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Ben Horlock

A video poker strategy can be used like a cheat sheet to help learn the best way of maximizing the probability of hitting all the best paying hands.

In addition to learning the basics of the game, it’s also a good idea to try and play a demo version of the game to get a feel for the rules before you start really getting to know video poker basic strategy.

We are here to help you start winning at video poker, so read on to learn more about the various strategies and tips you can use to get better at one of the most popular online casino games.

What is Video Poker?

People want to play and win at video poker mainly because of its popularity. In addition, the game’s simplicity and versatility have made it a popular option in both land-based and online crypto casinos.

video poker strategy video poker machine bovada
Source: Bovada

Before you can learn how to win video poker, you first need to learn how the game works. Video poker is a casino game that mixes elements of classic five-card draw poker with the speed of electronic gaming. Video poker machines make your poker experience that much quicker.

When you place bets on a casino app, you are dealt a hand of five cards, which you can choose to keep or discard in exchange for new cards. The goal is to try and make the best possible hand of five cards. Your profits are set based on a predetermined table.

What is Basic Video Poker Strategy?

Strategy for video poker involves understanding the best decisions to make when you are dealt a hand. Moreover, you need video poker strategy cards because video poker machines offer different variations and paytables, each with its own set of odds and potential returns. Understanding the mathematics behind video poker helps you choose a table that suits your strategy and your bankroll.

A video poker tutorial and a glossary of the poker terms will shine a light on the cards that you want to keep hold of and the cards that you want to discard. For example, if you’re dealt a pair of Jacks or better in Jacks or Better video poker, holding onto those cards is advisable as they guarantee at least a minimum payout. Check out a Jacks or Better video poker strategy to learn more about that specific version of video poker.

How to Play Video Poker Machines - Basic Rules

Before we dive into the best strategy for video poker, here is how to play the game at an online casino.

  1. Select Your Machine

    Choose a video poker machine in a casino or log in to the best online casino for video poker. Choose a machine with a game variation and paytable that suits your preferences and budget. We mentioned this earlier: you’ll always be able to find a table that matches your style and your budget, so be sure to play within your means.
    Select Your Machine
  2. Place Your Bet

    Deposit funds into your newly opened online casino account. Once it clears, you can then place bets with your available funds at the video poker table that you have chosen.
    Place Your Bet
  3. Deal the Cards

    This may vary with different video poker games, but usually, you’ll be able to click the deal button and wait for the five cards to be issued to you.
    Deal the Cards
  4. Evaluate Your Hand

    Examine your hand to determine its strength and to check out how you can perhaps make it even stronger. You can choose which cards to keep and which to discard in the hopes of improving your hand.
  5. Discard and Draw

    Select the cards you want to keep by pressing the corresponding “Hold” button beneath each card. Then, press the “Draw” button to discard the unselected cards and receive new ones in their place. Again, this may vary from casino to casino, especially if you are using video poker machines at your local casino.
    Discard and Draw
  6. Final Hand Evaluation

    Your final hand is now displayed on the screen. If your hand matches any of the qualifying poker hands listed on the paytable, you’ll receive a corresponding payout.
  7. Collect Winnings

    If you’ve won, your credits will be automatically added to your balance. You can choose to cash out or continue playing by placing another bet and repeating the process.
    Collect Winnings
  8. Pay Attention to Paytables

    Different video poker variations and machines offer different paytables, indicating the payouts for each winning hand. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the paytable before playing to understand the expected return for each hand.

Using Strategies to Win at Video Poker Variants

The fact that around 15 million people play online poker for real money suggests players need to have a strategy to come out on top, even when taking on the house at electronic poker.

There is a video poker strategy chart that you can refer to to remind you about the various approaches you can take to video poker. However, we wanted to help you with our own set of video poker tips.

Know Your Pay Tables

Understanding the pay tables is crucial as they directly impact your potential payouts. It’s not an outright video poker strategy, but it’s something you need to keep in mind. Use machines with better pay tables that give you higher payouts for strong hands. Familiarize yourself with the fast payout casinos and the specific pay table of the game you’re playing to make informed decisions during gameplay.

Prioritize High-Value Hands

Focus on forming strong hands as they offer better payouts compared to lower-ranking hands. Sure, it’s simple, but it’s the best video poker strategy. Try to build these strong hands by strategically choosing which cards to hold and discard during each round, considering the potential for improving your hand with each draw.

