Category: Video Poker

Video Poker Strategies

There are many strategies for playing video poker. These strategies come in one of two forms: either it is a general theory for how to wager and the best practices for gambling or it is a direct strategy for playing the individual video poker variations. This article will give you both types of advice to give you the best possible chance of winning some money.

First, you need to know where you should play video poker. Most people will play the video poker machines that are located inside of the casinos across the country. You can also play for real money at some of the online casinos; however, you will want to make sure that you visit a website with a good reputation. Also, mobile games are all the rage these days. You can check out some cool video poker games for mobile devices as well.

The one advantage of playing in a casino is that each video poker machine has a guaranteed payout rate that is regulated by the state where the casino is located. Before you start playing video poker for real money, either at a casino or while playing on a website, you should read this overview of gambling laws and regulation. This will answer a lot of the legal questions that you may have.

Video Poker Advice

The first strategy that most players will need to know is the payout percentages that the various video poker machines offer. The two most popular version are Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. Jacks or Better offers a return of 99.5% when the appropriate strategy is applied. Deuces Wild has a return slightly over 100% when using the proper strategy. Of course, these payout percentages are base upon the operator of the video poker machine or video poker software.

The return percentages and hand payouts can be manipulated. This is something that you will need to be aware of because some shady operators (primarily online casinos) will change these features to give the house a better chance of winning. The most obvious of these is when a casino changes the normal payouts of the winning hands. Here is an example:

This is two screenshots from separate online casinos that are using the exact same software. The one on the top has the appropriate payouts for Jacks or Better. The one on the bottom is a shady online casino that reduced the payouts for the Full House and Flush on the same Jacks or Better game. This is what you have to watch out for. If you would like to see the normal pay schedule for several different video poker variations, you can check them out on this strategy page.

On the other hand, there are many different variations of the traditional Jacks or Better game. This is any video poker game where there is no wildcards and the minimum winning hand is a pair of Jacks. This would include Aces & Eights, Bonus Poker, All American Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Jackpot Poker, Double Jackpot Poker, and several others. All of these games have slightly different payouts than the Jacks or Better game. Each game will add a bonus to a particular winning hand; it will also reduce the payout for another more common hand to even the return percentage of the machine.

For example, All American Poker will offer an 8x payout per coin for a Full House, Flush and Straight. The Flush and Straight hands receive a bonus, while the Full House is reduced and the Two Pair payout goes from 2x to even money. Other games will offer bonuses for a particular hand, most often a 4 of a Kind. You might receive a very large bonus when you receive 4 Aces for example.

The trick with all of these variations is to use the basic video poker strategy for the base game (Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Double Joker, Deuces and Joker, Tens or Better) and slightly adapt you play to go after the bonus hand on that machine.

Basic Strategy for Video Poker Games

As I stated above, there are six basic types of video poker games available: Jacks or Better (52 card deck, no wildcard, Jacks or better wins), Tens or Better (52 card deck, no wildcard, pair of 10’s or better wins), Joker Poker (53 card deck, 1 wildcard, Kings or better wins), Double Joker (54 card deck, 2 wildcards, Two Pair or better wins), Deuces Wild (52 card deck, 4 wild cards, 3 of a Kind or better wins), and Deuces and Joker (53 card deck, 5 wild cards, 3 of a Kind or better wins).

Of these games, most casinos only will offer Jacks or Better, Joker Poker and Deuces Wild. The others are specialty games that are only rarely offered. These are the three games that have a general basic strategy.

Jacks or Better
(In order of lowest hand to highest hand, follow the highest number possible)
* High card = Jack, Queen, King, Ace *

1) Discard all 5 cards when you have no high cards and no connectors.
2) Discard 4 cards if you only have one high card.
3) Keep a suited 10/Jack, 10/Queen, or 10/King.
4) Discard 3 cards if you have two high cards. Keep the lowest 2 if you have 3.
5) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
6) Keep 2 suited high cards.
7) Keep 4 cards to an inside straight draw (one possible card to complete).
8) Keep a low pair.
9) Keep 4 cards to a flush or an outside straight draw.
10) Keep 3 cards to a Royal flush.
11) Keep a high pair.
12) Keep two pairs.
13) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
14) Keep a three of a kind.
15) Keep a pat hand (completed straight, flush, full house).
16) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.

When you keep the cards, the other cards that don’t match are discarded.

Joker Poker
* High card = King or Ace *
(Always keep a Joker/Wildcard)

1) Discard all 5 cards when you have no high cards and no connectors.
2) Discard 4 cards when you have one high card.
3) Keep a low pair.
4) Keep an Ace/King.
5) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
6) Keep 4 cards to a straight draw.
7) Keep 4 cards to a flush.
8) Keep 3 cards to a Royal Flush.
9) Keep a high pair.
10) Keep two pairs.
11) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
12) Keep a 3 of a kind.
13) Keep a pat hand (completed straight, flush, full house).
14) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.

Deuces Wild
* With no wildcards or winning hand *
You will discard all 5 cards except:

1) Keep 2 cards to a Royal Flush.
2) Keep 4 cards to an inside straight draw.
3) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
4) Keep 4 cards to a flush or outside straight draw.
5) Keep 3 cards to a Royal Flush.
6) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
7) Keep 4 cards to a Royal Flush.

* With 1 wildcard *
You will discard the other 4 cards except:
1) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
2) Keep 3 cards to a Royal flush.
3) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
4) Keep any 3 of a kind or higher.
5) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush w/ 3 natural connectors.
6) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.

* With 2 wildcards *
You will discard the other 3 cards except:
1) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
2) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.
3) Keep any 4 of a kind or higher.