Video Poker Rules: How to Play Video Poker and Win

Video poker is a very popular casino game that combines both poker and slot machines to bring you an exciting version of poker that many people are eager to try out. Learning how to play video poker is simple, and in no time you will be playing the best games. Also known as ‘poker slots’, this game requires no interaction with a dealer or other players and can be played at your own pace.

This guide will provide you with all the information you will need to start playing, you will also learn tips and strategies to help you hit the win you are looking for.

How to Play Video Poker

As mentioned before, there are different video poker variations, but all of these games are played pretty much in the same way. We have created a simple step by step guide of the video poker process that will help you get started. Many of the best online casinos offer free video poker tutorials. These are a great way for you to get familiar with the game, the rules as well as the hand rankings.

If the casino you are playing at offers video poker for free in demo mode, as a beginner, we suggest you play in demo mode as many times as you like. This will allow you to get a good feel of the game. Once you are sure you understand the ins and outs, you can then start playing for real money.

  1. Select your bet size – you will need to decide how much you are willing to bet. Video poker uses coins that are each worth credits, you will need to decide how many credits you want to bet on each hand.
  2. First five cards are drawn – once you have decided on your bet size, you will hit the button that says ‘deal’ and you will be dealt 5 random cards. These will all be face up for you to see.
  3. Hold or discard your cards – you will now decide which cards you want to hold. You will use the hold button that is underneath each card to keep it. Those that you do not select will be discarded for new cards. These cards will now represent your poker hand.
  4. Outcome and payout – if you are unsure of what poker hand you have created, the game will automatically show you by highlighting it in the pay table at the top of the screen. You will be paid your winnings and the game will start again.

What is Video Poker?

Video poker is a popular electronic poker game that is based on the common five card draw poker. It is a single player game and is played with a standard deck of 52 cards at the best online casinos. The goal of the game is to create the strongest possible poker combination by holding or replacing the cards you were dealt. Players will wager a set number of coins and will be paid according to the strength of the hand they are able to create.

Unlike other poker games, you are not playing against other players, but rather you will win when you create a poker hand according to specific video poker tables.

video poker variety

Video Poker Rules

Although there are many different video poker game variations that you can play at the best online poker casinos, all of these games operate with similar video poker rules. Below are the most important rules for players to remember when playing.

  • The standard ‘table poker hands’ are used
  • You are dealt 5 cards to start off with
  • You have the option to ‘hold’ or ‘discard’ any of your cards or all of them if you wish
  • The cards you choose to discard will be replaced in a single random draw
  • If your hand matches any of the qualifying poker hands, you win the corresponding prizes

Video Poker Hand Rankings

All video poker payouts are based on the five card draw poker hands, these rank as the following:

  • Royal Flush – Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 all of the same suit
  • Straight Flush – five consecutive cards all of the same suit
  • Four of a Kind – four cards of the same rank
  • Full House – three of a kind plus a pair
  • Flush – five cards of the same suit, not in consecutive order
  • Straight – five consecutive cards of mixed suits
  • Three of a Kind – three cards of the same rank
  • Two pair – two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
  • Pair of Jacks or better – pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces

Reading the Video Poker Pay Tables

Online video poker pay tables are easily accessible and usually displayed listing the payout for each ranked hand. The payouts will vary, depending on the type of video poker game you are playing. A pay table shows how much your bet pays off when you hit a certain combination on a gambling machine. Imagine the video poker pay table as a grid. On the far left is a column displaying the possible hands, from best to worst. The row across the top displayed how many coins you bet. When you cross reference the rows and columns, you can see what the payout for your hand combination will be. For example, the best hand – a Royal Flush, will pay anything from 800x to 4,000x your stake. If you play at the maximum stake, you also have the chance of winning an advanced Royal Flush jackpot.

Video Poker Payouts

As we have said, each variant of video poker that is offered by online casinos may provide different payouts. The video poker payouts will always be a multiple of your base stake and will be displayed clearly in the pay table for you to see. Most pay tables will be displayed above the cards so you can refer to it at any time during your game.

