How to Win at Video Poker

How to Win at Video Poker

Video poker is a popular casino game that combines elements of slot machines and poker. While the game may seem simple and has a relatively low house edge, winning at video poker requires more than just luck. To help you increase your chances of winning, this article will provide an overview of video poker and strategies that you can use to improve your gameplay.

Understanding Video Poker

What is Video Poker?

Video poker is a variant of poker is a casino game that is played on a machine. The objective of the game is to make the best possible hand by selecting and discarding cards from a virtual deck. The machine uses a random number generator to determine the cards that will be dealt when you hit the draw button and it will do that for every card in the deck to ensure fair play. The payout is based on the strength of the player’s final hand.

Basic Rules of Video Poker

The basic rules of video poker are similar to traditional poker. Players place their bets, are dealt five cards, and have the option to discard and draw new cards in an attempt to create the best possible hand. The payout is based on the strength of the final hand.

Types of Video Poker Games

There are many types of video poker games available at casinos. The most common variations include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker Poker. Each game has its own unique rules and payout tables.

Understanding Poker Pay Tables

Pay tables are an essential part of video poker. They provide information on the payouts for each winning hand combination. Understanding the pay table can help you choose the right machine and maximise your payout.

Understanding Poker Hand Rankings

In video poker, the goal is to create the highest-ranked poker hand possible. The rankings are based on traditional poker hands, and the strongest hand is the royal flush. The following is a breakdown of the hand rankings in video poker, from highest to lowest:

  • Royal Flush: This is the best hand in video poker and consists of a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, all of the same suit. This hand has the highest payout in most video poker games.
  • Straight Flush: This hand consists of five cards of the same suit in sequence. For example, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of spades. This hand pays out slightly less than a royal flush.
  • Four of a Kind: This hand consists of four cards of the same rank, such as four Jacks. The fifth card in the hand does not matter, as it is not used in determining the strength of the hand.
  • Full House: This hand consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, such as three Kings and two Queens.
  • Flush: This hand consists of any five cards of the same suit, such as five clubs. The cards do not need to be in any specific order.
  • Straight: This hand consists of five cards in sequence, regardless of suit. For example, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of any combination of suits.
  • Three of a Kind: This hand consists of three cards of the same rank, such as three Aces. The other two cards in the hand do not matter.
  • Two Pair: This hand consists of two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one card of a third rank. For example, two Kings, two 5s, and a Jack.
  • Pair: Pairs can be divided into two different types of pairs, which is a low pair and high pair. A low pair is a pair of cards that are lower than jacks, such as a pair of twos ore threes, High pairs, are pairs of jacks or higher, such as a pair of jacks or queens
  • Jacks or Better (High Card): This is the lowest-ranked winning hand in video poker and consists of a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces. Any other pair does not count as a winning hand.

Presence of Wild Cards

In video poker, a wild card is a card that can substitute for any other card to complete a winning hand. The most common type of wild card is the joker, but some games also use deuces (2s) or one-eyed jacks as wild cards. The presence of a wild card in a video poker game can significantly increase the chances of hitting a winning hand, as it effectively creates additional opportunities to make winning combinations.

However, the use of wild cards in video poker can also alter the standard hand rankings and pay tables. For example, in a game with a joker as a wild card, the minimum winning hand is usually a pair of kings or better, as opposed to the standard pair of jacks or better. Additionally, the presence of wild cards can lead to the formation of more powerful hands such as five-of-a-kind or wild royal flush, which may offer higher payouts than the standard hand rankings. It is important to check the pay table and rules of a video poker game before playing to ensure you understand how wild cards are used and how they affect the game’s payouts.

Variants of Video Poker

There are quite a few variants of video poker, some of which are Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, Draw Poker and Joker Poker. It is up to you to decide which is the better video poker variant for you to have the best odds of winning in.

Optimal Strategy in Video Poker

Choosing the Right Machine

Choosing the right video poker machine is crucial. Look for machines with high payout percentages, favourable pay tables and progressive jackpots. Also, make sure to choose a machine that fits your budget.

