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Play Video Poker Online for Free or Real Money: The Ultimate Guide

Video Poker: A Guide for Beginners

Video poker is a popular casino game that combines the thrill of poker with the simplicity of slot machines. It is played on a computerized console that resembles a slot machine, but uses a standard 52-card deck of cards. The objective of video poker is to make the best possible poker hand with the cards you are dealt.

video poker

Video poker is a great game for beginners because it has a low house edge, meaning the casino has a small advantage over the players. It also gives you the chance to influence the outcome of the game by choosing which cards to keep and which to discard. Unlike regular poker, you don't have to worry about bluffing or reading other players' expressions. You just have to focus on your own cards and the pay table.

In this article, we will explain the basics of video poker, the different variations of the game, some tips and strategies to improve your chances of winning, and some frequently asked questions. By the end of this article, you will be ready to play video poker like a pro.

How to Play Video Poker

The rules of video poker are simple and similar for most variations of the game. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Insert money or a bar-coded paper ticket into the machine and choose how many coins or credits you want to bet per hand. You can usually bet between one and five coins or credits.

  • Press the "deal" button to receive five cards from the virtual deck. You can see your cards on the screen.

  • Decide which cards you want to keep and which ones you want to discard. You can do this by tapping on the cards on the screen or by pressing buttons on the console. You can keep or discard any or all of your cards.

  • Press the "draw" button to replace the cards you discarded with new ones from the same deck. This is your final hand.

  • If your final hand matches one of the winning combinations on the pay table, you win the corresponding amount of money or credits. The pay table shows how much each hand pays and is usually displayed on the screen or on a sticker on the machine.

  • You can choose to collect your winnings or gamble them in a bonus round, depending on the game. Some games offer a double-or-nothing feature where you can try to double your winnings by guessing the color or suit of a hidden card.

Video Poker Hands

The hands in video poker are based on the standard poker hands, such as pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and royal flush. However, some variations of video poker may have different or additional hands, such as deuces wild, joker wild, or bonus poker.

The ranking and payout of each hand may vary depending on the game and the pay table. Here is an example of a typical pay table for Jacks or Better, one of the most common variations of video poker:

HandPayout (for one coin bet)

Royal Flush250

Straight Flush50

Four of a Kind25

Full House9



Three of a Kind3

Two Pair2

Jacks or Better1

Note that this pay table pays 9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush for one coin bet. This is known as a 9/6 pay table and it has a return rate of 99.54%, meaning that for every $100 you bet, you can expect to lose only $0.46 in the long run. This is one of the best pay tables you can find for video poker. However, some machines may have lower pay tables, such as 8/5, 7/5, or 6/5, which have lower return rates and higher house edges. Therefore, it is important to check the pay table before you play and look for the best one available.

Video Poker Variations

There are many different variations of video poker, each with its own rules, pay tables, and strategies. Some of the most popular ones are:

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Jacks or Better

This is the most basic and common variation of video poker. It is also known as "draw poker" because you can draw new cards to replace the ones you don't want. The lowest winning hand is a pair of jacks or higher, hence the name. This game has a low volatility, meaning it has frequent but small payouts.

Deuces Wild

This is a variation where all the twos in the deck are wild cards, meaning they can substitute for any other card to make a winning hand. This makes it easier to form high-ranking hands, but also lowers the payouts for some of them. The lowest winning hand is a three of a kind. This game has a high volatility, meaning it has rare but large payouts.

Joker Wild

This is a variation where one or two jokers are added to the deck as wild cards. The number of jokers may vary depending on the game, but usually there is only one. The lowest winning hand is a pair of kings or higher. This game has a medium volatility, meaning it has a balanced mix of payouts.

Bonus Poker

This is a variation where certain four of a kind hands have higher payouts than others. For example, four aces may pay more than four twos. The lowest winning hand is a pair of jacks or higher. This game has a low to medium volatility, depending on the pay table.

Double Bonus Poker

This is a variation where certain four of a kind hands have even higher payouts than in bonus poker. For example, four aces with a two, three, or four as the fifth card may pay more than four aces with any other card. The lowest winning hand is a pair of jacks or higher. This game has a medium to high volatility, depending on the pay table.

Video Poker Tips and Strategies

Video poker is not just a game of luck, but also a game of skill. By following some tips and strategies, you can improve your chances of winning and reduce the house edge. Here are some of them:

Learn the Rules and Pay Tables

Before you play any video poker game, make sure you understand the rules and pay tables of that variation. Different games may have different winning hands, payouts, and bonus features. You should look for the games that offer the best pay tables and return rates, as they will give you more value for your money.

Use a Strategy Chart or Card

A strategy chart or card is a tool that tells you what cards to keep and what cards to discard for every possible hand in video poker. It is based on mathematical calculations that maximize your expected value in the long run. You can find strategy charts or cards online or buy them at casino gift shops. You should use them as a guide when you play video poker, as they will help you make the optimal decisions for every hand.

Practice with Free Games

Before you risk your real money on video poker, you should practice with free games online or on your mobile device. This will help you familiarize yourself with the game, learn the rules and strategies, and improve your skills and confidence. You can also test different variations of video poker and see which ones you like best.

Manage Your Bankroll

A bankroll is the amount of money you have set aside for gambling purposes. You should manage your bankroll wisely and responsibly when you play video poker or any other casino game. You should set a budget for how much you can afford to lose and stick to it. You should also set a limit for how much you want to win and quit when you reach it. You should never chase your losses or bet more than you can afford.


Video poker is an exciting and rewarding casino game that appeals to both beginners and experts alike. It combines the elements of poker and slot machines in an easy-to-play format that offers low house edges and high return rates. It also gives you the opportunity to use your skills and strategies to influence the outcome of the game. However, you should also be aware of the different variations, pay tables, and tips and strategies that can help you play better and win more. Video poker is a fun and rewarding game that you can enjoy at any casino or online. Why not give it a try and see for yourself?

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