The gambling industry has seen enormous growth and change over the last few years, and the much-loved game of poker has evolved considerably. Once a bricks-and-mortar favourite in casinos throughout the 1970s and 80s, it has now become a massive online market – and with so many operators offering video poker options, it can be tricky for punters to choose a site. This guide explains what to look out for when choosing where to play video poker online.
One of the first things to check when browsing casino sites is legal credentials and licensing status. Gambling sites should be licensed by a recognised gambling jurisdiction; this assures you that the operator has been deemed trustworthy in terms of protecting player funds, operating fairly and transparently and promoting responsible gambling. You can usually find licence information (including authority badges) at the bottom of a site's homepage or on its 'About Us' page.
It's important to note, however, that not all gambling jurisdictions are equally rigorous in their processes. If a site has a licence from a respected country or territory like the United Kingdom, Gibraltar or Malta, it will have gone through stricter checks than a site licensed in Curacao, for example.
You should also check a site's security measures. Ensure that it uses a strong encryption system, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and/or RSA data encryption, which are designed to provide secure communications and keep your personal data safe.
Lastly, check whether the site shows evidence of regular fairness testing – reputable sites should have eCOGRA approval or declare that their systems are subject to regular review by testing organisations like Technical Systems Testing (TST), which specialises in poker system audits and RNG (Random Number Generator) evaluation.
Once you've confirmed that a site is 100% safe and above board, there's the actual fun part: looking at the range of games it offers. A quality casino site will provide a wide range of games to cater for different tastes and levels of strategic proficiency. As a general rule of thumb, the best sites should offer plenty of exciting video poker variants, such as:
A top-notch video poker site should be committed to providing the best possible user experience, and a key part of this is having excellent software. Look for sites that are regularly updated and work with high-profile developers, such as Betsoft (which prides itself on the cinematic 3D graphics in its games) or NetEntertainment, which has produced a number of high-quality video poker titles and won at the eGR B2B Awards consecutively for the past five years.
If a site is powered by excellent software, it's likely to have faster loading speeds, smoother gameplay, superior graphics and fewer bugs. You should also think about how you want to play. Video poker sites usually fall into two main categories: those which offer Flash instant-play in-browser games and those which require you to download a dedicated software client to run from your machine.
There are pros and cons to each, and it often comes down to personal circumstances and preference – for example, those with limited memory on their computer may prefer instant-play browser-based games.
Of course, in today's mobile landscape, another important consideration is smartphone and tablet optimisation for people who want to gamble on-the-go. If you're a keen mobile player, it's obviously advisable to look out for video poker sites that are either mobile-optimised with compatible games, or alternatively for operators that offer a dedicated mobile app.
It's important to consider a site's deposit and withdrawal policies. Generally speaking, casino sites should offer a range of payment methods, including major debit and credit cards, cheque and wire transfer, plus online services like PayPal and Skrill.
Find out how much the minimum deposit is – this will be required by most operators – and whether there are any limits on withdrawal amount and frequency. In general, you should expect payouts to take anything from 48 hours to 7 days to be processed, depending on the payment method.
Lastly, you should always keep an eye out for good deals. Video poker is a competitive market, so sites tend to offer lots of bonuses and benefits to entice players to sign up. Before you pick a site, take some time to compare welcome and first or second deposit bonuses, as this is a good way to kick-start your gameplay while you test out the games on offer.
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £100 + 200 Extra Spins New players only. 18+. 35x wagering applies to Bonus Cash and Free Spins. Deposit of £20+ unlocks a 100% Match Bonus up to £100 in Bonus Cash, subsequent wager of £20+ on slots unlocks 100 Free Spins and 20 Free Spins per day over 5 days on selected games. BeGambleAware.org
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £100 + 300 Extra Spins New players Only. £10 minimum deposit. 40 x wagering applies. Bonus valid for 14 days. Minimum £5 wager required to activate 300 Free Spins. 30 Free Spins will be credited per day for 10 days after qualifying deposit/wager is met. Free Spins valid for 72 hours from credit
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100% First Deposit Bonus up to £300 + 300 Extra Spins 18+ Full T&C's Apply. New players Only. £10 minimum deposit. 40x wagering applies. Bonus valid for 14 days. Min. £5 wager required to activate 300 Free Spins. 30 Free Spins released over 10 consecutive days after qualifying deposit/wager is met. Free Spins valid for 24 hours
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £100 + 200 Extra Spins New players only, min deposit £10, 1st deposit: 100% bonus up to £100 & 20 Free Spins daily for 10 days in a row, first deposit + bonus funds must be wagered 35x (game weighting applies). Max. bet while playing with bonus £6. Neteller and Skrill deposits excluded from offer. Game weighting and T&Cs apply.
