The Differences between Poker and Video Poker

There is a vast difference between Poker and Video Poker. They both share a name and use cards but that is almost where the similarity ends.


Poker is a group of card games that share similar hand rankings and betting rules. Poker varieties are different in how to deal the cards, how players must form hands, what the bet limit is and how many betting rounds will take place. Some games give all the winnings to the highest hand whereas some other varieties split the pot between the low and high hands.

These days most poker games have a first round, which starts the betting with a type of forced bet. The poker player action then continues to the left of the table. Every player must then take a turn to either fold (which means losing out on the game) or match the max bet. Any poker player who decides to match the max bet can also raise the bet, which means increasing the bet.

A poker game’s betting round comes to an end when all players have had a turn. If only one person remains, he wins the pot without having to show his hand. If more than one person remains, the battle continues until only one remains.

Video Poker

Video poker came along long after poker was a famous game. The first old fashioned video poker models were made when companies started making personal computers, somewhere in the mid seventies.

Video poker games start with the player placing a bet by inserting money into the machine, and then pressing a button that automatically draws cards. The video poker player can then keep or get rid of 1+ of his cards, and discarded cards are replaced by a new random virtual card. After this, the video machine takes a look at the hand and gives the player a payout if his hand matches one of the machine’s winning hands.

Winning hands will be posted on the side of the machine. Some video poker machines offer players a progressive jackpot when they hit a royal flush, and this leads to players playing more often and betting more coins per round. Video poker machines have pay tables that allocate a payout for every hand, which is based on the payback percentage and on how rare they are. Video poker is a popular game, especially in Las Vegas. In the nineties, casinos started offering lower denomination games, and allowing games for 25 cents or more.

The Differences

Poker Video Poker
Play against poker opponents Play against a video poker machine
Requires more skill than video poker Requires less skill than poker
Games can be expensive or inexpensive Games are often inexpensive
You win the available ‘pot.’ Progressive jackpots
Poker knowledge will be an advantage Poker hands are posted on the machines
Poker ‘tells’ knowledge advantages ‘Poker tells’ do not play a role