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Beginner’s guide to video poker and best video poker casinos

Over the last decade, and especially the last few years, all forms of casino gaming have been steadily migrating online. The reason for this is not too hard to guess – the internet’s hold over our lives is becoming stronger with each passing year, and we do more and more an…

Over the last decade, and especially the last few years, all forms of casino gaming have been steadily migrating online. The reason for this is not too hard to guess – the internet’s hold over our lives is becoming stronger with each passing year, and we do more and more and more stuff online, so why would gambling be an exception?

Offline casinos are still up and going strong, but online is where it’s at right now. With all your favorite games available, ranging from Roulette, poker, and Blackjack all the way to hundreds of slot games, the diversity and choice are large, attracting all kinds of different gamers.

In this video poker guide, we’ll be talking about what exactly it is, how it works, and what you need to know for maximum profit. The guide will outline some of the key things that you need to consider and implement in order to ensure as much success as possible when playing video poker. By the end of reading this, you’ll have a solid understanding of the subject, and have all the necessary tools and knowledge to successfully and profitably play video poker online for real money.

Which video poker casinos are our favorite?

Having tested hundreds of websites that offer video poker games, we have found some of the specific traits that make up best of the best video poker websites. If you’re a beginner and are overwhelmed with so many options and unsure which website to go with, we hope that our list of best video poker websites will be of help.

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What is video poker?

Before we talk about how to play video poker, let’s briefly examine exactly what it is and how it works. Video poker is a machine and software-based card game that was released in the 1970s and has since then gained massively in popularity all over the world, especially in Las Vegas.

You may wonder, what does it have in common with classic, table-based poker? And the answer would be not too much, besides the types of hands that are available, which are identical to the “regular” table poker. Video poker has its own different set of rules that make it a unique game.

How does it work?

Since video poker online game Canada as a game is structurally based on “regular” variations of table poker, you have to have at least some kind of understanding of table poker, and mostly the “hands” that make up the game and where each one of them stands. Here they are, ordered by their strength:

    • High-card/Kicker: High card comes into play if none of the next following combinations occur, which is usually rare. When it comes to this point, the player holding the highest card wins.
    • One pair: This is a hand consisting of two cards of the same rank, such as two Jacks or Two fives. This is the first possible combination, and the weakest one. If more than one player draws two pairs, the one with the pair of stronger cards wins.
    • Two Pairs: A two pair, as the name implies, is a hand that gives the player two of the combinations with the two cards of same ranks from his hand and the table. Example: A, A, Q, Q. Two pairs beat One pair, as well as other possible two pairs with lower-ranked cards.
    • Three of a Kind: Next is the three pairs, often referred to as a set, which can be made by combining three cards with the same rank, like three aces.
    • Straight: A straight can be made by drawing five sequential cards. For example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.  As you may guess, in the case of two players having a straight, the one reaching higher will win.
    • Flush: A flush occurs when five cards of the same suit are drawn, like five cards of hearts. This can happen, for example, when a player is dealt two hearts with three hearts on the table, or when they’re dealt one heart with four hearts on the table. In some rare cases, a flush may appear on the table with 5 cards of the same suit, but, as mentioned, that’s very rare. In the case of two or more players having a flush, the one reaching higher wins.
    • Full-House: A full house occurs with a combination of three of a kind and two pairs, like 9, 9 + J, J, J. In the case of two players having a full house with one matching piece of pairs, the one whose other pieces of pairs is higher wins.
    • Four of a Kind: Four of a kind occurs when four cards with the same rank are dealt, like K, K, K, K.
    • Straight Flush: Straight flush occurs when a straight is in the same color suit, like hearts of A, 2, 3, 4, 5.
    • Royal Flush: Being the strongest possible combination in the game, this occurs extremely rarely. It’s essentially a straight flush, but with the highest possible combination of reaching up to an Ace, like 10, J, Q, K, A.

When it comes to video poker machines and online games, there’s not just one, but multiple types of variations of the game. We’ll be outlining the main points for the most common versions, but you should still make sure to study it more extensively before actually indulging. There are tons of resources online like YouTube videos and greatly-written books that can give you a solid, in-depth understanding.

The following variants aren’t that different from each other. You can even infer the main difference from their names themselves:

  • Jacks or Better: The most well-known and common version of the game. It’s commonly referred to as “Draw Poker”, and the reason for the name is that the payout happens only after making a pair of Jacks or something better.
  • Tens or Better: Identical to the previous one, but pays out with a pair of tens or higher
  • Deuces Wild: Deuces would be acting as wilds in this version. In some rare cases, this version can provide paybacks of as high as 10.8%
  • Joker’s Wild: Jokers act as wild cards, and they can substitute any other card, depending on the strongest possible hand. They also unlock the “five of a kind” hand as well. Joker’s Wild is regarded as the toughest possible variant of the game but allows for maximum possible payout reward.

