How to Play Video Poker Like a Pro and Start Winning Big

Do you know how to play video poker or perhaps want to take your game to the next level? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll show you how to play video poker like a pro. You’ll learn all the tips and tricks you need to up your game and start winning big. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

How to Play Video Poker

When video poker was first introduced in the 1970s, it was still struggling to gain acceptance. The machines were commonly called “poker slots” at the time. Video poker shares many similarities with slot machines. They are simple to use and require no interaction with a dealer. Random-number generators govern card combinations like those in slot reels.

Video poker has an additional benefit that slot machines lack: a level of skill. The outcome of a game can be affected by the players’ decisions. Because cards must be dealt from a 52-card deck (or 53 cards in the case Joker’s Wild machines), the possible combinations can be calculated and a strategy for playing can be developed. In fact, video poker was allowed in Missouri riverboats under a law that prohibited games of chance. However, slots, which are games of chance were not allowed until the law was changed by voters.

If you play video poker correctly, the odds of winning are as good as any table game. Jacks or Better, the basic game, returns 99.5 percent with optimal play over long periods. Other machines, such as Deuces Wild, offer a positive expectation for the player. They’ll return more over the long-term than 100 percent with optimal playing.

Why are casinos offering games that can be beat? Because only a small number of players are familiar with proper play. The casinos pay 2 to 4 percent less for skilled players because they make enough mistakes. Casinos must choose between two options in competitive markets. One, they can offer a pay table that is so high that the best players can make a long-term profit, or they can offer lower pay tables to attract the weaker players, who are the casino’s bread-and butter customers. Casinos will offer lower-paying machines in less-competitive markets where there is a high demand for space.

how to play video poker

Video poker is one of the most loved casino games because Americans are familiar enough with the poker hand rankings to make it a very popular choice. Video poker has seen a rise in popularity as the gambling markets mature and more players become more skilled.

Nevada casinos that cater to local residents devote more than 50% of their slot machines spaces to video pokies, while bars that offer video poker have very few other gambling options. The resorts that cater to tourists tend to dedicate a lower percentage to video poker, around 10 percent to 15%.

This is the same percentage as you’ll find at other US gaming destinations. About 80 percent of the slot space in Missouri was given over to reel slots as soon as the voters approved games of chance.

Si Redd and International Gaming Technology, his new company, entered into a licensing deal with Bally’s Manufacturing in the 1980s that gave IGT the exclusive right to make video poker machines. Although few people realized the potential of the technology at the time, it gave IGT the boost that it needed to become Bally’s main competitor in electronic gaming devices. Today, IGT and Bally’s both make video poker machines. Their machines take up the majority of the floor space dedicated to electronic gaming devices in the country.

Although few people realized the potential of the technology at the time, it gave IGT the boost that it needed to become Bally’s main competitor in electronic gaming devices. Today, IGT and Bally’s both make video poker machines. Their machines take up the majority of the floor space dedicated to electronic gaming devices in the country.

You’ve come to the right place if you want to join the video poker craze. You will learn how to navigate the maze of buttons and flashing lights that makes up a video poker machine. There are also tips and tricks to help you win. Let’s start by reviewing the winning poker hands.

Poker Hands Ranking

All payoffs are calculated using five-card poker hands. These rank as follows:

Royal flush: Ace-king-queen-jack-10 all of the same suit (hearts, clubs, spades, or diamonds).

Straight flush Five consecutive cards from the same suit, for example 2-3-4-5-6, all clubs

Four of one: Four cards with the same rank, such as ace, spades, ace, clubs, or ace.

Full House: Three cards from one rank, two of another rank. For example, 3 cards of diamonds, 3 cards of hearts, 3 cards of spades, 3 cards of spades, 6 cards of hearts, 6 cards of spades.

Flush Five cards from the same suit, such as an ace, 10, 7, 4, 3 or all of the diamonds.

Straight Five consecutive mixed suit cards; for example, 2 or 3 of diamonds and 3 of hearts, 4 or 4 of diamonds, 5 or 6 of spades, 6 of clubs, and 4 of diamonds.

Three of one: Three cards with the same rank, for example 6 of hearts, 6 clubs, 6 diamonds.

Two pair : Two cards from one rank, two cards from another rank; for instance, ace or ace of hearts, ace and seven of clubs, 7 off of diamonds.

Pair of Jacks or Better: Two jacks and queens, kings or aces.

Let’s now learn how to win. You can read the next section to learn more about the anatomy of a machine that plays video poker.

