If you’re on the hunt for a totally new gaming experience, video poker may be the answer. Video poker perfectly combines all the best elements of slot machines and table games to create a one-of-a-kind casino game.
So, video poker is a perfect choice if you love Live Casino games but also enjoy the excitement of spinning reels! This comprehensive guide will help you upgrade your skill set as you learn how to build the best video poker strategy and become a better poker player.
WHAT IS VIDEO POKER, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
While slot machines and table games have quite a bit of history, video poker was only introduced to the gambling world in the ‘70s. Although one would expect video poker to sport a solid resemblance to poker itself, video poker games were actually referred to as “poker slots” as they shared more characteristics with slot machines.
How? Well, video poker is based on five-card draw poker but is a game with fixed odds. Like typical slots, it also features a random number generator that shuffles the cards. You won’t have to worry about playing with a live dealer, either, as video poker games are played solo.
While video poker shares many similarities with slots, it has a few elements that are unique to the game alone. Players can make their own choices when playing video poker, which suggests that they may have some control over the outcome of their hand and turn the odds in their favour. The game’s low house edge also supports this, but it all depends on a player’s strategy.
Video poker is one of the only casino games that players can potentially beat with a good-enough strategy. Though, this depends on a number of factors.
HOW TO PLAY VIDEO POKER?
Before we get into it, let’s go through the general video poker gameplay. Since this game is very similar to online slots, players should find no trouble familiarising themselves with the overall layout and gameplay.
That said, keep in mind that video poker works with a coin bet system, so be mindful of how much you’re actually betting. Having a good bankroll management system is essential in this case.
Since video poker is based on five-card draw poker, five cards will be dealt at the beginning of the round.
Players must then decide which cards to hold and which to discard and replace — this is done easily when playing online, as players can simply click on the cards they wish to keep.
Land-based machines would require players to make decisions through the ‘Deal’ and ‘Hold/Cancel’ buttons.
If your bluffing skills are not up to par, there is no need to worry. Video poker is a one-person game, as all bets are made against an algorithm rather than against other opponents. With that out of the way, you can really hone in on forming the best hand possible.
To dig into the gameplay a little more, check out our article ‘How to Play Video Poker’ on our LV BET Casino Blog!
HOW TO GET BETTER CHANCES TO WIN AT VIDEO POKER GAMES?
Now let’s get into all the juicy details. Your video poker strategy will come into play the second you place your first wager.
Bear in mind that while it is possible to win video poker, it all depends on the hand that’s drawn at the time, so there are no specific steps that can guarantee a win.
This is especially due to the game’s RNG — the random number generator ensures your hand varies every round, so deciding what to do with your cards solely depends on the hand you’re dealt at the time.
The key to winning this casino game is knowing which cards to keep and which to discard:
- Always hold the four cards that form the highest-ranking combinations (the royal flush and straight flush).
- Discard the remaining two cards in a three-of-a-kind hand to potentially make room for a full house or four-of-a-kind.
- If you earn two pairs, discard the fifth card to potentially make way for a full house.
- Only break up a flush or a straight when you have four cards that may potentially build a royal flush; otherwise, keep.
- Always break up a jacks or better, as you might be able to form a straight flush.
- Keep a low pair instead of a single high card (jack, queen, king or ace).
- Strategy charts can help turn the tides if you’re unsure of what to do.
While we can give you many more poker strategy tips, always remember to keep your strategy flexible. Your hand will vary from round to round, so your strategy should be able to vary along with it.
Don’t worry; forming a strategy is easier than you think. Video poker is played with a 52-card deck (or with 53 cards in the case of Joker’s Wild).
The deck is randomly shuffled every round, but there are only so many possible combinations in one deck, so you might be able to predict the outcomes as well as their frequency.
This further suggests that video poker can be beaten with a near fool-proof strategy, but there may still always be a chance of losing.
WHY USE A STRATEGY WHILE PLAYING A VIDEO POKER MACHINE?
Now that we’ve gone through the general gameplay, the question is — why should video poker players develop a strategy at all? Forming a video poker strategy is possibly one of the most effective tips we can give you, especially when playing this gambling game specifically.
