Video poker is the second most popular game in a casino behind slot machines. Technically, video poker machines are slots. They accept cash directly and dispense winnings through a ticket or coins when a player wishes to cashout.
A hand starts with the player choosing how many coins to bet. Most machines accept bets from between one and five coins. Smaller denomination machines may run as high as 10 coins. It is advantageous to bet the maximum allowed. That is because the royal flush payout will go from 250-1 to 800-1 on most machines on a max bet. Some progressives for four of a kind are also activated when betting five coins.
Once the bet is established, the video poker machine will deal five cards. The player must then choose which cards to hold by pressing the screen or buttons on the machine or computer screen. The cards not held are discarded and new cards replace them. Cards that were thrown away cannot be redrawn. They are dead for the remainder of the hand.
Once the draw is completed, the hand is graded and paid if there is a winner. Most games without wild cards start paying on a pair of jacks or better. Deuces Wild games will pay on three of a kind or better. Joker Poker pays on a pair of kings or higher.
The player may then hit the rebet button or choose to bet a different amount to play another hand.
Most video poker games are variations of Jacks or Better. This is a standard pay table for that game:
- Royal Flush: 250 (800 on max bet)
- Straight Flush: 50
- Four of a Kind: 25
- Full House: 9
- Flush: 6
- Straight: 4
- Three of a Kind: 3
- Two Pair: 2
- One Pair of Jacks or Better: 1
Keep in mind that not all games with the same title will pay the same. For example, some Jacks or Better games will pay 8 on a full house and 5 on a flush. This game is worse than the pay table shown above. Always make sure to check the payouts on a machine. They may even be different than the machine with the same game sitting next to it. Pay tables often improve as denominations increase.
Bonus games are built on the premise of Jacks or Better. In these games, that include Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus, Triple Double Bonus and Bonus Poker Deluxe, two pair only returns the wager. To make up for this, four of a kind pays 50-1 or more, depending on the game.
Types of Video Poker Games
- Jacks or Better – Players aim to make a hand of one pair of jacks or higher.
- Bonus Poker – Same as Jacks or Better, but there are bonus pays for quad 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and aces.
- Double Bonus Poker – Quad 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and aces have special pays. All four of a kinds pay at least 50-1.
- Double Double Bonus – Bonus pays for quad 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and aces if the kicker is a 2, 3, 4, or ace. All four of a kinds pay at least 50-1.
- Triple Double Bonus – Makes four of a kind aces with a 2, 3, or 4 the same payout as a royal flush. In addition to two pair only paying even money, three of a kind pays just 2-1 as opposed to 3-1.
- Deuces Wild – Two’s are wilds. The minimum winning hand is three of a kind. There is a special pay for quad deuces.
- Joker Poker – This is the only game dealt with more than 52 cards. One joker is added to the deck. The minimum winning hand is a pair of kings.
Multi Hand Video Poker
Many online casinos offer multi hand video poker. This is where a player may play 3, 5, 10, 52, and even 100 hands. A player is dealt one hand of five cards. The cards that are held in the first hand are also held across all hands. New cards replace the discards in all hands. Cards may duplicate but each draw is unique minus the cards that were thrown away. The pay tables for multi hand video poker are often lower than single hand games. Denominations for this game typically start at $.01, $.02, or $.05.