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Video Poker

If you like poker but you also like pokies and you just cannot decide which one to play, then video poker is the game for you. It is basically a mix of the two with less stress than an actual poker game and more thrills than a slot game. It is the perfect combination of two games that are incredible all by themselves anyway – it takes the strategic part of poker and the random number generator software and solitude of slots.

You do not have to guess whether someone is bluffing, or keep yourself in check, and it is not like you have no impact on the game whatsoever and just wait for a winning spin either. Video poker is a great helping hand when a player is trying to transition to playing poker.

History of Video Poker

history iconThe history of video poker starts around the mid 70s of the previous century but the game did not gain popularity until the next decade when technology advancements allowed it to become a financially viable game for casinos. Players quickly realised that it is better than both poker and slots and loved it. It is definitely less intimidating than playing against a bunch of serious looking guys at a table engulfed in cigarette smoke. It is also more attractive than a game that gives you no power over its outcome and relies solely on chance. So, that is how people came to love video poker and its popularity spread like wildfire, taking the world by storm.

Despite its short history, video poker has a ton of variations. After the first online casino software was developed, it was only a matter of time for video poker to become a part of this brand new experience. The allure of playing video poker from home made the game even more popular. Not only you do not have to be surrounded by intimidating people, but you can play from the comfort of your own house. Thus, the game started developing further variations and more features started getting added. Now, there are even video poker games with progressive jackpots.


rules iconThe rules of the game are pretty simple once you understand the different winning hands and learn which are the highest ranking ones. The number of possible hands you could get is 2,598,960, once you have been handed one by the machine, which operates with a Random Number Generator, you get to pick which cards to hold and which ones to replace with the next draw.

You can keep all 5 cards or discard them all. With the following draw, you get the final result and see whether you have managed to get a winning hand or not.

Hand Rankings

A, K, Q, J and 10 of the same suit, make up a Royal Flush. If you get a natural Royal Flush, you will likely receive a higher win. This is the highest ranking combination of cards you can get. The next one down the line is a Straight Flush. This is a combination of any cards in sequential order and of the same suit. Four of a Kind is a hand with four cards of the same rank. A Full House hand consists of a combination of Three of a Kind and a Pair.

A Flush contains five cards of the same suit but not in sequential order, while a Straight contains five cards in sequential order but not of the same suit. Three of a Kind is the last winning hand in some video poker games. Others also award Pairs, Two Pairs, and Pair of Jacks or higher.

As we already mentioned, with the quick popularisation of the game and the rate at which the Internet is developing, there is already a solid number of different variations of this game. You can now find games with different winning hands, wilds, jackpots and themes. Usually, all variations are unified by their design, which features a paytable with the winning hands and how much your win would be if you bet one amount or another.

Another feature that is usually present is the gamble one. With it, you have the chance to bid all your winnings from your last hand and either double them or lose them. The ‘dealer’ draws a card and if you manage to draw a card of a higher denomination you win and double your credits. This can continue for a few rounds, it depends on the variation that you have picked to play, but in most cases you can quadruple your win.

Multihand Video Poker

This type of video poker game allows you to simultaneously play with more than one hand. Usually, the number you can choose is one of the following – 5, 10, 25, 50, 100. This way you can have some losing hands and some winning ones or instead of just one winning hand, say, if you happened to get a Three of a Kind hand and you held all three cards and then drew, you would not have just one winning hand you would have 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100.

On top of that, different cards appear on each hand so you will also end up getting at least one higher ranking hand as well, in all likelihood. However, you should keep in mind that the more hands you have, the more bets you make, therefore if you bet $1 on a hand and pick 25 hands, you are betting $25.

Progressive Jackpot Video Poker Games

A unique feature of video poker as opposed to poker, however, is that there are some games with a progressive jackpot. A progressive jackpot is one that grows as people play and the more they play, the bigger it gets until it is won. Usually, the hand that wins the jackpot is a Royal Flush.

This is not the case with all progressive video poker games, though. Eventually, a progressive game reaches a point at which it favours the player as the RTP rate gets up to 100% and then exceeds it. So, at that point, the game becomes a player advantage one.

