The Fundamentals of Video Poker Strategy

Unlike most other casino games that are based purely on luck, with video poker, you have the chance to improve your odds by using a solid strategy. In this guide we’ll explain strategies and how to use them in different poker situations. Read on to find out more below.

Tips For Video Poker Strategy

Using video poker strategy will help you play at your best, improve your skills, and stretch your bankroll. We have tried and tested a few four tips that will improve your poker gameplay tremendously and could help you win that jackpot.


Understand The Paytable

All hands pay out differently, so it is helpful to know the paytable. Lucky for video poker players the paytables are at the top of the screen when playing, so there’s no need to memorize it.


Bet Max

To win the maximum payout you need to bet the maximum number of coins. This ensures a huge payout if you land a Royal Flush.


Fund Your Gaming Account

Once your account has been verified and activated, you can then head over to the banking section of the site and click on deposit to add gaming credits to your account. Choose the deposit method that will be most convenient for you and follow the prompts.


Hold Low Pairs

Hold on to any pair you get, even low ones. It is always a good idea to keep a paying hand than to chase a bigger one and end up winning nothing at all.

Video Poker Basics

While there are similarities between slots and video poker, with video poker you can control the outcome by improving your hand; it is thus important to know how to play video poker. Find below the basics of video poker gameplay.

Jacks Or Better

This is the most popular video poker variant. The rules differ slightly from original poker, in that you need two jacks, at least, to win. Other Jacks or Better rules include:

This game has nine winning hands, and you need a minimum of two jacks to win.
The paytable indicates the payouts for each winning hand. The main prize is a Royal Flush that pays 250 times your bet.
Payouts are only awarded for the most valuable hand
Any pair lower than jacks or five of a kind combinations do not pay out.

Bonus, Double Bonus, and Double Double Bonus Poker

These three poker variants are quite popular and based on the core rules of Jacks or Better. They can be found at most online casinos, and some key rules include:

It has added winning hands
Winning hands get different bonus payouts
Lower RTPs
Big cash prizes are paid out for strong hands
Double Bonus Poker

Jokers Wild and Deuces Wild

In this variant all twos turn wild. They can thus represent any card to form a winning combination. Similarly, in Joker's Wild all the Jokers turn wild. There are some slight differences between these versions and the original video poker.

Lower payouts due to the easy formation of winning hands
Hands rank much like those in traditional poker
You can drop whichever cards you want
Bonus games give players the opportunity to win twice their payouts
Jokers Wild

Winning Strategies for Different Video Poker Variants

The strategy you use will depend on the video poker variant you are playing. Find below five different moves you can make in different video poker situations.

Jacks or Better
Deuces Wild
Double Bonus
Aces and Faces
Jokers Wild/Joker Poker
Tens or Better

Jacks or Better


Hold four cards to a flush or straight


Hold three cards to a Royal Flush


Hold any pair


Hold three cards to a Straight Flush

Deuces Wild


Hold four twos


Hold your entire hand if it’s three deuces in a Royal Flush or five of a kind


Hold any paying hands if there are no deuces


Hold three to a Royal Flush


Hold any pair if you don’t have any of the abovementioned

Deuces Wild

Double Bonus


Hold three cards to a flush


Hold four cards to a flush


Hold any pair


Hold any single high cards


Drop if you have no pairs

Double Bonus Poker

Aces and Faces


Always bet max


Hold any pair regardless of its value


If on the brink of a Royal Flush, drop what you don’t need to get it


Hold four to a flush


Only drop a winning hand if you can make a Royal Flush

Aces and Faces

Jokers Wild/Joker Poker


Hold three of a kind


Hold Anything higher than three of a kind


Hold any four cards in a high value hand


Hold one joker plus three cards of high value


Always bet max

Jokers Wild

Tens or Better


Hold any paying hand unless you have a chance to land a Royal Flush


Always bet max


Hold any pair


Know and comprehend the paytable


Discard an entire hand if it doesn’t contribute to a winning hand

Your Chances of Winning at Video Poker

If you play video poker often, you are probably familiar with the near-win feeling. But how possible is this really? In the table below you’ll find your odds of creating different winning card combinations.

Your Hand Odds
Royal Flush on the first deal1 in 650,000
Royal Flush formed by keeping or dropping cards1 in 40,000
A kicker and 4 aces1 in 16,236
Straight Flush1 in 9,150
Twos to fours plus a kicker1 in 6,984
4 Aces1 in 5,761
4 Twos1 in 4,909
Twos to fours1 in 2,601
Four of a kind1 in 423
Full House1 in 90
Flush1 in 85
Straight1 in 80

Basic Strategy: Select the Best Casino

When playing video poker there is a lot to take into account, and seasoned players believe that the secret to a good game is choosing the right casino. Below is a list of aspects to consider when choosing a casino.

High RTP

RTP is the percentage that a casino pays out on average. So, a RTP of 97% means that for every $100 bet, $97 is paid back to players. Keep in mind that this percentage applies to the casino as a whole, not every individual wager. Nonetheless, it’s still better to choose a casino with a higher payout rate.

Compare Bonuses

While bonuses are generally good, not all of them carry the same weight. If you see a bonus you like, be sure to read the fine print and do your research. Welcome bonuses aren’t for all video poker players. If this is you, rather wait for promotions to come your way while you’re playing.