Play Max Coins

In machines offering enhanced payouts for max bets, always play the maximum number of coins allowed to maximize potential returns, especially for hitting royal flushes. Basically, this makes sure that you’re eligible for the top payouts available on the machine, increasing your overall profitability. This will primarily be an option on video poker machines at land-based casinos.

Utilize Optimal Strategy Charts

It’s not a bad idea to check out a video poker strategy card for the variant you’re playing, as it will help you make smarter decisions. This kind of chart gives you guidance on which cards to hold and discard in various situations. By following optimal strategy charts, you can limit the errors you might make, which will hopefully help you earn better profits over time.

Be Patient

Video poker players need to avoid impulsive decisions and stick to strategy even in the face of short-term losses. A video poker strategy calculator is something to use to make sure you stay on track with your bets. Patience and discipline are key factors in video poker, as they will help you keep a level head.

Take your time to analyze each hand and make calculated decisions rather than relying on gut instincts. By maintaining composure and adhering to your strategy, you can weather losing streaks and capitalize on winning opportunities, ultimately improving your overall profitability and success in video poker.

Take Advantage of Bonuses

Make use of casino bonuses and promotions at bitcoin poker sites to boost your bankroll, as it will help keep your playing sessions going for longer. Try to find bonuses that are especially related to video poker. There are plenty of them out there, and most often, you can find them on the promotions page of the offshore casino you are using.

Understand Variance

If you want to know how to win at video poker, you need to recognize the variance in video poker games, as it can affect your short-term results. Adjust your strategy accordingly, considering the volatility of the game. Be prepared for both winning and losing streaks, and maintain a balanced approach to your gameplay.

Focus on High RTP Variants

Much like regular poker variants namely, Caribbean Stud Poker, Mississippi Stud Poker, and Chinese Poker, choose video poker variants with higher RTP (Return to Player) percentages, as they give you better long-term profits on your wins. So, always compare the RTP rates of different games to see which have the highest potential for profits.

Practice Proper Bankroll Management

Always maintain a disciplined approach to your bankroll, betting within your means and avoiding reckless wagering. Decide what your budget is and stick to it. Never bet with money that you cannot afford to lose. This leads to you trying to chase your losses, which, in turn, can trigger a long run of further losses.

Video poker is meant to be fun, so make sure you are only playing with funds that you don’t mind losing in the first place.

Learn from Experience

Try to keep track of your previous wins and losses. This is a fantastic way to learn from your past games. In addition, you can also check to see if any patterns have formed. Learning from past experiences is one of the best ways to learn how to play video poker and win.

Video Poker Odds

Achieving certain hand combinations in video poker like jack-queen-king will vary based on different hands. To help you understand the odds for each hand you can get, we have compiled each of them in the table below.

Video Poker Hand Video Poker Odds
Royal Flush 650,000 to 1
Straight Flush 72,000 to 1
Four of A Kind 4,000 to 1
Full House 700 to 1
Flush 500 to 1
Straight 250 to 1
Three of Kind 50 to 1
Two Pairs 20 to 1
One Pair 1.5 to 1
High Card 1 to 1

Playing Video Poker at the Right Casino

The next stop in our video poker strategy guide is all about finding an online casino that is ideal for you and your needs. There are plenty of different ways to approach choosing a casino, but here are a couple of key factors you should consider before signing up at the first online casino you see.

Higher Payout Percentages

Go for casinos that offer video poker games with higher payout percentages. Look for machines with favorable paytables and RTP (Return to Player) rates, as these increase your chances of receiving better returns on your wagers. You can compare these casinos on this front, as this information is readily available on these gambling sites.

Use Bonus Offers

Take advantage of casino bonuses and promotions that are relevant to video poker. Look for welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, and cashback offers that can boost your bankroll and extend your gameplay sessions. Take the time to look at the promotions page with the best online casinos and see if they don’t have bonuses and rewards that you can use to give your video poker bets a bit of a boost.

Use Safe Casinos

Try your best to play at reputable and secure casinos that ensure fairness and random results in their video poker games. Look for online casinos licensed by recognized gaming authorities with secure encryption protocols to safeguard your personal and financial information. You can find plenty of these types of casinos in our list of the best online casinos.

