Basics of Video Poker
Video poker is a mechanical version of five-card draw poker, with one main difference: In five-card draw, you play against other players, and the best hand
In video poker, you don’t play against anyone else, not even the “house” as in blackjack. You simply play hands, one after another, and win when you form a good hand and lose when you form a bad hand.
It’s that simple, not to mention fun to play, which is why it is one of the most popular games in both real and online casinos. You can also consistently win at video poker using applied mathematics.
How to Play Video Poker (Rules)
So how do you play? The rules are simple: After deciding how much you want to wager on a hand, you are dealt five cards from a 52-card deck. You then decide which of the five cards, if any, you wish to keep and which you wish to discard.
The discarded cards are then replaced with new cards from the deck. You are then paid based on the value of your five-card hand, the better the hand the better the payoff.
The lowest payoff is for a high pair, with the payoff increasing for two pair, three of a kind, a straight (five cards in consecutive order), a flush (five cards of the same suit), a full house (three of a kind and a pair), four of a kind, a straight flush (five cards in consecutive order of the same suit) and a royal flush (10, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit).
Variations of Video Poker
There are many variations of video poker, with the most common being “Jacks or Better,” so we’ll focus on that version. “Jacks or Better” simply means your final hand must contain at least a pair of jacks to win and earn a payoff.
In other words, a pair of 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, 6’s, 7’s, 8’s, 9’s or 10’s is simply another losing hand, while a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces is a winner.
Video Poker Payouts
In “Jacks or Better” video poker, a final hand containing a high pair—pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces, generally pays off at even money, meaning a $1 bet would win you $1.
- - Two pairs generally pays off at 2-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $2.
- - Three of a kind generally pays off at 3-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $3.
- - A straight generally pays off at 4-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $4.
- - A flush generally pays off at 5-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $5.
- - A full house generally pays off at 8-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $8.
- - Four of a kind generally pays off at 25-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $25.
- - A straight flush generally pays off at 50-1, meaning a $1 bet would win you $50.
- - A royal flush generally pays off at 1,000-1, so a $1 bet would win you $1,000.
Video Poker Paytable
The payoffs for all these hands, especially for a royal flush, can vary, depending on where you’re playing, so always check the payoff info on the machine if at a casino and on the website if online, and play where the payoffs are best.