Video Poker

How To Play Video Poker

Video poker first became popular in the mid-1970s when casinos found a way to combine a television-like screen with a computer. While video poker has come a long way from there, it’s popularity has also grown. More people started to turn to video poker because they found that it was less intimidating than regular table games like poker, blackjack, or craps. Some people tend to like video poker better than games like slots, which require no skill, only luck. In video poker, you have a little more outcome of the success of your hands and you can use strategy to improve your odds of going home with more money than you started with.

Now, video poker can be found in both casinos along the Las Vegas strip and at online casinos. Video poker is especially popular for people who are good at calculating odds because they tend to have better success at video poker. Here is how to play video poker.

Jacks or Better is one of the most popular video poker games. In this game, the goal is to get at least a pair of jacks; otherwise, you won’t win your wager. For example, if you only have a pair of 10s or 7s, you don’t win and you won’t get paid.

Before you start playing, make sure to look at the payout table, which will be located on the online casino’s video poker screen. While the actual payouts will vary from online casino to online casino, here are what they will typically be.

  • Royal Flush: 250 times your wager. When betting max credits, you might get a bonus of more than 4000 times your original wager
  • Straight flush: 50 times your original wager
  • Four of a kind: 25 times your original wager
  • Full house: 6 to 9 times your original wager
  • Flush: 5 or 6 times your original wager
  • Straight: 4 times your original wager
  • Three of a kind: 3 times your original wager
  • Two pair: 2 times your original wager
  • Pair of jacks or better: 1 time your original wager

When you win your wager, you only get paid based on the highest-ranking hand value you hold. For example, if you get a full house, you will win between six to nine times your wager. However, you won’t get paid for both a three of a kind and a two pair.

Rules Of Video Poker

We will talk more about the different variations of video poker later, but all the versions follow a similar set of rules

  • You make a wager.
  • The dealer gives you five starting cards
  • The standard table poker hands are followed
  • You can keep discard as many of your cards as you want
  • The cards that you discard are replaced in a single random draw
  • If your hand is the best winning poker hands, you are awarded a certain percentage of your wager.

Poker Hands Ranked Highest to Lowest

To be a successful video poker player, you have to understand what type of hands you want to obtain, and which hands are more powerful than the others. Here are the hand rankings, from highest to lowest.

  • Royal flush: This straight has all five cards (it must be a Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace) of the same suit. One suit is not more powerful than the other.
  • Straight flush: Any five cards — a straight — in order, all in the same suit. For example, a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, all of the suit hearts would be a straight.
  • Four of a kind: Any four cards of the same rank. If both you and the dealer or another player both of a four of a kind, the bigger fifth card (“the kicker”) is the deciding factor on who wins the pot. For example, four aces and a King would be a four of a kind and would beat four aces and a 3.
  • Full house: Three cards of the same rank (3 of hearts, 3 of spades, 3 of diamonds), and two cards of the same rank (2 of hearts, 3 of clubs). A higher ranked full house (Aces full of kings) would beat the lower-ranked (threes full of twos.)
  • Flush: Any five cards of the same suit. These cards do not need to be in consecutive order. An Ace of spades, 10 of spades, seven of spades, four of spades, and a two of spades would be a flush. The highest card in your hand determines the ranking of the flush. In our example, it is an ace-high flush, which is the most powerful type, and would beat all other kinds of flushes.
  • Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits. Aces can either be the low card of the high card. For example, it could be a 7 of hearts, 6 of clubs, 5 of diamonds, 4 of clubs, and 3 of spades. This seven-high straight would beat a five-high straight.
  • Three of a kind: Three cards that are the same rank. For example, you could have a 7 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, a 7 of spades, with a King of spades and Queen of hearts as the side cards.
  • Two pair: Two cards of the same rank that are paired together with another two cards that are the same rank. For example, you could have an Ace of hearts, Ace of spades, paired together with 7 of clubs, and 7 of spades. The higher pair determines the ranking of the two-pair hand.
  • One pair: Two cards that are the same ranking. The best possible one pair is two aces, and the worst one-pair is a pair of twos.

Remember, one suit isn’t more powerful than the other. Even if you have two aces, you will never beat a two pair of 2s and 3s. The poker hand that ranks higher on this list will always beat the hands that are ranked lower on the list.

Video poker has many different types of games you can play. If you want a change of pace with your online gambling, many online casinos will offer different versions. Here is how to play three of the most popular online poker games: Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker’s Wild.

Jacks Or Better Video Poker Strategy

Your goal while playing Jacks Or Better should always be to get paid as often as possible. That means you should only take small risks when trying to get those big scores. Here are some of the top strategies for winning at Jacks Or Better video poker.

  • If you have four of the cards necessary for a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, or royal flush, then you should keep all of those four cards and discard that other one card. You will then get one new card.
  • If you have three of the cards necessary for a royal flush, hold onto those three cards and discard your other two, allowing you to get two new ones.
  • If you are dealt any pairs, keep those two cards, discard the rest and draw three new cards.
  • Keep holding onto any three cards necessary for a straight flush.
  • If none of these situations applies to you, then hold onto any Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces.
  • If none of the above situations applies to you, discard card everything, draw five new cards, and hope for the best!

How To Play Bonus Poker Video Poker

Double Double Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, and Bonus Poker are all popular variations on the rules based on Jacks or Better.

The biggest difference between these games and Jacks or Better is the bonus payouts you get for specific hands. You will get a bigger payout for more premium hands, but you get paid out on average less.

For Bonus Poker, when you hit four of a kind, also call quads, you do get a higher percentage for payout. Some Bonus Poker video poker games will even pay you out based on the ranking of the four of a kind. For example, you might get paid more for a four of a kind of Kings than a four of a kind of 2s.

Bonus Poker full-pay version gives you a very high payout return of 99.2%. Hitting the quads (four of a kind) means that the additional payouts are reduced slightly.

How To Play Double Bonus Video Poker

Double Bonus Video Poker is another version of the game Bonus Poker Video Poker. It has three extra payouts for getting four of a kind hands.

Those extra payouts are:

  • Ace – Ace – Ace – Ace
  • 2-2-2-2, 3-3-3-3, 4-4-4-4
  • Four of a kind (5s through Kings)

If you choose to play max credits per spin and you have four aces in your hand, the payout is typically 800 credits. For getting quads 2s, 3s, or 4s, the payout is also quite good, and you’ll receive around 400 credits. If you get a quad between 5s and King, your payout will often be about 250 credits. Of course, remember that these payouts will likely vary from online casino to online casino. Check the paytable before you begin to play so you aren’t surprised.

To succeed at playing Double Bonus video poker, you should use a similar strategy for what you did for Jacks or Better. However, because there is such a heavy emphasis on getting four of a kind, you should modify your strategy a bit.

  • If you have three aces, keep those and discard the rest. Try to get four of a kind for aces.
  • A straight flush is better than a royal flush
  • A royal flush is preferred over a standard flush
  • Two pairs are better than just a pair of aces

How To Play Double Double Bonus Video Poker

Double Double Bonus Video Poker is one of the most exciting and fun versions of video poker because you get even more payouts. The same payouts will apply from Jacks or Better, but you will also get:

  • Ace – Ace – Ace – Ace, and the fifth card is a 2, 3, or 4.
  • 2-2-2-2, 3-3-3-3, 4-4-4-4, with the fifth card an Ace, two, three, or four.

The payouts from the typical Double Bonus poker will be the same. But, you do get a fairly substantial bonus for that new payout (four of a kind of Aces with a two, three, or four.) Often, you get 2000 credits for that type of bet.

Online casino players love to flock to Double Double Bonus Video Poker because of that big payout. Of course, the odds of getting that max payout is only 1 in 16,000 hands, but the excitement of knowing it can happen is exciting. In comparison, a royal flush occurs only in one in 40,000 hands.

Because the payouts are a little bit different, and the high-value payouts offered to the four of a kind hands, you could theoretically get a payout of more than 100%.

However, the payouts for full houses, flushes, two pairs, and one pair are all lower, so you might find that you go through many hands winning small amounts while waiting to hit it big. Therefore, you should be prepared to lose quite a bit of money and have a big bankroll to make sure you can hold out until you win big. Once you hit the quads and have also made the max bet, you will see your bankroll continue substantially, hopefully helping you to win some real money.

The strategy for Double Double Bonus Video Poker is:

  • If you are dealt two aces, two Jacks, and a three, you should discard the Jacks and three. Normally in video poker, you would have held onto the two pairs. However, if Double Double Bonus Video Poker, you keep the aces only because a two pair is paid out the same as a single pair.
  • Keeping a single ace instead of Jacks, Queens, or Kings is better.
  • However, you shouldn’t always just hold onto the single ace. If you have to draw cards to get to a royal flush, flush, or straight, you should still try for that hand rather than trying to go for quads.
  • If you have three aces, you shouldn’t try to go for a full house. Instead, try to get that fourth ace.

