Online video poker games with wild cards are popular. The wild cards make it easier to form winning combinations. But this does not increase the average returns because the hand rankings and the payouts in the pay table are tweaked to level the playing field. Wild cards add a new element in the decision making and call for a shift in strategy and this challenge is what draws players. Microgaming offers two wild card video poker games that are played with jokers. They are live at Australian online casinos like Casino Mate and Royal Vegas.
One of them is Joker Poker. Microgaming Joker Poker is played with a deck having 53 cards, the additional card being a joker. The payout table starts with a hand ranking of kings or better instead of the usual jacks or better. A pair of jacks and a pair of queens do not result in payouts. Two new hand rankings are introduced that necessarily require a joker. In all hand rankings, except one, there is no difference in the payout whether the hand uses a joker or not. The exception is royal flush. Joker royal flush pays 100 to 1 whereas natural royal flush pays 1000 to 1. Also there is a five of a kind hand ranking, which is the usual four of a kind with the fifth card being a joker. The average return to the player for Microgaming Joker Poker is 98.6%.
The other wild card online video poker variant at Microgaming online casinos is Double Joker Poker. Double Joker Poker is played with a 54-card deck that has two jokers. Because of the additional joker, the payout table now begins with two pairs. The average return to the player is lower at 98.1%. There are some reasons for this, which the more mathematical minded players may want to know. Joker Poker keeps away 56% of the hands from the payout table. Double Joker Poker keeps away 64% of the hands from the payout table. Though the probabilities of forming the hand rankings are higher in Double Joker Poker on account of the two jokers, the payouts are lower for a number of hand rankings on the payout table. The net result is a lower average return.
Both Joker Poker and Double Joker Poker are available as Power Poker games at Microgaming online casinos. These are multi-hand games and can be played with 4 hands, 10 hands, 50 hands and 100 hands. Both these online video poker variants are also available in the Microgaming Level-Up format.