Video Poker: Step-By-Step

As one of the most loved online games amongst Canadian players, gaming developers have made sure to create Video Poker games of different variations. Despite these differences, almost all of the variations you find online today can be played with the same rules and strategies in place. With that being said, below you will find a step-by-step guide on how video poker is played for new and seasoned players alike:

Step 1

Select a Bet

The first step to playing any online casino game is to select a bet that suits your bankroll. Video Poker machines and games make use of credits/coins. Before you can begin your video poker journey you will need to select how much each coin will be worth for your gaming session. Once you’ve selected this, you will need to decide how many coins/credits you will be wagering for each hand.


Land-based video poker machines will have physical buttons for you to push whereas online video poker will require you to click on your selection.

Pay table

Most video poker games will display the pay table above the gaming monitor. However, online variants might require Canadian players to click on the pay table to reveal the relevant information. The pay table will tell you the value of each potential hand and how much you can expect to be paid out for each.

Step 2

Get Started

Once you have selected the most ideal bet, you will need to click the deal button to get the gaming going. You will be dealt five cards in total, with some variants dealing face down and others dealing face up. Regardless of how the cards are dealt, you will need to analyse your first five cards to formulate a strategy.

Step 3

Decide what To Hold

Depending on the strategy you are using and the cards you were dealt, you will now be required to select the cards that you want to hold onto and build a winning hand with. The cards that you discard will be replaced with new ones to assist you in building a stronger poker hand.

Step 4


Now that you have selected the cards you wish to hold onto, you will need to click on the draw button displayed on the screen. This will replace all of the cards you have not chosen to hold. The replacement cards will now permanently be a part of your hand and represent your final hand.

Step 5

Conclusion and Payout

It is now time to reveal your hand and collect your winnings. Remember that the bigger or strong your hand is, the more reward you will receive. If you’re new to video poker and are overwhelmed by choosing the best hand for your cards, you can look at the paytable. The Video Poker game will automatically analyse your hand and suggest the best options for you to play.

The Objective of Video Poker

If you’ve already dabbled in 5 card Draw Poker, the objective if Video Poker will be very easy for you to grasp. This is because the objective of these two games are identical. As is the case with five Card Draw Poker, Video Poker requires players to build a strong hand by deciding which cards to discard and which to hold. The ideal outcome is to build a large poker hand, such as a royal flush, which will result in greater payouts.

Canadian players who choose this casino game are likely to be presented with a gaming monitor that has a big “hold” button beneath their five dealt cards. The positioning of the draw button can vary but is usually in the left or right-hand corner of the screen.


If you’re new to video poker, the idea of memorising all of the possible hands that will lead to payouts can be daunting and is almost impossible. This is not necessary as different variants have different payouts and versions of big hands. With that being said, gaming developers have included pay tables in the game design to ensure that you have access to this information whenever it is required. We suggest studying the pay table before you place your first bet.

What Makes a Winning Hand?

Royal Flush
A - K - Q - J - 10
A, K, Q, J, and 10 all of the same suit
A of heartK of heartQ of heartJ of heart10 of heart
Straight Flush
Q - J - 10 - 9 - 8
Five cards in sequence and all of the same suit
Q of HeartJ of Heart10 of Heart9 of Heart8 of Heart
Four of A Kind
J - J - J - J - 3
Four cards of the same rank
J of diamond CardJ of Spade CardJ of club CardJ of Heart Card3 of Heart Card
Full House
J - J - 5 - 5 - 5
Three of a kind, plus a pair
J of diamond CardJ of Spade Card5 of Spade Card5 of Club Card5 of Heart Card
J - 10 - 4 - 6 - 3
Five cards of the same suit
J of Heart Card10 of Heart Card4 of Heart Card6 of Heart Card3 of Heart Card
6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Five cards in sequence (ace can be high or low)
6 of Diamond Card7 of Club Card8 of Heart Card9 of Spade Card10 of Club Card
Three of A Kind
7 - 7 - 7 - 9 - 3
Three cards of the same rank
7 of Diamond Card7 of Club Card7 of Heart Card9 of Club Card3 of Heart Card
Two Pair
K - K - 2 - 6 - 6
Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
K of heart CardK of Club Card2 of Spade Card6 of Spade Card6 of Heart Card
Jacks or Better
J - J - 2 - 7 - 4
A pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces
J of club CardJ of heart Card2 of Diamond Card7 of Heart Card4 of Heart Card

5 Expert Tips for New Players

Our expert team at CasinoTop has been playing video poker online and at land-based casinos for many years. This has led to the team gaining value experience and knowledge of how to best play the game. We have taken the collective experience of our team to bring the following five tips:


Know the Variant

While most variants of poker follow the basic rules of five-card-poker, some variants deviate a bit more than others. Our team recommends that Canadian players do some research on how each game is played before hitting deal.


