All American video poker, sometimes described as USA Poker, is so named because it’s the most popular style of poker in the United States. Before the dawn of online gaming it was known as Bally’s All American Poker, as the famous casino game manufacturer Bally owned the rights to the name.
While it was very popular with players because of its high payouts, it was disliked by casinos for the same reason. All American has made the move to online video poker seamlessly, and continues to be one of the most popular variants of the game played worldwide.
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This variant of online video poker is strikingly similar to Jacks or Better, albeit with most games decorated in American iconography such as stars and stripes flags and bald eagles. The biggest difference is that All American video poker offers higher payouts for certain hands, including straights, flushes, and straight flushes.
To compensate, some hands offer less than they would playing Jacks or Better, including a full house or two pair. While the difference may sound small, the payout change makes the game strategically different to other types of video poker, because players chase different hands.
All American video poker also offers a special Double or Nothing bonus feature, where players can elect to try and double their last win. Players will have to cut the deck, and if their card is higher than the dealers, they double their winnings. If theirs is lower, they get nothing back.
As with Jacks or Better, players are pitted directly against the dealer. They are dealt a hand of five cards, which they can hold or discard individually before clicking 'draw' to replace all discarded cards with new cards from the same pack. The succession tree is identical to Jacks or Better, but differs in the payout:
The best online casinos offer players the chance to play dozens of hands at once, with some sites extending this so that experts can compete with the dealer in 100 hands at the same time. In addition to the larger payouts on some hands, some All American video poker games offer a progressive jackpot, where all players contribute towards an ever-increasing jackpot, triggered randomly by one lucky hand.
With only one chance to replace each card, keeping hold of any winning hand is advisable. Taking a risk to reach higher-paying flushes and straights may be more tempting in All American poker, but whether this is worth a shot depends on the cards you're dealt, and whether they connect.
The more cards you hold, the less chance you have of hitting the specific card that you're aiming for – for example, if you are dealt a winning pair plus a high card, it might be worth discarding the high card.
Two pair doesn't pay well in All American poker, and by keeping the high card you're reducing your chances of hitting three or four of a kind. Remember – if you're not dealt any strong cards, you can discard the whole pack.
"A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade."