Knowing the Differences Between Video Poker and Table Poker

Knowing the differences between video poker and table poker

A message to all the players out there

Although they are similar in some very distinct ways, table poker and video poker could not be more different from one another. Anyone out there who thinks that video poker is just an electronic version of table poker may find their bankroll shrinking rapidly.

The History of Table Poker and Video Poker

The origins of table poker compared to video poker could not be more different. Table poker was originally played on the Mississippi riverboats in the early 1800’s and was referred to as the “cheating game.”

Back then the game only included 20 cards. It was eventually updated to include 52 plus two jokers and gained popularity by way of the east coast railroads.

Video poker by comparison was unveiled in1970’s Las Vegas as a “New Kind of Slot Machine” and although there are many varieties today, it originally only included the game “Jacks or Better.”

Some Big Differences Between Video Poker and Table Poker

  1. When you play video poker, the higher your hand ranking, the more money you’ll win. However in table poker you could win the entire game with nothing but a pair of Two’s based on how you bet, bluffed, or strategized.
  2. No matter what, in table poker, somebody wins. Whereas in video poker you must have a winning hand to get the coins.
  3. You’re not playing against anybody in video poker. The machine deals you the cards and you make your decisions. In table poker you have opponents. You might think video poker is similar to Blackjack in this regard, where the dealer is handing out your cards, but in fact the dealer is still playing against you in Blackjack has the opportunity to beat you at every stage.
  4. In video poker, you’re only betting one time. Video poker has one round of betting in the beginning and that’s it! Whereas most table poker games have several rounds of betting.
  5. It’s in the digital realm. This seems pretty obvious, but it’s important to note that video poker is played within a machine, so you can’t do things like reorder your cards to show a winning hand or use psychological strategies to help you win in any way.

Video Poker Strategy Vs. Poker Strategy

You might think after reading the differences that video poker is too sterile since you can’t apply psychological strategies or bet multiple times per game. However this is far from true as video poker allows a player to focus primarily on the game. Specifically what cards to hold and when.

Here’s a great video by Linda Boyd on how to play some of the more nuanced video poker hands that can come up during play and how to handle each one perfectly.

There are also ways to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward before you even push the “deal” button. Such as checking the pay table to make sure you’re playing on a better machine compared to other with a lower pay structure. This is something that is covered in great lengths in Linda Boyd’s book “The Video Poker Edge: How to Play Smart and Bet Right.”

Poker strategy relies on not only on knowing how to play the game well (raw skill) but also knowing the math involved, and how to read your opponents. Both games are fun and enjoyable and each have their own unique methods for betting, playing and winning!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published