Video poker is a combination of 5-card poker and slots. This game requires an element of skill, unlike slots. What contributes to video poker’s popularity more than the skill element, however, are the significantly high RTPs; some games have RTPs higher than 100%!
There are numerous variants available from the different software providers; there are single hand games as well as multi-hand games. Some of the popular games include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Joker Wild and Triple Deuces.
In this article we touch on all the most important aspects of playing video poker online, show you how to read a payout table, and recommend casino where you can use a video poker bonus.
Top Video Poker Casinos and Bonuses
Below is a list of our recommended casino for video poker players. We specifically indicate the percentage of video poker wagers that count towards the bonus play through requirements. A “zero” means that no wagering on video poker is allowed if you are playing with a bonus.
While all casinos offer bonuses, not every casino offers bonuses specifically for video poker. Even in the casinos that do offer bonuses, not all video poker games are covered. Another way that casinos cover their bases while offering bonuses for video poker games is the contribution of the games towards the wagering requirements. Unlike for slots, which usually have a 100% contribution towards wagering requirements, video poker wagers may contribute as little as 10% towards wagering requirements, or not at all.
Brief History of Video Poker
Video poker first made an appearance in the USA in the 19th century and has evolved into its current form, playable not just at land-based locations but also online casinos. The following is a timeline that outlines the brief history of video poker.
- 1891: Sittman and Pitt invent the first slot machines on which you could play poker: 50 playing cards spun across the 5 drums on the machine.
- 1899: Charles Fey develops the first official slot machine, the Liberty Bell.
- 1970: Dale Electronics develops and installs the Poker-Matic, the first video poker machine, in Las Vegas. 1975: Video slot machines are introduced.
- 1979: SIRCOMA, now known as IGT, creates Draw Poker, a video poker variant that had the hold and draw options.
- 1994: Online casino industry takes off and video poker makes its way into online casinos.
Video Poker Rules
Video poker is a game that works with a 5-card hand. The top ranked card in the deck is the Ace – which can also be used as 1, followed by the King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2.
There are different hands in the game; the following are the rankings for the different hands:
|Royal Flush||A, K, Q, J and 10 from the same suit. This hand is also a straight flush; the difference is that it involves the highest value cards in the deck. It gives the maximum payout.|
|Straight Flush||5 cards in numerical sequence from the same suit with a payout of 250 credits.|
|Four of a Kind||4 cards of the same value with a payout of 125 credits.|
|Full House||3 cards of the same rank and the remaining 2 cards of a different rank, i.e. a 3 of a kind hand and a pair, with a payout of 40 credits.|
|Flush||5 cards of the same suit but not in a sequence with a payout of 25 credits.|
|Straight||5 cards of consecutive values regardless of suit and with a payout of 20 credits.|
|Three of a Kind||3 cards of the same value with a payout of 15 credits.|
|Two Pair||A pair of cards of the same rank and another pair of a different rank with a payout of 10 credits.|
|One Pair||A pair of cards of the same value with a payout of 5 credits.|
|High Card||5 unrelated cards from different suits.|
The lowest winning hand depends on the game you pay; we will discuss this later in the article. Now that you know the basic rules and the hand ranks, we discuss how to play video poker.
How to Play Video Poker
The first step to play video poker is to place your wager. You can wager a maximum of 5 credits in a game; this is called the Max Bet. Once the bets are placed you are dealt a hand of 5 cards. You hold the cards you want and click Draw; the remaining cards are discarded and replaced by fresh cards to form your final hand. You get paid based on the paytable, as listed above.
Most video poker variants have the Double Up feature, which gives you a chance to double your winnings. You can do this by clicking the Double Up button; you are dealt 5 cards face down and need to draw one card. If the card you draw is higher than the dealer’s you double your winnings, otherwise you lose whatever you won that round.
Reading the Payout Table
The paytable is usually displayed on your computer screen. At land-based casinos too the paytable is easily available for reference. This means you have an easy way of referencing how much a hand can potentially give you. And if you know your video poker odds you can also determine which games are full pay games and which are short pay games.
Online casinos that offer full pay video poker usually highlight this fact because this is a major draw for players. Using the game of Jacks or Better as an example, what this means is you get a 9/6 payout at a full pay machine. This translates to a 9:1 payout for a Full House and a 6:1 payout for a Flush.
Let’s look at an example of a game using a standard deck of 52 cards without any jokers or wild cards:
- The total number of 5-card combinations possible is a staggering 2,598,960.
- The RNG used for video poker games determines the probability of the different hands being dealt by simulating real-time playing conditions, enabling the online casino to retain its house edge and also calculate the potential payouts based on the profits.
- By knowing how to read a paytable you can determine that you are getting the best odds for the game.
Full Pay Video Poker
Full pay video poker is not a game that is designed to give you payouts of over 100%; casinos could not afford to do that as it would mean a negative house edge, which in turn would directly impact profit. Full pay video poker is in fact the best possible odds that you would get at an online or land-based casino compared to the others around. Online casinos usually offer full pay video poker games as incentive to get more players on board.
The best odds you could get on a full pay video poker game of Jacks or Better, for instance, would be 9/6. Casinos usually advertise full pay games, but you can also check out the paytables for yourself to check for full pay video poker games.
Checking for Full Pay Video Poker Games
There are different ways of checking for a full pay video poker game.
- Check the Full House and Flush columns on the game’s paytable.