We have taken a pay table from a popular video poker variant Jacks or Better. These payouts are coins, whose values are determined by the wager.

Hands/Coins 1 2 3 4 5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight Flush 50 100 170 200 250
4 of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 Pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5

Video Poker Odds

Most players know that a Royal Flush or another jackpot winning hand happens once in many deals as the stronger, higher-ranking hands in video poker are rarer than weaker combinations. It is true, at least for the most part. The exact odds of hitting a particular winning hand actually depends on the video poker variation you play. But in the most common variations, the odds are known, and players can use them in order to pick the best game or to make informed decisions.

We have created a table to show you the video poker odds of hitting a particular hand with the initial 5 cards you are dealt.

Hand Odds
Royal Flush 649,740 to 1
Straight Flush 72,193 to 1
Four of a Kind 4,165 to 1
Full House 694 to 1
Flush 509 to 1
Straight 255 to 1
Three of a Kind 47 to 1
Two Pairs 21 to 1
Pair Jack or Better 7.69 to 1
Any Pair 2.37 to 1

Video Poker RTP and House Edge

One great thing about video poker is that it gives the player the opportunity to maximize their chances of winning. The pay tables will also generally show the house edge of the game and the payback percentage. The payback percentage, also known as Return to Player (RTP), is a term which describes the percentage of wagered money paid back to the player over time. And this is one of the most important things to look for when determining whether a video poker machine will be a good choice to play or not.

The average Jacks or Better video poker game has an RTP of 99.54%, which means that for every $100 wagered, the player receives $99.54 as winnings. This percentage is average and calculated over a long period of time. The RTP is a theoretical return which can be expected only if the game is played accurately and with the maximum bet.

House edge, on the other hand, shows how much money the game will keep over time. It is one of the basics that every beginner should know about gambling – casino games are specifically designed to always give the casino the advantage. However, when it comes to video poker, the house does not always win. To put it simply, the house edge is just the opposite of the RTP. If you are playing a game with an RTP of 99.54%, the house edge on it will be 0.46%, one of the lowest among casino games. Generally, the house edge in video poker ranges from 5% to almost 0.5%. However, in some games, it is zero or even negative. Deuces Wild, for example, has an RTP of 100.76%, which means that the house edge is -0.76%.

Video Poker Variants – What’s the Best Video Poker Game?

Deciding what’s the best video poker game to play comes down to personal preference. There are a few different variations that are available. Let’s have a look at each of these variants individually.

Jacks or Better

This is probably the most common variant and great for players starting out. This game pays out on any hand that has a pair of jacks or better and is pretty straightforward. Jacks or Better is based on five card draw poker and uses a single deck of 52 playing cards. The payout percentage is 99.5%. The best hand is a Royal Flush and pays out 4,000 coins with a max bet of 5.

Jacks or Better VP

Deuces Wild

In this version of video poker, all 2’s are wild. This means that a 2 can substitute for any other card to help you make a better winning hand combination. It is important to note that in this version, a pair of Jacks isn’t a winning hand. The Deuces wild pay table begins with a Three of a Kind. When you manage to achieve a Royal Flush with the help of a wild card, it is known as a Deuces Royal Flush. This is the second-best hand after a normal Royal Flush.

Double Bonus Poker

This is a variation of Jacks or Better that offers a bonus payout for four Aces. Besides this, it is almost identical to Jacks or Better, but the payout percentage is 100.2%. There are also multiple different versions of bonus poker that exist.

Aces and Eights

This is another variant that is very similar to Jacks or Better, but has high payouts on four 7’s, Aces and 8’s. The payout percentage is 99.78% on the full pay version. The minimum of Jacks or Better is still the minimum payout for the game. The average video poker RTP for this variant is 99.26%

Basic Video Poker Strategy

The biggest mistake that you can make in your quest to succeed in video poker is to attempt playing by just simply guessing.

