How to Play Video Poker
Step-By-Step GuideThere are lots of different variants of video poker including Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Double Bonus Poker, but they all work pretty much the same way. Let's walk through how the process will look when you try video poker yourself, just to make sure everything is crystal clear:
Select Your Bet SizeFirst you have to choose how much to bet. Video poker uses coins, which are also called credits, and you have to select how much each credit is worth. Next you have to select how many credits you want to bet on each hand.
ButtonsThere are special buttons that let you automatically bet one credit or bet max credits (five).
PaytableDisplayed across the top of the game screen is the paytable. This tells you which hands win and how much each hand pays out depending on how many credits you bet.
First Cards DrawnAfter you’ve chosen the bet size, hit the Deal button to receive your first five cards. On some games the cards are dealt one by one face down before all turning over at the same time. Other games will deal them face up.Don’t worry if you haven’t made a great poker hand yet. Next we’ll explain how to draw new cards.
Hold Your CardsNext you have to select which cards you want to hold on to. Use the Hold buttons under each card to select however many cards you want to keep.The other ones will be exchanged for new cards in order to make the best possible poker hand.
Second Cards DrawnAfter you’ve chosen which cards to hold, hit the Draw button and all the cards which you are not holding will disappear and be replaced with new ones.The five cards you have now represent your final poker hand.
Outcome & PayoutDon’t worry if you have trouble figuring out your poker hand. The game will automatically tell you the best possible hand you can make with your five cards by highlighting it in the paytable at the top of the screen.The bigger your poker hand, the more money you’ll win.
Once your winnings have been paid, the game starts again.
Objective of the Game
Don’t worry too much about learning how all of the different hands pay out, as this varies from machine to machine and a paytable (which typically appears at the top of your screen when you play video poker) covers all of that information. That said, it’s a good idea to have some inkling of which hands pay the best as you’ll want to pursue them whenever possible.
Hands for Winning at Video Poker
A - K - Q - J - 10A, K, Q, J, and 10 all of the same suit
Q - J - 10 - 9 - 8Five cards in sequence and all of the same suit
J - J - J - J - 3Four cards of the same rank
J - J - 5 - 5 - 5Three of a kind, plus a pair
J - 10 - 4 - 6 - 3Five cards of the same suit
6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10Five cards in sequence (ace can be high or low)
7 - 7 - 7 - 9 - 3Three cards of the same rank
K - K - 2 - 6 - 6Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
J - J - 2 - 7 - 4A pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces
Our Top Five Tips
We've played more hands of online and mobile video poker than we can count, so we’re happy to offer up some of our top tips for beginners (and a refresher course for the rest of you).
- 1Know the ranking system for the variant you’re playing, otherwise you might end up chasing a hand that won’t even pay out!
- 2Use the maximum number of coins to get the full value for a royal flush, usually 800 for 1 vs. 250 for 1 with lower bets.
- 3Check paytables before playing as this might affect whether you, for example, throw away a second pair to chase a better hand or not.
- 4Play a variant that offers better odds, even if you need to practice it a bit first, as you should end up making less of a dent in your bankroll over time.
- 5Stay alert! If you play when you’re tired, or after one too many beers, you could end up making a critical mistake that costs you a royal flush.
What is the Difference Between Video Poker and Poker?
There are those who would say that video poker is 'easier' than poker, but that’s not to say that learning the correct strategy for multiple video poker variants doesn’t require some skill. One thing we will say is that it’s a great way for new players to get used to building and identifying winning poker hands without needing a big bankroll.We would also say that video poker is more accessible than playing poker in a brick and mortar gambling venue, or even standard online poker. There’s no need to find other players to pit your skills against and, because you’re on your own, you can play video poker hands as quickly or slowly as you choose.
Different Video Poker VariantsDepending on the casino you’re playing at, you could very well expect to find a large number of different video poker variants available. Some casinos have tens of different types of video poker on offer, all based around the same core gameplay.Generally, the differences between variants tend to be minor. While you'll no doubt end up finding a favorite in due course, be aware that some variations have much better payout percentages than others!
Jacks or Better
Double Bonus Poker
Aces and Eights
Are You Ready to Play?
Now you've brushed up on the rules and have a thorough understanding of the game, it's time to start playing for real! Keep an eye on which card combinations are worth the most, and you'll be winning your first round in no time. For more information on video poker online, be sure to check out our other guides as well!