Online video poker (VP) is one of the most popular games that you can find at today’s iGaming destinations. And one thing is for sure, Canucks love their video poker games whether they are online, on mobile or in a land-based casino. If you’re a fan of this game or if you’re new to the VP universe, welcome! MapleSlot has dedicated this page to all things Video Poker!
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Online Video Poker – How to Play
Video poker is a casino game that’s been around since the 1970s. It has always been a computer-based game, which has made its transition to the online gambling industry virtually seamless. In other words, experiencing games of video poker in a Canadian land-based casino or online are virtually identical. There isn’t, and has never been, a human dealer as there are in traditional card table poker games. Since its creation, gameplay has always been between the computer and a single player.
There are many different real money and free video poker games that you can play, with the most popular games being: Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Aces & Faces, Joker Poker and Bonus Poker. We’ll take a close look at the different variations a little later on.
Video Poker Rules
Just about all versions of video poker online or offline are variations of draw poker and use a standard 52-card deck. The general idea is to draw and discard cards to make the best poker hand possible based on the machine’s paytable.
Although when you play video poker you may be reminded of playing slots, as the machine does have a paytable and the outcomes are determined by RNG (Random Number Generator) software, unlike slots, video poker is slightly more complex and is considered by many to be more of a game of skill than a game of chance. The reason being is that, unlike playing the slots, with video poker, you make decisions, choosing to discard, draw or hold cards in your hand. Depending on what you’ve been dealt, you have better odds of winning. Actual strategy can be applied to this game.
All that said, here’s the basic step-by-step rules of how to play video poker.
Standard Rules – step-by-step
- Choose the game that you want to play.
- After making a bet, click/tap the “Deal” or “Draw” button and the computer will randomly deal you five cards from the deck.
- Choose which cards (if any) you want to keep by selecting the card and clicking/tapping the “Hold” button. Only the cards that you “Hold” will remain in your hand. You can choose to hold as few as 1 card in your hand, up to a maximum of all 5 cards, or you may choose to discard them all.
- Click/tap the “Deal” or “Draw” button and any card not held in your hand will be discarded and randomly replaced with fresh cards from the remaining deck.
- If you have a winning hand, you will be paid according to the poker value of your hand and the game’s paytable. Just like in a game of poker, usually the bigger your poker hand, the more money you’ll win.
Here’s a look at possible winning hands listed highest value to lowest:
Keep in mind that while the above rules and list of winning hands apply to most video poker games, different variants (e.g. those that include the joker card) may have different rules and hand values. Be sure to read all rules and check paytables before playing to make sure you understand the variation you’ve selected.
Free Online Video Poker
When you’re ready to give the game a try, playing video poker free is the way to go, especially if you’re a Canadian newbie. While it’s certainly awesome to make real money wagers for the chance to win cash, particularly in a game that has such great odds, playing risk-free, at first, can help you understand those odds a little better!
Why play online video poker for free?
- Learn the rules before you play risk-free– The better grasp you have on the game, the better your odds of making practical choices with the hand you’re dealt.
- Practice different games and strategies – You can experience all types of variations of this casino game and practice strategies while you’re at it. You’re free to make as many mistakes as you want while you try different tactics without ever putting a dent in your real bankroll.
- Discover which version is your favourite without worrying about what you might lose in the process – There are numerous videopoker games and some versions even let you play multiple hands at once. Maybe you’ll find you’re a fan of multi-hand Jacks or Better video poker or maybe you’re a fan of single-hand Deuces Wilds. When you play free, you have the opportunity to find out what works best for you!
- Play for fun anytime and anywhere – Just about any online casino and mobile casino that offers video poker lets you play their games with no deposit required. Play free instantly from your web browser at home or via you mobile browser on the go.
Popular Free Video Poker Games
- Deuces Wild – In video poker deuces wild, all 2s are wild. The lowest paying hand is three of a kind.
- Double Bonus Poker – You’ll get a bonus payout if you manage to get a hand with 4 aces.
- Triple Play – Play three hands at once. Games includes Draw Poker, Deuces Wild Poker and Double Bonus Poker.
- Jokers Wild – Game plays like draw poker with the exception that Joker cards are included in the deck and are wild.
- Double Double Bonus – Four of a kind pays double the amount paid in Double Bonus when a kicker is present. A kicker is an Ace, 2, 3, and 4.
- Multi Play – This is any game of video poker in which you can play multiple hands at once. Some games let you play 2, 3, 5, 10 and even 100 games at a time.
