Your Key Guide to Video Poker Strategy
Rather than being purely based on luck, in video poker you can improve your chances with the use of a well thought out strategy. From knowing your pay tables to choosing low pairs, this guide takes you through popular video poker variants like Deuces Wild and Aces & Faces to help you get the most out of your game.
Video Poker Strategy Tips
Knowing some video poker strategy tips will get you playing your best possible game and help your skills and bankroll to go further online. Our experts have listed four essential tips that have made all the difference in their gameplay, and which could help you learn how to win the video poker jackpot.
1. Know Your Pay Tables
No two hands are the same in video poker, so it pays to know your pay tables. Luckily, if you’re playing online you don’t need to memorize the pay tables, as you’ll find them clearly displayed at the top of the screen.
2. Play Max Coins
Make the most of your potential winnings and hit the max bet button when you play online video poker. That way, if you get a Royal Flush, you’ll be rewarded with a massive prize.
3. Low Pairs Over a Single High Card
If you get a pair, hold them, even if they are low scoring. It’s always worth keeping hold of a scoring hand, rather than running the risk of winning nothing because you discarded a low pair to chase a potentially better scoring hand.
4. Know When to Break Up a Straight or Flush
If you have a chance of getting a Royal Flush, we’d recommend you break up a straight or flush and go for it. But if not, stick with what you’ve got.
The Basic Rules of Video Poker
While the gameplay may be a cross between slots and poker, video poker differs from slots in that you can control the direction of the game by improving your hand, which is why it's important you know how to play. Here we've introduced the basic rules of video poker.
The Rules of Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better is the most well-known variant of video poker. The rules of this game are slightly different, as you’ll only get a payout if your hand includes at least two jacks. Here are some other rules to be aware of when playing Jacks or Better:
- There are nine winning table poker hands in this game, and your hand needs to have at least a pair of jacks to get a score
- A predetermined pay scale denotes the amount players receive for certain winning hands. The top prize is a royal flush, which pays out 250x
- Players are only paid for their highest value hand
- Five of a kind and pairs lower than jacks do not receive a payout
The Rules of Bonus, Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus Poker
Loosely based on the basic rules of Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus or Double Double Bonus are well known variations of the game which you’ll find at many online casinos. The rules to know about include:
- There are more winning poker hands allowed in these games
- Different hands receive different bonus payouts
- Overall, the payout percentages on these variants is lower
- Bonus Poker pay tables pay out high sums for premium hands
The Rules of Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild
Deuces Wild makes all deuce cards in the deck wild cards. Therefore you can substitute any deuce card for any card you’d like it to be to help make up your winning hand. Likewise, in Jokers Wild the joker cards can be used in the same way. The rules of these versions differ slightly from the original video poker:
- Payout scales are much lower in these games, as it’s easier to make up a winning hand
- Hand rankings are the same as those used in classic table poker
- You can discard as many cards as you like
- Online Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild games offer players the opportunity to double their winnings via bonus games
Using Strategies to Win at Video Poker Variants
In video poker, strategy differs slightly according to the variant you choose to play. Here are five essential strategy tips for different scenarios you might encounter when playing online video poker.
- Jacks or Better
- Deuces Wild
- Double Bonus
- Aces and Faces
- Joker Poker/Jokers Wild
- Tens or Better
Jacks or Better
1. If your hand includes four to a straight or a flush, hold all four.
2. If your hand includes three to a royal flush, hold.
3. If you receive a pair of any value, hold them and draw three new cards.
4. If you have three cards to a straight flush, hold.
5. If you don’t have any of the above, hold any jacks and any cards higher than a jack.
Video Poker Odds
Often when you’re playing video poker online you’ll get a feeling that that long-awaited royal flush is just within your grasp. But how likely is it, really? Take a look at the table below to see exactly what your odds are of making up the different winning hands of video poker.
Royal Flush (dealt straight away)
1 in 650,000
Royal Flush (created by player holding/discarding cards)
1 in 40,000
Four Aces with a Kicker
1 in 16,236
1 in 9,150
2s to 4s with a Kicker
1 in 6,984
1 in 5,761
1 in 4,909
2s to 4s
1 in 2,601
Four of a Kind
1 in 423
1 in 90
1 in 85
1 in 80
Look out for a casino bonus that offers a high figure alongside realistic wagering requirements for your gaming habits.
Strategy Basics – Playing at the Right Casino
There’s a lot to get right with a decent game of video poker, and experienced gamblers like to ensure they get a good game by sticking to casinos that meet their set feature requirements. Below we go through some core elements you should check for, and explain why:
High Payout Percentages
This percentage tells you the amount on average a casino pays out. A 97% payout percentage simply means that $97 is paid out for every $100 wagered. Remember, this figure is for the casino overall, and you will not get 97% back on an individual bet you make. It’s still a good idea to look out for a casino that has a higher rate, however.
Weigh Up The Bonus Offers
Bonuses can be very enticing, but not all are created equal. If you are keen on accepting a bonus, make sure you do a little research on the offer itself, and the terms and conditions that apply. Not every video poker fan will be suited to a welcome bonus. Some should wait for promotions to be offered during game play.
