Video poker is a popular electronic game that allows you to play casino card games even if you have limited time. Easy to play and featuring an incredible number of variants, this game has become popular among card and slot players alike. In this guide, you’ll learn how to play video poker and the differences between the variants. We’ve also included a top list of casinos that you can join to play this game for free or with real money.

What is Video Poker?

Video poker is a single-player electronic poker game that’s played with a standard deck of 52 cards. According to video poker rules, the objective of the game is to create a winning poker hand by holding or replacing the cards that you have been dealt. As a result, both skill and luck play an important part in the outcome of the game.

Unlike in other versions of poker, this electronic category does not pit you against another player or the house. You don’t need to beat anyone else to win a prize. Instead, you’ll win instantly whenever you create a hand according to specific video poker pay tables.

Video Poker Tutorial

Before you start learning how to play video poker, you should learn about the different winning hands. If you don’t know these yet, you can learn them in less than five minutes by reading through our poker hands guide.

Some variants also introduce a wild card, such as the Joker. In a similar way to wilds in slots, this card can take any value to help complete a winning hand.

Handy Tip:

There are many different variants with different video poker pay tables and hand rankings. You should always view the corresponding paytable before playing a game in order to get acquainted with the acceptable hands.

How to Win at Video Poker

No matter whether you’re playing real or practice video poker, gameplay will always follow these stages:

  1. Start a new game by placing your wager.
  2. Receive five cards facing up.
  3. Decide which cards to hold onto and which to discard.
  4. Receive replacements for the cards you’ve discarded.
  5. Get a payout if you’ve created a winning hand.

If you’re wondering how to win at video poker, the simplest answer is to get a good starting hand. Unfortunately, however, there is nothing that you can do to influence the cards that you will receive. As the old adage goes, you can only play the hand that you are dealt.

To be able to play a video poker game, you must begin by placing a bet. You will only be able to receive cards if you’ve placed a wager. Fortunately, most games allow minimum bets of just $0.10. However, if you’re looking to bet big, you will also be able to find games that accept maximum bets of $50 or sometimes even $100.

When you’re happy with your bet you can click the button to start the game and receive your cards. This is the only part of the game where strategy can help you win, so you need to be careful. If you succeed to create a winning hand, you’ll receive video poker payouts according to the paytable.

how to play Video Poker

Video Poker Payouts

Each variant offered by different video poker casinos may provide different payouts. However, in any case, payouts are always a multiple of your base stake and are listed in the paytable. Most video poker games display the paytable just above the cards, so you can refer to it while you play and without needing to change the screen.

The following video poker pay table is based on Jacks or Better, one of the most popular versions of this game. These payouts are coins whose value is determined by the wager.

Coins 1 2 3 4 5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 Pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5

Handy Tip:

Deciding how many coins to wager on video poker will depend on the size of your bankroll. Most experts agree that you should limit your bets to no more than 10% of your bankroll. This should allow you to enjoy playing a good number of rounds without putting a strain on your budget.

What is the Best Video Poker Game to Play?

There are over 10 different variations of the game and there is no single one that’s better than all the others. Just like with the best online slots, finding your favorite involves trying different ones. In the following section, we’ve outlined some of the more popular versions and explained their rules and paytables.

Jacks or Better

This is the most popular and common version and is also, arguably, the easiest to play. Jacks or Better features a straightforward paytable where Royal Flush pays out the highest-value prizes and you can get your original wager back as long as your hand has a pair of Jacks or something better. This video poker RTP is 99.54% which means that, on average, you should win back $99.54 for every $100 wagered.

How to Play Jacks or Better Video Poker

Deuces Wild

This is a close second in terms of popularity. Deuces Wild, 2s are wild and this means that they can substitute for any other rank. Since this increases the likelihood of creating a winning hand, the game offsets this advantage by removing a Pair of Jacks and a 2 Pair from its paytable. Moreover, the Royal Flush delivers the game’s best payouts, but this is followed by a hand with four 2s and an Ace.

How to Play Deuces Wilds Video Poker

Handy Tip:

Deuces Wild is one of the few online casino games that you will find with an RTP of over 100%. This game has a Return to Player percentage of 100.76% which means that, statistically, you’re likely to win $0.76 for every $100 wagered. However, just as with all other RTPs, this statistic does not provide any guarantees and is based on thousands of rounds.

Tens or Better

Similar to Jacks or Better, Tens or Better sets the minimum winning hand to a pair or Tens or higher. However, creating this hand will only return your original wager, so you won’t lose or win anything. Moreover, to make up for the different video poker odds, payouts from some of the higher-ranking hands are lower than on Jacks or Better. The average RTP for this game is 99.14%.

How to Play Tens or Better Video Poker

Aces & Faces

This and another popular variant called Aces & Eights feature video poker rules that introduce new winning hands to the pay table. Getting a hand with four As provides the second-highest payout of the game, while getting four face cards provides the next highest payout. A minimum of Jacks or Better is still accepted as a win, however, payouts from other hands are lower. Moreover, the average RTP for this variant is 99.26%.

How to Play Aces & Faces Video Poker

Multi-Hand Video Poker

For almost every video poker variant, you’ll find both single-hand and multi-hand versions. The latter essentially lets you play multiple hands, such as five, 10, or even more, using the same starting hand. When your cards are dealt, you’ll decide which of the five to hold, and these will be the same across all your hands. The computer will then complete each hand with random cards with the possibility of creating multiple winning hands.

How to Play MultiHand Video Poker

FAQs About How to Play Video Poker

What is the best strategy for playing video poker?

Which sites let me practice video poker?

What is the video poker RTP?

Is there a strategy for video poker?

Is it better to play single-hand or multi-hand poker?

Video Poker Odds

As a single-player game, video poker odds are easy to calculate. The odds of winning and losing vary according to the variant and all depend on a player that utilizes basic common sense. In the following table, we’ve outlined the video poker odds that apply to a typical Jacks or Better game.

Hand Odds
Royal Flush 649,740:1
Straight Flush 72,193:1
4 of a Kind 4,165:1
Full House 694:1
Flush 509:1
Straight 255:1
3 of a Kind 47:1
2 Pair 21:1
Jacks or Better 7.69:1

Just like the Return to Player (RTP) percentage, odds are based on mathematical probability and do not provide any sort of guarantee. These figures are based on the results that you could expect when you play hundreds of thousands of rounds. In reality, you could get a Royal Flush, or any other winning hand, on your first round of video poker.

Handy Tip:

The odds of creating a Royal Flush in any video poker variant are extremely slim, and this explains the very high payout of this hand. You should be cautious about trying to create this hand as you might exhaust your bankroll before you manage. Sometimes, it’s better just to focus on winning with lower hands which are much more likely, at least, according to the odds.

Video Poker Tips

Video poker is predominantly a game of chance and there is no cheat sheet, as is the case with Blackjack strategy charts. While this may be little consolation to players looking to put their skills to good use, it’s worth remembering that video poker RTPs are some of the highest of any online casino game.

Even though we have no strategies to share with you, we can give you some helpful video poker tips to keep in mind while you play.

Understanding Which Cards to Keep or Discard

No matter which version of the game you’re playing, you should always hold complete high-ranking hands, such as a Royal or Straight Flush, a Four of a Kind, a Full House, or two Pairs. You should also keep a Three of a Kind, but discard the two other cards in the hope of creating a Four-of-a-Kind. Doing this could also help you create a Full House.

If you’ve been dealt two Pairs, you should discard the remaining card as you might create a Full House. Meanwhile, you should never split a Straight or Flush, but if you’re eager to reach a Royal Flush, you should only discard the lowest-value card. It’s a good idea to test this strategy in practice video poker first.

Taking Advantage of Online Casino Bonuses

Now that you’ve read through our video poker tutorial, you’ll probably be eager to start playing online. Many of the featured sites will let you try different variants for free in demo mode as well as offer the games with real money. When you decide to play for real, you should have a look at casino bonus codes to see how you can boost the value of your bankroll.

While the vast majority of online casinos provide bonuses to new and returning players, not all offers are suitable for video poker. It’s important that you read through the T&Cs to ensure that the promotion that you are joining includes the games that you intend to play. You should also read the rules to ensure that you comply with wagering requirements and other terms.

Play Video Poker Responsibly

It’s important to play video poker and any other casino game responsibly. Following simple responsible gambling tips, such as limiting your game time and setting a budget that you can afford to lose, can help you maintain control of your gambling activity. You can also get assistance from the support teams at our featured casinos if you require it.

Most video poker odds suggest that you are more likely to lose money than win it. While this is a statistical figure and anything can happen in every round, it’s important to only bet money that you can afford to lose. Moreover, you should never chase a loss or expect a win to be due.