How to Improve Your Chances When Competing in Video Poker Contests

Video poker tournaments give players the chance to test their poker skills and be in for a chance to win large sums of cash. When you enter such online casino tournaments, you get to assess yourself against other great poker players while having lots of fun. If you consider yourself to be a good video poker player, then you really should consider entering some tournaments. However, before you do so, we recommend that you read this page as here you can find everything that you need to know about video poker tournaments.

You can make a lot of moneyOnly the top few players recieve prize money
You can test your skills against othersHarder to play without a strategy
You can try out your own strategiesLuck comes into play a bit more

Video Poker Basics

Before you even think about entering video poker tournaments, whether it is in Las Vegas or at home, you obviously need to make sure that you have a firm understanding as to how to play. People love video poker as it combines the best of slot machines with the best of table games. Furthermore, when you add in just how easy it is to play, it is not hard to why it has become such a popular game. Below we are going to take a quick look at the basics of this super game.

The Bet

If you are already somewhat familiar with video poker, then you will probably realize that we are going to skip the bit about inserting cash into a video poker machine and creating your bankroll. Why are we doing this? Well, this page is about video poker contests and this step is not necessary when it comes to such events. When you are taking part in a contest, your bankroll will be established for you.

As for video poker contest betting, this is something else that might be taken out of your hands. This is because the majority of online casinos will only permit you to place the maximum wager, which will often stand at 5 credits. However, if you do have the choice, you should still bet the maximum 5 credits. Why is this? Well, the payout for a Royal Flush will be much higher than if you are playing with 4 coins or fewer. Since you win a video poker contest by finishing with the highest number of credits, if you land the best hand you will obviously want to get as high a return as possible.

The Deal

When you are playing video poker, you will be given 5 cards that will form your hand. However, do not worry too much if your hand is bad as you will get the chance to improve it. The cards are dealt from one 52-card pack which contains all of the cards that you would expect to find in a pack of cards. The deck will be shuffled by the random number generator inside the machine and when you click the deal button, you will be given the five top cards.

In an ideal world, the 5 cards that you receive will make a decent winning hand, but the most likely scenario is that you will have half a decent hand that you will need to try and improve on by throwing away certain cards and requesting new ones.

Below we have provided you with a list of winning video poker hands, starting with the rarest (which pays the most) and ending with the most common (which pays the least).

  • Royal Flush (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, ten from the same suit)
  • Straight Flush (a sequence of five cards from the same suit)
  • Four-of-a-kind
  • Full House (three of one card and another pair)
  • Flush (five cards from the same suit)
  • Straight (five cards in a sequence but not of the same suit)
  • Three-of-a-kind
  • Two pairs
  • A pair (got to be Jacks or higher)

The Draw

Once you have received your cards, you will then have an important decision to make. You have one chance to see if you can make a better hand than the one that you have been dealt. In order to do this, you have to discard the cards that you believe are useless.

Let us say that the five cards that you are dealt are the 7 of Hearts, 7 of Clubs, 10 of Hearts, Jack of Hearts, and the King of Hearts. This hand has some promise, but it is not a winning hand just yet. For example, you have a pair of sevens, four hearts meaning you need just one more for a flush, while the 10, J and K of hearts gives you the chance to grab a Royal Flush.

Now, you will need to work out what cards you should hold in order to give you the best winning hand. Remember that there is a random number generator in place, which means that the cards that you received for your previous hand will have no bearing on the cards that you might possibly receive now.

Once you have made up your mind, select the "Hold" buttons under the cards that you would like to keep, and then push the "Draw" to receive your new cards. If your new cards help you to form a winning hand, the winnings will then be added to your tally.

Video Poker Tournaments Structure

Not all video poker contests are the same, but they can all be broken down into two main types: timed tournaments and hand-based tournaments. You should know the difference between the two before you enter a contest, so below we are going to explain what each one is in detail.

Timed Tournaments

As you have probably already guessed from the name, a timed tournament is one where all the contestants have the same amount of playing time. Once the time limit has been reached, those who have won the most credits will be given the prizes.

These types of tournaments can be constructed in a number of different ways. For example, you might find that the machines are set up for positive and negative credits. This means that each player will start at zero credits and then add or subtract from that as they start to play. On the other hand, you might enter a timed tournament where you start with a particular number of credits. If you run out of credit before the time has elapsed, you will be out, and you will not have a chance to win.

When you play video poker, you need to be aware of what the payback percentage is. This is the theoretical amount that you can expect to get back and it is based on the pay tables and the chances of creating winning hands. When you play for a long period of time on one machine, you will eventually arrive at that quoted percentage. However, when you are participating at a time tournament, the percentages do not really apply as you will not be playing long enough, but you do have a greater chance of getting a big win the more hands that you are able to play.

