Video Poker

Rules, strategy and facts about the electronic poker game.

Video Poker IconVideo poker is a popular game at casinos everywhere. Slots players often progress from slots onto video poker as they enjoy the element of skill involved in this electronic variation of draw poker.

In bricks and mortar casinos, video poker machines have remained popular with players who are scared or timid about facing a dealer and other players face to face. In online casinos, video poker acts as a perfect transitional stage between slots and poker, as well as a fun game in its own right, and is great for players who wish to try something new.

Being a game that's played on an electronic screen, video poker hasn't been around all that long. It first made appearances on personal computer screens in the 1970s and has quickly become a favourite of many casino players. The nature of video poker means that it can be easily adapted and altered slightly. This has led to many hundreds of different video poker variations being created with many online casinos having more than 50 of their own games.

Playing a game of video poker is a fairly simple affair. Just select how much you wish to bet and click on draw. At this stage five cards will be drawn and you have the choice of whether to hold them or not. Once you've made this decision then clicking another button will result in the cards that haven't been held being replaced. The eventual selection of five cards is then judged for its poker hand rank and payouts are given out according to the games paytable.

Video poker paytables vary quite drastically and can play a large role in deciding which game to play. So be sure to check that the paytable looks favourable before selecting which game you want to play.

Online Video Poker

As video poker is already played on an electronic screen, taking the game online changed it in no way whatsoever. Gameplay is exactly the same with the only differences coming in the general playing experience and the selection on offer.

Online Video Poker Screenshot Video Poker at Spin Palace Casino

Online casinos tend to have a wider variety of games than their land based counterparts and when it comes to video poker there’s no change. Many variations of online video poker means that you can select the game which best suits you. However, some players may be confused by the sheer number of video poker variations on offer. As a solution to this, we recommend that you start out by playing Jacks or Better video poker. This variation gives out prizes for hand ranks all the way down to a pair of jacks.

In general, there are also the same benefits of playing online as to playing in a land based casino. The main one of these for video poker players is that there aren’t any distractions when playing online. Also, you’ll never have to wait for a terminal to come available online as you can log in and get playing straight away.

Rules of Video Poker

Similar to slots, there aren't many rules for video poker as the gameplay is strictly governed. Having said that, there are a few different issues that we should highlight before you're released in to the world of online video poker.

Firstly, you have a large choice of which variation to play. There are countless video poker games available, but below are the top three variations, as well as some information on how they differ to each other:

  • Jacks or Better - Jacks or Better video poker awards players if they uncover a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces, hence the title "Jacks or Better.
  • Tens or Better - Much like Jacks or Better, you can win a prize in Tens or Better video poker by uncovering a pair of tens, jacks, queens, kings or aces.
  • Deuces WIld - In Deuces Wild, the 2 cards act as wild, meaning they'll substitute for any other card to help create a winning hand.

Once you've picked the game you want to play, you then have a choice of how many hands you wish to use in a game. A one hand game will provide you with just your hand, with which you can hold and draw to hopefully create a winning hand. However, many online casinos also offer multiple hand video poker games. In these variations you can have up to 100 extra opportunities to create a wining hand. We recommend that new players start on a mid-range game, such as a 10 hand one and work their way up to the 100 hand video poker varieties.

When you've decided on both your game and how many hands you wish to play, you'll then be presented with your tailor-made video poker game. Next, click on the bet options and deal. Your card hand will then be dealt and you have the option to hold any of the cards.

Once you've decided on which to hold, you then have to click "deal". The remaining hands will then be dealt and at the end, you'll find out what poker hands you've revealed, as well your prize.

In video poker, you are usually aiming to have one of the following hands, as they can win you prizes:

Hand Example
Royal Flush (Highest)Royal Flush example
Straight FlushStraight Flush example
Four of a KindFour of a kind example
Full HouseFull House example
FlushFlush example
StraightStraight example
Three of a KindThreeof a Kind example
Two PairsTwo Pairs example
Jacks or Better (Lowest)Jacks or Better example

In some variations of video poker, certain hands will be worth more than others, but above is the poker hand hierarchy for Jacks or Better, arguably the best-known poker game. Instead of having to work out whether you have uncovered any of these hands, most video poker games let you know when you have uncovered a winning hand.

Video Poker Strategy

Video poker is one of the few casino games that manages to combine elements of skill, luck and strategy. The skill involved comes by knowing which cards to fold and how they might affect your chances of winning. Luck determines which cards are drawn with a high ranking hand on the first draw being the holy grail of video poker. Finally strategy comes from determining which cards and hands you will hold and consistently sticking to that strategy.

It's important to ensure that you're aware of when to hold in video poker and not assume that just because you've played other forms of poker that you know what's best. For example, in video poker it may be beneficial to draw with an inside straight (straight with a middle card missing) whereas this move would be frowned upon in other forms of the game. If you're unsure about poker hands, some casinos will hold winning cards automatically, so you don't have to worry about losing a strong hand.

Simple strategies are fairly easy to come by and, given that video poker is favourable in terms of house edge anyway, they can reduce the casino advantage to almost nothing. A basic Jacks or Better strategy is outlined below and when followed reduces the house edge to around 0.5%.

This video poker strategy works by using a hierarchy. When your first set of cards is drawn, hold the cards that make the highest ranked hand according to the list below.

Rank Poker Hand
1Four of a kind/straight flush/royal flush.
2Four cards of a royal flush.
3Three of a kind/straight/flush/full house.
4Four cards of a straight flush.
5Two pair.
6High pair.
7Three cards of a royal flush.
8Four cards of a flush.
9Low pair.
10Four cards of a straight (outside card missing).
11Two high cards of the same suit.
12Three cards of a straight flush.
13Two high cards of a different suit (if more than two then discard the highest).
1410 + jack/10 + queen/10 + king of the same suit.
15One high card.
16Discard everything.