How you are allowed to use your bonus is dependent on your casino’s playthrough requirements and time. Before joining any casino, have a look at its bonus requirements. If you don’t have enough time prior to joining, trust us to recommend the best video poker bonuses.

Tip: Ideally, a bonus should include a high bonus amount plus doable wagering requirements.

Safety First

You should always be safe when playing video poker online. Before joining any casino, make sure it’s secure. All games should be audited independently to ensure completely random outcomes and fairness. Avoid any website that is not audited.

Other security protocols like regular security checks, safe banking methods, and firewalls could also help alleviate your concern. For the most secure casino sites, simply have a look at this page.

Extra Features

More casino features to look out for include low to no transaction charges, various payment options, and speedy cash withdrawals. Customer service that’s available 24/7 and recognized licensing is also preferable.

Video Poker Glossary

Feeling lost in video poker terminology? On this page you’ll find definitions of the most common video poker terms. If you would like to read up on more general gambling terminology, visit the casino and gambling glossary.

Term Definition
ActionAll the money a player has bet.
BankrollThe amount of money a player has put aside for gambling specifically, could be actual money or chips.
CycleThis is how many hands it takes to create a Royal Flush. This implies that you can forecast how many hands need to be played before a big payout, which is false. Every hand is completely random, and you could also win big twice in a row.
CashbackA cash bonus given to the player in return for playing at a casino.
Drawing handA hand that’s incomplete and needs a specific card to increase its value.
Face CardCards containing faces like Jacks, Queens, or Kings.
Full PayThe best variant of a game from a statistical point of view. For example, the full-pay version of the video poker variant Jacks or Better is 9/6 Jacks or Better. Avoid games where the house has the advantage; however, some casinos do not offer full-pay versions.
House EdgeA percentage that represents the casino’s advantage. The lower the house edge, the better for the player. However, the casino wants the highest edge.
Inside StraightWhen you need at least 1+ cards to complete a straight. If, for example, your hand contained 6, 7, 9 and 10, you would need an 8 to complete the straight.
KickerThe highest single card, which is used to break ties in traditional poker. Drop any kickers when playing video poker, as they don’t work the same way.
Outside StraightWhen you need one of only two cards to complete a straight. This is much easier to achieve than an inside straight. For example, for a hand consisting of 9, 10, J, and Q, you need either a K or 8 to complete your straight.
PaytableA table at the top of your screen that tells you how much each hand pays out – payouts are presented based on your bet size.
Progressive JackpotA jackpot that continues to grow until someone wins it. Generally, there are many machines that are linked and contribute to the jackpot, which is limitless. When won the jackpot returns to its starting value.
RNGAbbreviation for random number generator, which refers to software that ensures completely random results on every deal. In a game of video poker, the RNG software issues five random cards from an imaginary deck.
Short PayThe opposite of full pay. These games are not as favorable because of their low payouts. If possible, avoid these.
VolatilityMeasures how much the actual return might differ from the predicted return. High volatility means either big wins or big losses. Most players believe that high volatility comes with more risk.
Wild CardA card in a video poker game that can represent any other card to help form a winning hand.

Time To Start Playing

Now That you’ve got your strategy down, it’s time to actually play. Choose your favorite from CasinoTop’s collection of video poker games and play for real online. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Video Poker Variant Gives You the Best Chance at Winning?

If you are playing the full pay version, then Deuces Wild. It gives you the edge over the house and could be fruitful if you use the right strategy. Note that it may take a few hands before you experience the advantage.

Is Video Poker Played the Same as Traditional Poker?

Even though the two share a name, there are considerable differences. The major one being that video poker is played against the machine while traditional poker is played against other players and the dealer. Some might even say that video poker has more in common with slots than traditional poker. However, it still requires poker skills.

Can I Pay Video Poker for Free Online?

Yes. Most online casinos offer free versions of their video poker titles. Some even help improve your game by providing feedback on whether you are making the best move possible.

What Is the Best Poker Variant for A Beginner?

Jacks or Better is the most popular among beginners, but sooner or later they move on to Deuces Wild because it is easier to win. Nonetheless, it also depends on your personal taste, which might not be either one.

How Do I Guarantee a Win?

While you can use the above strategies to improve your odds, there is no way to guarantee a win. We suggest taking it slow and learning the ropes.

How Can I Beat the Machine?

There is no strategy that can help beat the machine. Like slots, video poker is based mostly on luck. However, its odds and wins are considerably better than most casino games. Our best advice is thus to stick to a strategy and keep at it.

How Old Do I Have to Be to Play Video Poker Online?

Like any other casino game, you need to be 18 or older to play video poker online.

How Do I Find the Best Online Video Poker Casino?

CasinoTop recommends only the best online casinos for video poker, so check out our top online casinos for video poker to find your new casino.

Does Video Poker Require Skill?

Yes. Video poker does require knowledge of winning poker hands to help you win.

Do All Online Casinos Have Video Poker Games?

Not all online casinos have video poker, but most do.

How Many Video Poker Variants Are There?

There are hundreds of video poker variants to choose from. Although, some are more popular than others.

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