Best Video Poker Games in WV
Chances are that if you have entered a casino or racino in West Virginia, you have seen people playing video poker. Video poker machines have become fixtures of most gaming facilities.
While people play video poker for many reasons, it can provide a way for players to hone their skills between competitions against other human beings. Also, video poker represents a change of pace for those who normally enjoy playing slots.
While brick-and-mortar casinos provide WV residents and visitors with plenty of access to video poker machines, gamblers in WV can now enjoy unprecedented access to video poker.
Are video poker games legal in WV?
Yes. Video poker games are legal at all of the casinos and racinos in WV. Also, it’s legal to play video poker online in West Virginia via licensed operators.
In 1994, WV amended its constitution to allow for brick-and-mortar casinos. Seven years later, video gambling machines became legal. In March 2019, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act made video poker legal.
For that reason, all five of the state’s casinos and racinos offer many video poker machines for guests to play. However, the law forbids private citizens and groups without gambling licenses from operating video poker machines.
Operating a gambling operation without a license in WV can lead to fines and imprisonment. The same goes for patronizing illegal gambling operations.
As long as the operator is licensed with the WV Lottery, playing video poker in WV is completely legal.
How to play video poker for free in West Virginia
If you’re a novice player, putting your hard-earned money on the line at a casino or on the internet can seem a daunting prospect. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn the games at no cost except for your time.
A popular option for enjoying free online video poker games is Chumba Casino online. That website is somewhat limited, however, as the only poker product available there is Jacks or Better.
Regardless, it’s a handy tool for learning the game because it has a percentage calculator that will tell you the odds of your draw producing a winning hand. This not only helps in learning the different combinations but in practicing different video poker strategies as well.
As soon as you’re confident, it’s time to step up to the big leagues and start trying to win some money. There are many different variants for you to try.
Can I play video poker games for real money in WV?
Playing video poker for real money at any WV casino or racino is just like playing any other electronic game. It’s nearly identical to playing video slots in terms of how the machines work.
Playing online video poker is a bit different in that you have to register an account. This will just require a few minutes and a few pieces of information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number, for tax purposes.
After you’ve registered, you will need to fund your online account. Online casinos typically provide the following options for making deposits:
- ACH, or e-check
- Bank transfer
- PayNearMe (via 7-Eleven)
- Wire transfer
While you’re registering and funding your account, make sure you pay attention to any promotions the online casino offers. Bonuses for new accounts and first deposits are common.
West Virginia video poker apps
WV law requires online casinos to form partnerships with brick-and-mortar casinos/racinos in the state.
DraftKings Casino is live in West Virginia, and offers a few different video poker games currently. More may be added over time as online casinos develop.
Most video poker games at DraftKings have a minimum bet of 10 cents and a maximum of $200. Here are a few video poker games you’ll find:
- Jacks or Better
- Double Double Bonus Video Poker
- Live Three-Card Poker
BetMGM Online Casino also launched its WV online casino app, partnering with The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. However, it does not currently include any video poker games, though they could be added at some point.
Yet another online casino app, Golden Nugget Casino, has now announced its WV launch for early 2021, but it’s unclear yet whether it will offer video poker games.
Another likely entrant to WV online video poker could be PokerStars. This brand also has a connection to The Greenbrier through FanDuel Sportsbook, which is owned by the same parent company.
PokerStars is a premier brand globally, so it would be a welcome addition to the video poker landscape in WV.
Video poker strategy tips
Winning strategies in video poker are essentially identical to those which are best employed while playing poker at a physical table. The rules for each disparate five-card draw game are the same as well.
The object of the game is to constitute a winning hand. What cards are necessary for a win depends on the exact variant of poker the game is built on. For example, in Jacks or Better, more priority is put on pairs of jacks, queens, and/or kings than in other poker types.
One of the best strategies is to learn as much as possible about the different possible hands in your game of choice. From there, you can start to do what’s called “playing perfectly.”
Don’t worry, that won’t get you kicked out of casinos like counting cards at a blackjack table will. The house assumes you’re playing perfectly and builds out its games under that assumption.
All playing perfectly means is that you are playing the hand you were dealt, with its optimal value based on the statistical odds. Each time you make a mistake, your chance of winning declines.
Video poker odds also reflect your stake in each game. Most games have a minimum buy-in, but increasing your stake also increases your potential payout if you win.
Many games also offer progressive payouts, which escalate as you continue to play and win. Like with any other form of gambling, this is a matter of measuring the reward against the risk given the likelihood of winning.
Video poker games at WV online casinos
When you sit down at a machine in a casino or log onto a website, the choices for poker games can be intimidating. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed, however. For the most part, the different games represent mere tweaks, not huge discrepancies.
You aren’t destined to lose all your gambling money either. Video poker machines return over 96% of the cash they take in as winnings, on average. The following is a short breakdown of some games you might encounter.
Jacks or Better
This is the most common video poker casino game and as previously mentioned, the only game you will find at Chumba Casino. It’s popular because it’s a rather simple game.
To win, you must form a pair of jacks or better. This game is also popular because it pays back almost every dollar wagered, with a payback percentage of 99.54%.
