Live Dealer Video Poker Coming to Pennsylvania Next Week as Flurry of New Games by Evolution Continues

Pennsylvanians will be the first US gamblers to experience the novelty of live dealer video poker starting next week. Evolution, the leading US supplier of live dealer products to online casinos, will launch the new product as part of the ongoing and rapid expansion of its offerings in the Keystone State.

Evolution Live Dealer Video Poker is expected to go live on May 14. That will be followed later this summer by Crazy Time, Evolution’s most popular live dealer game show. But while Crazy Time is already available in neighboring New Jersey, the launch of Evolution’s video poker in Pennsylvania will mark its US debut.

UPDATE (05/14): Evolution’s new game launched on schedule in Pennsylvania. Unexpectedly, it is also available at New Jersey online casinos.

The idea of adding a live dealer to video poker is a novel one. Video poker is typically a purely digital game, even in a retail casino environment. However, Evolution has turned it into something halfway between traditional video poker and a poker-based table game like Three-Card Poker.

The most recent new Evolution game to go live in Pennsylvania is a similar live dealer/digital hybrid. Crazy Coin Flip launched on May 7 and is already available at several Pennsylvania online casinos. Crazy Coin Flip plays as a video slot game until the player triggers the bonus round. During that feature, the game view shifts to a live dealer studio where the size of the player’s winnings will depend on that titular coin flip.

For Evolution Live Dealer Video Poker, the progression is the other way around: from live dealer to virtual.

How Does Live Dealer Video Poker Work?

When the game goes live, it will use real human poker dealer working in one of Evolution’s in-state studios. All players participating in a hand will receive the same initial five-card hand, dealt by the dealer from a standard 52-card deck.

As in standard video poker, players then have to decide which cards to discard, if any. Because each player will make a different decision, the remainder of the hand must be handled virtually.

After selecting their discards, players will receive replacement cards chosen by a digital random number generator rather than the physical deck.

The player may then win a prize based on the strength of the resulting hand. The minimum strength to qualify for a prize depends on the game variant (see below).

One upside of dealing replacement cards virtually is that it allows players to play multiple hands at once—from two to 100. That allows players a great deal of control over the volatility they’ll experience. A lot of the prize money in video poker comes from big hands like four-of-a-kind or a royal flush, so playing 100 hands at $0.25 apiece—for example—will produce lower-volatility outcomes than playing a single hand for $25.

Evolution Live Dealer Video Poker Offers Five Paytable Options

Many traditional video poker cabinets offer multiple variants of the game. Evolution’s live dealer version is no different. Even at a single table, each player can choose which variant they want to play.

The only catch is that there are no variants that include a Joker. That’s because all the games share a single deck.

Evolution Live Dealer Video Poker defaults to the Jacks or Better pay table because that’s the game’s most popular variant. The good news here is that it’s the full pay version, known to Vegas regulars as “9/6” because of the Full House and Flush payouts:

  • Full House: 800x
  • Straight Flush: 50x
  • Four of a Kind: 25x
  • Full House: 9x
  • Flush: 6x
  • Straight: 4x
  • Three of a Kind: 3x
  • Two Pair: 2x
  • One Pair (Jacks or Better): 1x

Those payouts include the bet, so a pair of Jacks or better is a push.

The 9/6 paytable means the player can expect a return of 99.54% with a perfect strategy or close to that with a simplified one. The complete set of paytable options offered by Evolution and their RTPs are:

  • Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Tens or Better (97.96%)
  • Deuces Wild (98.91%)
  • Bonus Poker (99.17%)
  • Double Double Bonus (98.98%)

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
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