The Best Video Poker Strategy

Video poker combines the excitement of a slot machine with the strategic elements of poker, creating a bridge between chance and skill. Players looking to improve their odds at online casinos often turn to video poker due to its relatively low house edge and the potential for strategic play. To navigate the various video poker games available at an online casino, a firm grasp of the best video poker strategy is essential. It involves understanding the specific rules and pay tables of each game variant, which ultimately dictate the decision-making process for holding or exchanging cards to form winning hands.

The best video poker strategy starts with choosing the right machine, which generally includes games with favourable pay tables, like 9/6 Jacks or Better, where full houses and flushes pay 9 times and 6 times the initial bet, respectively. Knowledge of poker hand rankings is a prerequisite as it influences which cards to keep or discard in each round. Furthermore, each variety of video poker such as Deuces Wild or Double Bonus Poker requires a tailored approach because the strategy adjusts according to the change in rules and payout schedules.

For gamblers who play video poker online, taking advantage of bonuses and promotions offered by online casinos can significantly increase their chances of winning. However, it’s crucial to remain cautious and check the associated terms and conditions to ensure the bonuses align with specific video poker games. Playing video poker online allows for a measured pace and the opportunity to reference strategy guides, which is an advantage over the faster pace found in land-based casinos. With a careful approach, understanding of the game, and a commitment to strategic play, players can enhance their video poker experience and maximise winning potential.

Understanding Video Poker Basics

In this section, the reader will gain foundational knowledge of the mechanics and variants of video poker, critical for anyone looking to develop effective playing strategies.

The Essentials of Video Poker

Video poker offers players the opportunity to influence the game’s outcome through strategic decisions. It combines elements of traditional poker with slots. The aim is to create the best possible poker hand from the cards dealt. A typical video poker machine presents the player with a draw button to discard unwanted cards and draw new ones. Pay tables display the value of hands, which are pivotal to decision-making.

The hierarchy of hands in video poker generally follows traditional poker rankings, with Jacks or Better standing as the most common variant where a pair of jacks is the minimum winning hand. This variant is the foundation on which most video poker strategies are built, given its balance between risk and return.

Variations of Video Poker

Several popular variants of video poker offer diverse challenges and strategic intricacies:

  • Jacks or Better: The benchmark game for video poker enthusiasts, renowned for its straightforward strategy and introduction to the classic poker hand rankings.
  • Deuces Wild: In this variant, all twos are wild, which allows them to substitute for any other card to form a winning hand. This introduces a different hierarchy of hands due to the increased ease of getting stronger hands.
  • Joker Poker: Also called Joker Wild, this game includes one or two jokers in the deck acting as wild cards, which can significantly alter the odds and strategy.

Each variant requires a tailored approach to maximise the chances of success, and players must understand the specific rules and payouts to competently adapt their strategies.

Strategies for a Winning Hand

Selecting the right strategy in Video Poker can make the difference between winning and losing. The following strategies are focused on when to hold or discard your cards to maximise the odds of forming a winning hand.

Initial Deal Strategy

At the beginning of a video poker game, players are dealt five cards. Strategic decision-making is essential from the outset. A player should assess their hand for potential winning combinations such as a royal flush, straight, flush, or full house. If an immediate winning hand is not evident, the strategy shifts to improving the hand potential through holding or discarding cards.

Holding and Discarding Cards

After the initial deal, choosing which cards to keep and which to discard is crucial.

  • If the hand contains a high pair (Jacks or better), the player should hold onto the pair and discard the remaining cards to improve to a three of a kind, full house, or even four of a kind.
  • With four cards to a royal flush, it’s advisable to discard the unrelated card, as the payout for a royal flush is substantial.
  • When a player has four cards to a flush or four to a straight flush, they should also consider discarding the fifth card to complete the flush or straight flush, which can lead to a higher payout.

Here, it is essential to recognise the balance between a potentially high-paying hand and a more certain but smaller payout.

Positional Play Methods

When deciding which cards to hold or discard, the position or the order of the cards does not affect the outcome as each card is independent of the others. However, understanding the pay tables can offer insights into which card combinations are more valuable and should be aimed for during play. For example, a player should opt for a hand with a single high card if no other advantageous combinations are present, and in the absence of any winning potential, discarding all cards for a new hand might be the best strategy.

