How to Play Video Poker

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Michael | December 29, 2023 | Updated on: February 15th, 2024

While video poker was still a new concept in the 1970s, it was often called poker slots. Video poker is similar to slot machines in many ways. It is easy to use and requires no interaction with a dealer. The first video poker machines did not have cash payouts.

The only difference is that video poker adds a skill element. Players are required to make decisions that affect the outcome. In addition, since cards must be dealt from a 52-card deck, 53 cards are dealt in Joker’s Wild machines, the possible combinations are known. With this information, the frequency of combinations can be calculated.

Why Play Video Poker Online?

Besides offering the player the chance to win big (in jackpot proportions), video poker also offers a low house edge (profit to the casinos). Yet, it also provides the anonymity so desired by players.

As a result, you won’t need to deal with pit bosses, dealers, or fellow players who pick apart your play and make comments about your decisions.

Basics of Learning to Play Video Poker

There are many variants of video poker, but they all follow one of the easiest rules in poker, five-card draw. A player is dealt five cards, then gets to choose to keep or discard the ones they wish, receiving new cards for the discarded ones afterwards.

The following steps will show you how to play video poker:

Step 1

Play real money video poker by crediting your casino account.

Step 2

Place your bet.

Step 3

Receive your initial five-card poker hand by clicking the deal button.

Step 4

Discard any cards you do not find useful (all five can be thrown away).

Step 5

The same ‘virtual deck’ of cards shall be used to replace the discarded cards.

Step 6

The winning payouts are determined by the paytable.

How to Select the Right Pay Table

You can often tell exactly how much you will win before you play video poker. This is one of the best things about this game.

The key characteristic of video poker that it is incomparable to other games. The paytable shows you your expected return on money.

Hence, you must conduct your research to identify the best video poker machines with decent paytables.

You should understand that video poker machine returns are determined by the machine’s paytable in order to choose the most generous machine.

On a video poker game, for example, casinos average a profit of about 3%. This profit is referred to as the house edge.

Before playing at the video poker machine with the best returns, you have to check out different machines and their pay tables.

Video poker machines offer better chances to beat if you pick ones that have a 99.54% return on a paytable than if you choose ones that provide a 97.29% return. Therefore, the machine with a house edge of 99.54 % retains only 0.47%, while the machine with a house edge of 97.29 % retains 2.71%.

How to Play Jacks or Better Video Poker

In video poker, Jacks or Better is the most common variant. If you want to get paid in this game, you need a pair of Jacks at the very least. When a pair of Jacks is dealt, any hand of inferior value pays nothing, but the hand of superior value pays out according to a predetermined pay scale.

For Jacks or Better games, the typical payouts are as follows (make sure you check your specific machine for actual payouts while playing):

  • Royal Flush – 250x (with bonuses of 4000x or more when betting max credits)
  • Straight Flush – 50x
  • Four of a Kind – 25x
  • Full House – 6x to 9x
  • Flush – 5x or 6x
  • Straight – 4x
  • Three of a Kind – 3x
  • Two Pair – 2x
  • Pair of Jacks or Better – 1x

You are only paid the value of your highest winning hand. For example, you’d receive 6x-9x your bet if you hit a full house, depending on the machine. For a full house, three of a kind, and a pair, you don’t get paid!

How to Play Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is played with all deuces being wild and can be used to replace any card. The payouts are largely reduced due to the easier chances of getting big hands. Payouts are as follows:

  • Royal Flush (no wild cards) – 250x (with bonuses of 4000x or more when betting max)
  • Four Deuces – 200x
  • Royal Flush (with wild cards) – 20x or 25x
  • Five of a Kind – 12x to 16x
  • Straight Flush – 8x to 10x
  • Four of a Kind – 4x or 5x
  • Full House – 3x or 4x
  • Flush – 2x or 3x
  • Straight – 2x
  • Three of a Kind – 1x

How to Play Joker’s Wild Video Poker

There’s a slight overlap between Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild in Joker’s Wild. A 53-card deck is used for the game (a 52-card deck plus one joker).

Any rank or suit can be completed by using the joker as a substitute. Joker’s Wild pays according to the following scale:

  • Royal Flush (no joker) – 250x (with bonuses of 4000x or more when betting max)
  • Five of a Kind – 200x
  • Royal Flush (with joker) – 100x
  • Straight Flush – 40x or 50x
  • Four of a Kind – 15x to 20x
  • Full House – 5x to 8x
  • Flush – 5x
  • Straight – 3x
  • Three of a Kind – 2x
  • Two Pair – 1x
  • One Pair kings or better – 1x
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