The Pay Table

Full-pay Jacks or Better is the version that pays 99.5 percent for optimal play. It is also known as a 9-6 machine. This refers to the 9-for-1 payout for a full house, and 6-for-1 on a flush. The 9-6 machine has a full table with returns for one coin.

Payoffs are proportional according to the number played. This means that three of a type returns three coins for every one played coin. A royal flush pays 250 coins for one; 500 for two; 750 for three; 1,000 for four; but a fifth coin gives you a return of 4,000.

Casinos often alter the payout percentages of the machines by lowering the payouts for the flush or full house. 8-5 machines can be found in many American casinos. They pay 8-for-1 on full house and 5-for-1 for flush. 7-5 machines are also available. An 8-5 machine pays 97.9% with optimal play; the 7-5 machine pays 96.2 %

Full-pay 9-6 machines can be found most commonly in Nevada. However, they can also be found in Illinois and Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and just about anywhere else there is competition. Some casinos even offer the 8-5 paytable, sometimes with alternating 9-6 or 8-5 pay tables within the same bank of machines. Before you start playing, make sure you read the pay table. Do not settle for a lower standard pay table if there are several casinos nearby.

At a Las Vegas casino, the 10-6 and 9-7 Jacks or Better machines were the best. Both versions offered payout percentages greater than 100 percent for optimal play. This was proudly displayed on every machine. The casino did not lose any money on these machines because most video poker players aren’t skilled enough to play at the highest level.

One warning: Even a skilled player with 100 percent-plus machines will have more losing casino games than winning ones. These percentages assume that the player will have a normal share in royal flushes over the long-term with full coins. About once every 40,000 hands, or about once every 80 hours of play, are expected to bring about royal flushes. However, there are no guarantees. The payout percentages will be lower if there are less than the maximum number or normal number of royal flushes.

I know what you are thinking. “Tell me how can I win!” You will find strategies that can reduce the risk of gambling in the next section.

Optimal Strategy

Once you are comfortable with the quick strategy, it may be time to try a more complicated, but more precise version. This strategy is optimized for both the 8-5 and 7-5 Jacks of Better machines. It is also only a tenth off the optimal for 9-6 Jacks of Better and Bonus Poker machines.

A few hands are not broken up, just like in the quick version. If you are dealt a royal flush, you will hold all five cards and wait to receive your payoff. (On large payoffs, the machine will flash “Jackpot!” Or “Winner!” These winnings will be paid to an attendant, not the machine. You will not be paid for the royal flush if you put more coins into the machine or play another hand.

You can also hold all five cards on straight flushes or full houses. All four matching cards must be held on four of one. For a chance to win four of a type or a full house, hold three of a sort and discard the other two cards. For a chance to win a full house, hold both pairs in a 2-pair hand and discard the fifth card.

Sometimes, however, the player will break up a flush or straight if the situation is right. The following list can be used if you don’t have one of these “always keep” hand. The possible predraw hands are listed alphabetically. You should find the highest listing that matches your predraw hand and discard any cards that don’t. If your hand contains jack of spades and jack of diamonds and has 9 of diamonds and 8 of them, you have four cards that can be used to make an open straight flush in diamonds. You also have a pair or better of jacks. The four-card open straight flush, which is higher than the pair or better of jacks, would be drawn to the four card straight flush. Although you are giving up the 1-for-1 payoff on a pair jacks, there is still a chance to draw a straight flush with either the queen or 7 of diamonds. You could also draw a flush with any diamond or finish with a pair jacks by drawing either the jack of clubs or the jack of hearts.

This strategy distinguishes between straight flushes or inside straights, and straight flushes or open straights.

Keep a royal flush or straight flush, four of one, full house, full flush, four of two, three of one, three of a type, full house, three-of-a-kind, three of a sort, or two pairs. Here’s how other predraw hands rank.

Draw five new cards for any hand that doesn’t fit into one of the categories above.

This is a long list, especially for beginners. However, it can be cut down by taking all three card straight flushes (open, inside, double within, with high cards without high cards) and putting them together just below four high-card cards. This will cost you a few tenths to a percent, but once you feel comfortable with the strategy, you can begin breaking down the categories for expert play.

Money Management

Remember two important points: Don’t overbet. If a machine is available where you feel most comfortable playing the maximum amount of coins, use it. If you have $20 to play, don’t sit down at a $1 machine that can take up to $5 per time. It is better to play five quarters per turn than one dollar per session. Video poker machines return a high percentage of money invested, but the payouts can fluctuate. It is not uncommon to win five, ten, or more consecutive hands without a payout. You shouldn’t play at a level where you don’t have the funds to continue a streak.

Video poker is one exception to the rule that the house always wins. You may be able to win if you are patient and follow the simple rules.

