Online video poker is a computerised version of (usually) five card draw poker, played at a console with a video screen displaying the cards rather than at a real poker table. Although variations on the draw game are available, the main distinguishing feature of video poker is that it’s a single player game played against a machine rather than with a group of real players around a table – and this is a large reason for its popularity. Not only is it easy and fun to play, it lacks the intimidation factor that many inexperienced (or veteran!) players can feel playing at a real table in a casino.
As the name implies, online video poker is simply the video poker concept taken online and played over the internet, at virtual casinos, from the comfort of the player’s home, making the game even less intimidating again.
Almost all online video poker games are based on the standard five-card draw game. Once the player has deposited a game credit – either through real credit card deposit, or a virtual credit that can only result in virtual winnings – a hand of five cards is dealt. The player then has the chance to exchange one or more cards to try and achieve one of the designated winning hands that pays out.
Although the fine details vary from game to game, winning hands are generally based on the standard pair, two-pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house and so on. Details of the amount of winnings for each hand are provided on a pay card before the game is played.
The areas where different games set themselves apart from each other is usually in the winnings and payouts. Some games play for small stakes and therefore small payouts, while others allow larger stakes and have features such as cumulative jackpots and bonuses to provide interest and keep the player in the game for longer.