Video Poker Games on Mobile

Because of the minimalistic nature of the game and the clean design, it runs very smoothly on any mobile device. It is not as heavy as some new pokies, and not nearly as hard on your device as a game of live poker. This is what makes it accessible and perhaps has contributed to its ever-growing popularity. Usually, you do not need to even download an app to play as nowadays, you can play straight through your browser.

In fact, at this point software development has reached such a stage of adaptivity that you can play pretty much any game from any device. It is absolutely legal to play video poker or any other online gambling game on mobile or desktop as long as it is from an offshore casino.

Software Suppliers of Virtual Casino Games

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Betsoft, Playtech, Microgaming and RealTime Gaming are the leaders in video poker software development at the moment. All these names have been in the industry for quite some time and offer a great variety of other games too. They have all been pioneers and pillars of the online gambling community, some since the very beginning. Naturally, there are also other software providers that have contributed to the world’s collection of video poker games but these are the most notable ones.

Betsoft has been making its way up the ladder for over a decade, doing its best every step of the way. It has assembled a great team of experts in all fields required to create a unique and premium gaming experience. So, now, Betsoft has one of the richest collections of games and uses the latest innovations in order to develop games that look stunning and perform outstandingly. They have a collection of 18 video poker games along with 8 special pyramid poker games.

Playtech is one of the biggest names in the online gambling industry. It has earned that place in the spotlight through relentless work and cutting-edge software. Not only does it offer all sorts of virtual gambling games but it also offers a selection of astonishing live games. They have a total of nine video poker games, one of which is with a progressive jackpot, and despite the small number, these games are some of the most popular ones worldwide.

Microgaming has hundreds of titles to its name, not only of games but also of awards, casinos, even charity events. It is precisely Microgaming that created the first online casino software, so saying that it is a major player in this game would be an understatement. Its games are of an outstanding quality and this software provider has the largest progressive jackpot network in the world. They offer 18 video poker games, two of which are progressive.

RealTime Gaming, or RTG, has been a major contributor to the online gambling industry for two decades. It has hundreds of games in its collection and multiple casinos are powered by it. RTG games have some of the best RTP rates that a player can ever hope to come across, especially when it comes to video poker. RTG has 16 different video poker games to offer, all of which are definitely worth a shot, especially Joker Poker Single Hand.

Most Popular Video Poker Games in New Zealand

As any other nation, New Zealanders have their own preferences when it comes to gambling. In fact, the most popular game in New Zealand is video slots, or pokies, so a combination of this type of game with the classic game of poker is naturally alluring as well. So players from there are very particular about their video poker games and demand the best. Betsoft seems to be a favourite, so below you will find a few brief reviews of their most popular games, according to ratings by New Zealand players.

Split Way Royal

split way royal screenshotThis is the highest rated game among New Zealand players. It has a high RTP of 99.80% and has some great features. It is a single-hand game with a pretty regular gameplay – you place your bet which can be up to 5 credits, which have a denomination between 0.01 and 1, so overall you can bet up to $5 or any other currency. When you select a bet of 1 credit, the first paytable gets highlighted. You will notice that the bigger your bet is, the bigger the win gets.

This game also offers low and high Royal Flush, which is not something you can find easily. What is meant by a low Royal Flush is a hand with cards from 2 to 6, all of the same suit. It is actually the best hand you can get in this game, along with the high Royal Flush, giving a maximum win of 4,000 credits. It is exactly because of this that the game carries this name. Aside from this, the game offers the double up option and you can double your winnings a total of four times.

Pyramid Double Bonus

pyramid double bonus screenshotIn this game the player is presented with 3 different paytables, with many betting options, allowing you to bet as much as you want on whichever paytable you want or on all three. Here you can double your win up to three times. The maximum win you can get with a maximum bet is 4,600 credits. The maximum bet you can place is 15 credits.

So how come this game has three different paytables? Well, the first one concerns the 3 cards on the left, the second is for all 5 cards, and the last one is for the last 3 cards on the right. Depending on your bet, the winning combinations in any of these will give different payouts. Because of this, you need to adjust your strategy to make the most out of these bonus features.

Deuces Wild

deuces wild screenshotThere are two variations by Betsoft and one is with the same Pyramid structure, while the other is a multi-hand version. The difference here is that the cards with a face value of 2 act as wilds and substitute for all other cards. This means you can get a Royal Flush with it. However, as it gives such a great advantage to the player, a little something must be taken away and in Deuces Wild, a pair is not rewarded. The lowest ranking hand is Three of a Kind. In the pyramid version, the lowest ranking hand on the two side bets is a Straight. A Flush is not a winning hand on the side paylines either.

