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How is multi-hand video poker different?

How is multi-hand video poker different?


Although it shares the same name as regular poker, video poker is a unique game, with a markedly different rule set and style of play. Video poker offers a much faster rate of play, with a higher rate of turnover between rounds and less of an emphasis on the mental warfare and strategy between players. This difference in playing style becomes even more pronounced when it comes to single-hand versus multi-hand video poker, which ramps things up significantly. In this article. we will give you an overview of the basics of video poker and how the multi-hand game types work.

What is video poker?

First introduced in the 1970s, video poker was designed to adapt the classic card game to a new era of digital technology. With advances in technology and the internet, video poker has exploded in popularity and is now one of the most frequently played online casino games. With these advances comes a wide array of rule sets and game types that suit all preferences and experience levels.

The basic structure of a video poker game is relatively simple. You initiate play by placing a bet, after which you are dealt five cards. You then hold one to five of those cards and depending on how many you decide to hold, you will be dealt between one to five new cards. If your hand appears on the pay table, you will win that game. The pay table sets out the winning hands that qualify you for a win. For example, winning hands might be a pair of jacks or better, two pairs, three of a kind, a straight, a flush and so forth.

As with classic poker rules, the highest possible hand on the pay table will award you the highest payout. In most cases, this will be a royal flush (10, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit).

Multi-hand video poker – same but different?

As more and more players have been drawn to the faster-paced play of video poker, casino game developers have come out with multi-hand games to add more excitement into the mix. In multi-hand video poker, you can bet on multiple lines at the same time. You can opt to bet on anywhere between three to 100 lines at once, although this will depend on the game type on offer.

Although the same basic game mechanics are present in both game types, once you enter into a game, the differences are stark. Most obviously, the pace of play changes from being a slower, slightly more methodical game to one that is fast-paced and, at times, frenetic. Also, the existence of multiple betting lines across numerous hands means that your strategy will need to adapt. In multi-hand games, you need to be a lot more aware of what types of bets you are making, how much you are betting, and the implications that your betting strategy might have across all the active hands. This makes multi-hand video poker a lot more demanding in terms of the level of concentration you need. However, don’t be put off by this, as this intense playing style is precisely what will keep you coming back for more.

How to play multi-hand video poker

The basic game mechanics in multi-hand video poker are, for the most part, the same as the single-hand variant. As a first step, you will simply select the number of hands you want to play. There is no requirement to play the maximum number of hands, although this will maximise your chances of winning but with an increased risk. You then place bets on each hand and initiates the game when you select the deal/draw button. You will then be dealt the base hand, which typically appears at the bottom of the screen. Cards in the other hands will remain face down at this stage, and then you select the number of cards in the open hand you wish to hold, which can be anywhere between zero and five.

These exact cards in the same position will then show face up in all of the active hands you are playing at that moment. When you hit deal/draw again, each of the hands you are playing get filled by a separate deck of cards. In multi-hand poker, each of the winning hands accrues credits or points, similar to a single-hand game. If you are dealt a royal flush (10, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit, all your active hands will collect the credits/points allocated.

Managing your bankroll

One of the most important things you must keep in mind, and something that makes multi-hand video poker so different from the single-hand version, relates to bankroll management during a game. When playing a game of video poker with multiple active hands, you need to remember that each of these counts as an individual bet. Therefore, while you might still only bet a relatively small amount per hand, this can multiply quite significantly across all your open hands. If you’re not careful when placing your bets, this could lead you to diminish your bankroll much more quickly than you had initially anticipated. As such, when placing bets in a multi-hand game, you should always be mindful of the total value of the bet in a given game, making sure this is a relatively small percentage of your total bankroll. Doing so will allow you to make smaller bets for a longer period and ultimately to get more enjoyment out of the game.

Winning odds – single or multi-hand?

One of the biggest misconceptions about multi-hand poker is that the existence of multiple hands significantly increases your chances of success in a given game. However, you would be foolish to believe this. It’s important to remember that the odds do not magically change just because you play 100 hands rather than just one. The odds of winning and risk stay the same, but this is just simply multiplied by whatever number of hands you decide to play. Rather than changing your strategy based on the idea that your chances have improved, you should maintain the same strategies you would in a single-hand game while also being aware that more active hands increases your risk rather than decreasing your chances of losing.

Which is better – single or multi-hand?

Although the basics of the game remain essentially the same, the differences in playing style and rate of play are vastly different in single and multi-hand video poker. As such, when it comes to deciding which one is better, there is no clear answer. Ultimately, the answer will depend entirely on your own preferences and what kind of a bankroll you want to play with. If you’re a more casual player, single-hand video poker might be a better option, as the games are slower paced, less intense and your bankroll will last longer. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced player multi-hand games offer a style of play that is truly unique. Multi-hand games usually require a bigger bankroll, so this might suit more seasoned players. As you can tell, there is a game type to suit all individual preferences and experience levels, so its best to try out a few and see what suits you best before committing to one specific game type. We here at Bitcasino offer 34 different video poker game types, which is perfect for getting you to grips with the game.


The differences between single-hand and multi-hand video poker are probably a lot more significant than you might have thought initially. While the basic mechanics stay the same in both games, the existence of multiple active hands at once means the pace and style of play are significantly different. While your chances of success stay essentially the same, the existence of multiple hands means that when you do win, the wins are amplified, which is an enticing prospect for all players.

With that said, if you fancy testing out your skills today, sign up for a Bitcasino account and get playing. Multi-hand video poker can take a little bit of time to get to grips with, so you are encouraged to take advantage of our play-for-fun accounts that allow you to play in a risk-free environment.

Words: Sean McNulty
Images: Shutterstock


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How is multi-hand video poker different?
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