Online Video Poker Guide 2024

Video Poker

While slot machines are great for beginners, they tend to get repetitive fast. Pulling a lever or pressing a button can quickly make you feel like a caged rat, especially when you don’t win. That’s probably why players find themselves looking for other options at least for the sake of variety. Fortunately, video poker is a fantastic alternative.

Although video poker can seem intimidating, it’s surprisingly easy once you learn how to play. It also offers some of the best payouts at the casino. Why put your fate in the hands of a random slot machine spin when you can master an interactive game of skill instead? Discover how easy playing video poker is with our handy guide.

Video Poker Primer

There are many variations of video poker but most are based on single-player draw poker and use a standard 52-card deck. Some variations like Joker’s Wild do add jokers to the game. You should get familiar with traditional poker hand rankings, which are critical to the game. This is a great reference:


Many video poker machines, especially at live casinos, offer multiple variations of the game including Jacks or Better, Aces and Eights, Double Bonus, Deuces Wild, Jokers Wild, and Tens or Better. Each game type has different qualifying hands and odds, which are specified within the game. You’ll need to tweak your strategy for each game.

Getting Started

If you’re taking your seat at a video poker machine, you’ll often need to choose what game variation you wish to play. For the sake of simplicity, this introductory guide will focus on Jacks or Better, which is what we’ll select in this sample hand.

Before receiving your cards, you’ll need to place your wager. Typical machines let you bet anywhere between one and five coins, although the value of each coin varies. It’s best to wager the maximum amount possible. You’ll notice that the payouts on the best hands like a royal flush are exponentially better when placing a maximum bet.

Let’s consider the typical Jacks Or Better payout table below. The first number in each row indicates the payout when betting a single coin and the second shows the payout for a five-coin wager.

Winning Hand

Payout On One Coin

Payout On Five Coins

Royal Flush 250 4000
Straight Flush 50 250
Four of a Kind 25 125
Full House 9 46
Flush 6 30
Straight 4 20
Three Of A Kind 3 15
Two Pair 2 10
Jacks Or Better 1 5

Games that match this payout schedule are often called 9/6 machines since a full house pays 9 and a flush pays 6 on a single coin. You can see the advantage of wagering five coins since a royal flush pays 4000 instead of 1250 if winning was strictly proportional to your bet. Also note that you’ll win nothing if you don’t land at least a pair of jacks.

Video poker games often offer highly lucrative progressive jackpots.

Playing Your Hand

After placing your bet press the deal button to receive your five cards. The object is to get the best possible hand after a single draw. Keep in mind that the lowest possible qualifying hand is a pair of jacks, which will only let you break even.

Once you have your cards, you’ll need to decide which ones you wish to keep. The rest will be re-drawn. You can retain anywhere between zero and five cards, but there is just one re-draw and your new cards will be dealt all at once. In video poker you usually click on the individual cards to toggle them between hold and redraw, although the terminology varies by machine.

The Moment Of Truth

Video Poker

After the re-draw you’ll be awarded your winnings according to the payout table. Some machines feature a double or nothing feature. If you choose to play double or nothing, the machine will deal a face up card and four face down cards. Select one of the face down cards and if it’s higher than the first face up card then you’ll double your cash. Otherwise you’ll lose it.

Successful Strategy

New players tend to rely on their limited poker instincts when playing video poker. The fact is there’s a much easier and far more profitable way to play. All you need to do is take advantage of a simple strategy table that will tell you the right move to make in every situation. Although it doesn’t guarantee victory, it will improve your odds over time.

Initial Hand

Number Of Cards To Hold

Number Of Cards To Draw

Royal Flush 5 0
Straight Flush 5 0
Four Of A Kind 5 0
Full House 5 0
Four Cards Of A Royal Flush 4 1
Flush 5 0
Three Of A Kind 3 2
Straight 5 0
Four Cards Of A Straight Flush 4 1
Two Pair 4 1
High Pair 2 3
Three Cards Of A Royal Flush 3 2
Four Cards Of A Flush 4 1
Low Pair 2 3
Four Cards Of A Straight 4 1
Three Cards Of A Straight Flush 3 2
Two Cards Of A Royal Flush 2 3
Two High Cards 2 3
One High Card 1 4
Nothing 0 5

Why play poorly when there’s a correct way to play? When you play online, you can also take advantage of calculators that analyze your hands. Just plug in your hand to see the probabilities of drawing each bankable hand.

Progressive Jackpots

Do you love those ballooning progressive slot machine jackpots? You don’t have to abandon your dreams just because you’ve graduated to an interactive game of skill. There are plenty of progressive video poker jackpots available online and at live casinos. Although the jackpots aren’t as monstrous as record-breaking slot jackpots, they are easier to hit. You’ll usually need to land a royal flush to hit the jackpot. Luckily the odds remain the same, no matter how big the jackpot gets.

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