How To Play Video Poker

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Video poker is a fast-paced online casino game with simple rules, great odds, and the chance to win large payouts. All levels of players can give it a try, with a minimum of just $0.50 per bet and a maximum of $500 or more (depending on the type of video poker). Below, you’ll learn how to play video poker, the best video poker strategy, and get the chance to practice video poker for free.

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How To Play
Types of Video Poker
Video Poker Strategy
Practice Video Poker
Video Poker Glossary

Step-By-Step Video Poker Guide

1

Set Your Bet Size

You can wager between $0.50 and $500 per hand on most video poker games. The higher your bet, the bigger your prizes because you win a multiplier based on the hand value. For example, a royal flush might win 4,000x your bet. If you bet $0.50 and get a Royal Flush, you win $2,000. If you bet $100 and win a Royal Flush, you win $400,000.

In Game King video poker, the bet size will be start at $0.50, but you can click “BET UP” as many times as you like to increase your bet amount. Click “BET DOWN” to decrease it.

In multi-hand video poker, you’ll need to set the number of hands you want to play. The more hands you play, the more chances to win, but the higher your bet. For example, $1 per hand is $1 per round if you’re only playing one hand but $100 per round if you’re playing 100 hands.

2

Note the Paytable

The better the chance that you’ll get a hand, the lower the payout. The worse the chance of creating a hand, the higher the payout. At the top or side of the game, you’ll see a pay table, which is what each hand will pay out based on the size of your bet.These are the payout rates on a standard Jacks or Better video poker game:

  • Royal flush (800x bet)
  • Straight flush (50x bet)
  • Four of a kind (25x bet)
  • Full house (8x bet)
  • Flush (5x bet)
  • Straight (4x bet)
  • Three of a kind (3x bet)
  • Two pair (2x bet)
  • Pair of Jacks or better (1x your bet amount)

Here’s a breakdown of the odds of getting each poker hand:

HandOdds of Receiving the HandProbability
Royal flush1 in 649,7400.0001%
Straight flush1 in 72,1930.001%
Four of a kind1 in 4,1650.02%
Full house1 in 6940.1%
Flush1 in 5090.2%
Straight1 in 2550.4%
Three of a kind1 in 472.1%
Two pair1 in 214.7%
Pair of Jacks or better1 in 7.6913%
High card1 in 2.3742.2%
3

Build Your Hand

When you’re ready, click the “DEAL” button to be dealt five cards. You can keep all five cards, replace all five card, or any combination between. Your goal is to build the strongest possible hand, so you should hold only cards that might help you achieve that goal. (More on that in the strategy section below!)

Click “DRAW,” and any cards you discard will be replaced with new cards. You will then be left with your final hand.

4

Receive Your Winnings

If you win, the funds will be reflected in your online casino balance. For example, if you are playing Jacks or Better for $10 and you land a four-of-a-kind, you will receive $250. You can then click “DEAL” to play again, or you can cash out your funds at any time.

Note: Some video poker games give you the chance to double your money after you win. If you go for it, your card must beat the house’s card (similar to Casino War). Your winnings will be doubled if you succeed, or you will lose your money if the house has a higher card.

Types of Video Poker

One of the first things you’ll notice when playing video poker is the variety. But you’ll need to choose a type of real money video poker to play. The simplest and most popular option at both retail and online casinos is Jacks or Better, making it a good place to start. But all types of video poker follow a similar format.

  • Jacks or Better | The most popular video poker game, in which you must build a hand containing a pair of Jacks or higher to win.
  • Bonus Poker | This game provides higher payouts on certain four-of-a-kind hands, typically on low cards and Aces.
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe | A higher volatility game with enhanced wins on all four-of-a-kind hands.
  • Double Bonus Poker | This game awards even higher bonus payouts for four-of-a-kind hands.
  • Double Double Bonus Poker | Additional bonus payouts are available on certain four-of-a-kind with specific kickers (extra cards).
  • Triple Double Bonus Poker | Provides even larger bonus payouts on four-of-a-kind hands with kickers.
  • Deuces Wild | All 2s (deuces) act as wild cards, which means they can substitute for any other cards to help you form winning hands.
  • Deuces Wild Bonus | Similar to Deuces Wild, but with bonus payouts on specific hands.
  • Joker Poker | Uses a standard 52-card deck, plus a Joker, which serves as the wild card, substituting for all others to help you build winning hands.

There are also multi-hand video poker games, such as Triple Play Draw, Five Play Draw, and Ten Play Draw. If you play one of those games, you will start with a base hand, and you can hold as many cards as you like. Any hands you hold will appear on each of the additional hands, and the draw will then take place.

Video Poker Odds

Video poker has a significantly lower house edge than most casino games, provided you make the correct strategic decisions when building your hand.

You can look out for the Return to Player (RTP) rate on each video poker game. This figure tells you the theoretical return that an average player can expect over a prolonged period. These are the video poker games with the highest RTP rates.

