Video poker is my favorite non-table casino game. When I’m not playing poker or blackjack, or hanging out with the wife playing slots, you’ll find me playing 5-card draw. I prefer video poker over the other machines in the casino because I like having a hand in my success or failure, as opposed to just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best like you do with slots or keno.
Then you have the jackpots. Sometimes huge jackpots. You can play a simple hand of jacks or better, hit a progressive jackpot and potentially win more money than offered by most other casino games. There are never any guarantees when it comes to video poker jackpots, but they’re out there and players do hit them from time to time.
The best part is that you don’t have to play in a brick and mortar casino in order to win these jackpots. Video poker has made it’s way online, so now you can play from the comfort of your own home.
Real Money Video Poker
If you’ve played video poker in a brick and mortar casino, then you’re going to feel right at home playing online. The games are identical in almost every way, other than maybe the colors, button placement and theme(s).
Betting on video poker is the same too. As little as a nickel or as much as $5 can be wagered per hand. And you can wager up to 5 units per hand. In fact, if you want to win the massive jackpot from hitting a royal flush, you’ll need to bet the maximum number of coins (units).
One thing that I’ve noticed is that it’s important to pay attention to the payouts from one online casino to the next. The differences are subtle, about 2 to 10 coins, and will only apply to medium strength hands (flushes and full houses). Although the differences are small, it’s a small edge you shouldn’t pass up, unless you have a reason to stay at a casino that offers smaller payouts.
The last thing worth knowing about playing video poker with real money online is that it’s very important to find a trustworthy casino. Since you can’t just cash out and have money in hand immediately, you’ll want to find a casino known for paying it’s players. You should be fine sticking to the bigger casinos, as they’re the most well know and have the most to lose, but it doesn’t hurt to check forums and user-reviews for feedback anyway.
Video Poker Bonuses
Nearly every casino online offers players a new player deposit bonus. You’ll have the option to participate once you make your first real money deposit with that casino. The exact bonus will vary from one casino to the next, but most bonuses are “match bonuses.” That means that you’re matched a certain percentage of your deposit by the casino. For example, if the casino is offering a 100% match up to $1,000 and you deposit $400, the casino will match you dollar for dollar. You’ll have $800 to play with.
Great deal, right? It is, but before you get too excited there are a few things you should understand.
For one thing, the bonus money is for playing only. You can’t make a deposit, receive some free money and cash out. You can only cash out the money you win with the bonus money.
Another thing to be aware of is that all casinos have a “play through” requirement. A play through requirement is an amount of money you need to wager before you can make a withdrawal. The exact amount is stated in the terms and conditions, but is usually a multiplier of your deposit plus bonus, around 25x. So if you deposit $400 and received $400 for a total of $800, at a 25x multiplier you’d have to wager $20,000 before you can withdraw any winnings. Try to withdraw too soon and you risk forfeiting your bonus, as well as any winnings you may have won with that bonus.
A $20,000 play through is a big undertaking. But if you choose to play video poker, $20,000 is a walk in the park compared to what you’ll have to do to clear your bonus money. You see, casinos don’t accept wagers from certain table games and machines for the completion of bonuses and other promotions. In some cases, like for video poker, casinos do accept wagers for completing bonuses, but only at a percentage — usually 20 to 33 percent. So you’ll have to wager 3 to 5 times as much money before you can make a withdrawal.
Be sure to check the terms and conditions before you make your deposit. If you feel like you can’t complete the bonus (or just don’t want to), contact the casino and let them know. That way you don’t run the risk of losing any money you may have won.
Online Video Poker Variations
Just like in a brick and mortar casino there are several video poker variations that you can play online. The most common game is 5-card draw (jacks or better), but you can also find deuces wild, jacks wild and joker poker. There are multi-hand variants too, which means you can play as many as 10, 20, 50 or more hands at the same time. Keep in mind that this will cost you more money, just like playing multiple lines in slots.
Progressive jackpots are another popular video poker variant. As long as you meet the minimum wagering requirements and hit the winning hand, you can win a massive jackpot contributed to by hundreds or thousands of other players. These jackpots are getting bigger every minute the casino is open to players, which in the case of playing online that means 24/7.
Video Poker Gaming Software Providers
Since video poker machines in live establishments are the equivalent to playing a huge arcade game, you won’t notice much making the switch to playing online. The software will operate similarly, other than you’ll be using your mouse to drop in coins and press the buttons.
One thing you’ll notice about playing video poker online is that the software won’t be different from one casino to the next. This is because there are only a handful of companies creating the software for casinos. So it’s not uncommon to find identical video poker machines from one casino to the next, as well as variants, themes and the minimum and maximum wagering amounts.