breakdown is by slot denomination.
Empirical data shows how important video poker is to the overall slot revenue of a casino. It’s especially important for its prevalence in jurisdictions that limit many forms of gaming: racinos, bars, saloons, and small gaming parlors around the world.
Newer gaming jurisdictions like Louisiana and Illinois have published data specifically on video poker revenue. In 2013, Louisiana’s adjusted gross video poker revenue was over $600 million. Video poker represented 20 percent of the state’s net daily revenue.
In Illinois in 2013, video poker revenue was about $300 million relative to about $1.5 billion in adjusted gross revenue. This amount is essentially total casino gaming win for Illinois casinos that year.
Video poker machines are everywhere in Nevada, including gas stations and convenience and grocery stores. And yes, these machines do see action.
The worth of video poker in larger Las Vegas or Reno casinos is disputed because its payback is generally more advantageous to the player than the average slot machine. Video poker also attracts more grinders, or professional players of sorts.
In theory, skilled video poker players can turn a 99% payback machine (with optimal play) into a profitable venture because of promotions, mailers, and slot club loyalty earnings. Therefore, slot directors and casino managers commonly have varying and opposing opinions on the worth of video poker machines to casinos.
Gaining an edge at video poker
Professional video poker players do exist. Similar to professional slot players, these pro gamblers wait for the right conditions to strike before investing time and capital.
What makes a video poker game profitable? Generally, it’s the combination of inherently high payback married with generous promotions. Add to this a player-friendly loyalty club program and you can turn a slightly negative expected value game into something worth a positive hourly rate of return.
Here’s a hypothetical: That rare 99.96 percent “10/6” DDB game sits in a corner of a casino during that casino’s promotional car giveaway. Play in this casino, and earn entries to win a new luxury vehicle. On top of that, the slot director has forgotten to exclude some of the highest returning VP machines from not just this promotion but also the standard one percent cash back the slot club offers. What’s more, enough play will yield complimentary meals and rooms.
With this perfect storm, yet not necessarily uncommon occurrence, a machine that was supposed to take a $25 per spin player for a penny on each spin is now realistically worth $20-$50 per hour to a well-practiced player. It also depends on the value of the car and the number of entries. Note that the referenced car is just part of the example, and casinos regularly offer many promotions of value such as free cruises or vacation packages too.
The outlook is always bright for video poker. Game developers have kept the flow of new VP games steady, supplementing classics with new releases, like Super Triple Pay Jackpots, Powerhouse Poker, and Triple Wheel Poker.
Known as G2E, the Global Gaming Expo, an annual trade show of casino gaming in Las Vegas, had some interesting video poker finds last fall.
Magic Deal Poker
Magic Deal Poker, a 10-coin per line game, offers the occasional “magic” card once every several deals. Rarely, two or even three magic cards appear. The value of the magic card is determined after the deal, meaning that the machine will choose the best card in the deck for the player to complete a hand.
Ultimate X Spin Poker
A slightly more expensive (90 coin total) VP variant called Ultimate X Spin Poker merges two popular games into one.
This version, like its parent games, is all about multipliers. What starts out (penny denomination) as a 90-cent spin quickly becomes pricy. Yet large jackpots at the top multiplier may appear attractive. Multipliers in video poker are not new, stemming from the “double up” or “double or nothing” feature of prior video poker software.
A game with aggressive multipliers seems exciting but opens the doors to disappointment. Casual gamblers often don’t realize the risk and variance they’re about to encounter even at the lowest denominations. Finally, leaving a machine in the middle of a multiplier attracts casinos’ seedier customers, hovering around players and looking to swoop in on a potential advantage.
Bonus Streak Ultimate X
Bonus Streak Ultimate X is another 10-coin-per-line IGT creation where multipliers reach as high as 12x. A key difference here is that players earn multipliers for the next several hands. Optimal strategy is different than for the traditional Ultimate X, and the game is much harder to play correctly. Capture a big hand during one of the initial multipliers, however, and celebrate a big payday.
Flip and Pay Poker
IGT could see much more success with the “mystery card(s)” theme. Flip and Pay Poker is a 10-coin-per-line game where one card “flips” to another card of the same suit, only one rank higher or lower to improve a player’s hand.
For example, if dealt 7c 8c 9c 6c 4c, the 4c switches to the 5c resulting in a straight flush. Remember, a video poker deck, just like standard playing cards, is composed of 52 cards with 13 ranks and four suits. Players might get upset to see Ac Ah Ad Kh 9d not get “flipped” to four-of-a-kind aces, and, with a racing heart, flag down a slot employee, only to be explained that the Kh cannot be flipped because the Ah was already dealt — there is only one Ah per deck.