Rules and Strategy

how to play video poker

The rules of video poker differ from traditional poker. In video poker, you play heads up against a computerized dealer and winning poker hands net you several times the bet.

There are different types of video poker and some variations include Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better and Joker's Wild. The rules of video poker differ slightly depending on your game choice, for example in ‘Deuces Wild’ the two’s are wild and this makes completing hands like a flush draw even easier. In ‘Jacks or Better’ a pair of Jacks is the lowest winning hand possible. In ‘Joker's Wild’ a joker is included in the game. The joker is wild and counts as any card in the deck which opens up a lot of crazy possibilities.

How to play Video Poker

Playing video poker is relatively simple and games generally follow the same route from start to finish.

  • The player places their initial bet.
  • The computerized dealer generates five cards for the player.
  • The player decides which cards to keep and which cards to discard.
  • The cards discarded by the player are then replaced by the computerized dealer.
  • The player then makes the best possible hand and is paid out accordingly.

Hand combinations in Video Poker

1 PairTwo cards of the same value [minimum two Jacks]
2 Pairs2x Two cards of the same value e.g. [7, 7♣] + [K♠, K]
Three of a kindThree cards of the same value e.g. [5♣ , 5♠, 5]
StraightFive cards in sequence regardless of suit e.g. [2, 3♣, 4♣, 5♠, 6]
FlushFive cards of the same suit, not in sequence e.g. [2♠, 4♠, 7♠, 10♠, J♠]
Full House3 cards of the same value + 2 cards of the same value e.g. [8, 8♣, 8] + [Q♣, Q]
Four of a kindFour cards of the same value e.g. [7, 7♣, 7♠, 7]
Straight FlushFive cards in sequence of the same suit in e.g. [A, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Royal Flush10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of the same suit e.g. [10♣, J♣, Q♣, K♣, A♣]

Doubling up

Once you've won a hand you then have the option to ‘double up’. You have to click the "Double" button and then five cards will appear, one of which is turned face up. You then choose one of the four remaining cards and if your card is higher than the one already turned over, you double up. Otherwise, you lose your bet.

Winnings in Video Poker

Many video poker machines follow different rules and thus are subject to differing pay-out structures. A summary table including any important rules and the pay-out structure specific to that particular game can always be found on the front of each machine.

Choosing a machine

There is no standard rule in video poker when it comes to pay-out structure. Generally speaking, the machine with the most attractive offer is the one you should choose. Some offer different bonuses also so make sure to read all the game details in full before playing.

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So now you’re up to speed with the rules, are you starting to feel a bit more confident? Check out another of our video poker articles for more info on this exciting version of poker: