The Complete Video Poker Guide And Strategy

Video poker is a popular casino game that offers a thrilling and enjoyable experience to all players, regardless of skill level. It does, however, provide knowledgeable players with a significantly better chance of winning than slot machines. Because the two games are played on machines that appear to be identical, video poker is commonly compared to slots. However, the two games are not the same.

In this article, you will learn how to win video poker with strategies, including rules and guides to ensure that you know how to play and enjoy your time at your favorite online casino.

Consider These Points Before Choosing a Strategy

  • The ‘gamble’ feature can become your best friend and result in much higher winnings.
  • A good bonus and loyalty program from the casino should be part of your strategy and helps transform the house edge into your own advantage.
  • In the short run, an unskilled player may be lucky, but in the long run, a strategy will give you the best return.
  • Be familiar with poker hand rankings even before you start playing; after all, it is your bread and butter.

General Video Poker Tips

  • Always play with the maximum number of coins/credits. Also often called a max bet. The payout per hand is always greater if you play with the maximum bet.
  • Never hold a “kicker”. For example, if you have two pairs: never hold the extra card, because the hand could turn into a full house, and then you could beat yourself up.
  • Stay loyal to your strategy. Don’t think you are smarter than the strategy: any deviation will cause your chances of winning to decrease.
  • Keep your strategy handy. Unless you are Rain Man, it is very unlikely that you will hold the right cards during every situation.

Since a video poker strategy differs for each variation, and there are more variations than you can imagine, it would be almost impossible to name a strategy for every, existing variation. Instead, we’ve chosen to present the basic strategies for some of the most popular video poker variations.

Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy

When talking about Jacks or Better, they keep it fairly simple – well, as simple as possible, since there are 19,933,230,517,200 different card combinations!

The chance of receiving a hand of a pair of jacks or better ( which normally pays 1:1) is 20% (i.e. 1 in 5), so there is a good chance you can win at most hands. In fact, the odds of a winning hand are just under 1 in 2 at 45%. Below is a table showing how many cards you should draw/exchange (not hold), after you receive your first set of cards.

Shared hand How many cards to trade
Royal Flush 0
Straight Flush 0
4 of a Kind 0
Full House 0
Flush 0
Straight 0
3 of a Kind 2
Two Pair 1
Pair of J, Q, K, or A 3
Pair of 2 – 10 3
J-A, Q-A, or K-A (suited) 3
J-Q-K (mixed suits) 2
10-J, 10-Q, 10-K (suited) 3
1 or 2 High Cards 3-4
Mixed Low Cards 5

Joker Poker Video Poker Strategy

Joker Poker remains a very popular variant, thanks to the element of a joker card that can act as a wild. While it all sounds pretty good, the expected payout percentage of 98.6% at Playtech casinos is not the best you can get. Finding a Joker Poker game with the right payout table can offer an expected payout percentage of over 100%.

Of all the prizes available at Joker Poker, kings or better and 2 pairs have the lowest payout of 1:1. The chance of winning one of the above hands is 25%, which means you have a 1 in 4 chance of winning a 1:1 prize. The table below shows the number of cards you should exchange in each hand situation.

Shared hand How many cards to trade
Royal Flush or 5 of a Kind 0
Straight Flush 0
4 of a Kind 1
Full House 0
Flush 0
Straight 0
3 of a Kind 2
Two Pair 1
Pair of J, Q, K, or A 3
Joker 4
1 or 2 High Cards 3-4
Mixed Low Cards 5
Any Other Cards 5

Bonus Poker Video Poker Strategy

Bonus Poker offers players the chance to win a prize that is higher than normal for a given hand. Payout percentages with this variation are usually around 99.1% to 99.3%.

Combine this payout percentage with a whopping 8,748,891,222,348 different, winning card combinations and you’ll immediately feel a lot better about your chances of winning while playing Bonus Poker.

Shared hand How many cards to trade
Royal Flush 0
Straight Flush 0
4 of a Kind 0
Full House 0
Flush 0
Straight 0
3 of a Kind 2
Two Pair 1
Pair of J, Q, K, or A 3
Pair 2 – 10 1
Bonus Card 1
1 or 2 High Cards 3-4
Mixed Low Cards 5
Any Other Cards 5

Selecting a payout table

With so many video poker variations available, it’s easy to overlook the payout table. But as keep pointing out, the payout table is the most important thing to study in any video poker strategy. The structure of the prizes affects the expected return of any video poker game and therefore the expectation of profit.

Below is an example of four possible payout tables, all with a 1:1 payout on Jacks or better and a 250:1 payout on a royal flush. However, small deviations in the payouts on other hands can lead to a difference in the theoretical payout percentage of almost five percent. The payout tables are named according to the payout for a full house and a flush. So in the first column, a full house pays 9x your bet, and a flush pays 6x your bet, so the payout table is called 9/6.

Shared hand 9/6 Payout table 8/6 Payout Table 8/5 Payout table 6/5 Payout table
Payout percentage 99,50% 98,50% 97,30% 95,00%
Royal Flush 250 250 250 250
Straight Flush 50 50 50 50
Four of a Kind 25 80 25 25
Full House 9 8 8 6
Flush 6 6 5 5
Straight 4 4 4 4
Three of a Kind 3 3 3 3
Two Pair 2 1 2 2
Jacks or Better 1 1 1 1

Jackpot Tip:

If the title indicates a payout with high numbers, it normally means that the paytable has a higher payout percentage overall. However, although the prizes for a full house and flush are high, other prizes may be changed to lower the overall percentage. So always check the full paytable before selecting a game.

