Video Poker

Everything you need to know about Video Poker: from the official rules to payouts and strategies explained in the most complete video poker guide around.

Video poker has become one of the most popular forms of gambling because unlike typical slot machines, video poker adds an element of skill.

Players have decisions to make that affect the outcome and because poker itself has become a widely recognized card game, the rank of poker hands and combinations can now be calculated, and an optimal playing strategy can be devised.

This degree of skill can give the player an advantage over the house compared to slot machines.

There are also many forms of video poker, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Double Double, Triple Deuces, etc. This explanation will introduce the most basic of video poker, Jacks or Better.

Let’s begin with a crash-course on the winning hands of poker.

HandDescriptionExample
Royal FlushAce-king-queen-jack-10 all the same suit[10dJdQdKdAd]
Straight FlushFive consecutive cards up to king high of the same suit[5s6s7s8s9s]
Four of a KindFour cards of the same value[QdQcQs5hQh]
Full HouseThree of a kind and one pair[7dAs7hAd7s]
FlushAny five cards non consecutive cards of the same suit[8cAc7c2c6c]
StraightFive consecutive cards of any mixed suits[8c9d10cJsQh]
Three of a KindThree cards of the same value[10h10d10c5sAd]
Two PairTwo sets of two cards of the same valueJdJs7c7d9s]
Jacks or BetterAny single pair that is jacks or higherQdQh8s5hKs]

How to Play

Video Poker is based on the game of draw poker and has virtually the same rules except that you are not playing against any other players. The objective of video poker is to receive the highest ranked five-card poker hand possible.

Once you have placed your bet, click on the DEAL button and you will receive your first five cards. You have the option to HOLD any or all of your cards that you want to keep. You will then discard the cards that you do not want and they will be replaced with new cards to try and improve your video poker hand.

Once you've selected which cards you want to hold, click on the DEAL/DRAW button in order to receive the new cards to replace the ones you do not want. When the new cards are dealt you will have your final poker hand, and if your hand qualifies then you will be paid out according to the payout table for that machine.

Payouts

Payoffs begin with a pair of jacks Full pay Jacks or Better is also known as 9/6 Jacks or Better since the payoff for a full house is 9 credits and the payoff for a flush is 6 credits.

Hand1 credit2 credits3 credits4 credits5 credits
Royal Flush2505007501,0004,000
Straight Flush50100150200250
Four of a Kind255075100125
Full House918273645
Flush612182430
Straight48121620
Three of a Kind3691215
Two Pair246810
Jacks or Better12345

Strategy

When playing maximum coins, the optimal video poker strategy varies depending on the rules of the game and the pay table. Sometimes, optimal strategies can become very complex. The video poker strategy presented in this section is adjusted for one of the most popular video poker games – jacks or better. However, any change in game variation or pay table might also require a change in strategy for true optimum play.
Here is how the video poker strategy table works – match your hand to the highest in the list and follow the instructions on how many cards to hold and how many to discard.

Initial HandCards to HoldCards to Discard
Royal Flush50
4 Aces41
4 Twos, Threes, or Fours41
Straight Flush50
4 Fives Through Kings41
4 Card Royal Flush41
3 Aces32
Full House50
Flush50
3 Twos, Threes, or Fours32
3 Fives Through Kings32
Straight50
4 Card Straight Flush41
2 Pairs41
2 Aces23
3 Card Royal Flush32
4 Card Flush41
Pair of Jacks, Queens, or Kings23
4 Card Straight41
3 Card Straight Flush32
Low Pair23
2 Card Royal Flush23
3 Card Flush32
3 High Cards32
3 Card Straight32
2 High Cards23
1 High Card14

Basic Tips

If you have four cards to a Flush and four cards to a Straight, always draw for the Flush.
Don’t throw away a low pair even if you have 3 high cards. You get great expected value for that of a low pair than three unsuited high cards.

Always play max coins. The Bonus for a Royal Flush with max coins played adds almost 2% to the total payout.
Never hold a kicker. (Ex: Holding onto an Ace in addition to a Low Pair).

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