Video poker combines the excitement of poker with the solitary play of slot machines, offering players a unique gaming experience where skill and strategy play a crucial role.

This engaging casino game, with its mix of luck and tactics, appeals to those looking for more control over their gambling outcomes.

Keep reading to learn how to play video poker!

Key Takeaways

  • Video poker offers better odds compared to many casino games, with the potential for player skill to significantly influence the game’s outcome;
  • Understanding the paytable is crucial for maximizing winnings, as it informs the player about the game’s payouts for different hand types;
  • Strategies vary by game type: learning specific strategies for popular video poker variations like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild can improve winning chances;
  • Practice makes perfect: many online platforms offer free video poker games, allowing players to hone their skills without risking real money;
  • Bankroll management is key to a sustainable and enjoyable video poker experience, ensuring players can keep playing without exhausting their funds quickly.

How to Play Video Poker: Step-by-Step Guide

Playing video poker involves a combination of luck and strategy. Here’s a straightforward guide to getting started and making the most of your video poker playing experience.

Step 1: Pick your Video Poker Game

Begin by choosing the video poker variation you want to play. Each game has its own rules and strategies, so it’s worth trying a few different types to find the one that suits you best. Popular types include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker’s Wild.

Step 2: Select your Paytable

Once you’ve chosen a game, examine the paytable. This is crucial because it affects the game’s return to player (RTP). Look for tables that offer the highest payouts for full houses and flushes to ensure you’re playing a game with good odds.

Step 3: Choose your Bet

Decide how many coins you want to bet per hand. You can typically choose between one to five coins. Betting the maximum amount often unlocks the biggest jackpot for a royal flush, making it a common strategy among experienced players.

Step 4: Start Playing

Press the “Deal” button to receive your initial five cards. Choose which cards to keep by pressing the “Hold” button beneath each card and then press “Draw” to replace the ones you’ve decided to discard. 

Your final hand will be assessed for wins according to the paytable.

How Video Poker Machines Work

Video poker machines, often resembling slot machines, feature a screen that displays the cards and payout information, alongside buttons for players to select their actions. 

At the bottom of the screen, the machine typically shows the player’s balance, bet size options, and winnings. 

Players interact with the machine by pressing buttons to hold cards, draw new ones, or change their bet size, making the layout both intuitive and user-friendly for newcomers and seasoned players alike.

The role of Random Number Generators (RNGs)

At the heart of every video poker machine is a Random Number Generator (RNG), a computer program that ensures each card dealt is entirely random and independent of past or future hands. 

This technology guarantees the fairness and unpredictability of games, making it impossible to predict the next card. 

RNGs are regularly audited by gaming authorities to ensure integrity and fair play in casinos and online platforms.

Understanding Video Poker Hands

In video poker, the player’s objective is to create the best possible hand according to the paytable. 

The strength of your hand determines the payout, with higher-ranking hands offering larger winnings. 

Here’s a breakdown of common video poker hands, from highest to lowest:

Royal FlushA, K, Q, J, 10, all of the same suit
Straight FlushFive consecutive cards of the same suit
Four of a KindFour cards of the same rank
Full HouseThree of a kind plus a pair
FlushFive cards of the same suit, not in sequence
StraightFive consecutive cards of different suits
Three of a KindThree cards of the same rank
Two PairTwo sets of two cards of the same rank
Pair (Jacks or Better)Two cards of the same rank, typically jacks or higher
High CardNone of the above, with the highest card being the value of the hand

Understanding these hands is crucial for making strategic decisions about which cards to hold and which to discard. 

The paytable on the video poker machine will outline the payouts for each hand type, which can vary depending on the specific game variation you are playing.

By familiarizing yourself with these hand rankings and practicing regularly, you can improve your chances of making profitable decisions and enjoying your video poker experience.

How to Place a Bet at an Online Casino

  1. Choose a Reputable Online Casino: Select a casino with a good reputation, valid licensing, and positive reviews.
  2. Create and Fund Your Account: Register an account and deposit funds using your preferred payment method.
  3. Navigate to the Video Poker Section: Find the video poker games available and choose one that appeals to you.
  4. Select Your Bet Size: Adjust your bet size by choosing the number of coins and the coin denomination.
  5. Understand the Paytable: Review the paytable for the game you’ve selected to understand the payouts.
  6. Place Your Bet: With your bet size set, press the “Deal” button to start the game.
  7. Manage Your Bankroll: Keep track of your spending and set limits to ensure responsible gaming.

