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Coral’s beginner guide to Video Poker!

Video poker offers some of the very best odds around. Unfortunately, there’s not that many people who know how to play. If you already know how to play poker then you’ll find video poker a lot easier to understand; if not check out our poker guide (in particular the poker hands guide) before you read on.

Making the leap from slots to video poker

Slots can be rather fun and we’re not for one minute saying you should avoid slots altogether — especially if gaming is your hobby — but for serious gamblers video poker presents much greater odds of winning than a regular Vegas-style video slot.

Unfortunately, the only catch is you need to learn a little strategy to take advantage — that’s where we come in! Read on below and become a video poker master!

A house edge of only 3%

We’ve discussed house edge in various other articles, but for those who don’t know it’s the percentage a casino can expect back from total stakes placed. If, for example, the house edge was 10% (which is often what you’ll find on a slot machine) then the casino will generally make £10 from every £100 played with.

Video poker games generally come with a house edge of 3% and so, if you’re looking at games in terms of odds, there’s a lower chance of losing money playing video poker than playing slot machines. Ultimately, if you’re wise, you’ll make the switch to video poker today.

When it comes down to it though, there’s no telling what the odds are for a specific slot machine and so, if you’re looking for a safer bet video poker is the one for you.

How do you play video poker?

Video poker is one of the easiest games to play at the casino. Initially you’re dealt five cards and — like the classic hold in slots — you decide which cards you’d like to keep. Once you’ve determined which to discard you’ll get new cards in their replacement. The aim is to create poker hands with the five cards you’re left with and the better your hand, the more you’ll win. The amount you’ll receive in winnings depends on how many coins you’re playing with — 1, 2 or 3 (sometimes up to 5) — and the machine you’re playing on.

Always play the maximum

We would never advise players to stake the maximum without cause, but with Video Poker you really have no choice. The gulf between the prizes on offer when playing with one or five coins is often more than five times the lowest prize. If you’re unable to match the highest bet on one version of video poker we advise for you to find a machine that fits your budget.

Learn which cards to play

Below you’ll find a list of common deals. Take a look at which ones you should scrap and which you should keep:

1) One high card* and a variety of lower cards:
If you’re playing ‘jacks or better’ (the most popular variety) then you should hold the jack! This way you can increase your chances of landing a pair — bagging a little bit of cash.

2) Two different high cards and a variety of lower cards:
This time you’ll keep both the high cards because you could land two pairs or full house, but scrap the rest.

3) Three different high cards and a variety of lower cards:
Woah there! Don’t hold all three high cards otherwise you won’t be able to get full house. Keep the highest two and scrap the others.

4) Three different high cards (with same suits) and a variety of lower cards:
This time things are a little different. If two of the high cards have the same suit then keep those as you might hit a flush.

5) Three cards of the same value and three other cards:
Well done, you’ve won already with a three of a kind. Of course, keep the three cards and ditch the other two and you might just land four of a kind.

6) Two low cards of the same value and three other cards:
Damn! Not good enough to win, but you could try for a three of a kind. The best shout in this situation!

7) A four card run (four cards in order) and another card:
Keep the four cards that are in order and ditch the other one. You didn’t need us to tell you that — right?

8) Four of the same suite:
Again, like the above, ditch the unsuited card. Also, make sure you double-take with this hand before playing as you might be tempted to junk it. Honestly, it’s easy done!

Really it’s just about looking at the cards and thinking about what you can build. Don’t just go for the pairs as they offer low returns. Instead, think, ‘how can I turn this hand into a top poker hand.’ Once you’ve got that in your head, you’ll be playing like a pro.

Think you’re ready to hit the big time? If so, head on over to Coral and check out our amazing range of video poker games. Good luck at the tables!