The Unseen Benefits of Video Poker

Did you know that poker machines predate the slots? They do - the first automated poker game was built years before Charles Fey created the first slot machine, the Liberty Bell. But it had its shortcomings - like the fact that it couldn't be fitted with an automated payout system due to the large number of possible winning combinations.

Poker machines were largely forgotten until the 1970s, when they were revived thanks to computers and TV screens. They returned to life never to leave again - today they are among the most popular games at casinos, online and in real life alike.

The game

Video poker is not a "proper" poker variant, but it's as close to the real thing as possible. It is basically a single-player variant of Five Card Draw, adapted to the needs of a casino: fast-paced, action-packed, and with amazing wins. There is no pot, of course, but a pay-table, with each one of them having a specific win attached (depending on their value). As the least likely hand, the Royal Flush is the most valuable hand.

The benefits

While it relies a bit more on luck than real poker, video poker is not your average, dumb casino game. There are poker strategy guides that focus on this game alone, helping players to reach an RTP (return to player) of over 100% (meaning that it can be profitable in the long run). But this is not the only benefit video poker offers to its players.

Playing video poker is convenient. It's a single-player game, so players don't have to wait for each other to be ready - they can play in an instant, anywhere they are. Besides, there's no waiting for other players to decide how many cards to keep, and how many of them to drop. As I said above, it's a really fast-paced game. But you can play it at your own pace, of course. The game is easy to learn, and helps beginners familiarize with hand rankings faster. Besides, it's also entertaining, and relatively safe (most video poker games have RTPs of 98 to 99 percent, even without the use of strategies).

But the biggest benefit of the game is variety. Video poker comes in many flavors. Some variants use Jokers as wild cards, others use deuces (twos) as Wilds, making the game more exciting to play. Some versions come with extra bonuses for certain hands. Some variants allow players to play multiple hands at once (I once player a 25-hand version, and it was far less stressful than playing multiple hands at a poker room). And most games come with a Gamble feature, too, allowing players to multiply their winnings.

While other casino poker variants are dumb, and overly reliant on luck, video poker stands out of the crowd as a simple, convenient, and fast game that can offer more than just wins: entertainment.