Types of Video Poker

Understanding the different types of video poker can help you choose the game that best matches your playing style and preferences:

  • Jacks or Better: The most basic and widely played version, where payouts start at a pair of jacks.
  • Deuces Wild: All twos (deuces) are wild, allowing them to substitute for any other card for a winning hand.
  • Double Bonus Poker: Offers higher payouts for four of a kind, with bonuses for different quads.
  • Joker’s Wild: Includes a joker as a wild card, which can substitute for any other card to form a winning hand.
  • Bonus Deuces Wild: Combines the excitement of Deuces Wild with additional bonuses for specific hands.
  • Double Double Bonus Poker: Offers extra bonus payouts for four of a kind hands, with higher bonuses for specific combinations.

Each type of video poker game offers its unique twist on the classic poker game, providing a range of options for players to explore and enjoy.

7 Tips on How to Play Video Poker for Beginners

  1. Learn the Basic Poker Hands: Familiarize yourself with the hand rankings used in video poker.
  2. Understand the Paytable: Each video poker variant has its own paytable. Knowing which hands pay out more can influence your decisions.
  3. Start with Jacks or Better: This is a great beginner game due to its straightforward strategy and high RTP.
  4. Use Maximum Bet for Higher Payouts: Betting the maximum number of coins increases the payout for a royal flush significantly.
  5. Practice with Free Games: Many video poker online casinos offer free versions of the game. Use these to practice without risk.
  6. Study Basic Video Poker Strategy: Learn the strategies specific to the variant you are playing to increase your chances of winning. Learning the different terms and lingo can also help you.
  7. Manage Your Bankroll: Set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend and stick to it to avoid unnecessary losses.

Video Poker vs. Poker: A Quick Comparison

1. Player vs. Machine and Player vs. Player

  • Video Poker: You play against a machine, focusing on creating the best possible hand from what you’re dealt.
  • Poker: Involves playing against other players, incorporating bluffing and reading opponents into the strategy.

2. No Betting Rounds

  • Video Poker: There are no betting rounds. Your initial bet is final, and outcomes are immediate after the draw.
  • Poker: Features multiple betting rounds, allowing for strategy adjustments based on opponents’ actions.

3. No Bluffing or Reading Opponents

  • Video Poker: Bluffing is not a factor as you’re playing against a machine.
  • Poker: Bluffing and reading tells are crucial aspects of playing against other humans.

4. Fixed Payouts

  • Video Poker: Payouts are fixed based on the paytable for each hand you make.
  • Poker: Winnings vary depending on the pot size, which is affected by the bets placed by players during each hand.

5. Strategy Differences

  • Video Poker: Strategy is more static, focusing on statistical best plays for any given hand.
  • Poker: Requires a dynamic strategy that adjusts based on the flow of the game, the actions of your opponents, and psychological elements.

Understanding these fundamentals and strategic differences will not only enhance your video poker gameplay but also enrich your overall gaming experience, whether you prefer the solitary challenge against a machine or the dynamic competition against other players.

Final Thoughts

In summary, once you learn how to play video poker, you get a compelling mix of strategy and chance. 

By understanding game mechanics, mastering strategies for different variations, and practicing responsible bankroll management, players can significantly improve their chances of success.

Choosing the right game, learning the paytables, and betting wisely are foundational steps for anyone looking to dive into video poker like a pro.

While it lacks the interactive elements of traditional poker, video poker’s straightforward gameplay and potential for high payouts make it a favorite among casino goers.

As you embark on your video poker journey, remember that each session is an opportunity to refine your skills. With patience, practice, and a bit of luck, video poker can be both a rewarding and enjoyable casino experience.


  • Thomas Cooper

    Thomas Cooper (Online Gambling Writer and Specialist), a distinguished name in the online gambling writing community, brings a wealth of hands-on experience and expertise to CasinoBonusWise. As a specialist writer, his deep-seated knowledge in the online casino sphere is a treasure trove for both novices and seasoned players. Thomas's writing is not just informative; it's a roadmap for navigating the online gambling landscape, offering expert advice on game selection, bonus maximization, and strategic play. His comprehensive guides and reviews are tailored to enhance your online gambling experience, ensuring you make informed decisions every step of the way. Thomas's unwavering commitment to transparency and fairness is in perfect harmony with CasinoBonusWise's mission, providing you with information that is not just accurate but also deeply trustworthy. With Thomas, you are in expert hands, ensuring your gaming journey is both rewarding and enjoyable.

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