Real Money Online Video Poker
When you’re ready to play for real money, it’s important to find a video poker casino that is legitimate, regulated, fair, responsible and Canada-friendly. What do we mean by Canada-friendly? We mean a casino that offers Canadians trusted payments we love, like Interac, INSTADEBIT, Visa, ecoPayz, and so on. We also mean casinos that offer excellent support in English and French, great promotions, and that offer Canadian dollar currency.
Lucky for you, fellow Canuck, all the casinos that we review, and those in our above list, are top-rated CA casinos that come highly recommended.
Why play online video poker for real money?
- The thrill of wining – Nothing beats the excitement that comes with playing a game for the chance to win real money.
- Benefit from bonuses and promotions – When you’re a real money player, you have the chance to take advantage of promotions, which means the chance to claim video poker bonuses. Many casinos offer welcome match bonuses that you can use on VP games.
- Play a wide range of variations – Take your pick from an array of single and multi-hand games. Bet real money and win real money, too!
- Live dealer advantage – As a real money casino player, you have the chance to play all the games a casino has to offer. If you want to play something other than video poker, you can try your hand at poker games, like Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud at a live casino, something that is not possible if you only want to play video poker free.
Popular Real Money Video Poker Games
- Aces and Eights Video Poker – Offers high payouts on four 7s, aces or 8s.
- Aces and Faces Video Poker – Offers high payouts for four of a kind combinations in Aces, (and faces) Kings, Queens and Jacks
- Bonus Poker – Offers different sized bonus payouts for four of a kind hands, with four of a kind aces paying out at the highest rate.
- Bonus Poker Deluxe – Offers the same size bonus payout for all four of a kind hands, not just a select few of a certain card rank.
- Double Joker Poker – Two jokers are added to the deck. The jokers are wild and can substitute for any other card. Additionally, this variant has two extra payouts, a Joker Royal Flush and a Five of a Kind.
- Jacks or Better – The most common game, on which most other video poker variants are based. The goal is to obtain a hand that has a value of jacks or better.
- Jester Poker – This game uses a 53-card deck, with one jester (joker) added. The jester is the wild card. This game’s highest hand is Five of a Kind.
- Regal Poker – This game pays out a bonus to four of a kind hands consisting of 2s, 3s or 4s.
- Split Way Royal Video Poker – This version of video poker has a high variance as it has two jackpot hands, offering a total of 8 combinations and offers a higher payout for four of a kind compared to standard VP variants.
- Ultimate X Video Poker – In this version, if you double your bet and manage to get a playing hand, you will also win a multiplier that will be applied to the following hand.
Free Video Poker VS Real Money Video Poker
There are advantages and disadvantages of playing free video poker games or games for actual cash. Have a look at the table below to see which option holds the greatest interest for you.
|Free Video Poker||Real Money Video Poker|
|You can play for free anytime, anywhere. No CA$ bets involved! That said, this also means that you can’t win real money.||You can play for real money anytime, anywhere and you can win money, but you can also lose money, too.|
|Play a wide range of variants, including the most popular games.||More video poker variants are available for real money play than free play.|
|Play on mobile!||Play on Mobile!|
|Practice strategies and learn the ropes of new games risk-free!||You can use strategy cards when you play for real money. Although it’s not considered cheating, remember to never bet more than you can afford to lose!|
|Playing video poker free can be a lot of fun!||Playing for the chance to win real money prizes isn’t just fun, it’s thrilling!|
Video Poker Strategy + Tips & Tricks
Depending on the video poker game you play, different strategies may apply. That being said, here are some basic strategies and tips that you may find helpful as you’re familiarizing yourself with gameplay!
- Start your journey by playing single-hand Jacks or Better video poker – Most video poker variants are based on this version. The goal of this game is to obtain a hand that has a pair of Jacks or better (higher pairs of Queens, Kings or Aces).
- Use a strategy card – If you’re not familiar with how to make the best hands, use a strategy card to help you to determine how many cards to hold or discard based on the value of your hand. For instance, you can use the basic strategy card below when playing Jacks or Better.
- Know the poker hand ranking system for the variant you’re playing – Don’t assume that all variations follow the same ranking system as Jacks or Better. Some, like Joker Poker, have additional hands, such as five of a kind, while others, like Deuces Wild, count three of a kind as the lowest value hand, and not a pair of jacks.
- Use the maximum number of coins – If you want the full value for a royal flush, use the max number of coins, which is typically 800 for 1 vs. 250 for 1 with lower bets.
- Check the paytable before playing – Knowing how a machine pays out can help you to know if it’s worth discarding lower hands to chase a better hand.