How To Play Deuces Wild Video Poker

Deuces Wild is another popular variation of video poker. This version will have slightly different rules, and your strategy will be different. In Deuces Wild, all the deuces (twos) are wild and can be substituted for any card, regardless of its suit and rank. That means it is much easier for you to get big hands. Because of that, most of the payout scales will be decreased.

  • Royal Flush (no wild cards): 250 times your original wager (when betting max, you should get bonuses of 4000 times or more)
  • Four deuces: 200 times your original wager
  • Royal Flush (with wild cards): 20 to 25 times your original wager
  • Five of a kind: 12 to 16 times your original wager
  • Straight Flush: 8 to 10 times your original wager
  • Four of a Kind: 4 to 5 times your original wager
  • Full House: 3 or 4 times your original wager
  • Flush: 2 or 3 times your original wager
  • Straight: 2 times your original wager
  • Three of a kind: 1 times your original wager

Basic Strategy for Deuces Wild Video Poker

Because you have a wild card, the strategy for this type of video poker will be a little different. Here are a few tips:

  • If you have four deuces (twos), keep all of your cards, because you will not be able to get a better hand than that.
  • If you have three deuces, only keep all the cards if you have a five of a kind or a royal flush.
  • If you have two deuces, keep any hand that is a four-of-a-kind or better. Otherwise, you should just keep the deuces.
  • If you have just one deuce, then hold onto all paying hands unless you have three or four cards for a straight flush or royal flush.
  • If you didn’t get dealt a deuce, keep all cards you might have for a straight or flush.
  • If you don’t have anything of the above, then you should hold onto any pair.
  • If you have two pairs in your hand, then you should keep the second pair only if a full house pays the same amount as four of a kind.
  • If you didn’t get a pair of cards, then you should keep any high cards (ten, Jack, Queen, King, or Ace), if they are the same suit.
  • If you don’t have any of the above, discard all your cards, get five new ones, and hope you get better luck.

How To Play Joker’s Wild Video Poker

Joker’s Wild is a hybrid of Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. In this game, you play with a 53-card deck (the standard 52-card deck as well as one joker.) That joker is used as a wild and could take the place of any card, regardless of rank or suit.

The pay scale of Joker’s Wild video poker is:

  • Royal Flush (no joker): 250 times your original wager (when betting max, you should get bonuses of 4000 times or more)
  • Five of a kind: 200 times your original wager
  • Royal Flush (with joker): 100 times your original wager
  • Five of a kind: 12 to 16 times your original wager
  • Straight Flush: 8 to 10 times your original wager
  • Four of a Kind: 4 to 5 times your original wager
  • Full House: 3 or 4 times your original wager
  • Flush: 2 or 3 times your original wager
  • Straight: 2 times your original wager
  • Three of a kind: 1 times your original wager

The same strategy for playing Jacks or Better applies to this video poker version. Just remember, jokers are wild, so you should always keep it in your hand. Therefore, you should always keep three of a kind and higher, especially if you have a joker. You should also keep the four cards to a high paying hand or three cards if you are dealt a joker.

General Video Poker Tips

Some online casinos will let you try video poker for free for a few hands. Here are some general video poker tips to help you hit the jackpot and win it big.

  • Play the maximum bet. If you get lucky and get a royal flush, and you weren’t playing maximum credits, you might be very upset to see how much you could have won. Usually, if you are playing the maximum bet, you get the full value of the royal flush, which typically pays out about 4,000 to one. However, if you aren’t playing the maximum bet, then you might only get about 2500 to one.
  • Play progressive jackpot video poker machines. Most online casinos will offer progressive jackpots because it is a great incentive for players to win big on relatively small bets. Before sitting down at a progressive jackpot video poker machine, make sure that the pay table is good, and you have a good chance of making your money back.
  • Play slow. Especially as you are learning how to play, you need to remember that you can take your time. Playing online on your desktop computer or mobile phone through the casino app means you can take your time. You can consult the ranking of the hands to discover what cards you should be discarding. The key to winning isn’t to play as many hands as possible — it’s to play smart and maximize your odds of winning each game.

Playing video poker is one of the best games you can play to make real money at an online casino. Once you have learned a few strategies, you have a pretty good chance of making your money back. Try out your new strategies at video poker to see how much you can make.