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How Are Video Poker and Online Slot Games Different?


At surface level, video poker is not much different from playing slots online. You load up a game, select your betting level and hit “deal” (as opposed to “spin”) to receive your starting hand of five cards. That’s where the resemblance ends. Instead of sitting back to watch the fun kick off on the reels, you have to make decisions in video poker, which takes a certain amount of knowledge. This online poker game is based on the five-card draw variant, so you need to understand poker hand rankings: One pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, full house, flush and so on. You also need to understand the specific video poker variant’s paytable.

Once the machine has dealt your cards, you have to apply this knowledge and make a call on whether to keep or exchange your cards in hopes of building a winning hand. This gives video poker a different rhythm from slots. You get your cards, tank and make your call. The outcome is revealed – and you hit “deal” again. Rinse, repeat. This stop-start gameplay may not appeal to players who prefer the smooth ride that online slots provide. That said, it’s one of the best online poker games in town if you’re looking for quick gameplay.

Strategy

Another key difference between slots and video poker online is the strategy factor. With slots, the only strategic choice you can really make is whether to select a game with high, low or medium variance (variance being the relationship between win frequency and average payout size). After that, the only decision you need to make is whether to quit or keep going, depending on the state of your payroll. With video poker, strategy is possible. You can make an informed decision on what cards to keep and discard based on the mathematical probability of forming a winning hand.

Now that’s some heavy-duty number-crunching to do on the fly, especially in a fast-paced game of cards, but thankfully it’s easy to find video poker strategy cards online. These handy references show you the best decision based on the cards you hold and the variant you’re playing. They’re not guaranteed to yield wins by any means, but they can improve your chances considerably. Better still, you can transfer that insight when the time comes to play online poker against other players.

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