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Video Poker Rules and Strategy: A Basic Online Guide

Video poker is a game of luck and simplicity. Even so, you can optimize your play if you take time to learn video poker rules. First and foremost, the rules of individual games may vary.

Generally, if you can follow our video poker rules, you will understand enough of the game to overcome any new rule you run into.

This page is for you if:
  • You want to gamble on video poker online
  • You want to know the basic rules
  • You're looking for optimum Jacks Or Better strategy
  • You want to find the best deals and bonuses

Learning the Basic Rules of Video Poker

Video poker strategy

If you are familiar with the fundamentals of poker, playing video poker for real money will be a breeze.

In this online gambling game, there is a hierarchy of hands and a draw. Beyond that, you should forget everything you know about the table game. You cannot bluff, raise or call. There are no other players and no pot.

Once you find the right game at any casino online, you will need to decide how much you want to bet. Minimum bets vary from game to game, but you always need to bet at least 1 coin. The max bet of any single round is 5 coins.

If you are a beginner, you may want to start with low bets until you gain an understanding of how to play video poker for cash. If you want to bet all 5 coins, and win more money, you can conveniently select “Bet Max”.

Hitting Video Poker Payouts Correctly

After you have selected the number of coins you wish to wager, you click “Deal”. You will be randomly dealt 5 cards. Now you will select cards that you want to keep by clicking on the “Hold” button. The rest will be discarded.

From here, click “Deal” again. New cards will be dealt to you. To win at video poker online, you will need to create the strongest possible hand. The rankings are the same as the hands used in standard poker.

Hand Rankings (best to worst):

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four Of A Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair (jacks or better)
  • High Card (no payout)

If you are lucky enough to have a winning combination, you will receive a payout. This will depend on the strength of your hand, the amount you wagered and the payout ratio of the specific game.

If you are unsure of how much you’ve won, you can always refer to the online casino’s Video Poker paytable on the screen. Ensure that you make a mental note of any bonuses available. For example, most games offer a special payout on a Royal Flush with a Max Bet.

Jacks or Better: Basic Online Payouts

In a game of online Jacks or Better, you will be allowed to bet 1-5 coins. The more you bet, the bigger the potential jackpots.

  • Royal Flush 250 coins
  • Straight Flush 50 coins
  • Four of a Kind 25 coins
  • Full House 7 coins
  • Flush 5 coins
  • Straight 4 coins
  • Three of a Kind 3 coins
  • Two Pairs 2 coins
  • One Pair (Jacks Or Better) 1 coin

In some progressive versions of Jacks or Better, hitting a Royal Flush when betting five coins will reward the player with a massive jackpot.

Basic Video Poker Strategy: Holding Cards

On the initial deal, the cards to hold are usually pretty obvious. In a basic game of Jacks Or Better, you will win a prize for hitting a pair of jacks. That will be the lowest win, so forget trying to make a pair of tens or nines.

For example, if you are dealt two Jacks, you would be quite happy to hold them in trying to get another Jack and make a Three of a Kind.

So, which cards do you hold? First, look at the highest card showing on screen. If it's a jack, queen, or ace, hold it as it can form a winning pair. Look for open-ended straights, like in poker: cards like 7-8-9 or 4-5-6, that have the potential of filling in either end.

Many hands have potential, and you should gamble on hitting the biggest payout. In a hand like 2-J-7-K-2, with four spades, you have a pair of twos (which won't pay anything), a jack and a king (which could be held to try to hit one or two pairs), or a four-spade flush. With a flush paying out 5 coins, it's best to hold the spades and redraw the one non-spade card.