  • Deuces Wild – 99.72%
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe – 99.64%
  • Triple Double Bonus Poker – 99.57%
  • Jacks or Better – 99.54%
  • Deuces Wild Bonus Poker – 99.45%

That means the house edge on Deuces Wild is just 0.28%. By contrast, the house edge on an average online slot is around 4%, and the house edge on American roulette is 5.26%. In theory, you will stand a better chance of success if you play Deuces Wild as opposed to American roulette.

However, some video poker games have lower RTP rates. For example, Double Bonus Poker has a 98.98% RTP, which equates to a 1.02% house edge. That is still better than for most online casino games, but it is not as impressive as the rates for Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better.

Video Poker Strategy

The decisions you make will determine your chances of success when you play video poker online. You must learn which cards to hold and which cards to discard after the initial deal, as that is the only way to benefit from the full RTP rate.

There are 2,598,960 potential five-card hands in a 52-card deck. However, they can be grouped into a series of larger categories. We’ll rank these categories from best to worst.

For example, if you are playing Jacks or Better, these are the types of hands you can receive after the initial deal, ranked in descending order:

  1. Royal flush
  2. Straight flush
  3. Four of a kind
  4. Four cards to a royal flush (you have four of the five cards needed for a royal flush)
  5. Full house
  6. Flush
  7. Three of a kind
  8. Straight
  9. Four cards to a straight flush
  10. Two pair
  11. Four cards to an inside straight flush
  12. High pair (Jacks or better)
  13. Three cards to a royal flush (meaning you have three of the five cards needed)
  14. Four cards to a flush
  15. Four cards to a straight with three high cards (Jack or higher)
  16. Low pair (2s through 10s)
  17. Four cards to a straight with two high cards
  18. Four cards to a straight with one high card
  19. Three cards to an inside straight flush with two high cards
  20. Three cards to a straight flush with one high card
  21. Four cards to a straight with no high cards
  22. Three cards to a double inside straight flush with two high cards
  23. Three cards to an inside straight flush with one high card
  24. Three cards to a straight flush with no high cards
  25. Four cards to an inside straight with four high cards
  26. Two cards to a royal flush with no Ace or 10 (you have two of the five cards needed)
  27. Two cards to a royal flush with an Ace and no 10
  28. Three cards to a double inside straight flush with one high card
  29. Three cards to an inside straight flush with no high card
  30. Four cards to an inside straight with three high cards
  31. Three high cards with no Ace
  32. Two high cards
  33. Two cards to a royal flush with a 10 and no Ace
  34. One high card
  35. Three cards to a double inside straight flush with no high card
  36. All new cards

Find the highest match on this list for your initial hand and hold those cards. You can then discard the remaining cards and click “DEAL” to create your final hand.

For example, if you receive a royal flush or a straight flush, you should simply hold all five cards and await your payout. Meanwhile, if you have four of the five cards needed for a straight flush, hold them and discard the remaining card. If none of the top 35 categories listed above apply to your hand, you should discard all five cards.

Just bear in mind that the list will need to be adapted slightly for certain video poker games. You can easily find similar lists for Deuces Wild, BonusPoker, JokerPoker, and all the other variants online. Some are short, whereas others feature a huge range of different permutations. However, the basic concept remains the same: consider all the viable ways to play your initial hand and go for the option that is closest to the top of the chart.

Practice Video Poker

Practice Video Poker

Playing free video poker is the best way to learn because you’re not risking any of your own money. If you run out of credits, simply refresh the page to refill the bankroll.

More Casino Game Guides

Glossary of Video Poker Terms

Five initial cards are dealt to you at this initial stage of the game.

Refers to the cards that you abandon after receiving your initial hand.

A feature available in certain video poker games that gives you the chance to double your winnings in a bonus round.

The second stage of a video poker round, in which you discard unwanted cards and receive fresh cards in their place.

Five cards of the same suit, but not in a consecutive sequence, such as 3, 4, 8, 10, and Queen of Diamonds.

Four cards of the same rank, such as four 8s.

A hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair, such as three 7s and a pair of 9s.

Holding onto certain cards from your initial hand before the draw.

The natural advantage that an online casino holds when you play a video poker game.

A pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces.

Video poker games that allow you to play multiple hands simultaneously, such as Triple Play Draw, Five Play Draw, or Ten Play Draw.

A chart that displays the payouts available on each winning hand within a particular video poker game.

The percentage of time an average player can expect to win or lose over a prolonged period when playing a video poker game.

The highest-ranking video poker hand, which features a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit.

A sequence of five consecutive cards of different suits.

Five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of Spades.

Three cards of the same rank, such as the Queen of Hearts, Queen of Spades, and Queen of Diamonds.

Two pairs within the same hand, such as a pair of 3s and a pair of Kings.

A card that substitutes for any other card in the deck to help you form winning hands.

About the Author

Martin Green

Martin Green

Martin Green is an experienced writer with a specialist focus on casino gaming. He began covering the online casino industry in 2014, providing regular content for several publications, including USA Today, the Detroit Free Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Arizona Republic, the Miami Herald, and the Kansas City Star. He now writes reviews, guides, and features for Bonus.com and other Catena Media sites. Martin is also a professional soccer handicapper who provides picks for CBS.
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