Video Poker

There are many different type of video poker so before you can really learn how to play video poker you need to pick one variant to start with. We suggest starting with Jacks or Better since that is a very common variant that you can find in virtually any casino that offers video poker, online as well as offline. Other excellent choices from a statistical perspective are All American, Deuces Wild and Double Double Bonus, but these machines tend to have somewhat more complicated optimal strategies so if you’re about to learn how to play video poker you might want to save them for later.

When picking your Jacks or Better video poker machine, ideally go for one that that pays you 9 coins for Full House and 6 coins for Flush. This type of machine is called 9/6 Jack or Better, also known as Full Pay Jacks or Better. There are many other pay tables out there but they offer you a lower overall statistical chance of being a winning player over time.

Most video poker variants are based on Five Card Draw. They normally use a 52 card deck and the same poker hand ranking as standard poker. Some machines will however use jokers as well or turn certain cards into jokers / wild cards.

How to play video poker

  1. Put money into the machine and select your wager. Most machines have limits in the form of minimum and maximum bets.

  2. Push the “Deal” button.

  3. The machine will display five cards on the screen.

  4. Decide which cards to keep and which to have replaced. You don’t have to change any card if your don’t want to. Press “Hold” to indicate which cards you wish to keep.

  5. For each card you discarded, you will receive a new one from the deck. If your five cards make up a winning hand you will be paid according to the pay table. If not, you will lose your wager.

Hand ranking for Jacks or Better video poker (from highest to lowest)

  • Royal Straight Flush

    Ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suite. Ex: 10♥, J♥, Q♥, K♥, A♥

  • Straight Flush

    Five cards in numerical order of the same suite but not a Royal Straight Flush. Ex: 5♥, 6♥, 7♥, 8♥, 9♥

  • Four of a Kind

    Four cards with the same numerical value. Ex: 5♥, K♥, K♣, K♦, K♠

  • Full House

    Three of a kind + a pair. Ex: 4♥, 4♣, 4♦, J♠, J♥

  • Flush

    Five cards of the same suite, but not in numerical order. Ex: 3♦ 4♦ 8♦ Q♦ K♦

  • Straight

    Five cards in numerical order, but not of the same suite. Ex: 3♦ 4♦ 5♠ 6♦ 7♦

  • Three of a Kind

    Three cards of the same numerical value. Ex: 4♣ 4♠ 4♦

  • Two Pairs

    Two pairs. Ex: 3♥, 3♣, 5♥, J♥, J♠

  • Pair of Jacks

    Pair of Jacks. Ex: 3♥, 5♣, 9♥, J♥, J♠

In the video poker game Jacks or Better, pairs lower than jacks do not pay, hence the name “Jacks or Better”.