Other Features

Consider additional features offered by the casino, such as convenient payment methods, responsive customer support, and user-friendly interfaces. Choose live dealer casinos that provide hassle-free deposit and withdrawal options, round-the-clock customer assistance, and intuitive gaming platforms for a smooth experience.

Video Poker Games

There are a couple of video poker games that you can use a video poker strategy with. Whether it’s a deuces wild video poker strategy or a video poker jacks or better strategy there are plenty to choose from for the different variations of the game.

video poker strategy poker games at BetOnline

Jacks or Better (JoB)

The Jacks or Better game is one of the most popular video poker options, known for its simple rules and strategic gameplay. The main goal is to form a hand containing at least a pair of Jacks or higher to receive a payout.

A fundamental video poker strategy in JoB involves prioritizing the retention of pairs of Jacks or higher, while discarding unpaired low cards unless they contribute to potential straight or flush opportunities. You should also avoid holding onto single high cards unless they complement the existing hand. It can be tricky to win in this version of video poker but it’s certainly an exciting option.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild has a different feel from traditional video poker by introducing wild cards—the twos (deuces)—which you can substitute for any other card to form winning combinations. This variant offers increased possibilities for achieving strong hands, emphasizing forming high-ranking combinations due to the prevalence of wild cards.

A video poker strategy to use in Deuces Wild involves holding onto any twos you have, as this variant is all about a pair of twos. You should aim for four-card flushes or straights over three-of-a-kind unless they hold three or four deuces, which almost always leads to higher payouts.

Bonus Poker

Bonus Poker is a variant that offers enhanced payouts for specific hands, mainly four of a kind. A strategic focus is placed on aiming for and prioritizing four-of-a-kind hands over other combinations.

You should also consider holding low pairs (2s through 10s) over single high cards, as they offer a better chance of improving to a winning hand, especially considering the potential for increased payouts. This is the main video poker strategy for this variant. However, avoiding holding onto high cards that don’t contribute to potential winning combinations is essential.

Double Bonus

Double Bonus Poker shares similarities with Bonus Poker but does have higher payouts. A video poker strategy double-double bonus that you should keep in mind is to try and hold any hands that have four of a kind.

You should hold onto low pairs (2s through 10s) over single high cards, particularly when aiming for a four-of-a-kind. However, when holding onto three of a kind, you want to be careful as the potential for a profitable outcome may vary depending on the specific game variant and paytable.

Video Poker Glossary

Well, you have had a look at a video poker strategy or two, but now we want to top off your newfound knowledge by looking at a few of the more important terms that you will encounter when playing online video poker.

  • Auto Hold: This is a feature where the software will hold cards based on the best options of a strategic chart
  • Double Up: An optional feature where you can risk your winnings by trying to double them up.
  • Draw: Where you get rid of cards and have new cards dealt to them to replace them.
  • Flush: A paying hand that has five cards that are the same suit.
  • Full House: A hand with three of a kind and a pair, such as three 8s and two queens.
  • Hold: This is just where you decide what cards to keep.
  • Max Bet: The biggest bet that you can place.
  • Pair: Two cards that are the same in your hand.
  • Paytable: This is just a table that shows you what each type of hand will payout.
  • RNG (Random Number Generator): Software to ensure cards and hands are dealt randomly.
  • Royal Flush: A royal flush is the best hand you can get in video poker.
  • Straight: Five consecutive numbers in a row that form your hand. For example, 4,5,6,7,8.
  • Three of a Kind: A hand that has three of the same card.
  • Two Pair: A pair of one set of cards with another pair of cards. For example two 10s and two Queens.
  • Wild Card: This is a card in some video poker variants that you can swap into your hand to make a better hand.

Best Video Poker Strategy: Questions and Answers

What is the best strategy for video poker?

What makes video poker special?

What is the best card to hold in video poker?

How do you win big on video poker?

Should you hold a low pair in video poker?

Is it better to play video poker fast or slow?



Ben Horlock

Ben is an experienced news and features writer who specializes in providing expert guides on all aspects of online and in-person gambling. Ben has over ten years experience writing for web-based audiences and has strong expertise in casinos, online cryptocurrency gambling platforms as well as slots and table games. Ben has been published across a number of english international news outlets, including InstantCasinos and BitcoinCasino. As well, Ben has worked in social media for four years in the sports gambling industry.