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How to Play Video Poker

Online video poker is simple to learn, and most games will display the possible odds and payouts on-screen for you to check.

Some games will ask players to choose their 'coin size' before starting. A single coin can vary in value from $0.01 to $100. When you have decided your coin bet amount, hit the 'Deal' button. You will be dealt out five cards face up on the screen. You then must decide which cards to keep ('Hold') and which to discard, the aim being to create the best five-card poker hand possible.

Holding cards is easy (just look for the Hold button underneath each card). Once you have redrawn cards, the computer will pay out any winnings.

Video Poker Hands & Payouts

Each variant of the game will have different payouts depending on whether it has wild cards or not, and the lowest qualifying hand.

For example, in a game of Jacks or Better, the minimum winning hand is a pair of jacks. You can set the betting amount from one to five coins, and a good strategy is to bet as much money as you can afford in a round to take advantage of the highest potential payout from a casino.

Payouts on a basic game of Jacks or Better run something like this:

Pair of Jacks
Card Jack Clubs + Card Jack Tiles
= Dollar symbol x 5

Video Poker Game Variations

Multiple video poker games exist, and while some varieties are more common than others, online casinos will at least feature the most popular versions. The rules and gameplay are essentially the same between all games, with the main differences being in the hierarchy of hands, number of cards, and probability odds.

Aces & Eights: In this version, hands containing four-of-a-kind eights or aces, and to a lesser extent sevens, result in higher payouts compared to other video poker games.

Jacks or Better: Alternatively known as ‘Draw Poker', Jacks or Better requires players to have as a minimum a pair of jacks in their hand to win a payout.

Joker Poker: This is like regular video poker, only the addition of a joker card to the deck means players can use it as a substitute for other cards in their hand. To reflect the improved odds to players, the minimum qualifying hand is a pair of kings.

Jokers Wild: Also called Joker Poker, players can use the one joker card added to the deck as a wild card to complete their hand. At least a pair of kings is needed to win any payouts though, to compensate for the improved odds.

Progressive Poker: Progressive jackpots on video poker online games take a proportion of each bet and build up massive real money jackpots. These can then be hit by lining up a certain winning hand.

Video Poker Free Games: These free games provide newcomers with the useful opportunity to learn a new version of video poker before playing for real money, and pros the chance to brush up on their strategies.

Video Poker Strategy

As you gain confidence on the free video poker games, you will soon want to play video poker for real money.

Video poker is different to playing regular poker with people. The influence of psychology is removed from the game, and everything becomes strictly centered on probability and math. To achieve the best possible odds in a payout, it is important to have a strong understanding of hand hierarchy and the progressive probability of achieving a specific hand.

Some video poker games will contain four, 10, even 25 or 50 'lines'. These refer to the number of games a player is simultaneously playing; it also means the number of coins bet per round will be multiplied per line. Multi-line video poker is important to any player's strategy, as any guaranteed win will count on all lines. This also means any losses will be reflected across all lines, too.

Casino bonuses should also be considered in any video poker strategy, as these can greatly extend gameplay. Many casinos offer a generous welcome bonus upon signup, or similar rewards throughout games, such as bonus poker rounds.

25 lines Video Poker Example

Free Video Poker Games

For new players, free video poker games are useful for learning the rules, building strategies, and increasing confidence. As there's no chance of losing money or facing any serious repercussions if a strategy doesn't work, they offer newcomers the chance to practice before moving to real money video poker games. Online casinos do not require users of free games to download or sign up with them beforehand, allowing players to trial a casino before making any further commitment.

While it is not possible to win real money playing free games, online casinos do offer no-deposit bonuses.

Play Video Poker for Real Money

Whether it's tournaments or the variety of games to play, there's numerous reasons to play real money video poker games. The predominant appeal comes from the large payouts, particularly in progressive video poker, where thousands of dollars can be won. Casinos also offer higher promotions and rewards in real money games, which can be valuable in extending gameplay.

Check the potential payouts and pay tables before playing any video poker games. Not all offer worthwhile cash payouts when playing with small sums of money, so players can risk losing a lot of money rapidly if luck isn't on their side.

Choose casinos that offer strong security protocols for users' personal and banking details. Avoid any blacklisted casinos that have multiple complaints of unreliable systems or a history of failing to pay any winnings.

Any recommended casinos on our website have been vetted against strict criteria before joining. We test customer support to make sure the casinos we list offer good service if you get into difficulties, and we only recommend fast pay-out casinos, so you can get your winnings quick.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I win at video poker?

    The chances of winning vary depending on the video poker game version and the online casino's house edge, but factors such as the pay table, the amount gambled in each round, and bonus poker rewards such as welcome deposits can influence a player's outcome in a game.

  • How do I play Jacks or Better video poker?

    After deciding how much to bet, click on the deal button. The player receives five face up cards and has the option to draw a further five cards. In Jacks or Better video poker, players must have a minimum of a pair of Jacks in their hand to earn any payout. A more detailed guide to Jacks or Better, including games to play, is also available.

  • Is video poker a game of skill?

    Yes, although a healthy dose of luck is also helpful. Experienced players understand the probability odds of each game, and execute strategies based on their hand to achieve the best possible outcomes for themselves.

  • Where can I play video poker?

    Most casinos will have video poker machines available to play on-site. It is also possible to play online through our recommended casino partners.

  • How can I cheat at video poker?

    Cheating video poker machines is highly difficult and not recommended, as it can result in the US Government bringing charges against those caught. Reported methods include hacking into a machine's random number generator and rigging it with favorable odds, or tricking the machine into thinking money has been inserted. More rarely, some have taken advantage of a bug in the video poker machine's system to earn large payouts.