100% Welcome Bonus up to £998 + 111 Extra Spins New players only, min deposit £10, wagering 50x, max bet £5 with bonus funds. 11 Fun Spins for registration (max withdrawal is £100). 50% up to £499 bonus + 100 Fun Spins on 1st deposit. 50% up to £499 bonus on 2nd deposit. Welcome bonus excluded for players depositing with Skrill or Neteller. T&Cs apply.
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100% First Deposit Bonus up to £500 New Customers Only. Min £20 deposit. Max bonus £500. 20x (deposit + bonus) wagering reqs apply. Contributions to wagering reqs vary by game. Bonus valid for 30 days (bonus + winnings removed). Certain games and payment methods excluded. Bets covering 67% or more of Roulette table don’t count to wagering.
100% Match Bonus up to £200 + 200 Extra Spins New players Only. £10 minimum deposit. 40 x wagering applies. Bonus valid for 14 days. Minimum £5 wager required to activate 200 Free Spins. 20 Free Spins will be credited per day for 10 days after qualifying deposit/wager is met. Free Spins valid for 72 hours from credit.
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £300 Opt in required. Available 1x per customer. First deposit only. Minimum £10 deposit. Maximum £300 bonus. 40x wagering. Bonus expires 7 days from issue. New customers to casino page only. Player, currency, country, game restrictions & terms apply.
200% First Deposit Bonus up to £200 UK & IRL only. Deposits made with e-wallets are not valid for this promo. Bonus wagering x50 on eligible games. Game weighting apply. Min deposit €20. Golden chips available after bonus is redeemed/lost and worth €1 each. Full T&Cs apply.
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £100 + 200 Extra Spins Minimum deposit of €10 , x45 wagering, Roulette and blackjack 50% weighting. Bonus Valid for 7 days. Free Spin award tiered as 10, 100, 200 depending on bonus buy in amount. Not available to customers using Moneybookers/Skrill or Neteller as a payment method. See below for Full Terms & Conditions.
EXCLUSIVE: Up to 10% Cashback + £500 Welcome Package 18+ Deposit Bonus, new customers only. Tiered bonus on first four deposits. Min. £10 deposit. 35x wagering before bonus or free spin winnings are withdrawable. £5 max bonus bet. Free spins on pre-selected games and subject to change. Free spins must be used within 3 days. See site for full T&Cs. www.begambleaware.org
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £400 First Deposit Only. Min £10 deposit. Max £400 bonus. 20x (deposit & bonus) wagering reqs apply. Contribution to wagering reqs vary by game. Bonus valid for 14 days (bonus and winnings removed). Bets covering 67% or more of Roulette table do not count to wagering reqs.
200% Welcome Bonus up to £3,000 on First Deposit + 50 Bonus Spins 18+. New players only. 1 bonus offer per player. Min. deposit £20. Max. bonus bet is £5. Bonus spins on selected games only and must be used within 72 hours. Bonus funds expire in 30 days, unused bonus funds will be removed. Bonus funds are 200% match up to £3,000 on your 1st deposit, 40% match up to £1,000 on your 2nd deposit, and 80% match up to £500 on your 3rd deposit. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus, cash & bonus spins. Terms apply. BeGambleAware.
£800 Welcome Bonus + 50 Extra Spins New customers only. Opt-in required. 1st deposit bonus (DB) 100% up to £200. 2nd DB 50% up to £200, 3rd DB 25% up to £200, 4th DB 25% up to £200. 40x wagering, 30 days to complete wagering, game weighting and game restrictions apply. Max Bet with bonus funds £5. Neteller/Skrill deposits excluded, cash balance can be withdrawn at any time. Full bonus terms
100% First Deposit Bonus up to £200 Promo Code: TRIO1 New Customers | Min. deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller) | Bonus amount is 50% of deposit | 1x deposit turnover (min. odds 3/5) for bonus receipt | 5x deposit and bonus turnover (min. odds 3/5), in 90 days, for bonus release | Some bet types don’t contribute to turnover | Withdrawal before turnover results in bonus cancellation | Terms apply | 18+
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