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Video Poker – The Basics


By: Tom McBroom

After Blackjack and Craps, video poker gives you some of the best odds in the casino if you play
it right. It combines some of the fun of a slot machine with some of the fun of a table game, all
without rushing you to play. This is why many professional gamblers use video poker as a means
of relaxation in between the demands of blackjack or a table poker game.

For many years now, video poker has steadily increased in popularity in the casinos. While many
video poker machines may look like slot machines, make no mistake about it – they are not!
Unlike slot machines, video poker is a combination of luck AND skill.

The cards are dealt randomly, just as in a real poker game. The house’s edge is determined by
how much it pays for the various combinations of winning hands. Different machines have
different payout schedules for the various poker hands, so be sure to choose a machine with a
favorable payout schedule.

In order to play video poker with any chance at winning, you must know the basics about playing
five card draw poker, which is beyond the scope of this article. We’ll assume you know the
basics of the game and how the various poker hands are ranked.

To play a video poker machine, you simply insert one or more coins (usually up to a maximum of
five) and push the “deal” button. Five cards are dealt to you on the screen. You choose the ones
you want to hold by pushing the “hold” button underneath each card.

You then push the “deal” button again and you will be dealt the number of cards you choose not
to keep, to form your final, five card poker hand. If you end up with a winning combination, you
are paid according to the payout schedule.

It’s as simple as that! Many video poker machines have a payout schedule that is 97 or 98%. In
another article, we’ll explain the schedule with the best odds.

Until then, good luck!

Tom is the webmaster at,
which is a website dedicated to turning beginning Blackjack
players into serious recreational players.

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