You will lose a lot of money on a simple game that gives you a real shot at winning if you do not play carefully.

Remember, having the right skills and using an optimum video poker strategy will not only give you a higher chance of winning, but you will also enjoy the benefits that come with the satisfaction of doing your online gambling the right way.

Keep in mind that you are also able to thoroughly practice as much as you want on your computer before risking real money on a real video poker machine.

How to Win at Video Poker

Many players always start by asking the question, “how to win at video poker?” While there is no way to ensure you win every time you play video poker, there are a few ways that you can give yourself the best chance of winning over time. Always make sure you are familiar with the rules of the game as well as the pay tables of each variant you are playing. Play video poker slots with the most advantageous RTP. We have created a list of the best video poker tips that will help you along the way and edge you closer to hitting the big win.

Handy Tip:

There are many different video poker variants and each of them has its own pay table and hand rankings. Make sure you are familiar with the pay table of the variant that you are playing, so you do not get confused or think you have a winning hand but in actual fact you do not.

Video Poker Tips

Here are a few video poker tips for beginners as well those that need a refresher course on what you can do to ensure you have a smooth video poker experience as well as edge you closer to the win.

  1. Know the hand ranking system for the variant of video poker you are playing – all variants differ slightly, so make sure you are familiar with which hands will pay out in the variant you are playing.
  2. Bet the maximum number of coins (5 coins) – here you will get the full value for a Royal Flush and the maximum payout.
  3. Check the games pay tables before playing – this might affect whether you, for example, throw away a second pair to chase a better hand or not.
  4. Play a variant of video poker that offers better odds – even if you need to practice video poker a lot, you should be able to protect your bankroll over time.
  5. Take your time – because you are not playing against any other players, you are able to take your time when placing your bets and trying to make the best possible hand. Make sure you are completely happy with your decisions before you hit the buttons. Practice responsible gambling at all times.

Top Online Casinos to Play Video Poker

Play video poker online at some of the best online casinos. Many of the best casinos offer this game for free for you to try out and get a good feel of before playing for real money. There are a variety of different video poker games available at these casinos. Visit the casinos on our top list and try and create your best possible poker hand today.

  • All

Get a 100% match of up to $1,000 + up to $75 in freeroll tickets

Get a 100% match of up to $1,000 + up to $75 in freeroll tickets

  • Plenty of cash games and tournaments
  • Minimum deposits of $10
  • Freeroll tickets available
5 Stars BetMGM Poker
Claim Bonus

Get a 100% match of up to $1,000 + up to $75 in freeroll tickets

Get a 100% match of up to $1,000 + up to $75 in freeroll tickets

  • Low-stakes tables available
  • A welcome bonus worth up to $1,075
  • Downloadable mobile apps
5 Stars Borgata Poker
Claim Bonus

Get a 100% match of up to $1,000 + up to $100 in free play + up to$700 in freeroll tickets

Get a 100% match of up to $1,000 + up to $100 in free play + up to$700 in freeroll tickets

  • Features Hold’em low stakes tables
  • Fast payouts with eWallets
  • No Limit games available
5 Stars WSOP Poker
Claim Bonus

Get a 100% match of up to $600

Get a 100% match of up to $600

  • Several poker bonuses available
  • Highly customizable user interface
  • Features several GTD tournaments
5 Stars Pokerstars
Claim Bonus


Now you should have a good understanding of how to play video poker, you are familiar with the rules and different hand rankings you can get. It is now time to start playing for real. Make sure you keep an eye on the different possible hand rankings and in no time, you will be creating your winning hand combination. Enjoy playing video poker at the top online casinos for your convenience, sign up and receive great welcome bonuses. Play from your desktop or mobile device via the casino app for an on-the-go experience and start winning your video poker games today.

Video Poker FAQs

Can I play video poker for free?

Who am I playing against when I play video poker?

What is the best video poker game to play?

How do I win at video poker?

Do you play video poker and real life poker the same way?