When you are taking part in a video poker tournament, you should not worry about losing a lot of cash over a short period. Why is this? Well, the fee that you paid to enter, whatever it was, has already been paid and you will not be able to lose anything other than that.

Hand-based Tournaments

If you enter this type of video poker event, then the number of hands that you will play is determined from the very start. Once everyone has played their designated hands, all of the participants will be judged on the number of credits that they have won, with those who have collected the most getting a share of the prizes.

In such events, you do not have to worry about time limits. However, having said that, you might come across some hand-based tournaments that have a time limit so that participants do not take ages thinking about their decisions. Do not worry though as the times allotted are usually extremely reasonable that you should not have any issue finishing the hands that are allotted to you.

What about Free Video Poker Tournaments?

If you have been playing at an online casino for any amount of time, then you will probably already know that you can play a wide variety of casino games (blackjack, craps, baccarat, slots, Sic Bo, roulette, poker, casino war, and keno) for free.

Why Do Online Casinos Allow Free Tournaments?

Well, they are aware that many of their customers like to practice games before they start spending their own money and they also know that players love to try out a new strategy for free before using it for real cash. In the online gambling world, it is very important to keep the customer happy and one of the most efficient ways to do this is to give them exactly what they want. Customers want the option of playing free games, so this is exactly what they are given.

Can You Win Money From Free Contests?

Every now and then, online casinos will open free tournaments where there is no entry fee to join. Despite the fact that there is no entry fee, there will still be some small bonus prizes up for grabs. If you are a video poker contest fan, you will be happy to hear that all of the best online casinos out there will have regular free video poker tournaments that you can join.

How To Find Poker Tournaments?

If you have not yet signed up with an online casino, then you are probably curious as to which ones are some of the best around. There are hundreds and hundreds of online casinos out there, so finding the top one for you can sometimes be a troublesome task.

However, we have done the bulk of the hard work for you. Take a visit to our Top 10 casino page and read each review that we have created for each casino on the list. After you have done that, you will know which is the top site for you.

Video Poker Prizes

With most video poker tournaments, you will find that there is a designated cash sum for those who finish in the top 5 places. The amount that will be assigned to each spot will be worked out by taking a certain percentage of the prize pool.

For instance, let us pretend that 100 people have entered a contest with a buy-in price of $100. This puts $10,000 in the prize pool. It will often be broken down as such:

  • 1st - $5,000 (50%)
  • 2nd - $2,500 (25%)
  • 3rd - $1,250 (12.5%)
  • 4th - $750 (7.5%)
  • 5th - $500 (5%)

The prize pool might not be broken down exactly like this, but we just wanted to give you some sort of idea as to what to expect. There will be times where you are participating in a tournament where the winner takes everything. Before you enter a tournament, you should always check out how the prize pot is structured. If you do not think the prize pot is worth it, look elsewhere.

Can I Play Video Poker Tournaments on My Mobile?

Mobile gambling, it is fair to say, is something that has become extremely popular and its popularity is something that is only going to increase. Nowadays, you can play all of the games that you can find at online casinos on your portable device. This means that people can gamble wherever they happen to be, which is one of the main reasons why it has become so popular.

In fact, it is now so popular that many online casinos offer specific bonuses for those who create an account with them using their smartphones. These bonuses are often extremely good, so keep an eye out for them if you happen to be a mobile gambler.

So, you can play a wide variety of casino games on your mobile, but what about entering tournaments? Well, you will be happy to hear that you will have no problems entering video poker tournaments (or any other type of tournament) on your portable device. Mobile gamblers are a huge chunk of an online casino’s income, so they would be foolish to alienate them by preventing them from taking part in competitions.

If there is an app that is available to download, we highly recommend that you do so because an app will give you better gaming experience.

Video Poker Tournament Specific Strategies

When it comes to video poker tournaments, there really is no right or wrong strategy to use. However, there are some things that you really need to consider when you are deciding on which video poker strategy you are going to use during a tournament. These are:

  • The number of participants: The more people there are participating in the competition, the harder it will obviously be for you to win money. If you feel that there are more participants involved than usual, you really should consider opting for a more reckless style of play.
  • The prize pool structure: If it is top-heavy, meaning those who finish at the top will get most of the money, then you will need to adjust your strategy accordingly. You will need to take more of a risk and aim for those big hands such as a Royal Flush.
  • The hand or time limit: The more time or hands that you get during an event, the more conservative you will be able to be since your chances of winning will improve the longer that you play. However, if there is a hand limit or a time limit, you will not be able to be as conservative.