What makes video poker so special?

Video poker has grown to be a very popular gambling game since its introduction to the casino scene in the 1970s.

Do You Know Why?

Video poker is one of few casino games that offers the best odds of winning in casino gambling and also gives you the opportunity to influence the outcome of the game.

Yes, your skills can make all the difference.

Online video poker offers the best odds…and huge casino bonuses upon registration!

Video poker is also popular because it has low house edges which makes the casinos profit, but gives you, the player, the chance to win big (in jackpot proportions).

Better still;

All video poker variations offer you the anonymity you seek, in that you can play solo and without the psychological pressures of a live game.

This means that you don’t have deal with dealers, pit bosses or other players who dissect or make irritating comments about your play.

These are just a few of the many godsend benefits that video poker brings to your playbook. The biggest question is how do you beat video poker machines.

You might have heard the following adage in betting circles:

“The house always has the advantage.”

Although it may seem difficult to refute, video poker is almost an exception.

It doesn’t matter if you play Jacks, Better, Deuces Wild, or any other video poker variation.

You can beat video poker machines with the right playing strategy, knowledge, and luck

Video poker machines are very easy to beat because you play against a machine, not against other players.

This is in addition to the fact that you are almost five times more likely than others to win a huge jackpot (aka. The Royal Flush is one of the most popular video poker games.

You should consider switching from traditional slots to video poker.

Here’s how to beat video poker without jumping blindly.

Learn the Rules of Video Poker

Video poker is easy.

There are many types of video poker. However, they all have one thing in common: They all use the five card draw poker.

Video poker uses a 52-card deck.

After placing your wager, press the ” deal” button. The machine will randomly give you five cards.

This is where you will decide which cards you want to keep and which ones to discard.

Tap on the images of the cards you wish to keep and tap on them.

Once you have made your selection, click the Draw button to allow the machine randomly replace any discarded cards.

This exciting game is won if you have a winning hand of poker, such as a flush, straight, two pair, or royal flush.

Keep in mind that the amount you win per hand is dependent on the poker value of the hand and the paytable posted by the machine.

You must make a decision about which five cards you want to keep and which ones you want to discard. This is one of the most important aspects of how to beat video poker.

You have the best chance of winning a jackpot if you make the right decision right away.

Video Poker Basic Strategy

In your quest to beat a video pokie machine, the biggest mistake you can make is to play by only guessing.

A simple game that gives you a chance at winning can cost you a lot of money.

You will have a better chance of winning millions if you have the right skills.

You should also practice your skills on your computer before you risk real money on a video poker machine.

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Things to Avoid

Here are some simple and practical tips to win online video poker.

The Kicker. You should never keep a kicker when playing Jacks or Better video poker.

Many players mistakenly believe that keeping a kicker increases their chances of winning with a higher payout.

The Straight/Flush. Never keep more than two cards in your pursuit of a straight or flush.

If you keep three cards in the hope of grabbing a straight or flush, you will be in a losing situation.

Only when you are able to pull off the highly-valuable straight flush, you can keep all three cards.

This is the most important strategy for playing video poker machines: Never give up on a winning hand to try to get a bigger hand.

Video Poker Probabilities

You have a 1 in 40,000 chance of hitting a Royal Flush (the highest jackpot). With 600 hands per hour and 8 hours per day, you can expect a royal every 8.3 days. However, I believe the odds of hitting a jackpot slot are usually at least 1 in 262,000. Video poker is far more likely to win the jackpot.

I have also shown you how to calculate your average loss over an hour of play elsewhere on this site. You multiply the house edges times the bet size times the number of rounds played per hour. If you have a 9/6 quarter Jacks or Better game with a proper playing strategy, this would be 0.5% x 1.25 (remember that we are playing 5 coins at once) x 400 hands an hour = $2.50. It’s not bad.

The problem is that this formula doesn’t work in video poker for the short term. This is because you will only hit the royal once every 66 hours, and while you wait for the royal, your return on the game won’t be 99.5%. It’s 97.5%.

You’re more likely than 0.5% to lose 2.5% in the near term. While we wait for the royal, our hourly loss can be expected to be closer to $6.25/hour than to $1.25/hour. Still, $6.25 an hour is quite affordable. Your loss on slot machines would be closer to $40 per hour. You can see why I am so eager to switch you to VP.

Interestingly, a Four of a Kind occurs about once an hour.


Congratulations! You have learned all the specifics of how to play video poker like a pro and now you can play video poker, especially Jacks or Better, at your favorite online casino.

Video poker games offer a variety of features and options that make them an excellent alternative to traditional slots machines. They also give players the chance to win big.