Advanced Game Tactics

This section focuses on refining the player’s approach to Video Poker by applying advanced game tactics for enhanced results.

Utilising Strategy Charts

Players aspiring to maximise their potential payouts should adhere to strategy charts. These charts function as cheat sheets, detailing the optimal moves for different hand combinations. For example, in Double Bonus Poker, a player should secure high pairs but also explore opportunities to land four aces, which offers a significantly higher payout.

Leveraging Bonus Payouts

One should seek games with beneficial bonus payouts. Games like Double Bonus Poker or Bonus Poker frequently offer higher payouts for certain four-of-a-kind hands. Players need to adjust their strategies to take advantage of these bonuses, especially when the game pays a premium for four aces or eights.

Progressive Video Poker Techniques

With progressive jackpot video poker, the progressive jackpot grows until it’s won, usually by hitting a royal flush with max coins bet. Players should locate machines that offer a jackpot large enough to increase the expected return above 100%. Betting max bet is critical here to be eligible for the jackpot, making bankroll management and game selection key components of an effective approach.

Financial Management for Players

Managing one’s finances effectively is crucial in video poker to maximise potential winnings and sustain play over longer sessions. Players need to understand the importance of bankroll management, the role of payout percentages in selecting video poker machines, and how to take advantage of casino comps and promotions.

Effective Bankroll Management

A player’s bankroll is the total amount of money set aside for playing video poker. To manage this bankroll efficiently, one should:

  • Set a separate bankroll for gaming, distinct from personal finances.
  • Establish clear win goals and loss limits to prevent excessive wagering beyond what is affordable.
  • Allocate funds based on the chosen video poker variant, as different games require different bankroll sizes.
  • Consider playing maximum coins if the paytable rewards it with disproportionately higher payouts for certain hands.

Understanding Payout Percentages

Payout percentages are a critical factor in video poker since they indicate the average amount returned to players over time. To incorporate this into a strategy:

  • Select machines with the highest payout percentages, commonly over 99%, to increase the likelihood of profitability.
  • Study paytables carefully, identifying which machines pay more for full houses and flushes at max bet.
  • Playing maximum coins can sometimes unlock higher payout percentages and exclusive jackpots.

Benefiting from Casino Comps and Promotions

Casinos offer various comps and promotions that can extend a player’s bankroll and enhance winnings:

  • Sign up for casino loyalty programs to receive comps such as free play, which effectively reduces the cost of each bet.
  • Look out for casino promotions that offer additional value, like match play or cashback on losses.
  • Use any awarded bonuses strategically, ensuring they align with one’s bankroll and chosen video poker games.

By adhering to these financial management tactics, players position themselves to engage in video poker with a thoughtful approach, aiming for sustained play and optimising chances for success.

Exploring the Odds and Probabilities

Successful video poker strategy necessitates an understanding of odds and the house edge. These factors influence decision-making and can lead to more informed bets.

Calculating Video Poker Odds

Video poker odds are determined by the probability of drawing a particular hand. The standard 52-card deck yields fixed odds for drawing any given combination. For instance:

  • Royal Flush: Odds of 1 in 649,740
  • Straight Flush: Odds of 1 in 72,193
  • Four of a Kind: Odds of 1 in 4,165
  • Full House: Odds of 1 in 694
  • Flush: Odds of 1 in 509
  • Straight: Odds of 1 in 255
  • Three of a Kind: Odds of 1 in 47
  • Two Pair: Odds of 1 in 21
  • Jacks or Better: Odds of 1 in 7.69

Understanding these odds is crucial to determining which initial hands to hold and which cards to replace in the draw. Templets, or pay tables, indicate the payouts for each hand and directly affect these odds.

Comprehending the House Edge

The house edge is the statistical advantage that the casino holds over players. In video poker, the edge varies depending on the game variant and the pay table. A game with a lower house edge is generally more favourable to the player. Video poker is known to have one of the lowest house edges in the casino if played with optimal strategy.

