Video Poker Rules, Strategies & Variations

Video Poker was one of the biggest genres in online casinos for the longest time. Its glory days have passed in favour of more immersive live casino games. Regardless, many players still swear by video poker. We can certainly understand why, given the level of control you have with this title. It is an excellent title to play, and a purely single player experience to boot.

Video poker may not be that popular in the world of Online Casino, Online Gambling & Variations anymore. However, we still have a soft spot for it and believe it should be played. As such, we hope to highlight this fantastic title and its many intricacies to our player base. If you want an experience similar to blackjack where you are in control of your action? This is the title to go for.

Video Poker 101

While different video poker variants offer something different, all of them function on the same core ruleset. First, you set a wager that suits your budget. Games will usually allow you to change your bet and number of active coins. We advise keeping the number of active coins set to max if your budget allows. That is because the best payouts are available with the max number of coins.

Once you finish betting, press the Deal button to start the round! Five cards will be drawn on the playing field. At that point, players can choose to hold any number of cards. Keeping the cards you want comes with no extra cost. Pressing deal again will discard any cards you did not keep and will draw new ones to take their place. We suggest sticking to a video poker guide to tell you what cards to keep and what cards to discard.

After your final five cards are dealt, the game will check for any valid poker combinations. Only poker hands that appear on the paytable will grant any kind of win. Furthermore, their payout usually cannot be increased unless a special feature of some kind is active. If you have a valid hand, you will receive the appropriate payout. If you lose, the round ends and you can start playing your next hand.

Variations of Video Poker

The most common type of video poker is Jacks or Better. This is the ‘default’ version of the game, played with a single fifty-two card deck. If you are new to video poker, we definitely suggest sticking to this variant. It is the easiest one to learn, and it has a lower variance than most of its competitors. It also has the most strategy charts available for the variety of Jacks or Better games that exist.

If you want the best Jacks or Better experience, we suggest going for the 9/6 or full-pay video poker. A full-pay Jacks or Better release offers one of the best possible RTPs, sitting at 99.54%. There are also short-pay Jacks or Better titles, who have 8/6 or 9/5 payouts. Their expected RTPs are 98.39% and 98.45%, respectively.

Jacks or Better video poker

A full-pay Jacks or Better provides the best gaming experience and the highest RTP.

Tens or Better is a variant similar to Jacks or Better. It comes with one major difference – a pair of tens can create a win instead of a pair of jacks. This adds four more cards into the mix, and makes it far more likely to win. Developers compensate for this by decreasing all payouts in Tens or Better. It offers an even lower volatility than Jacks or Better does.
Deuces Wild is one of the best video poker variants out there. In this game, all twos in the deck are referred to as deuces and act like Wild cards. As such, deuces can be used to substitute for any other card. That makes forming wins easier than Jacks or Better. To compensate for this, software providers remove a pair of jacks as a valid winning hand.

Video Poker Strategies

Similar to blackjack, video poker has detailed strategy charts worked out by experienced players. If you want to optimise your time playing video poker, you should seek one out. Make sure to find one for the variant you are playing, as different games have different rules.

We also suggest hunting for promotions or loyalty clubs that let you play video poker. Unfortunately, these have become rare but can still be found occasionally. The little boost gained from these bonuses can be very useful for ‘beating’ video poker.