How to Play Video Poker

Few games enjoy the immense popularity that video poker does.  In addition, video poker enjoys a rich history, dating back long before anything resembling modern video machines were in use. Today, video poker is one of the most frequently played games, both in physical and online casinos.

The game traces its roots back to Brooklyn, in 1891.  The Sittman and Pitt Company created an automatic poker machine.  Five drums held 10 cards each; the player would pull a lever and the drums would spin, revealing the player's hand.

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The next advancement came in 1898, with Charles Fey.  Fey added a hold feature to the poker game, allowing players to choose which cards they kept and which they would reroll.  In 1970, video poker began to take on its modern form.  Dale Electronics created the Poker-Matic machine, which took Vegas by storm.

Video poker truly came into its own in the 1990s, as the computer revolution took firm hold of American society.  There were many, many innovations made during those years, resulting in electronic machines in casinos capable of playing hundreds of different poker varieties and other games.

How to Play

There are nine possible types of hands in the game, each consisting of 5 cards, though each card will not always be used.

- Royal Flush – A royal flush is the ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of a single suit.
- Straight Flush – A straight flush is considered five consecutive cards of a single suit (2, 3, 4, 5, 6,    for example).
- Four of a Kind – Four of a kind is exactly what it sounds like; one of the same card, from all four    suits.
- Full House – A full house is considered three cards of one value and two of another
- Flush – Five cards of the same suit, regardless of denomination
- Straight – Five consecutive cards of mixed suits
- Three of a Kind – 3 cards of the same denomination from 3 different suits
- Two Pair – A pair of one denomination combined with one pair of another denomination
- Pair of Jacks or Better – A pair of kings, queens, aces or jacks.

Most machines in use in the US today are five Card Draw machines.  There are no other hands to beat and the payout is based on a chart, usually displayed on the front of the video poker machine.

The hand dealt to the player is shown across a video screen, while players pay through the bill accepter or coin slot.  There are 9 buttons on the standard video poker machine, starting on the left, we have Cash Out, Bet One Credit, 5 Hold/Cancel buttons (one for each card), a Deal/Draw button and a Max Bet button.

Simply pushing the deal/draw button will set the machine working, and reveal the hand you have been dealt. You will have to make your bet before the cards are revealed.  You can hold or discard any of the five cards dealt by pushing the Hold/Cancel button below the card.  Once you have chosen the cards, push the Deal button once more and the cards not held will change to reveal the new cards.  If you win, the Cash Out button allows you to collect your winnings, while you can continue to bet using your winnings, as well.