For example, in “9/6” Jacks or Better, the house edge can be as low as 0.5% when a player uses perfect strategy. “8/5” Jacks or Better, on the other hand, offers a house edge of around 2.7%, making the former a more attractive option.

Players should always seek out video poker games with the best pay tables, implying higher payouts for hands such as full houses and flushes. This, combined with an educated strategy, can significantly reduce the house edge.

Playing Video Poker Online

When engaging in video poker online, players should concentrate on selecting a reputable online casino and understanding the digital interface of the game. It’s crucial to ensure the chosen platform is secure and that the virtual game replicates the strategic depth of its physical counterpart.

Choosing an Online Casino

Before a player hits the deal button, they must carefully choose an online casino. Below are the key factors to consider:

  • Reputation: A trustworthy casino should have positive reviews and a valid licence.
  • Game Variety: An expansive selection of video poker variants indicates a quality casino.
  • Bonuses: Look for casinos offering generous welcome bonuses specific to video poker.
  • Customer Support: Reliable support is essential for resolving issues.
Factor Why It’s Important
Reputation Ensures fairness and security.
Game Variety Offers more choices and better chances.
Bonuses Provides more value and playtime.
Customer Support Assists with any enquiries or problems.

Virtual Video Poker Considerations

When playing video poker online, several aspects differ from the physical experience:

  • Pay Tables: Online platforms should display pay tables clearly, informing players of potential winnings.
  • User Interface: A straightforward interface with a prominently placed deal button contributes to a seamless experience. Familiarity with the interface is key to effective play.
  • Practice Play: Many online casinos offer free play options, allowing players to practice without risking real money.
  • Game Speed: Online video poker usually allows players to control the pace of the game.

Remembering these factors will help players adapt to online video poker and utilise strategic play just as they would in a live gambling game setting.

Evaluating Different Video Poker Games

In the realm of video poker, success hinges on choosing the right machine and understanding the paytable variations. Discerning players meticulously compare machines to find those with the best odds.

Selecting the Best Machine Type

The array of video poker machines in casinos can be overwhelming. To narrow the choice, players should focus on game paytables and variance, which affect the probability of winning and the payout frequency. Some of the best video poker games include 9/6 Jacks or Better, which offers a high payout for full house and flush. Other notable games such as Tens or Better, Aces and Faces, and Loose Deuces also have their own set of rules and pay structures that can appeal to different strategies and bankroll sizes.

The type of video poker game also influences the strategy: 9/6 Jacks or Better is known for its straightforward strategy and good odds, while games like Loose Deuces offer larger payouts for special hands. It is critical to identify which type of video poker aligns with one’s skill level and goals.

Exploring Full Pay Machines and Variations

Full pay machines are the gold standard for video poker as they offer the highest expected returns. The term “full pay” refers to machines with the best paytables, hence optimal statistical advantage for the player. For example, 9/6 Jacks or Better is considered a full pay machine because it pays nine coins for a full house and six for a flush – a key benchmark for assessing the machine’s paytable.

To distinguish between full pay and other variations, players should examine the pay schedules for high-frequency hands like the full house and flush:

  • 9/6 Jacks or Better: Offers 9 coins for full house, 6 for flush.
  • 8/5 Jacks or Better: Offers 8 coins for full house, 5 for flush.

The differences in payouts, albeit seemingly small, significantly influence long-term win rates. Therefore, finding a full pay machine is essential for those serious about maximising their winnings in video poker.

Mastering Video Poker

To master video poker, one must fuse strategy with skill, giving priority to informed choices over mere chance. This section delves into how learning from established experts and focusing on the application of skills can significantly improve one’s chances to beat video poker machines.

Learning from Video Poker Experts

Experts in video poker advocate for a strategic approach to the game, outlining that success is achieved through meticulous planning and practice. Prospective players are encouraged to study the basic rules and the basic video poker strategy, especially for popular games like Jacks or Better. Jacks or Better strategy is a cornerstone for many other video poker games, entailing a deep understanding of which cards to hold or discard. Video poker authorities often compile comprehensive guides breaking down complex strategies into actionable steps, crucial for those looking to emulate expert play.

