Online poker in the United States has always been a hot button issue for casino gamers. While it's still not as popular as it once was as a tournament game before the events of Black Friday, it's starting to rise to its former glory. In its absence, video poker has become a more common offering that American online casinos have provided to players. It provides a relatively similar experience to those requiring their poker fix without the high stakes pots that are commonly associated with tournament poker. Playing video poker for high stakes is certainly possible though. It all depends on the machine limits!
It's not unusual for video poker machines to be based on five card draw, which is one of the most basic forms of poker and tends to be what's routinely taught to new players. In it, players are presented with five cards on the screen and must choose what cards to hold and the ones to return to the dealer for a fresh draw. Players attempt to make common poker hands using the cards they've been dealt, with rarer hands receiving higher payouts. It's quite typical for American online casinos to offer a jokers wild variant of five card draw within their video poker offerings, too. This significantly increases a player's odds of hitting a high value hand and is certainly worth playing when the highest potential return is sought after.
The actual handling of a video poker machine is very similar to a slot machine. Players will click corresponding buttons that provide the relevant action, like making a maximum bet or choosing the cards to hold before a redeal. This will provide you with a relatively seamless transition if you're familiar with how slot machines work and are looking for something a little bit different.
There are also poker variant machines that are rising in popularity. Video poker machines based on Texas Hold'em are becoming increasingly commonplace within American online casinos given how popular this poker game is overall. These are also preferred by casinos due to the frequency of the betting rounds involved in the game, which ensures players walk away with sizable pots and the rake is substantially larger for the house than those who just play five card draw machines.
Poker isn't a game that follows one universal way of play. Several variations exist on the traditional five card draw game and many of these are regularly featured in video poker machines. For the most part, you'd be wise to stick with five card draw as a new player since these machines provide the easiest rules to follow and aren't all that different to a traditional slot machine. However, their earning potential is limited when compared to a game like Texas Hold'em. Reviewing any “how to play” material a platform provides alongside their video poker machines should provide a basic introduction on how to play the game, which can then be adapted to suit your own playing style.
In traditional brick and mortar casinos, video poker machines are thought to follow a linear approach to how the cards appear and will only shuffled at specified intervals programmed by the operator. This isn't the case with US online casinos, where deals are randomized and don't necessarily follow any sort of programming techniques. This means the nature of the game, much like slots, is completely random and players won't be able to “beat the system” or come in with any sort of betting strategies.
Since poker's rise to popularity over the past decade or so, more players have migrated away from their traditional casino choices and want to add the game to their repertoire. While this is great news for the house and the poker community at large, it has prompted a need for assisted or training machines to be placed within a casino's offers and sometimes within American online casinos. That's not to say they're always available: players might only have “how to play” guides available to them on some platforms. However, training machines do provide valuable insight into how video poker is played.
In their most basic form, a training machine offers a severely reduced payout scheme in order to get players involved with video poker through prompts and other tips and tricks to help players through the game. Players aren't under any obligation to play the game according to the tips they're receiving (and sometimes it's wise to ignore these tips), but it does provide new players with key insight into the mechanics of video poker and how the game itself works. They're an excellent introduction to poker overall and well-worth your consideration if you happen to be new to the game.
Video poker isn't a casino's most popular offer, but is currently experiencing a boom that corresponds with the overall interest in poker that the American market is seeing. Brick and mortar casinos estimate video poker making up less than 20% of the machines available on the floor, but this is obviously subject to flux and will likely be more prominent in card rooms rather than a full-fledged casino.
This might mean you're in for a bit of a search when it comes to finding the best video poker platform. Many modern platforms will provide it as an option, but it's unlikely to be a mainstay offer when compared to the true casino giants like blackjack and roulette. Ultimately, it could mean that basing your search on this criteria rather than a video poker specific search could yield a more satisfying result.
Author: Steve Mitchell