All video poker games Canada begin by placing a wager, which can vary between a minimum and maximum amounts.

After making a wager, you’ll be dealt 5 cards from a 52-card-deck. This doesn’t include the jokers, by the way. With the jokers, the amount increases accordingly.

Afterward, you’ll proceed with discarding some of your cards and keeping the ones you like. If all cards are desirable, you can continue without discarding any of them. One of the reasons why many people love video poker is because there are no rules like time restrictions, allowing for a lot of time to think, strategize and go with the flow.

After you’re done with discarding your cards, the game evaluates the result and pays out accordingly in case of a win.

Why bother?

The advantage of playing video poker online Canada over other forms of online casino games is that you can make strategic decisions based on what gives you the best chance to win. With games like Online Roulette and Slot games, there’s not much strategy and skill involved, as they’re completely random. Your decisions are pretty much meaningless, technically speaking. Why? Because these games are based on the RNG (Random Number Generator) technology, where everything is decided via computer’s randomly generated sequences.

Yes, with video poker too, there’s computer randomizing the drawn cards, as there’s no actual physical deck of cards used to play the game, but the computer simulates actual, same odds that you would’ve had with the physical game as well, as it’s assuming the exact same deck of cards as the “real” video poker machines in Canada.

Bonus features like Jackpots

What would an online casino game be without jackpots or bonus features? Best video poker games in Canada offer progressive jackpots, which are jackpots with one of the highest winning potential. They’re basically jackpots that build up over time, hence the name. These jackpots can sometimes go so high that odds can even be tilted towards the player, in certain rare circumstances.

It’s through progressive jackpots that some of the highest-ever recorded winnings have occurred online, among them being the story of a Finnish man who won a $24 million jackpot with $0.25, and of a British Solider named Jonathan Haywood who won £13.2 million, or about US$17.2 million while playing only with 25 pounds, and many more.

Want to play video poker free?

If you want to play free online video poker casino games, you’re in luck. There are currently a lot of available options to enjoy all of your favorite casino games without paying a cent, and this includes video poker free casino games.

With the ever-increasing popularity of social casino games, anyone can hop on a computer or just grab their smartphone and pick from a wide variety of websites and applications to play from. These social casinos offer a safe, fun and risk-free way of indulging in casino and gambling games without wagering “real” money. These games have their own virtual currency, that is given out to players in specific intervals determined by the casino; usually every day or every specific day of the week.

In some rare cases, through video poker free play online, you can even get an opportunity to win some real money. This can be done by claiming casino’s promotional offers like free spins or other bonuses, which can then be used to make real money. Though these bonuses and freebies usually have a large wagering requirement, it still makes sense to try out your luck and see if you can make enough playthrough to actually earn some money for free. These types of free opportunities, coupled with the fact that the game’s structure itself gives you more of a say as to how likely you are to win, is the main reason why free Canadian video poker is very sought-after and interesting for all players.

General Tips

The following are some of the general tips that will be useful for all players, no matter what their playstyle and gaming approach is. These can be used as a rule-of-thumb, and general strategic guidelines that you can follow for best online video poker real money experience.

Always make the highest bets possible

Video poker allows you to fully determine exactly how much value you want to play for. With that being said, it’s similar to slot machines, in that higher the value, the higher the possible win. It’s one of the games that reward high-risk plays.

The way video poker is structured, you’re only able to win the game’s highest payouts if you place the max possible bet each round. This means that it makes mathematically no sense to play with anything but the maximum possible bet. For most machines and software, the maximum bet will be five credits per hand. If the usual $1 machine is too big, you can go for the lower ones, but regardless, always make sure you’re placing the max bet your machine-and casino-allows.

Take your time and play at your own pace

One of the biggest advantages and selling points of video poker Canada is that there’s no time pressure. There’s nobody rushing you, so you’re free to play at whichever pace and speed are the most comfortable for you. There won’t be anybody else sitting in front of you watching each and every move you make, making it much more comfortable than regular, human-vs-human table poker games.


If you’ve read this until now, congrats – you’re now more knowledgeable than most people when it comes to video poker, and can safely enjoy the game and earn a profit. Whether you’ll be playing video poker for real money or just having fun with free online casino video poker games, you now know everything you need to know to ensure you have a positive, constructive and most importantly profitable video poker gaming experience.