How you can use your bonus will normally be dependent on time and playthrough requirements set by the casino. It’s always a good idea to go through the casino site’s bonus requirements before you join. If you don’t have the time to do this, you can count on us to point you in the right direction for those offers relevant to video poker.Tip: Look out for a casino bonus that offers a high figure alongside realistic wagering requirements for your gaming habits.
Don’t Forget About Your Safety
Your safety should be your number one priority. Before you play on any casino you should make sure it offers the best in digital security protocols. The games in the video poker lobby should be independently audited for fairness and random results. Any site lacking this should be immediately overlooked.
Further security methods like firewalls, safe payment options and frequent security checks are comforting complementary factors that can put your mind at ease. If you want to play at the safest video poker casinos, look no further than this page.
Other features you want to look for include a variety of payment methods, low or no transaction fees and fast withdrawals. Round the clock customer support, and proper jurisdiction documentation from recognized gambling bodies is also commendable.
Video Poker Glossary
Don’t get lost in the jargon. We’ve gathered all the terms used in video poker right here. If you’re keen to learn more about different gambling terms check out our extended gambling and casino glossary.
The total amount of money wagered.
The total amount of money a player has available to be used for gambling, whether in the form of chips or sitting in your bank account.
A monetary bonus awarded to a player, in return for playing with a given casino.
The average number of hands that pass between top-payout victories on any given video poker machine - typically through the use of the royal flush. The phrase may seem to imply that there is a predictable number of spins between each top payout, but this interpretation is misleading. Each hand is totally random, you could even win twice in a row.
A poker hand which requires a specific card to improve in value.
A card category that includes Kings, Queens, and Jacks.
The best, statistically speaking, version of any particular game. The 9/6 Jacks or Better game, for example, is the full pay version of Jacks or Better. Other variations give the house a larger advantage and should be avoided, though with some casinos, you might not have the option to play full pay games.
The house’s statistical advantage displayed as a percentage. For players, a lower house edge is a good thing. The casino, on the other hand, is looking for the highest edge possible.
A potential straight that requires you to draw one or more cards to fill a gap on the inside of the sequence. For example, a hand that contains 6, 7, 8, and 10 requires a nine, and only a nine, on the draw to become a straight.
A hand's highest, non-paired card that could be used as a tiebreaker in traditional poker games. Do not hold kickers in video poker - they don't serve the same function.
A potential straight that requires you to draw one of two cards to finish the five-in-a-row sequence of a straight. This is much easier to complete than an inside straight. For example, a hand that contains 9, 10, J, and Q, can be made into a straight by receiving either an 8 or a K on the draw.
The diagram that tells you how much each hand is worth - payouts are displayed in terms of your bet size.
A jackpot that grows larger as players fail to win it. Typically, many machines are linked together to feed the same progressive jackpot, and there is no limit to how large these video poker jackpots can grow. Once won, it will reset to its starting amount.
Short for random number generator, this is the digital mechanism that allows for random events to take place fairly. In the case of video poker, the random number generator produces a random 5-card hand from a deck that does not actually exist.
The counterpart to "full pay". These are less than optimum slot machines because of their less generous pay tables. These should typically be avoided.
A measure of how much a player should expect a machine to deviate from its expected return. Higher volatility should result in bigger swings in your bankroll, both positive and negative. Although this point is often debated, many players believe that higher volatility leads to increased risked.
A card in a specific video poker game that can act as any other card to create a more valuable hand.
Starting Your Game
Now you know your video poker strategy, it must be time to put your skills to the ultimate test. Take your pick from hundreds of epic video poker titles right here at Casino.org, and get ready to play for real money online. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which video poker game has the best odds?
We’d have to go with Deuces Wild, provided you’re willing to use the proper strategy on the full-pay version, as it actually gives players a very slight advantage over the house. Bear in mind, however, that this advantage may only materialize over an enormous number of hands.
Do you play video poker the same way you play real life poker?
They may share the same name, but the two games are actually quite different. Video poker is played solo, rather than against other players, and you could even say that it has more in common with slots than poker. Some knowledge of poker, such as what constitutes a good hand, is still beneficial though.
Can I play online video poker for free?
Yes! Virtually all online casino/video poker sites will let you play their games using practice money, so you don’t need to risk any of your bankroll until you’re familiar with the game. Some sites even offer free video poker games with commentary on whether or not, statistically speaking, you’re making the right move.
What is the best video poker game to play?
Beginners might prefer to start with Jacks or Better, as this is the most common variant, but for the reasons outlined above many players soon graduate to Deuces Wild. At the end of the day, it’s all down to personal taste and you might find a completely different variant that you like more than either of these options.
How can I win at video poker online?
Beyond using a video poker strategy designed to help you get the best out of a particular variant, there’s no way to guarantee a win at video poker. Slow and methodical play is usually the best approach, and we’d certainly recommend video poker over games like slots that have a much higher house edge.
How can I beat a video poker machine?
In terms of a sure-fire strategy, there isn’t any way you can make sure you’ll beat a video poker machine. It’s always about luck. However, the odds and payouts on video poker are better than a lot of other casino games. Our best advice is to follow a strategy and play methodically.