Always Bet Max

Where possible, we suggest that you bet the maximum bet. This is because strong hands reap more lucrative rewards if the initial bet was a big one.


Study the Pay table

Despite being vital to a player's success in Video Poker, pay tables are often overlooked. These tables provide information that could make or break your bankroll so we suggest that players familiarize themselves with it before gameplay commences.


Choose a Variant with Promising Odds

As a result of the slight differences in rules and gameplay, different variants of video poker will offer players different odds. It would be best for players to start their video poker journey by selecting the variant with the best odds and work towards the riskier variants.


Focus is Key

Merriment and excitement are both a part of gambling, where this is at a land-based casino or online. However, our expert team has recommended that Canadian players do their best to stay focused. Playing while emotional or even slightly intoxicated could lead to unexpected losses.

The Key Differences Between Poker and Video Poker

Despite video poker being based on a variant of poker, there are three key differences between the two. The first, and most obvious difference is that video poker is played on a machine whereas traditional poker is a table game. In addition, land-based poker tables are exciting and competitive, but this does not always bode well with new players. Video poker provides Canadian players with the ability to really learn the game while not worrying about how long they are taking to do so.

The lack of competition is another huge difference between poker and video poker. Traditional poker is played against other players and means that a great hand can be surpassed by another players’ efforts. When playing video poker, this is not the case. Your hand, and how you build it, is the only thing that changes the outcome of the game.

Thirdly, video poker is considered to be a bit easier to understand and master compared to land-based poker. While there is some truth in this, winning video poker requires the use of strategies. While these methods are not necessarily rocket science to learn, the mastery of them can be quite tricky.

It is also worth noting that video poker attracts many more Canadian players because it is more accessible. The invention of online video poker has helped more players learn the game and overcome their fears of traditional poker.

Available Video Poker Variants

As it stands, there are many variants of video poker to enjoy. This means that players are able to choose the games that suit them best based on pay outs, pay tables, rules and gameplay. Some of the best online casino sites in Canada offer players up to ten different variants.

However, there is no need to be alarmed by the wide variety. New players can rest assured that rules and gameplay don’t differ drastically. The only difference that we suggest players look out for is the payout percentage associated with each title.

Jacks or Better Video Poker

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is one of the most popular video poker variants in Canada. This variant is favoured heavily by new players as it offers the best rewards. Jacks or Better will pay out for any poker hand that contains a pair of jacks or cards considered to be better. The RTP percentage on this game is quite high with 99,5%.

Deuces Wild Video Poker

Deuces Wild

As far as payout percentages go, Deuces Wild is one of the best options for both seasoned and new players. As the name of this game suggests, all twos that are dealt can function as wilds. This means that the twos can substitute for certain cards that will build a better hand for you.

Double Bonus Video Poker

Double Bonus

Double Bonus poker is a variant of the previously mentioned title, Jacks or Better. However, players can receive extra reward for building a hand with four aces. This is basically the only difference between Double Bonus and Jacks or Better.

Aces and Eights Video Poker

Aces and Eights

Aces or Eights and Jacks or Better are quite similar and follow the same general rules. However, Aces and Eights will reward players for building hands that have either four 7s, 8s or aces. The payout percentage of this game is not as high as some of the other variants with 99,87%.

Let’s Get Playing

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to play this game it’s time to give it a try with real money or even for free. In addition to these basics, you now have a better understanding of the rules and a clear idea of which variant offers you. Our top tip is to play a variant of video poker that has a high house edge.

FAQs About Video Poker

Can Canadian players enjoy free Video Poker?
Yes! Many online casino games can be enjoyed in free mode at our best rated online casino sites. Online operators have ensured that players are offered free video poker to hone their strategies or simply understand the gameplay better.
Which variant of video poker is best for beginners?
Jacks or Better is one of the best variants of Video Poker for beginners. This is because the gameplay and rules are all simple enough to understand and the odds are exciting enough to keep Canadian players coming back for more!
Is video Poker safe to play online?
Yes, all video poker games that can be played at our top-rated online casino sites are 100% safe. The casinos that we recommend have to hold licenses from a reputable licensing body as well as certifications to prove that the games have been tested by auditors.
What can I learn from the pay table?
The pay table is one of the most underrated things about Video Poker but is also the most vital. The pay table will show you which hands to aim for according to the variant you are playing. It will also tell you how much you can be rewarded for each hand.
How do I win Video Poker?
Video poker will always have an element of chance attached to it, similar to other casino games. However, there are strategies that Canadian players can employ to enhance their chances. These strategies are guidelines that show you what to do in specific scenarios.