Understanding The Basics of Video Poker

San Antonio could replace the cry "Remember the Alamo!" with "Don't forget the Spurs."

Many NBA observers predicted pre-Playoffs that Dallas successfully would defend the NBA Western Conference crown it won a year ago and go on to emerge victorious in the Finals.

Some would-be lawyers and present-day Professional Handicappers League members make a strong case for the Spurs, however.

The two Texas clubs already have displayed vulnerability and are 1-1 entering the third game of their respective opening series.

Houston's Rockets, who are up on Utah two games to one, are a third Lone Star State representative and still loom as a long shot threat in the West.

Golden State, making its first Playoffs appearance in 13 years, beat the Mavericks in Game 1, while Denver did the same to the Spurs.

Dallas was laying 4 1/2 points in Mile High City action Friday night, while San Antonio was a 2-point road choice on Saturday.

UNLV pre-law graduate Jorge Gonzalez forsees a Finals rematch of the 2005 meeting between the Spurs and Detroit, which leads Orlando 3-0 in their first-round series.

"San Antonio is going to beat the Pistons," he declared, even though the Spurs likely would have to get past Phoenix -- owner of a 2-1 edge on the Los Angeles Lakers -- before any date with the Mavs.

Right now, though, the Vegas Wise Sports Service operator and Sin City sports radio host simply is enjoying watching postseason play.

Gonzalez believes that top to bottom, this is the most talented Playoffs he recalls seeing and a tough one to pick.

"It just jumps up and grabs you," he said.

"There's true parity in the NBA this year."

The Spurs get a star from Gonzalez, who ruled the PHL's pro hoops standings last season, because of the punch their three leading scorers pack.

"(Tim) Duncan, (Tony) Parker and (Manu) Ginobili," Gonzalez said, clicking off names of the trio, which collectively staved off a late Game 2 Denver rally in San Antonio.

Gonzalez has had five No. 1 finishes since he joined the PHL about five years ago.

Nationally-known handicapper Big Al McMordie went on record targeting Dallas as the team to beat, but nevertheless had only nice things to say about the Spurs.

"San Antonio always is a dangerous team come Playoffs time, and, surprisingly, led the league in margin of victory, at plus 8.81 ppg going into (the last game regular-season game)," McMordie, an attorney by training, noted.

"The Spurs' (regular-season record wasn't as gaudy as Dallas' (58-24 vs. 67-15), but Gregg Popovich's crew bested Dallas in victory margin.

"Some of this has to do with the Spurs' poor record this year in close games, and Dallas' great record in that department.

"San Antone has blown out the bad teams this season, while struggling against the better teams ...

"I expect San Antonio to get to the Western Conference Finals, at the least."

Video poker consists of several versions of 5 card draw poker and is played in land based and online casinos. In casinos it is played on a console and looks similar to a slot machine. Video poker is known to have good odds and can be played for hours for a relatively small investment. It is the perfect game for players who like a game of skill and the potential for large payouts combined with a low house edge. Video poker is similar to slot machines in that the player sits alone at a machine and can play at their own speed. Many slot players are intimidated by table games. These payers may not like when other players are critical of their strategies or speed.
Video poker began showing up in casinos in the 1970’s. This is around the same time as video games became popular. The combination of software and hardware that had been developed for video games was being adapted to build video poker machines. Video poker has become more advanced over the years and its popularity has grown.
There are now many variations of video poker. On some game consoles you can choose between several versions of video poker. Deuces wild, Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus and multi-hand are the most popular. Each game pays out at different rates for winning hands. Payout tables list the payout rates for winning hands. These rates are posted at the beginning of each game and are not universal. They will vary from version to version as well as from machine to machine.
Most machines will allow the player to choose to play between one and five credits. Many times the largest payout, the royal flush, will pay a disproportionately high amount when the maximum amounts of coins are played. Some machines will also pay progressive jackpots for the maximum payout, so be careful to get the most value for your wager. Video poker is known as one of the highest paying games in the casino but this is only true when the payout table runs high. It is important to familiarize yourself with what are high payout rates and what are low payout rates. In traditional casinos the game can be funded using either cash or bar coded payout tickets from other casino games.
Once the game is funded play begins when the player places a bet of one or more credits and presses the deal button. Five cards are then dealt. The player has the option of discarding any or all of their cards and receiving new ones. The game will then pay out on winning hands based on the posted pay out table. Video poker shares the same hand rankings with the table version of the game. It is one of the few games where the player can gain a statistical advantage over the casino. By looking for the highest paying payout tables and playing perfect strategy a player can gain a slight advantage. When match bonuses are factored in at online casinos the advantage can actually become substantial.