Video Poker Tips & Tricks

Before we go into the basics, CasinoTop’s expert team has taken the time to impart four vital tips to our Canadian players who have their sights set on Video Poker. Putting these tips into practice will allow you to always put your best foot forward, improve your skills, help you understand the mechanics of the game better and give your bankroll a bit more stretch.


Study the Pay Tables

As previously stated, video poker can be played with a strategy but this game will always boil down to random hands and luck to some extent. With that said, it is a good idea to study the paytable for the game that you’re playing. Luckily, our online players can easily find this table as it is just a click away or displayed quite prominently on the game’s interface.


If You Can, Bet On the Max

The ideal outcome is to receive a royal flush. This hand could result in very lucrative rewards if players choose to bet with Max coins. While we know that not all players can do so without blowing their bankrolls, those who can bet on the maximum coin value will find the reward worth the risk.


Know When to Break You Hand

As mentioned above, the royal flush pays out quite well and is the ideal hand to have. If you have a chance of building this hand but it would require breaking up either a flush or a straight, we recommend that you do so. However, if a royal flush is an impossibility with your hand, we suggest that you stick to what you have and aim for the next best thing.


Favour Low Pairs Over One High Card

While our expert team does condone taking calculated risks, we would suggest that players keep their low scoring pairs as opposed to chasing after a better scoring hand. Breaking the pair up could lead to avoidable losses.

Video Poker’s Basic Rules

Video poker is one of the most popular online casino games in the world. This is likely a result of the small margin of control that players have. While the hand that you will be dealt will always be random, what you do with the hand has a greater effect on whether you will win or lose. However, before our players learn what to do and when, we’ll run through some of the basic rules of the game:

Jacks or Better

If you’ve played blackjack at any online or land-based casino and you were required to have two jacks in your hand to emerge victorious then you were playing jacks or better. This is the most commonly player variant of video poker but there are still a very key aspects that we would like to share with our Canadian players:

A set paytable will determine how much each player receives for their winning hand with a royal flush receiving the highest payout of 250x.
There are nine hands in Jacks or Better that could result in a win. In order to receive a payout, your hand needs to have at least one pair of jacks.
All hands that do not have a pair of jacks or have five-of-a-king will results in a loss.
Jacks or Better players will only receive payment for their hand of the highest value.

Bonus, Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus

Bonus, Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus are popular online variations of Video Poker that follow rules very similar to the previously mentioned variant, Jacks or Better. Despite the two variants being almost identical, there are a few slight differences that you should know about such as:

The payout percentages on Bonus, Double Bonus and Double Double bonus are all lower than the RTPs seen with other variants.
Payouts will vary based on the hand that you have.
Despite the lower payout percentages, these variants have more winning hands.
Paytable for Bonus poker hands could pay out handsomely for premium combinations.

Deuces and Jokers Wild

Deuces Wild and Joke Wild is one of the most unique variants of video poker. This variant allows players to consider all of the deuce cards in the deck wilds. This means that they can be substituted to build better hands with more great payouts. Due to its uniqueness, there are a few rule changes to consider:

Hand Rankings for Deuces and Wild video poker are exactly the same as those used for classical poker.
There is no limit to how many cards players can discard.
It easier to build a winning hand with this variant because the pay scales are lower.
If you opt to play Deuces Wild and Jokes Wild online, you will be able to double your reward through a bonus game.

Strategies that Result in Wins

While there are some strategies that claim to work for all variants of Video Poker, these strategies are more effective when they are altered slightly to suit the variant of your choice. As such, we have taken the liberty of sharing the steps that players should take with certain strategies, depending on the scenario.