Playing the Maximum Coins

Playing the maximum coins is essential for increasing your payout. Most video poker machines offer a bonus payout for the royal flush when you play the maximum coins. Playing fewer coins could result in a lower payout.

Understanding the Importance of the Royal Flush

The royal flush is the highest-paying hand in video poker. It is important to always play for the royal flush, even if it means discarding other high-ranking cards.

Discarding Cards

Knowing which cards to keep and which to discard is essential for winning at video poker. Always keep high-ranking cards, such as aces and kings, and discard low-ranking cards, such as twos and threes.

Basic Video Poker Strategies

Basic video poker strategies include always playing the maximum coins, choosing the right machine, and playing for the royal flush. It is also essential to manage your bankroll and to only play with money you can afford to lose.

Advanced Video Poker Strategies

Advanced video poker strategies include using betting systems, keeping track of cards, and analysing pay tables. These strategies can help you increase your chances of winning.

Tips for Winning at Video Poker

Know Your Limits

Knowing your limits is crucial for winning at video poker. Set a budget and stick to it. Also, take breaks and avoid playing for extended periods of time.

Join the Slot Club

Joining the slot club can provide you with bonuses and rewards, such as free play and complimentary meals. These rewards can help increase your chances of winning.

Play with a Clear Mind

Playing video poker requires concentration and focus. Avoid playing when you are tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Manage Your Bankroll

Managing your bankroll is crucial for winning at video poker. Always play only with the amount of money you can afford to lose and avoid chasing losses.

Practice Playing Video Poker for Free

Practising video poker for free can help you improve your gameplay and develop winning strategies. Many online casinos offer free online video poker games that you can play without risking any money. These games are a great way to practise and learn the game’s rules and strategies without any financial risk.

When playing free video poker games, take the time to experiment with different strategies and see what works for you. Practice playing different games to get familiar with the different rules and pay tables. You can also practise playing at different betting levels to get a feel for the game’s volatility.

One of the benefits of practising for free is that you can take your time to analyse your gameplay and learn from your mistakes. Take note of what strategies worked for you and which ones didn’t. This way, you can develop your gameplay and improve your chances of winning in the future.

Remember, video poker is a game of skill, and the more you practise, the better you will become. So take advantage of the opportunity to practise for free and develop your strategies before you start playing for real money.

Common Video Poker Mistakes

While video poker is a relatively simple game to play, there are several common mistakes that players make that can affect their chances of winning. Here are some of the most common mistakes that players make and how to avoid them:

Playing the Wrong Machine

One of the biggest mistakes that video poker players make is playing the wrong machine. Different machines have different pay tables, which can significantly affect the game’s payout percentage. It’s essential to choose a machine with a pay table that offers a high payout percentage.

Playing Too Many Hands

Another common mistake is playing too many hands. Playing every hand can quickly deplete your bankroll and reduce your chances of winning. It’s important to be selective and only play the hands with the best chances of winning.

Not Paying Attention to Pay Tables

As mentioned earlier, pay tables are essential to video poker strategy. Not paying attention to the pay tables can result in a lower payout percentage, reducing your chances of winning.

Chasing Losses

Chasing losses is a common mistake that many gamblers make, including video poker players. Chasing losses means trying to win back money you have lost by increasing your bets. However, this strategy rarely works and can quickly lead to more significant losses.

Not Managing Your Bankroll Properly

Finally, not managing your bankroll properly can lead to significant losses. It’s essential to set a budget and stick to it, not risking more than you can afford to lose.


Winning at video poker requires skill, strategy, and patience. Understanding the game, using the right strategies, and avoiding common mistakes can significantly increase your chances of winning.

Remember, video poker should be enjoyed responsibly, and it’s essential to manage your bankroll and only play with what you can afford to lose. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can develop your skills and increase your chances of winning at video poker. Good luck and have fun!