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Online video poker continues to grow into one of the most popular online casino games in Canada. Key to video poker’s increasing popularity is that it involves the best of two worlds: the strategic suspense of card games and the pace and excitement of slots. While playing online as opposed to at a land casino, an added benefit is that you don’t have to deal with the pressure of other players second guessing your every move. Most of the many variations that are offered to you, are based on traditional five card draw poker and requires skill, a deep understanding of the numerous subtleties and of course as in any other online casino game, a healthy dose of good fortune.

Tens or Better video pokerChoosing a video poker game
Given the many different varieties of online video poker games, your first task will be to decide the best one for you. The most common form of video poker is Jacks or Better which adheres to the same set of rules as traditional draw poker. Different poker games also have different odds for winning so it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with the pay tables for each game and each bet value. Make sure you choose the optimal game with the most advantageous value odds. Another, often overlooked piece of information, is the payout percentage of each different poker game. This information can usually be found at the online casino operator. It details the amount paid as winnings to all customers as a percentage of all money wagered by players. Most video poker games have favorable payout rates, some as high as 99%, but remember this does not guarantee you a win, because for that you’ll need some lady luck.

How to play video poker, a few basic steps

Decide on your bank roll
To begin with you’ll need to determine your overall playing budget. It is called your bankroll and should be equal to the amount that you are willing to spend each time you play. With online video poker there are strategies to aid you in increasing your odds of winning, but it makes good sense to determine you maximum budget before you start on your winning endeavors.

How to bet on a hand of video poker
On the playing screen you’ll choose the number of credits you’d like to wager, as well as the Canadian dollar value of each credit. So if you decide to wager 5 credits and choose a value of C$0.25 for each, your total wager for the hand will be C$1.25. To qualify to win a royal flush, the highest possible poker hand, you’ll need to bet the maximum amount of credits, at the maximum credit value. Once you’ve decided on the value of your bet you will choose to deal and five cards will be dealt to you. Based on the cards which appear you will choose to hold some, hold all or discard all. You then hit “deal draw” again and the cards you discarded will be replaced by fresh cards. From here your win or loss will be determined by the final hand.

How to know when you have won
Each online gaming operator will list the paytables for each hand and wager. These are based on universal poker card combinations. Below are all the possible winning combinations, listed in order of value from highest to lowest.

  • Royal flush – Cards of all the same suit starting from 10. Example: A – K – Q – J – 10
  • Straight flush – Any five card combination of the same suit. Example: 5♣ – 6♣ – 7♣ – 8♣ – 9♣
  • Four of a kind – Four cards of the same value , but not the same suit. Example: 9♠ – 9♣ – 9 – 9 – K
  • Full house – Three cards of a kind plus a pair, where the suit need not be the same. Example: 7 – 7 – 7♠ – 5♣ – 5
  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit where the values aren’t shared. Example: 2♠ – 4♠ – 6♠ – 8♠ – K♠
  • Straight – Five card in counting order, each forming part of a different suit. Example: 4 – 5 – 6 – 7♠ – 8♣
  • Three of a kind – Three cards with the same numerical value and any other three cards. Example: 5 – 5 – 5♠ – 7♠ – 8♣
  • Two pair – Two cards with the same numerical value and any other three cards Example: 5 – 5 – 6♠ – 8♠ – J♣
  • Jacks or Better – Pair of jacks or better and any other three cards Example: J♠ – J♣ – Q – K – A

How to know how much you have won
Should you win, the amount you win is listed in the pay table. The amount you win is based on the which of the above card combinations rests in your final hand. Royal flush is the pinnacle of this. Also remember the more credits you play the higher each winning combination will pay out.

The pay table lists the winning values of each combination, relative to the symbols. It is usually the symbol most closely linked to the theme of the game which has the highest value. When playing slots, one of the exciting elements is looking out for a scatter symbol. A scatter symbol, is a special symbol which can usually appear in any sequence in combinations of three or more (sometimes two or more). A scatter symbol payout multiplies the entire

Doubling up in video poker
Usually when you win a hand you get the option to double your winnings. For this you go into a one card challenge with the dealer and if the card you choose is higher than his, you’ll double what you initially won. However, should your card be of a lower value, you’ll lose everything including the initial win. So while the chance of doubling your winnings may sound tempting, it doesn’t come without it’s risks.