Jacks or Better
Double Bonus
Deuces Wild
Tens or Better
Aces and Faces
Jokers Wild
If you receive a hand that is three cards toward a royal flush, hold this hand.
If your hand is four cards into a flush or straight, hold.
If you are dealt a pair of any value, hold the hand and draw three cards.
If you are three cards into a straight flush, hold.
If your hand does not have any of the combinations above, keep jacks and any cards higher.
Hold onto any three cards that make up a flush.
Keep your pairs even if they are low scoring.
Keep four cards that could make up a flush.
If you have no pairs, discard your entire hard.
If you are dealt one high card hold onto it.
Four Deuces are the highest scoring hand so if you have four of these cards, keep them.
If you are dealt three deuces, keep your hand if you can build five-of-a-kind or a royal flush.
If you have three cards towards a royal flush, hold the hand.
If you are not dealt any deuces, hold onto paying cards.
If you don’t have any of the above but you were dealt a pair, we suggest holding onto it.
If you receive a hand that will pay, hold onto it unless you want to attempt a royal flush.
Make sure to hold onto pairs regardless of the score value.
Always try to place the maximum bet.
Discard all of your cards if there is no value in them.
Study the paytable and understand which hands will pay out..
If possible, always choose the max bet.
If you receive pairs, keep them.
If you are close to a royal flush, discard the necessary cards.
Keep a winning hand unless a royal flush is an option.
Keep a hand that is four cards into a flush.
Hold onto any three-of-a-kind hands.
If you are dealt three cards of high value and a joker, keep the four cards.
Always try make use of the maximum bet.
If you receive three-of-a-king, hold onto it.
If you receive four high payout cards, keep them.

The Odds of Video Poker

As is the case with all casino games, whether you’re playing online or at a land-based casino, video poker comes with it’s very own odds. There are many times that players claim to have a gut feeling and these might sometimes pay off but we suggest that players take a more mathematical approach. Below you can see the odds of each hand and have a greater understanding of how likely a particular outcome is:

Royal Flush (dealt straight away)
1 in 650,000
Royal Flush (created by player holding/discarding cards)
1 in 40,000
Four Aces with a Kicker
1 in 16,236
Straight Flush
1 in 9,150
2s to 4s with a Kicker
1 in 6,984
Four Aces
1 in 5,761
Four Deuces
1 in 4,909
2s to 4s
1 in 2,601
Four of a Kind
1 in 423
Full House
1 in 90
1 in 85
1 in 80

The Basics of Strategy

When it comes to having a quality online video poker, having the right strategy is just half the battle won. Canadian players are likely to come across online casino sites that will promise them the world only to be left underwhelmed. This is why seasoned players have opted to make use of only the best online casino offerings on the market right now. CasinoTop has been delivering accurate, fair and useful advice on everything casino-related, from the best sites to play at to the best strategies, since 1998. Below you will see some of the things that we look for before recommending an online casino site for your video poker needs:

Payout Percentages

Since there are hundreds of online casino sites for Canadian players to choose from, it is a good idea to look for some of the distinguishing features of a site. Rest assured that online operators have invested significant resources to ensure that they are better than the competition. These days, one of the most important things for online players is the payout percentages that operators honour. This percentage tells you how much money the site pays out in winnings for every C$100 wagered on the site. While this percentage won’t apply to you individually but is site-wide, it is still a good idea to look for a site that offers higher percentages.

Bonus Offers

Bonus offers are another stage where online casino operators can truly shine. Since welcome bonuses and other promotions are exclusively online perks, operators are in fierce competition with each other to offer players lucrative deals. We recommend that our Canadian players do some research on the casino bonuses they would like to take advantage of before redeeming them. This means going through the terms and conditions of each offer to ensure that requirements are all realistic.

Welcome bonuses and promotions do not usually include any perks for video poker players. However, it is likely that the casino operators will offer some kind of promotion to players once they’re already playing the game. Knowing for sure would require some research and many Canadian players have trusted our advice on the matter for quite some time. As such, you can take a look at our top-rated casinos and lucrative bonuses.


We recommend looking for a site that offers high payout percentages and low wagering requirements. While this is not always possible to find, players can settle for realistic requirements instead.

Safety First

It’s easy to get wrapped in the massive gaming catalogues, epic welcome bonuses and high payout percentages but we implore our players to consider their safety first. This means that the online casino site that you choose should be licensed by a reputable authority body and be certified by a trusted casino site auditor such as eCOGRA. This is all the more important for video poker players as the game needs to have an infallible RNG installed to ensure that the results are random and the game is 100% fair to all players.