Application of Skills over Luck

Although luck plays a role in video poker, the defining factor for consistent wins is the application of skills. Mastery involves:

  • Recognising patterns: Analysing hands to make the best choices strategically.
  • Developing reflexes: Quick and accurate decision-making to enhance gameplay.
  • Practising discipline: Playing smarter and slower to reduce mistakes and the house edge.

An adept player evaluates each hand with a calculated strategy, conscious that every choice can influence the outcome. Skill is exercised through informed decisions, leaning on a strong foundation of game theory and statistical knowledge. Such expertise can tilt the odds in the player’s favour, making it possible to beat video poker machines with a consistent strategy.

Tips and Tricks for Success

To truly excel at video poker, players must not only rely on basic strategy but also incorporate specific tips and tricks that can tilt the odds in their favour.

Insights and Little-Known Shortcuts

When playing video poker, it’s essential to know the specific game variant one is dealing with, as the strategy can vary significantly from one type to another. For ‘Double Double Bonus’ poker, for instance, the emphasis is often on securing four-of-a-kind hands due to their elevated payout rates.

  • Maximising Coin Usage: Always bet the maximum number of coins allowed. This strategy is key because payouts for the top hands, like a royal flush, typically offer a premium when the maximum coins are used, contributing positively to the game’s overall return to player (RTP).
  • Managing Four-card Draws: With four cards to an open-ended straight, players should keep all four straight cards instead of drawing to a high pair. The potential payout for completing the straight outweighs the guaranteed lower payout of the pair.

Advanced Strategy Nuances

While most players grasp the foundational elements of video poker, understanding the nuanced strategies can significantly affect a player’s success rate.

  • Understanding Pay Tables: Pay tables provide critical information and should guide strategy decisions. The RTP swings based on the paytable, so choosing a machine with the best odds increases the player’s chances of success.
  • Chart Analysis Tools: Use strategy charts specific to the variant of video poker being played. They offer a clear guide on which cards to keep or discard for every hand dealt.
  • Practice with Simulation Software: Engaging in hands-on practice using video poker simulation software can help players internalise the strategy nuances and make quicker, more effective decisions during actual gameplay.

Before You Play

In the realm of video poker, success begins long before a player presses the ‘deal’ button. Having a solid grasp of the game’s mechanics and thoughtful preparation sets the foundation for a rewarding experience.

Know the Basic Rules

The basic rules of video poker require a player to understand the rankings of poker hands and their respective payouts. Each variation of video poker has its own twist, but the core objective remains: to achieve the best possible five-card hand. Video poker typically allows the player to exchange cards once, using the hold buttons to keep desired cards. For newcomers, familiarising themselves with these fundamental principles is essential.

Setting Expectations and Limits

A savvy player approaches video poker with clear expectations and limits in place. They decide on a bankroll, which is the total amount of money they’re willing to dedicate to the game. Sticking to this budget prevents financial strain and enhances enjoyment.

  • Strategy: Before diving in, a player selects a strategy tailored to the variant they’re playing, such as Double Bonus video poker, which requires a different approach than Jacks or Better.
  • Bet Limits: They understand that betting the maximum number of coins typically unlocks the full value of the royal flush payout, a key element in maximising potential returns.

By adhering to these precepts, players position themselves to play thoughtfully and responsibly.

Equipment and Gameplay

In this section, readers will gain an understanding of the equipment used in video poker and the functional aspects of gameplay that shape the foundational strategy.

The Video Poker Machine Interface

A standard video poker machine presents a screen displaying cards with a set of control buttons underneath. A player uses the deal button to commence the game, which causes the machine to randomly generate a hand from a standard deck of 52 cards, or 53 if a joker is included. After being dealt their initial hand, the player has the option to keep or discard cards. This is accomplished via the hold buttons, with one button corresponding to each card on the screen. Once the player has made their choices, the draw button is utilised to replace discarded cards and finalise the hand.

Understanding the Bet Options

Before a game begins, a player selects the amount of coins or credits to bet. A table below outlines typical bet size options and implications:

Bet Size (Coins) Potential Payout Multiplier
1 Standard paytable applies
2 2x standard paytable
3 3x standard paytable
4 4x standard paytable
5 (Max Bet) Enhanced jackpots possible

It should be noted that betting the maximum number of coins often activates higher payout percentages, a crucial aspect of video poker strategy when striving to maximise returns. However, the bet size a player selects should align with their bankroll and individual strategy. Players adjust their bet level before each hand, ensuring they are comfortable with both the risk and potential reward each game presents.