Video Poker Tournament Tips

Below you will be able to find three tips that you should definitely keep in mind when you are competing in a video poker tournament.

Royals Rule

As we mentioned above briefly, you should always aim for a Royal Flush as the payout for this particular hand dwarfs the payouts for all other hands. When you are playing video poker, the Royal Flush is something that you will often be thinking about, but one that you won't often aim for. However, when participating in a tournament you have to try and force it to happen and this is done by going for it at any cost. This might mean that you gamble with a straight or a flush.

If you play like this in non-tournament mode, then you will end up losing a lot of money. However, you need to remember that when you are competing in a tournament, you cannot lose any more than the fee that you paid to enter. However, you can win an awful lot more if you happen to grab a couple of Royal Flushes.

Know Your Game

When you sign up for a tournament it is absolutely crucial that you know what type of video poker you will be playing. As we mentioned above, the playing mechanics will often always be the same, but the way that you play your hand can depend on what the paytable is.

You should not go into a tournament thinking that you are all set just because you consider yourself to be a very good video poker player. You need to ensure that you are an expert at the type of video poker that is being played. For instance, you might be very good at Jacks or Better, but that will not stand you in good stead if the game that is being played is Deuces Wild.

As well as knowing the game, you also need to learn the rules of the tournament before you try your luck. If you do not bother to learn the rules, then you run the risk of doing something that will see you get kicked out of the competition. This is wisdom that you would not even get from Nestor, the wisest of all Greeks.

Sell Out to Get Big Hands

Above we mentioned why you should play for a Royal Flush, but there are a couple of other hands that stand out above the rest. This the Straight Flush and Four-of-a-kind. In some video poker games, you will find that there is a bonus if you manage to land four-of-a-kind.

These bonuses are what will help you get ahead of the competition, especially if your opponents are trying to win with small hands. Therefore, you should often think about selling out in order to get one of these hands when you are participating in a tournament.

What do we mean by this? Well, we mean that you should make a move that would usually be frowned upon. For instance, let us say that you are competing in a Jacks or Better tournament and you get four cards of the same suit and a low pair. In a normal game of video poker, you would keep the four cards and aim for a flush. However, in a tournament, you are will probably be better off to keep the pair and aim for a four-of-a-kind. If you get lucky and get what you are aiming for, you will receive a nice 25/1 payout instead of a much lower 6/1 payout for a flush.

You might even do something crazier than that. Let us say that you get three Aces and a pair from the first 5 cards that you are dealt in a Double Double Bonus video poker tournament. This is a full house, which is a super hand to have in normal circumstances. However, if you drop one of the pair cards, you would just be one Ace away from a four-of-a-kind. In essence, you would be giving up 9:1 payment at a chance to win a 400:1 payout. Once again, this is not something that you would do if you were playing by yourself, but it is definitely something that you should consider when playing in a tournament.


🎰 Do free video poker tournaments exists?

You can play all of the regular casino games such as slot machines, poker, roulette, blackjack, keno, craps, casino war, and Sic Bo for free, so players often wonder whether they will be able to enter some tournaments for free as well. You will be glad to hear that you definitely can as online casinos know that players often like to have the fun of playing in a tournament without risking their own cash. Therefore, they regularly offer free tournaments to their players.

💥 Why is video poker so popular?

Video poker is so popular as it combines two of the most popular casino games, which are slots and poker. To add to this, not only is video poker really fun to play, but it is also very easy to get to grips with. All of the above is what makes this such a popular casino game.

⚡ Can I play video poker tournaments on a mobile device?

People love to gamble on their mobile devices nowadays, this is no secret. In fact, more people now gamble on a mobile device than those who gamble on a desktop. Mobile casinos know this, which is why they make sure that everything is compatible with mobile devices, even the casino tournaments that they offer. So, yes, you can play video poker tournaments on your mobile device.

🧐 What strategy should I use when playing in a video poker tournament?

Whether you are playing in blackjack tournament or a video poker tournament in Las Vegas or from the comfort of your own home, you should always have some type of strategy in place. If you have entered a video poker competition, then a good strategy to have is to always aim for a Royal Flush. If you get a couple of Royal Flushes during a tournament then you will stand a good chance of winning the whole competition.


If you want to find out more about video poker and other casino games, then we highly recommend that you take a look at the following pages:


Be the first to know the latest Casino Offers on Casinobonusesindex. Simply sign up here for Exclusive Bonuses, Special Promos, Free Spins & more.