Beyond this, our Canadian players also deserve a variety of safe banking methods and encryption technology to protect their sensitive data. This will put your mind at ease and make it easier for you to focus on winning at video poker.

Additional Features

Our expert team investigates other online casino site features such as payment methods available, withdrawal time frames, customer services, software and the number of premium games on the site. If a site should fail to meet any of our requirements we do not endorse it and it ends up on our list of blacklisted sites.

Glossary of Video Poker Terms

Every casino gambling game comes with its own set of rules, strategies and terminology. While it’s all good and well to read a guide on video poker, the information can be less than helpful if you find yourself befuddled by the jargon and terms. Since video poker experts do not usually speak in layman’s terms, our CasinoTop team has decided to provide you with a list of all the necessary terminology as well as what it means:

This term refers to the sum of all the money wagered.
A bankroll is the result of a player’s budget efforts and refers to the amount of money or chips that a player has set aside for gambling activities.
Cash Back
This is when a casino operator gives a player a percentage of their deposit or wager back as a reward for their loyalty.
While this term is misleading because all results are random, the cycle refers to the number of hands between each top-payout on a video poker machine. The implication is that there is a set number or mathematical equation that can be completed to determine the cycle but this is not the case.
Drawing Hand
Drawing hands can be seen as potentially winning hands because players usually need one specific card added to the hand to increase its value.
Face Card
As the name suggests, a face card is any card with a royal face on it. This means it can be a Jack, King or Queen.
Full Pay
A full pay game is the best version of any particular variant of video poker. A good example of this is the 9/6 Jacks or Better variant which is the full pay version of Jacks or Better. The variants that are played at casinos give the house a large edge and should ideally be avoided. However, some casinos might not offer players the option of full pay titles.
House Edge
The house edge refers to the advantage that the casino operator, or house, has over every individual player. This information is usually represented with a percentage. The lower the house edge is, the larger payouts can be.
Inside Straight
This term refers to a hand that could potentially become a straight but is currently missing one card from the inside of the sequence.
The kicker card is the card that holds a high value and is unpaired. When playing traditional poker, a kicker would be used as a tiebreaker. However, video poker rules have not given this card the same advantage and as such, it should be discarded.
Outside Straight
An outside straight is exactly the same as an inside straight except that this time, the hand sequence is missing a card from the outside. Either at the beginning of the sequence or at the end.
Pay Table
This table is used to tell video poker players what the value of each hand is as well as gives you an idea of what your payout could be based on your wager.
Progressive Jackpot
Progressive video poker games are similar to progressive slot games in that they are often linked to networks. In addition to this, the prize pool continues to grow until a player wins with the highest possible hand.
This is short for Random Number Generator and refers to a piece of software that is built into every game that requires a randomized result.
Short Pay
Short pay is the opposite of full pay and refers to machines with pay tables that are less generous and should be avoided.
Volatility is the measure of how much a game can deviate from the expected RTP. Games with high volatility usually blow bankrolls but could also lead to bigger wins. The verdict is still out on this but many new players avoid high volatility as it is associated with increased risk.
Wild Card
A wild card is a card that can substitute for any other card to give a hand more value.

Canadian FAQs about Video Poker

Can I try video poker for free?
Yes, many online casino sites offer free video poker games to Canadian players. These games allow potential players to get a better understanding of the gameplay, rules and strategies before wagering any of their real money.
Do strategies work with video poker?
Yes, there are a number of strategies that have yielded results but it is important to remember that results for video poker will always be random so players need to be ready to adjust their strategies at any time.
Is video poker more similar to slots or traditional poker?
From a gameplay perspective, video poker is more similar to traditional poker than slots. However, land-based casino video slot machines are more physically similar to traditional slots.
Is video poker safe?
Yes, video poker games are safe at licensed, regulated and certified casinos. Third-party auditors are tasked with testing the games to ensure that the RNGs are working seamlessly, ensuring random results and safety.
Which Video Poker variant is most popular in Canada?
Canadian players have taken a keen interest in Jacks or Better for quite some time. This is likely a result of how easily accessible this genre is, featuring in almost every gaming catalogue on the internet today.