Concluding Tips for Strong Play

A successful video poker strategy combines a deep understanding of pay tables with the disciplined application of a robust strategy chart. This section distils the essence of such strategies into actionable advice.

Final Words on Video Poker Strategy

When approaching video poker, players should familiarise themselves with the best video poker strategy that applies to the variant they are playing. Recognising the importance of a strategy chart is crucial; it serves as a guide that details which cards to keep and which to discard based on the specific variation and the hand dealt. Following these charts with precision can significantly increase the probabilities of winning.

When playing video poker, players must diligently check the pay tables and choose machines with the best odds. Identifying the most favourable games can make a substantial difference in the long-term returns.

It’s recommended to practise tips and strategies through free online games or low-stake machines before moving on to higher stakes. Continuous learning and adaptation to the nuances of each game are necessary for the enhancement of one’s approach.

In summary, adeptly applying the video poker strategy chart, understanding the pay table of each game, and committing to regular practice are paramount for strong play in video poker. These elements form the foundation of a solid video poker strategy that can guide players towards more consistent wins.


Video poker demands a blend of luck and skill, with strategy playing a critical role in maximising payouts. Players familiar with the game understand that an optimal strategy can significantly reduce the house edge and increase the chances of a profitable session.

Key Points:

  • Understanding Pay Tables: Recognising favourable pay tables is paramount. Players should opt for games that offer the highest payouts for full houses and flushes.
  • Mastering Game Variants: Each variant, such as Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild, requires specific strategies. Players should tailor their approach to the version they are engaging with.

Strategies per Game Type:

  • Jacks or Better: Prioritise high pairs, four-card flushes, and four-card straights.
  • Deuces Wild: Hold deuces and adjust the remaining cards accordingly to capitalise on wild possibilities.
  • Joker Poker: Maintain natural pairs over single jokers, and always keep viable flushes and straights intact.

Skills are honed through practice, as players learn to quickly identify the best course of action for any given hand. Casinos offer varied video poker experiences, but the best strategy transcends location, focusing instead on game-specific tactics and disciplined bankroll management.

In brief, successful video poker players are those who dedicate time to learning and applying the strategic intricacies of each game type. Mastery of these strategies can elevate a player’s chances, positioning them to take full advantage of the video poker machines they encounter.

Frequently Asked Questions

The strategies and nuances discussed in this section are designed to enhance one’s proficiency at video poker, focusing on game-specific tactics and the use of strategic tools.

What strategies maximise your chances in Double Bonus Poker?

In Double Bonus Poker, players should prioritise four-of-a-kind hands, especially those with aces, due to their higher payouts. Balanced with basic poker strategy, aiming for these high-value hands can maximise returns.

How does one effectively use a video poker strategy chart?

A video poker strategy chart should be consulted with each hand played. It provides a hierarchy of hands, guiding players on which cards to hold or discard to maximise the potential for winning outcomes.

Can you explain the optimal Deuces Wild video poker strategy?

For Deuces Wild, the optimal strategy involves holding deuces as they are wild cards that can substitute for any other card, significantly increasing the chance of forming a winning hand. Players should adjust their strategy based on the number of deuces in hand.

What is the most advantageous approach to playing Jacks or Better?

In Jacks or Better, the most advantageous approach is to maintain a pair of jacks or higher, which guarantees a payback. A strategy chart can be essential in deciding when to hold pairs, straights, flushes, or full houses to improve one’s odds.

Which video poker game is considered the most profitable?

The most profitable video poker game varies depending on the paytable and the player’s adherence to game-specific strategies. Generally, Full-Pay Deuces Wild and Full-Pay Double Bonus Poker are among the highest returning games when played perfectly.

How can a video poker strategy calculator improve your gameplay?

A video poker strategy calculator assists in devising an optimal strategy based on specific paytables. It calculates the expected return for given hands, allowing players to make informed decisions that maximise their chances of a profitable session.

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