Bonuses limited to video poker players are rare, as it is basically a game of skill.

If you play the game well with the right strategy and self-control, you can limit the house edge to less than half a percent and sometimes even less.

The Best and Most Recent Video Poker Bonuses

You will mainly come across video poker bonuses as part of a welcome bonus or deposit bonus. However, they come with a pretty low contribution for wagering requirements, which can take forever to meet.

Chances are you are faced with bonuses exclusively for video poker with wagering requirements of around 50x bonus and deposit. If you are really desperate to make use of a bonus to play video poker, then this is an option you can consider.

However, it’s recommended to enjoy a bonus where video poker contributes to the wagering requirements with the flexibility to play other games as well. You can assume that video poker will contribute about 10% with a maximum of 20% of the bonus wagering requirements, and although it looks little, it’s better than nothing. If you do come across 20% somewhere, take the chance immediately if you are a solid player.

Best tips for getting the most return from a video poker bonus are as follows:

  • Play only “Jacks or Better” or “Deuces Wild” versions. When played with the correct strategy, these games pay off the most.
  • The most ideal structure of a video poker bonus is:
  • 100% bonus
  • Betting requirements of 40-50x bonus (or 20-25x bonus + deposit)
  • Collectible bonus.

The basic rules of Video Poker

There are so many different variations of video poker that it would be impossible to list all the different rules here. However, the flow of play in most versions remains the same. Below are the basic rules you should follow:

1) A standard deck of 52 cards is used. In games such as Jokers Wild and Joker Poker, jokers are also used.

2) The player places a bet, then the game deals you five random cards from the deck (52 cards) face up.

3) The player then selects, if necessary, which cards he wishes to hold.

4) Cards not held are discarded.

5) The game then deals you one or more cards from the same deck to replace the cards you were not holding.

6) The player’s five cards are then finally compared to the game’s payout table, and any valuable combination is then paid out appropriately.

Online Video Poker

It is an unfortunate generalization that playing video poker at an online casino is not nearly as beneficial to the player as it is in a real casino. However, there may be certain cases where the payout tables are changed in favor of the house.

While it may seem like a version of the popular variation Jacks or Better offers a full payout (that’s 9/6 for a full house and flush), the payout table may be weaker than you think. If other top hands such as a four-of-a-kind and a straight flush offer lower payouts, this significantly reduces the overall payout percentage.

So significantly, in fact, that some of the most popular video poker versions, which offer a payout percentage close to 100% in most real casinos, can drop to around 90% online if the payout table is sufficiently manipulated.

This is why you should be wary even if an online casino advertises a game, such as 9/6 Jacks or Better. If you are a serious player who wants to have a good chance of winning when playing video poker, it’s advisory to shop very carefully when selecting a suitable game.

Video Poker Instructions

  • Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker, and Pick ‘Em Poker are the classics and, in our opinion, still the best options.
  • Understanding the video poker payout table is essential, if you don’t see one, don’t play the game.
  • There are hundreds of video poker variations. Each variation differs slightly, make sure you understand the differences before you play.
  • With the right strategy, video poker is one of the most profitable casino games.
  • Unlike slot machines, it is important that you have your head in the game while playing it.

Obtaining an Advantage at the Online Casino

It is a misconception that all casino games are in favor of the casino. In the field of video poker, you can actually create a theoretical payout percentage of over 100%. To do this, however, you need to play the right game, take advantage of bonuses and promotions, and apply the optimal strategy.

However, this is much easier said than done. First, you need to select a game with a generous payout table, this requires some homework on your part. You will have to hunt for a video poker bonus or promotion that allows you to meet the wagering requirements by playing this video poker variation – believe us it is harder than it sounds.

Ultimately, it is also about applying the optimal strategy to get the maximum return. There are a number of optimal strategies for almost every video poker variation and for some games, there are even two. While it can sometimes be difficult to follow them, strategies like the optimal strategy of Full-Pay Deuces Wild give you a theoretical payout rate of over 100.80%.

Technology & Video Poker

It took a while for technology to make an impact on gambling. But better late than never, video poker emerged in the 1970s along with the still popular video games.

Video poker first appeared after Dale Electronics introduced the legendary Poker-Matic video poker game, which was the first casino game ever controlled by an electronic circuit board. The rise of video poker was then triggered by the launch of the first video slot in 1975. In the beginning, “trust” was a major issue, as players thought these machines were rigged, as they could not actually see what was happening. Over time, however, people’s trust in the machines had increased again.

In 1997 Draw Poker was introduced which became much more popular than the previous video poker games. Draw Poker was designed by SIRCOMA, now known as IGT, and was the first video casino game that players trusted. There is no doubt that Draw Poker has helped IGT become one of the largest manufacturers of casino gaming worldwide.

During the 1990s, the quality of video poker games went way up, as did a huge increase in the number of games available. This was mainly due to the rise of the internet, chip, and screen technology.

Not only did this make it easier for video poker players to access their favorite games, but this also meant that the graphics were significantly improved. You may have played an old-fashioned “arcade-style” version of video poker at your local pub.

Since online casinos began offering video poker, the game continued to flourish with new versions created almost monthly.