Online Video Poker Guide
Video poker is one of the most popular games among Canadian gamblers because it’s easy to play and tons of fun. Although online video poker is in some ways similar to table poker, it’s actually a much simpler game to play. Players don’t need to be as well studied on rules, and they don’t need to worry about competing against other players. As you can see in the following video the game is simple and the bets systematic, making it easy to pick up.
Scroll down if you want to read our guide, play video poker for free (at the bottom of this page), or use our list of the best 2017 video poker casinos below to start playing for real money:
Recommended Online Video Poker Sites
Video Poker Strategy
So you fancy yourself a video poker player, eh? I’m with you on that it’s a fun game. I spend a lot more time spinning online slots, personally, but I do love working through the strategy for making bank at the various video poker games almost all online casinos have. You get more control in video poker, deciding which of your cards you get to hold or to fold. The strategy for making the most money from those decisions is actually quite complex, but if you’re willing to take the time to memorize some tables, I think you’ll benefit from these video poker tips:
Jacks or Better Strategy
Before I delve into the hand for hand strategy, it’s first good for you to know what the average payoff for various hands is on a Jacks or Better machine:
- Royal Flush: 800
- Straight Flush: 50
- Four of a Kind: 25
- Full House: 9
- Flush: 6
- Straight: 4
- Three of a Kind: 3
- Two Pair: 2
- Jacks or Better: 1
Obviously, you want to wind up with a hand as high up on that list as possible, as that’s where the big money is. But it isn’t always as easy as just aiming for the best possible hand.
Strategy in Jacks or Better boils down to one simple decision — after you’re dealt your five-card hand, you can decide to keep up to five of your cards, or discard up to five cards to receive new ones. Sometimes, your choice is pretty easy — if you’re dealt four of a kind, for example. there isn’t any situation where you’d want to swap any of those four cards.
But things aren’t always so clearcut. Let’s say, for instance, that you’re dealt a hand that includes a pair of 3s, but also has a face card, like a King. Your natural inclination might be to hold onto that pair to ensure a payout, but you’re actually going to get a higher average payout by keeping the King and discarding your other four cards. It’s decisions like that that will get you as close as possible to even odds with the machine.
Of course, in dropping one or both of your paired cards and going for a picture card, you swap a bird in the hand for two in the bush, so to speak. But doing so or not depends on your strategy and appetite for risk. In Jacks or Better, you’re going to want to make the swap.
If you want to learn to play video poker perfectly, the best list I know of on the web is this strategy guide provided by Wizard of Odds. The basics are this: analyze your initial five-card hand, and identify the best hand you can strive for based on the order of the hands listed below, with each hand’s average payout listed next to the hand:
If you can keep this list handy — or even better, memorize it — then I promise you’re giving yourself the best chance to win in video poker.
Deuces Wild Strategy
The video poker winning strategy for Deuces Wild is similar to Jacks or Better, but the fact that all the 2s are wild cards adds an extra layer. If you don’t have any 2s, the game is essentially the same. If you do have a 2, though, things get a little crazy. If you have four deuces, obviously you want to keep them all for five of a kind. Depending on your fifth card, and how many swaps you have, you may want to swap out a low card in the hope of getting a picture card — but this would only matter if playing with multiple decks or Jokers included. And if you get three deuces, you’ll generally want to keep just those three cards, unless you are dealt a royal flush. Things are more complicated if you’re dealt either one or two deuces.
- Any pat four of a kind or higher
- 4 to a royal flush
- 4 to a straight flush with 2 consecutive singletons, 6-7 or higher
- 2 deuces only
- Any pat four of a kind or higher
- 4 to a royal flush
- Full house
- 4 to a straight flush with 3 consecutive singletons, 5-7 or higher
- 3 of a kind, straight, or flush
- All other 4 to a straight flush
- 3 to a royal flush
- 3 to a straight flush with 2 consecutive singletons, 6-7 or higher
- deuce only
Double Bonus Strategy
Double bonus poker is very similar to Jacks or Better, with the twist that A, 2, 3 and 4 cards have a little extra value. You can get real specific with your hand preferences — but if you already have the Jacks or Better table handy and/or memorized, you’d be well served to simply give hands featuring multiple A, 2, 3 or 4 cards a bump up a few rungs – check out Royal Vegas offer.
