Video poker is a relatively new breed of poker games that has transformed poker, a game that is normally played by at least two people (and a deck of cards) into a single-player betting game that can be played at home, online or in a public game arcade.
The earliest models of video poker games appeared back in the 1970s, shortly after the first personal computers were launched. It has become increasingly popular during the 1980s, especially in casinos, being used by players who wouldn’t try their luck at real poker tables.
Video poker is usually played by inserting a coin or depositing credits / funds by an alternative method. After the player pays and bets, the computer randomly deals a number of cards, depending on the game type, and the computer pays out the winnings according to the game rules.
There are several variations of video poker with different rules, the main difference between them usually being the minimum card combination for a winning hand.
In Jacks or Better video poker games the lowest winning combination of cards is a pair of Jacks (J-J). In Aces and eights players get extra winnings for four aces, eights and sevens, with rules similar to Jacks or Better. Deuces Wild means that deuces (2s) are used as wildcards, usable in combination with other cards to form winning hands. Deuces and Joker is a variant of this, with a deck of 53 cards – a normal 52-card deck, plus one Joker added to the game.
Video poker pays winnings according to pre-defined tables, amounts depending on the value of the hand. The hands are usually ranked according to normal poker hand ranking – high card, one pair, two pairs, and so on. Natural Royal Flush is the highest ranking hand – natural means that it does not contain any wild cards. Games sometimes feature special bonuses for certain combination of cards.
Sometimes video poker games offer their players to double their winnings by an add-in game of high-low guess. In this, players have to guess the value of the next card to be reveal – if they succees, their winnings are multiplied.
I don’t know whether to consider or not video poker a real poker variant. It lacks the basis of all poker games – the table, the dealing, the psychological ‘warfare’ of the players. In my opinion, video poker is a more sophisticated version of slot machines, a fun way to spend some time and money, but not a serious game of chance and certainly not REAL poker.