A comprehensive beginner's guide and resources to video poker. Learn how to play the game, follow our tips, and choose the best video poker games to master your strategies.
Video poker may lack the history of blackjack and baccarat, but there's no disputing the fact that these casino games are amongst the most player-friendly in terms of the high RTP values they offer.
While there are many variants now available, the fundamentals of all video poker games are taken from five-card draw poker.
As more online casinos are now offering multiple variations of video poker, a larger number of players are starting to take up the game. Part of its appeal, and where it differs from online slots, is that the player has a degree of control over the outcome for each hand.
Playing to the optimum strategy can help to reduce the casino's advantage to less than 0.5%, which represents tremendous entertainment value.
On this page, and throughout the accompanying articles, you'll find a host of video poker tips, including strategy guides and paytable information. If you're new to the game, let CasinoAward.net help you get started in the right way.
List of Video Poker resources
Check out some of our top video poker resources to help you find the right games with the top paytables and useful video poker strategies.
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Jacks or Better video poker strategy for beginner to advanced players
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Overview of key poker hand ranks
If you already have an understanding of the different poker hands, you'll be able to jump in immediately and start playing video poker online. For those of you who are approaching the game for the first time, here's a quick run-through:
- Royal Flush - five cards all of the same suit in consecutive order from ten up to ace (10, J, Q, K, & A). Note, this is also called a 'Natural Royal Flush' in Deuces Wild
- Straight Flush - five cards all of the same suit in consecutive order. For example 7, 8, 9, 10, & J all of clubs
- Four of a Kind - four cards all of the same rank/face value. For example the 6 of clubs, 6 of hearts, 6 of diamonds and the 6 of spades
- Full House - a five-card hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair. For example, 4 clubs, 4 hearts, 4 spades and 8 hearts and 8 diamonds
- Flush - five cards from the same suit but not in consecutive order
- Straight - five cards in consecutive order but from mixed suits
- Three of a kind - three cards all of the same rank/face value
- Two pairs - four cards in total. Each pair is two cards of the same face value. For example, 7 of spades and 7 of hearts, and 9 of clubs and 9 of spades
- One pair - two cards with the same rank/face value
Please note, not all of these poker hands will be on the paytable, and with certain games, such as Deuces Wild, there are special payouts for getting 4 twos (deuces) or a Deuces Royal Flush.
How to play video poker online
Online video poker games have a fairly standardised layout. They will feature the paytable, which tells you how many coins each hand pays out. Then you have the table space for your cards with hold buttons located below.
Lastly, at the bottom of the screen is the information regarding how many coins you are playing, the coin value and the total bet cost. In addition to the deal/draw and the double/collect buttons.
Before you start a hand, you want to set how many coins to play (we explain below why you should always play the maximum number of five) and the coin value. For instance, if the coin value is £/€0.50 and you play five coins, the total bet cost is £/€2.50.
With that setup, you're now ready to play!
Hit deal and your starting hand will be dealt. Tap the card or the hold button for the cards you want to keep in your hand. Most online video poker games are programmed with the basic strategy to automatically hold the best cards.
While it is recommended for beginners to follow this to start with, you can hold or discard any cards of your choosing.
After that, hit the draw button and the unheld cards will be changed for different ones and you'll be paid out in accordance with the paytable for a winning hand.
Five top Video Poker tips
With all casino games, the house maintains the edge, but if played correctly, the advantage is very minimal with video poker. To help quickly improve your gameplay, here are our top five video poker tips:
- Understand the variant you are playing:
There are at least 20 variations of video poker. Each has its own tweaks to the paytable and pays out on different minimum starting hands. This contributes to slight differences in the return to player percentage as well. Compare a few games before settling for a favourite
- Always play the maximum coin value:
CasinoAward.net is a strong advocate of responsible gambling, and we never encourage players to bet beyond their means. However, to get the best RTP value from video poker, the game's paytable is designed to make players play with five coins. As you can see from the sample paytable below, taken from Microgaming's Jacks or Better, every payout is in proportion with the exception of the Royal Flush with five coins.
For most games, the minimum coin value is £/$/€0.05, which equals a total bet of £/€0.25 per hand. A five-coin Royal Flush payout is £/$/€0.25 x 4000 = £/$/€1000
- Play free video poker games:
Most online casinos will allow you to play free video poker games with virtual credits. This is the best way to learn the game and understand the pay structure before moving over to real money. Although this is a simple game to grasp, you will become a better player with practice, which is the benefit of video poker free online games
- Study the paytable:
Minor differences to the paytables from game to game can have a dramatic impact on your long-term bankroll. For instance, Jacks or Better pays 4/1 for a straight, but most Deuces Wild games only pay 2/1. The reason is that you have more 'outs' with the four deuces serving as wilds. Still, do the maths and find the best tables so you can get maximum profit on your winning games
- Manage your money:
Video poker online is a fast-paced game, and it's easy to play 100 hands in an hour once you get into the swing of it. That can, of course, put a strain on your bankroll if not managed correctly. Therefore, set your stakes to a level you're comfortable with and never go chasing losses
Here you can see a sample paytable:
|Hand||1 coin||2 coins||3 coins||4 coins||5 coins|
|4 of a Kind||25||50||75||100||125|
|3 of a Kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
Where to play online Video Poker
|Suggested sites||Money Play||Demo Play||Rating||Review Link|
|8/10||William Hill Review|
Many former slot players have converted over to online video poker, which is a testament in itself. Effectively, the jackpot (for a Royal Flush) is an 800/1 payout as you must play five coins, which is quite respectable.
However, for most, the best part of the game is the strategy involved and the competitive RTP. You can have some very positive sessions, when the cards go your way.
If you are a fan of felt games, we're certain you'll enjoy yourself playing video poker online.