Having a strategy keeps you from blindly walking into a video poker game and risking losing your bankroll.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, video poker is one of the only gambling games that you can potentially beat by using an optimal strategy, despite its RNG — so why wouldn’t you use one?
Whether you manage to build a high-ranking hand or beat the odds with a low-value one, a strategy will help turn the odds in your favour while safeguarding your bankroll at the same time.
CHOOSE THE BEST VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
Although there is one basic strategy for playing video poker, your strategy may vary depending on the specific video poker game your play.
There are loads of video poker variants available online, and all these different video poker machines offer different gameplay experiences. Understanding how each strategy is different between video poker machines is one of the many ways you can become a better video poker player.
JACKS OR BETTER VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
Jacks or Better is probably the most common full-pay video poker machine played online. Here are a few things to keep in mind when playing Jacks or Better video poker online:
- If you’re three cards away from a royal flush, keep them and draw two additional cards.
- If you’re two cards away from a straight flush, keep the three cards in your hand and draw two more.
- If you’re four cards away from a straight or a flush, keep them and draw one additional card.
- Hold a pair of cards and draw three new ones.
- If you drew no matching cards, hold the card that is equal to or higher than jacks.
- If none of the above scenarios occurs, discard five cards (your entire hand) and draw new ones.
DEUCES WILD VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
Deuces Wild is one game that will truly astonish you. With this full-pay video poker game, all twos would act as Wild cards. Naturally, this rule alters your strategy a little:
- Keep four deuces
- Keep a Wild royal flush when holding one-three deuces.
- Keep three deuces and discard two non-paired cards or a pair of nines or lower.
- Keep a five-of-a-kind when holding one-three deuces.
- Keep a four to a royal flush.
- Keep a straight flush when holding one-three deuces.
- Keep a four-of-a-kind when holding one-two deuces.
- Keep two deuces and cards in consecutive order (six or higher).
- Keep two deuces.
- Keep a full house, three-of-kind, straight and flush when holding one deuce.
- Keep deuces and three cards to a straight flush (five or higher).
- Keep any four cards to a straight flush.
- Keep all cards that rank above a flush when holding no deuces.
- Keep four to an open straight flush when holding no deuces.
- Keep four to an inside straight flush when holding no deuces.
- Keep a suited Q-J-10 when holding no deuces.
- Keep four to an Inside straight when holding no deuces.
ACES AND FACES VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
The Aces and Faces strategy is one of the more straightforward strategies in this list. Take a look:
- Keep any combination of cards that rank higher than a three-of-a-kind.
- Keep four cards to a royal flush or a straight flush.
- Keep two pairs.
- Keep a pair of jacks or better.
- Keep three cards to a royal flush or straight flush.
- Keep four cards to a straight or flush draw.
- Keep an unsuited K-Q-J, K-Q, K-J, Q-J, Q-10, and J-10.
If you’ve gotten the Jacks or Better strategy down, then you’ll breeze through the Aces and Faces technique.
JOKER POKER VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
As you go through a few video poker sessions, you’ll come to realise that video poker strategies share similarities with the blackjack basic strategy, where each strategy will guide you on how to play your hand depending on the cards you were dealt.
And while the Joker Poker guide is not perfect, it definitely helps your chances:
- Never discard a Wild card.
- Always keep a royal flush, straight flush and four-of-a-kind.
- Keep four cards to a royal flush.
- Hold a straight flush consisting of an open draw.
- Hold a three-of-a-kind when holding none of the above.
- Hold an inside straight flush draw when holding none of the above.
- Hold a straight unless you can form a straight flush. In this case, break it.
- Hold a two pair if holding none of the above.
TENS OR BETTER VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
Looking to play the Tens or Better video poker machine? Here’s a ranked list of appropriate actions for particular hands:
- Hold all five cards of a royal flush and a straight flush.
- Hold a four-of-a-kind and discard the last card.
- Hold four cards to a royal flush and discard the last card.
- Hold a full house, flush and straight.
- Hold a three-of-a-kind and discard the last two cards.
- Hold four cards to a straight flush and discard the last card.
