Video Poker Guide

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Video Poker

It wasn’t until the mid-70s that the gambling industry had any real impact upon a certain innovative gaming device: the video poker machine! The gaming commotion it entailed among novice-hungry players remains the most hectic and memorable in the history of gambling so far, even surpassing the introduction of online video poker in 1994.

Nowadays, video poker has established itself as one of the most widely loved games from the online casino sector. So it’s pretty hard nowadays to find both a virtual and land-based casino that excludes “motion-picture” poker from its gaming range. For most gamblers, this game is the only reason they actually became patrons of a gambling establishment in the first place and started “investing” their expenses in the big gaming industry. But the game of video poker may seem quite complex and elaborate; so we’ve provided a brief poker guide.

Types of Video Poker

Video Poker TypesVideo poker games fall into two major categories: “full-pay” and “short-pay” games. The former emerged shortly after modern video poker games were developed, and these were the games that gave you the highest paybacks. And the games that had a little lower payback percentage were defined as “short-pay” ones. As for variations of video poker, these differ from each other in terms of the rule system, as well as the payouts! So, let’s take a look at the most common variations of this game.

  • Jacks or Better

This is one of the most widespread video poker variations. Here, the ultimate condition for winning is that the player’s final card should contain one Pair of Jacks or better. Full-pay Jacks or Better is sometimes referred to as 9/6 jacks. This is because the payoff for a Full House is 9 times the bet, while the Flush payoff it provides is 6 times the bet.

  • Deuces Wild    

In this variation, all the twos are wild. And the payout for a Four of a Kind is about 1,3% of the overall payback percentage. Players can find deuces wild on pay schedules offering a 100,8 % return, providing the player can find the perfect gaming strategy!

  • Aces and Faces

A variation of Jacks or Better, this game differs from its original version in the payout for the outcome of Four of a Kind. Like Jacks or Better, this game uses a 52-card deck.

  • Joker’s Wild

Unlike the other video poker types, this game variation includes a wild joker. The joker adds one more winning hand. Like several other video poker variations, the Joker’s Wild game uses 53 cards. The full-pay version of the game is now one of the biggest payback versions you can find in the world of video poker!

  • Double Bonus

This variation of Jacks or Better features a bonus payout for four aces, and it also offers a 100,2% of return as well! Double Bonus is the full-pay version of Jacks or Better.

  • Sigma Flush Attack

This is a combination of a banking slot and video poker. Shortly after the machine gives as many as 3, 4 or 5 Flushes (depending on the machine), it switches to the mode called “Flush Attack,” where the next Flush normally pays out 100 or 125 credits; unlike 9-6 Jacks or Better, which only pays 30 credits.

Hand Rankings

Video Poker Hand RankingsThe winner of the game, as well as the total winnings, are both determined by five-card poker hands that should contain a winning combination. The paying combinations are:

  • Pair – two cards of the same rank; however, in video poker, only tens or higher are usually paid.
  • Two Pair – two cards of the same rank and two of another one.
  • Three of a Kind – three cards having the same rank.
  • Straight – five successive cards having different suits.
  • Flush – five cards of the same suit.
  • Full House – three cards belonging to the same rank and two cards of a different rank.
  • Four of a Kind – four cards belonging to the same rank.
  • Straight Flush – five successive cards of the same suit except for suited 10-J-Q-K-A.
  • Royal Flush – 10-J-Q-K-A of the same suit.


In plain English, the gambling bankroll is the maximum amount of money the players have decided to risk over the course of the game! The bankroll can be set for a specific time period determined by the player: this can be one day, one week or one gaming session. There’s also one fundamental question that springs to mind when we discuss the bankroll: how big a bankroll should there be in video poker? Its size depends on the following factors: 1) the player’s advantage over the house; 2) their risk tolerance; 3) the betting criteria they use.

When it comes to the first factor, it rests on the advantage you have over the house, which largely depends on the type of video poker you pick. The next factor hangs on how much risk players are ready to take. And as for the betting criteria, those are the principles and video poker strategies players follow when choosing their bet.


The rules of video poker do not seem pretty complicated; however, they are also fairly consistent and accurate. You need to be attentive if you want to understand the system underlying the game; and to work with the rules, rather than falling afoul of them.

First, the players need to place a bet of at least one credit and then press the “Deal” button. Then they’re given five cards, and they choose to discard one or more of them, taking the newly drawn cards instead. As soon as the draw is finished, the machine pays out; but only if the hand or hands match a winning combination posted in the pay table.

Basic Strategies for Video Poker

Video poker is somehow a blend of a slot machine and a traditional poker game. Although video poker doesn’t require much improvement of skills as compared to poker, it isn’t purely based on luck.

Here are some tips that might help you get better at video poker:

  • Play for free first to get used to the process and practice your strategies.
  • Learn the payout table of a chosen type to understand what you will need for impressive winnings. Based on that, you can break up a made hand in some situations. For example, if you already have straight or flush, it may be better to aim at a more valuable combination.
  • Keep strong hands: it may sound trivial, but hold on to combinations like full house or royal flush.
  • Fold weak hands like gut shots or small pairs.

Another important tip is to choose a proper casino for enjoying video poker. First of all, look for the payback percentage: a high one will be indicated as “Full-Play.” For instance, if a classical version of Jacks or Better offers to return 99.54% on average, there are several low-pay types of the game like 6/5 Jacks or Better. There might be progressive jackpots linked to a video poker game, so pay attention to that as well while looking for a proper casino.

In a Nutshell

As you can see by now, the game of video poker hasn’t gone very far from its classic source: traditional poker. On the one hand, there’s a rather intricate and tricky system behind the game. On the other hand, playing video poker can be a genuinely entertaining experience, provided the player has already done as much poker research as they need to!

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