The majority of casino enthusiasts fall into a niche category. They will have a strong passion for a single game type, such as slots, blackjack, or video poker. But because slot machines and video poker are similar, both being private, single-player games, a lot of players tend to enjoy both. Choosing which one to play can be difficult, but what if you didn’t have to choose at all?
Microgaming made that possible a few years ago when it launched a revolutionary new online casino game called Reel Play Poker. While this edition should have satisfied a high demand, it seems that a lot of people aren’t even giving the game a shot because they find it to be, well, confusing.
Reel Play Poker combines the strategic superiority of Jacks or Better video poker with the quick-paced action of online slots. Like video poker games, players are working to achieve valuable poker hand rankings, and are able to select which cards they wish to “hold” and “discard”. Like slots, though, all of the cards appear on a 5×3 reel set with 20 paylines.
That means individual cards aren’t just applied to a single 5-card hand, but rather to a wide range of hand combinations running from left-to-right across the reels.
Knowing just how many slots fans there are out there who love to spin the reels, but wish there was just an inkling of strategy they could invoke to better their chances of receiving a payout, I honestly believe that if more people understood the rules of Reel Play Poker, the game would be a lot more popular.
Reel Play Poker – Deal, Decision Hand
A session begins just like any other slot machine, where the player selects a bet size ($0.01 to $0.025 per payline), and the number of paylines they wish to activate. The player then presses the “Deal” button (in place of the slots’ standard “Spin” button).
The symbols on the reels—which are all playing cards, of course—will suddenly be covered (flipped over), showing only the ‘Reel Play Poker’ logo. Below those cards a 5-card ‘Decision Hand’ will appear. The player will select which cards from that hand they want to keep, but there’s a catch.
The cards you hold will appear stacked on their respective reels. For example, if the first card in the Decision Hand is an Ace of Spades, and the player chooses to Hold this card, all of the positions on the first reel will become and Ace of Spades. If the fourth card is an Ace of Diamonds, and it is held, all symbols on the fourth reel will be Ace of Diamonds, and so forth.
Reel Play Poker – Draw/Spin
With Held cards selected, you’ll notice the “Deal” button now says “Draw/Spin”. Click this button and all reels that aren’t held will spin, with various playing cards (all from a single, 52 card deck) filling those spaces.
Reel Play Poker – Paytable
The paytable matches Microgaming’s Jacks or Better Video Poker rules, meaning you’ll need a pair of jacks, or anything better, to instigate a payout. A pair (jacks or higher) pays one credit, equal to one line bet. The higher a hand ranks, the higher the payout becomes, scaling up to the max 800x credit for a Royal Flush.
With 20 paylines, chances are that anytime a player hits one payout, they will hit at least a few extra, and with a strong poker hand, the profit potential becomes enormous.