Complete Guide to Video Poker

by CasinoGambler | posted in Casino articles

Guide to Video Poker

If you’re the kind of player who wants to stick it to the casino, there’s no better game to learn than video poker. Not only does video poker offer some of the best odds of any casino game, there are even some video poker machines that let the player have the advantage over the casino! Not only that, but video poker is a game that’s fun, and lets you play at your own pace. When you add it all up, learning how to play video poker is one of the best investments any casino gambler can make.

How to Play Video Poker


Just like with slots, vide poker is played by sitting down at a terminal and putting coins into a machine. The player has the choice to play with between one and five coins; usually, playing with the full five coins gives the player the best return on their money.

Each hand starts with the player being dealt five cards from a standard deck of 52. The goal for the player is to make the best possible five-card poker hand. The player has the option of discarding any of the five cards they were dealt and replacing them with new cards.

After the player has decided which cards to hold and which to discard, the discarded cards are removed and new cards are dealt. The player now has their final five card hand, and will be paid out according to the strength of that hand. How much the player win depends on what game is being played. For instance, here’s a typical pay chart for one of the more common video poker games, Jacks or Better (all payouts listed on a per coin basis):

Royal Flush: 800

Straight Flush: 50

Four of a Kind: 25

Full House: 9

Flush: 6

Straight: 4

Three of a Kind: 3

Two Pair: 2

Pair (Jacks or Higher): 1

Not all video poker machines pay out for the same kinds of hands. For instance, another very common video poker game is called Deuces Wild. As the name suggests, in this game, all twos are considered wild cards. Of course, this makes it much easier to make bigger hands than in Jacks or Better, but it also means that you’ll need a bigger hand to win; the minimum winning hand in Deuces Wild is three of a kind.

Video Poker Strategy


While video poker is a great game for casino gamblers, it’s also one that takes a lot of strategy to play well. Much of this strategy comes in strategy charts that can tell you which cards to hold in any situation you might face when playing on a video poker machine. Of course, these strategies can vary wildly depending on the rules of the video poker game you’re playing. In general, games with wild cards tend to have much more complex strategies than those like Jacks or Better which don’t. Strategy charts are available for all video poker games, and many people have even put together simplified strategies that can get players returns that are very close to the maximum possible on a machine without requiring nearly as much memorization.

However, there is also some general video poker strategy that applies to all games. For instance, it is always worthwhile to play the full five coins on a video poker machine. Usually, you’ll only receive the full payout on a royal flush if you play for the maximum number of coins allowed.

Also, it’s critically important to make sure you play on machines that offer the best pay charts. For instance, while the Jacks or Better pay chart listed above offers players a return of over 99.5%, other machines offer less generous odds that may give returns as low as 94% or less! Similarly, while the best Deuces Wild machines offer payouts over 100% (meaning that the player expects to make a profit if they play optimal strategy), most machines are not set at the full pay table, and give returns of under 100%. Familiarizing yourself with the various pay charts for common video poker machines will help you spot the machines that offer you the best odds, and avoid the ones that are bad deals.


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