- When it comes to real money play, choose a variant that offers better odds – Practice first to find the game that best suits you so that you can make the most of your bankroll later on.
Canada and Video Poker – A Perfect Pair
Canadians love video poker. Why? It’s one of the simplest casino games to learn and play and since its basic rules follow draw poker, many Canadians already have a basic understanding of how the game is played and won.
Other reasons why Canadians love to play include:
- It’s single player, with only the computer dealer as your opponent
- There are lots of different variants to experience
- You can play a variety of the games for free online and mobile
- You can play more than one hand at a time
- The game involves strategy and is skill-based, not simply a game of chance
- It’s fast-paced
- It ranks among the highest online casino games for having the best odds
Video Poker’s history in Canada
Compared to other casino games, video poker is among the youngest in the industry. The game is loosely based off slot machines, with the initial machines being invented in New York back in 1891 by the Sittman and Pitt Company. This machine was followed by the “Card Bell” poker machine invented by Charles Fey (the “father of the slot machine”) in 1898, and Fey’s “Skill Draw” poker machine in 1901, which was the first to have the “hold” feature.
However, it wasn’t until 1970 that the first electronic video poker machine was introduced. This machine, which was released by Dale Electronics and called Poker-Matic was the one that laid the foundation for today’s video poker games.
Video poker didn’t truly take off in popularity until 1981, which was when people started to take notice of Si Reed’s Con (SIRCOMA) machines. The game became known as Video Poker and in the 1980s and 90s, the machines were a big attraction on the casino floor, during which time they became smaller, themes were added and a casino house edge was introduced.
From the 2000s and beyond video poker has maintained its popularity both offline and online with the help of improved technology, a variety of variants, themes and the advent of mobile.
As the game was invented by Americans, it wasn’t long before Canadians learned of it. And, as the game’s popularity grew in the United States, so did it grow in our great nation.
Why Play Video Poker Online in Canada
You’re the only one who can decide if video poker is a casino game worth your time and possibly your hard-earned cash. That said, here are some fantastic reasons to play video poker in Canada:
- Play for free – Just about every video poker online game you come across can be played without having to make a deposit. Playing for free is only fun, but it lets you try out new games, learn the rules, practice, and try out strategies risk-free.
- Play for real money – Boost the excitement of playing VP by making real money bets that can lead to real money wins. Some games, like Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker even give you bonus payouts if you’re lucky enough to achieve a specific winning hand.
- Diverse platforms – Desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet are all ways that you can enjoy video poker. Some casinos even let you broadcast games to your TV!
- Play Instantly – You don’t have to download games into your computer or mobile. Whenever you want you can access game instantly via your mobile or web browser.
- A wide range of games – There are well over 10 different variants of this game, offering fresh challenges.
- Play at top casinos and get the best bonuses – When you sign up as a real money player at premium CA casinos, you’ll also have the chance to claim bonuses that can help you take your video poker playing further with a bigger bankroll!
Online Video Poker – Final Thoughts
Video poker is a fun, fast-paced and easy-to-play game. Winning is based more on a player’s skill than it is on chance. When you know the rules, understand the odds and know the paytable of the game you want to play, you have a much higher chance of winning. With one of the lowest house edges among casino games, and having lots of variants that can also be enjoyed for free, video poker continues to be a favourite among Canadians.
Ready to get started? Play free online video poker or experience the real deal at one of the amazing Canadian casinos we’ve personally tried, reviewed and recommend.
Video Poker FAQ
A full play video poker machine has the best odds. A full play machine offers the best payouts that are as near as possible to 100%.
Casinos do not change the odds of getting a particular wining hand in the game. That being said, they can alter how much the game pays out for winning hands, which is how they maintain their edge over players.
There are several differences. However, the main difference is that in video poker a single player plays against a computer dealer. There is no human dealer or other players to play against as there are in a traditional game of poker.
You find the machine you like, choose to play for free or real money, place your bet and click/tap the “deal” or “draw” button. The computer will deal you five cards. From there, your goal is to make the best possible poker hand (by holding and/or discarding cards in your hand) based on standard poker hand ranking rules. Typically, a pair of Jacks – or a pair of other face cards (queen or king) or aces – is the lowest possible payout.
No. Some casinos may have video poker games that have higher payout rates than other casinos, but this has to do with the games they offer and not with the casinos themselves. If you want to play games with the best payout percentages, choose an online casino that offers more video poker games with higher RTP and Hit Frequencies.
Yes! Sign up as a real money player at a Canadian Casino that offers a welcome match bonus that can be used on their video poker games.
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