In the multi-hand version of Deuces Wild by Betsoft, the winning hands are – Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, Four of a Kind, Straight Flush, Five of a Kind, Royal Flush, Four Deuces and a Natural Royal Flush. Since this game has wilds, the chance of winning, when you add the fact that it also has multiple hands, is extremely high. However, you must still take into consideration the different payouts first and then develop a strategy before you jump in the game.

Multihand Jacks or Better

jacks or better screenshotThis version of the popular variation of video poker, called Jack or Better, comes with additional hands – 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100. This increases your chances of winning or, at the very least, significantly decreases your chances of losing. Once you get the hang of playing multi-hand games, they become quite interesting.

You need a different strategy in order to get the most out of them and with Jacks or Better it is quite simple. If you get a pair of Jacks or better, hold on to them, because not only will all of your hands win, but you will also most likely get higher winning hands like three or four of a kind, full house and so on.

Multihand Double Jackpot

double jackpot screenshotThe unique thing about this game is that it has some unusual payouts like Four 5s through Kings, Four 2s, 3s, or 4s, Four Aces, and no Royal Flush payout. Only a natural Royal Flush is considered a winning hand. Other than that, the game is pretty straightforward. You can pick the same number of hands as the previously listed Multihand Betsoft game.

Here, you need to adjust your strategy as 2, 3, and 4 may lead to better wins if you manage to get a good hand with them. In the multi-hand Betsoft video poker games, there is no paytable to compare the payouts of different bets but they do change if your bet is bigger.

Multihand Joker Poker

joker poker screenshotThis game has a different payout system as well. As the name would suggest, there is a Joker in this game which serves as a wild, substituting all other cards. The difference here is that because of this advantage, the lowest winning card combination is a pair of kings or better, unlike the usual jacks or better.

Thanks to the joker, you can get a 5 of a kind winning hand, which is second only to a Natural Royal Flush. As with all Betsoft video poker games, the gamble option is presented immediately after a win – it takes you to a different base screen, with one section for the dealer’s card and another for the four cards you can choose from. Until you have selected whether you would like to gamble or collect, all cards are face-down. Then, if you do decide to play, the dealer’s card is revealed and you must pick one of the four that are still face-down.


strategy iconThere are many strategies for video poker as they change based on the type of game one plays. The strategies are highly mathematical and usually require a machine to calculate the exact action you should take, but there are some simple tips that can be used to improve your strategy too.

First, you must always take into consideration the type of game you are playing because of the difference in paytables and in winning hands. For instance, if you decide to play a game of Multihand Joker Poker but you do not take into consideration that a pair of Jacks is not a winning hand, this will result in more losing hands. You can create charts based on the payouts of each game of video poker. This can help you increase your wins but it is no guarantee that you will come out ahead. However, if you play based simply on hunches and instinct, you may win for a short while but in the long term – you will always end up losing more than you have won.

One basic advice that is always true is that you should not strive for a Royal Flush no matter what. If you have only one Ace and Three of a Kind, or even Four of a Kind, or simply a pair (if it is a winning hand in the game you have picked), you must never discard those winning combinations in the hopes of getting a Royal Flush with just an Ace. You cannot rely on streaks or the flow of the game either – it is all generated by a machine. Your chances are always the same.


  • Are online casinos based in New Zealand legal?

    They are not, in fact, New Zealand is among the so-called "grey markets" where online casinos are not legal nor illegal. Anyone can choose for themselves whether to play online or not.

  • Where can I play video poker games in New Zealand?

    You can play video poker games at any offshore online casino. It is completely legal.

  • How old do I need to be to play video poker in New Zealand?

    You need to be at least 20 years old, as that is the legal age in your country.

  • Are there games that are restricted for New Zealand players?

    No, you have access to all the games a casino offers

  • Do I need to declare my winnings?

    No, you do not. Gambling is considered a hobby in New Zealand, so any and all winnings you get are yours for the keeping.

So, now that you know that it is perfectly legal for you to play video poker you can go ahead and try one of the games we reviewed, or perhaps one that was developed by one of the software providers we briefly told you about. The choice is all yours!