Like most other games, the amount of those payouts increase with the strength of each hand. Chumba’s Jacks or Better game payouts at a rate of 7x/5x depending on the hand strength.
Just like the name suggests, this game turns the four twos into wild cards. Because this can dramatically improve the strength of hands, the bar for claiming a payout increases as well.
In most games, you will need three of a kind or an even stronger hand to win. If you play perfectly in this game, you can nearly assure yourself of a payout, however.
At the same time, the fact that four deuces are out there increases the difficulty. You might have to play multiple hands to realize an actual profit above your stake.
Bonus Poker/Double Bonus Poker/Double Double Bonus Poker
Who doesn’t love a good bonus when gambling? As is often the case in life, however, you “don’t get something for nothing.”
Bonus Poker can increase the value of your winnings. In exchange for that increased value, however, you sacrifice the likelihood you will win anything.
These games achieve those ends by adding bonuses to quads of any value. Double Bonus further applies an even greater payout for a hand with four aces.
Double Double Bonus Poker assigns different payouts based on the value of the fifth card, known as the kicker, in a four-ace hand. Again, as the bonuses progress, the chances of winning them decreases.
What’s important in all poker variants is to understand the rules before you start playing. Understanding your risk against the promised reward is the key to all gambling.
Promos and rewards programs
Most WV brick-and-mortar casinos and racinos offer rewards programs for customers, and playing video poker there is one way to earn points in those systems. The same goes for online casinos operating in WV.
While physical casinos often limit what you can use your points on to amenities like dining and hotel stays, online casinos are more apt to give you free plays. Some companies like MGM have rewards programs that include both online and retail operations.
Most of these programs are free to participate in, so there’s little if any reason not to join. That way, even if you don’t win at video poker, you are still earning points just by playing.
Another device that gambling companies use to encourage you to play is through the use of promotional bonuses. These are most common for new customers, but they will also be used at various times at the discretion of the casino.
It’s important to stay on the lookout for promos and keep track of your points as you play. They often have expiration dates. You don’t want to miss out on any perks you have earned.
Video poker rules and hand rankings
Video poker is a five-card draw style, with several variants depending on the house’s offerings. After the dealer distributes your five cards to you, it’s decision time.
You can hang on to or discard as many of the cards in your hands as you like. The goal is to produce the highest hand possible. These are some of the most common combinations, from strongest to weakest.
- Royal flush: A 10, jack, queen, king and ace, all of the same suit
- Straight flush: Five sequential cards all of the same suit
- Four-of-a-kind: Four cards of the same value, in each suit
- Full house: One pair and one three-of-a-kind
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit
- Straight: Any five sequential cards
- Three-of-a-kind: Three cards that are all the same value
- Two pair: Two unlike pairs of cards
- Pair: Two cards of the same value
When players have similar hands, the “high card” is usually the deciding factor. For example, if one player has a pair of twos and another has a pair of threes, the player with the higher pair has the better hand.
High cards also figure into payouts for many games. Different games also make some cards wild and require you to form certain hands to claim payouts. It’s crucial to know these rules before you start playing.
Video poker odds
As there are only 52 cards in a deck and therefore only a certain number of possible combinations, winning at poker is a matter of doing the math. The odds will fluctuate based on game variances and the number of hands in a game, but there are standard baselines for the different hands that video poker players should know.
|Royal Flush (dealt)||1/650,000||800|
|Royal Flush (ending hand)||1/40,400||800|
|Jacks or Better||1/4||1|
Players should note that some operators will adjust payouts based on initial hands that are dealt with. As always, familiarizing yourself with house rules is important.
Playing online vs. video poker in WV casinos
There is essentially no difference between playing video poker at a machine in a brick-and-mortar casino and doing the same thing on your computer, phone, or tablet at home. When you go to a physical casino, the casino is merely providing the device you’re playing the games on.
Playing video poker online means you’ll never have to worry about having to wait for a machine to become free. Video poker is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at legal WV casinos.
Where to play video poker in West Virginia
As WV considers video poker machines a part of casino offerings, you can find them wherever you would look to play video slots or table games. You’ll often find video poker consoles sprinkled among video slot machines.
Below is a list of addresses for the five casinos and racinos in WV.
- The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort: 101 Main St W, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
- Hollywood Casino Charles Town: 750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV 25414
- Mardi Gras Casino: 1 Greyhound Dr, Cross Lanes, WV 25313
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort: 1420 Mountaineer Cir, New Cumberland, WV 26047
- Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack: 1 S Stone St, Wheeling, WV 26003
West Virginia gambling laws & video poker machines
In 2001, West Virginia authorized video lottery terminals, which in the eyes of the state law, video poker machines technically are. That’s because the WV Lottery regulates them.
Companies wishing to offer video poker must receive proper licensure from the lottery. This includes operators who wish to do so online.
All five WV casinos and racinos will likely eventually expand their businesses to include video poker through operator contract agreements, just like they have with sports betting. As long as players are at least 21 years of age, physically within the state’s borders, and not on any self-exclusion lists, it’s completely legal to play in WV.
With the launch of online casinos, WV will be among the best places to play video poker in the United States. May the odds be ever in your favor.