Joker Wild Strategy
Joker Wild and Deuces Wild poker are going to be very similar. The key difference is this: there are four deuces in a standard deck of cards, but just two Jokers. This means your return on investment isn’t going to be quite so strong as in Deuces Wild, but the rarity with which the Jokers turn up makes it a more fun game to win, if that makes sense.
That said, if a Joker does show up in your initial five-card hand, refer to the Deuces Wild table above and basically you can follow that to the T. If you don’t get dealt a Joker, treat the game as if you’re playing a regular Jacks or Better hand.
Online Video Poker Advantages
Video poker is a cross between classic poker and an online video slots game. We like to think of it as less skill-dependent than poker, but less luck-dependent than slots. Playing video poker online requires that you learn your bets,but the game itself is simple and has several advantages over slots or traditional poker games.
When you combine a liberal pay table and a player’s skill, you get a thin advantage and a great rate of return—some games return more than 100% of your original bet! Online video poker is unique—unlike other popular casino games, the pay table indicates the return on your gambling dollar. Consider it a rare chance to stay informed.
Video poker is a skill game, though one with simpler rules than you’ll find elsewhere in the casino. The game is in your hands, and with practice and a wise betting strategy you can only improve.
How to Play Video Poker
- Select the Value of Each Credit: Players can usually wager between $0.25 and $5 per credit.
- Place Your Bet: Once you’ve chosen a credit size, you must determine how many credits to bet per hand. It’s worth noting that video pokers are more likely to pay out jackpots when players bet to the max, regardless of credit size.
- Select the Deal Card Button: Press deal to begin the game.
- Make Your Hand: Once the cards are dealt, players choose which cards to keep in their hand and which to return to the deck, similar to 5-card stud. The goal is to end your hand with a winning five-card hand. Consult the game’s paytable to find out which hands are winning hands and how much they pay.
- Receive New Cards: Once you’ve decided which cards to keep, the game will replace the cards you trashed. If those new cards helped you create a winning hand, congratulations! You’ve won!
- Bonus Round: In some video pokers, winning hands can trigger a bonus round where players can wager double or nothing on their winnings. Players will be dealt five cards, one face up and four face down. If players select a face-down card with a higher value than the face up card, they win!
Types of Video Poker
Regular: Regular video poker games will just feature one hand. For an example, you can try Double Bonus Poker at Royal Vegas.
Multi-Hand: These video pokers allow players to wager on multiple hands at once. One example, also at Royal Vegas, is Dueces Wild, which allows players to bet on four hands at once.
Video Poker Features
Wilds: Wild cards can stand in for other cards to help build winning combinations. For instance, in Joker Poker, the joker card is wild.
Hold and Auto Hold: In most games, like Jacks or Better, players have the option to request auto-holds, in which the game will recommend which cards a player should retain.
Gamble: Most of the offerings at Royal Vegas include a gamble feature, in which players can play for double or nothing on winning hands through a high/low card-guessing game.
Level Up: Level Up pokers give players more of a long-term goal, as combinations of winning hands can boost players into different levels of gameplay with better payouts. Spin Palace has a number of good Level-Up pokers, including Deuces Wild Level Up.
Minimum paying hands: Games will have a different minimum hand that earns players a payout. For instance, on Jacks or Better, gamblers must make a pair of cards valued as jacks or better to win.
Top 5 Video Poker Tips
- If you turn over a winning hand at the start, don’t let it go. Sometimes, you’ll be tempted to let go of a pair to chase a straight or flush, but generally, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, so to speak.
- Games with more wild cards can be attractive and more fun, but the minimum hand is usually going to be higher at games with wild cards.
- Play the number of hands you’re comfortable with. If you’re a beginner, stick with a single-hand game before trying to handle 10 hands at once.
- Play for fun. Don’t let a string of bad luck get worse by chasing your losses, and don’t be afraid to walk away in the middle of a hot streak.
- Enjoy the simplicity of the game. As we outlined above in the How to Play section, it’s a very easy game to play and enjoy.
Video poker is one of Canada’s favorite online casino games for a reason. It’s a great way to be introduced to the world of poker without the pressures that come from gambling against outside competition. The rules are simple and easy to understand, and players can get hooked in front of their computers or on their mobiles wagering away for hours. Spend enough time practicing and you can master the strategies involved, turning winning hands into nice paydays. We especially recommend you check out the video poker offerings at Royal Vegas. Use the demo mode above to play free online video poker, and see our list below with video poker casino offers.