How to play Video Poker

Video Poker is an easy game to learn, especially if you already play poker. Your goal in video poker is simply to make your best poker hand by keeping or discarding the cards dealt to you on the screen.

Video Poker Basics

Input the number of coins you wish to play and press deal/draw, or simply press or click the "Play Max Coins" button.

You’re now dealt five cards as in five-card draw poker.

Now you’re faced with a decision: which cards to keep and which ones to discard. Use the buttons underneath each card to indicate whether you wish to hold or fold it. Once you have selected which cards you wish to keep, press the deal/draw button again to receive replacement cards.

You now get your final hand and can compare it to the payout table on the machine.

Hand Value in Video Poker

The strength of your hand depends on what machine you play on. Different video poker variations have different payout structures. However, the payouts are always based on traditional poker hand rankings.

Hand Ranking in Poker

  • Royal straight flush

  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind

  • Full house

  • Flush

  • Straight

  • Three of a kind

  • Two pair

  • Pair

In most video poker variations you need at least a pair of jacks or tens to be eligible for payout – i.e they are the worst winning hands.

Some video poker variations have wild cards or jokers which makes it possible to create other hands such as five of a kind. There can also be different payouts for, say, a royal flush including a wild card and a natural royal flush.

The key here is to always study the payout table before you start playing so you know how to play.

Multi-Handed Video Poker Rules

In online casinos you’re able to play multi-handed video poker. In some games you play 50 hands simultaneously.

The game play in multi-handed games works exactly like traditional video poker – with the little difference that you get 10, 20 or even 50 hands that you bet the same amount on.

The first 50 hands you get (if you play 50-handed poker) are identical and you then decide what to keep and what to discard across the board.

You then get new, random cards on each hand and every single hand is then compared to the payout table. In other words, you may win on some hands and lose on some.

Video Poker Variations

The main video poker machine is Jacks or Better, but there are other popular variations as well.

Two of the more popular variations are Deuces Wild and Joker Poker.  In these variations, a two or joker in your hand can be used to make any hand (the computer will determine what the best card will be).

Although this makes it easier to make hands, the pay table is moved up accordingly, so you will need a stronger hand to get paid the same amount that you would get paid with a weaker hand on a Jacks or Better machine.

For more info, click on the game and you’ll find information about the rules and strategies of that specific machine.

Progressive Video Poker Machines

You may also want to try a progressive jackpot video poker game. These machines offer a special large payout for making a royal flush (or some other very strong hand.)

Every machine that is hooked into the progressive jackpot pays into the same pool, making for some tremendous prize funds.

Of course, a royal flush is very difficult to hit and most players go their entire lives without ever hitting one, but if you do hit it, it can change your life.

For more info about these games, go to our article about progressive video poker games.

Video Poker Rules – Conclusion

With rudimentary knowledge of poker, you will be able to play video poker right away. You don’t have to care about other players and your main goal is simply to get the strongest hand possible.

However, to play optimally it can be good to study a little bit of video poker strategy.

In doing so, you will know what to throw away and what to keep in different situations. And this can differ from machine to machine.

You will also learn which machine is best to play at. In fact, if you pick a high-payout game and play well, the house advantage is very close to zero and you’re playing one of the most player-friendly casino games around.


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