Iowa has legalized online sports gambling but players itching to play video poker online will have to wait a while longer.
Despite Iowa’s entry into online betting legalization, the state still limits casino games to physical casinos. Meaning you will have to travel to one of the state’s 19 casinos to get your video poker fix until lawmakers advance legislation to allow these games to be played online. Players in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware can already access dozens of online video poker titles and those states have seen massive tax revenues from their legalization efforts, making it likely it’s just a matter of time until Iowa makes a similar move.
Though Iowans will have to wait for online casino games to be legalized, there are some “social” casinos that have found a way to offer an alternative way to play for real money online without violating any state restrictions. Here is a quick primer on how to play video poker and how you can start playing at a social casino.
How to Play Video Poker
While video poker is a simple game, it still requires a tad more strategy and decision-making than slots.
Video poker is essentially five-card draw poker. You are dealt five cards and must then decide which cards to keep and which to replace in hopes of getting a better hand. Be sure to read the pay table for each machine since this explains how much each combination pays out. Most games require you to get a pair of jacks or better in order to win any money. Here are the hand rankings for video poker:
– Royal flush: 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit
– Straight flush: Any five consecutive cards of the same suit
– Four of a kind
– Full house: Three of a kind plus one pair
– Flush: Any five cards of the same suit
– Straight: Any five consecutive cards
– Three of a kind
– Two pair
– Pair of Jacks or better
You can choose how much you want to bet for each hand but it is recommended that you bet the maximum amount for each hand, just like slots, since this maximizes your winnings.
Where Can I Play Video Poker Online?
Online casinos are still banned in Iowa so players itching to try their luck at online video poker will have to wait a while longer. Though there are no online casinos in Iowa, there are “social casinos” available to players around the country that offer a way to play for real money without violating state restrictions.
These casinos use a “sweepstakes model,” which allows you to buy play money and receive a “gift” of coins with each purchase. You can use these “gifted” coins to play online video poker or a variety of other casino games and then redeem the coins for real cash when you are done. Since you cannot bet real money and you cannot outright buy these coins, the social casinos do not run afoul of state gambling restrictions, allowing you to play and collect your winnings right from your computer or mobile device.