- A full pay video poker game would offer a 9:1 payout for a Full House and 6:1 for a Flush hand.
- A machine that does not offer these odds is called a short pay machine, and the odds you get on such machines could go as low as 6/5.
- Check the Two Pair payouts on the paytable.
- The payout for this hand will be at least 2:1; otherwise it is a short pay machine.
- Check the Royal Flush payout; in a full pay game it will pay out 4000 coins for a Max Bet of 5 coins.
There are a number of casinos that offer full pay video poker. Even though the casino may be highlighting the presence of full pay games, make sure you go through the payout just to re-confirm.
Types of Video Poker
There are a large number of video poker games available at online casinos today. In this section we will list out the most popular ones and also their basic rules and features.
The following table lists out the differences between the different video poker games, including additional winning hands and max bet payouts. The payouts are what you will typically find at Microgaming casinos.
|Video Poker Game||Minimum Winning Hand||Cards in the deck||Additional Winning Hands in Paytable||Max Bet Payout
(Typical at Microgaming Casinos)
|Jacks or Better||Jacks or Better||52||Regular paytable||4000 coins for full pay games; 2000 for others|
|Deuces Wild||Three of a Kind||52||Four Deuces and Five of a Kind. There are two Royal Flush hands: Natural Royal Flush and Wild Royal Flush; the latter is achieved with a deuce as the wild. The payouts differ for a Natural Royal Flush and a Wild Royal Flush.||4000 coins for full pay games|
|Tens or Better||Pair of 10s||52||Regular paytable, but game is available in single-hand and multi-hand (up to 100 hands) modes.||2000 coins|
|Aces and Faces||Jacks or Better||52||Four of a Kind Aces, Four of a Kind Js, Qs, and Ks, Four of a Kind 2s through 10s||2000 coins|
|Aces and Eights||Jacks or Better||52||Payouts differ for the 4 of a Kind hands.
||4000 coins for full pay games|
|Loose Deuces||Three of a Kind||52||
||4000 coins for full pay games.|
|Louisiana Double Poker||Jacks or Better||53 (52 cards + 1 Double Poker card)||
|Triple Double Bonus Poker||Jacks or Better||52||
|Deuces and Joker Poker||Three of a Kind||53 (Additional joker in the deck)||
There are 2 Royal Flush hands: Natural Royal Flush and Wild Royal Flush
|Jokers Wild||Kings or Better||53 (Extra joker in the deck)||3 Royal Flush hands:
Sequential Royal Flush is the top hand and gives you a 20000-coin win.
|Double Joker Poker||Two Pairs||54 (2 extra jokers)||
5 of a Kind
2 2 Royal Flush hands: Joker Royal Flush and Natural Royal Flush.
Multi-Line Video Poker
Video poker games can also be classified on the basis of the lines or number of hands they let you play simultaneously. Multi-line video poker games are those that give you the option of playing single or multiple lines or hands per turn. There are a number of software providers offering multi-line video poker variants of the games available.
One myth about multi-line video poker games is that they give better payouts than single-hand or single-line games. That is not true; there is no additional advantage in terms of payout. One of the advantages that these games give you is they help you save time as you are anyway playing multiple hands at once, instead of sequentially. On the flip side, the potential for making errors is also there, and it goes higher as the number of hands and lines increase.
Progressive Video Poker
Progressive video poker games are those that have a progressive jackpot attached to them. The jackpot grows in size as more and more people play the game as a percentage of a player’s wager is added to the jackpot pool. By the time a player hits the progressive jackpot the prize is usually quite big, though nowhere near the huge payouts associated with the progressive jackpots on slots.
So how do you hit the progressive jackpot? Most of the times in video poker the progressive jackpot is triggered when you hit the Royal Flush hand. Of course, there are variants where the jackpot can be triggered by landing other hands, including:
- Four of a Kind with special options
- Royal Flush of a specific suit
There are quite a few progressive video poker games. The most common ones are variants of Jacks or Better and Double Double Bonus Poker.
Video Poker FAQs
Is it possible to get an edge over the casino by using the bonuses it offers to play video poker games with low house edge?
This is theoretically possible, yes. However, casinos would have taken into consideration all scenarios, including this one, before offering cool bonuses that you can use to play video poker; after all it is in the business of making money, not losing it! One of the ways casinos take care of this scenario is by putting in place stringent wagering requirements and also by reducing the wagering contribution of video poker games compared to games like slots (20% maximum for video poker compared to 100% for most slots).
Online video poker uses a random number generator, which ensures the cards that are dealt are drawn completely randomly. So it is not even possible for video poker games to generate hot streaks or cold streaks. Also, all the reputed online casinos are certified for fair play by recognised third party testing and certification agencies.
It is possible, but not advisable, for a number reasons. You would have to always look out for games where you have an edge over the casino, and that is not so easy. You would also need a sizeable bankroll because you would need to hit a big hand every now and then, and that can be difficult. Statistics indicate that the royal flush shows up once in 40,000 hands. Playing in a team is one way of going about it, though finding a team and getting into it can be a challenge.
At most online casinos across the world real money play is available only for adults, which means you have to be at least 18 years old. Some countries have higher age limits, anywhere between 21 years to 25 years.
There are a large number of video poker games available online. There are single-hand and multi-hand variants, and also variants using jokers and wilds. If you play at a multi-platform casino you will be able to access a significantly large number of video poker variants.