- Hold a two pair and discard the one card that is uninvolved.
- Hold a high pair and discard the three uninvolved cards.
- Keep three cards to a royal flush and discard the remaining two.
- Keep four cards to a flush and discard the last one.
- Hold an unsuited K-Q-J-10 and discard the last card.
- Hold a one pair and discard the remaining cards.
- Hold four cards to a straight with three high cards, and discard the remaining card.
- Keep three cards to a straight flush and discard the remaining two.
- Keep three cards to a straight with three high cards and discard the remaining two.
- Keep two suited high cards and discard the remaining three.
- Keep four cards to an open-ended straight and discard the last card.
- Keep a K-Q-J and discard the remaining cards.
- Keep a K-J or a K-Q and discard the remaining cards.
- Keep two cards to a royal flush and discard the remaining cards.
- Keep a suited Q-10 or J-10 and discard the remaining cards.
- Keep two high cards and discard the remaining cards.
- Discard the entire hand for any other combination.
BONUS POKER VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
The Bonus Poker video poker machine comes pretty close to the Jacks or Better video poker game except with one key difference — whenever video poker players earn a four-of-a-kind, they’ll be awarded bonus payouts!
Below you’ll find the correct strategy of play for the Bonus Poker video poker game, in ranked order:
- Royal flush, straight flush and four-of-a-kind: As the highest-paying hands in the game, you’ll more than likely win a good payout, so don’t discard these cards.
- Holding a four to a royal flush: Suppose you’re dealt a straight but one of the cards is unsuited. It is recommended that, rather than keep it, discard the unsuited card to potentially make room for a higher payout with the royal flush.
- Full house, flush, straight: The strategy here is similar to the royal flush, straight flush and four-of-a-kind method of play.
- When holding a three-of-a-kind: It is recommended that you discard the remaining two cards to potentially make room for a full house or a four-of-a-kind.
- When holding four to a straight flush: The straight flush is the second-highest hand, so it is always recommended to make room for this hand even if you hold a pair of jacks or better.
- Holding two pairs: The remaining card that does not form part of the two pair should be discarded to make room for a full house.
- Holding a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces: When in possession of any of these pairs, discard the remaining cards to make room for a three-of-a-kind, full house or a four-of-a-kind.
- Holding three to a royal flush: This scenario is a little shaky but you might be able to win your hand.
- Holding four to a flush: Same as above.
- Holding an unsuited K-Q-J-10 hand: The aim with this hand is to hit a straight, though you may get the chance to hit a high pair.
- Holding a low pair: Do not discard a low pair as it may lead to a three-of-a-kind or a four-of-a-kind.
- Holding four cards to an open-ended straight: An open-ended straight can be completed from either end, hence its name, so there are up to eight cards that can complete this hand.
- Holding three to a straight flush: Hold these cards only if they form an open-ended hand with at least one high card and one gap.
- When holding an unsuited A-K-Q-J hand: With this hand it is recommended to aim for a straight, but a high pair will suffice as well.
- With two suited high cards: While it may be quite difficult, it might be possible to hit the highest-ranking hand, though there may be possibilities of lower-ranking hands too.
- Holding four cards to an inside straight with three high cards: The high cards in this hand are important, so do not discard them. In the case that you miss the straight hand, which is likely, you will still have a shot of hitting a high pair.
- Holding an unsuited K-Q-J: The same reasoning as the previous point can be applied here. With this hand, you may aim for a straight and strike out. In this case, you may still be able to shoot for a high pair.
- Holding an unsuited Q-J: Again, the same philosphy as the above two points — aim for a straight and go for a high pair if you strike out.
- Holding three cards to a straight flush: This draw is not a super favourable draw as it includes a low straight draw. Ideally, you’re dealt hands with multiple openings as it gives your strategy a bit of flexibility.
- An unsuited K-J and K-Q: These pairings offer limited potential of earning a straight, but you may be lucky to earn a high pair as well.
- A suited J-10: You might think you have a clear path of earning the highest-ranking hand in the game, but it’s quite the long shot. A flush, straight and straight flush may also be possibilities.
- Unsuited A-K, A-Q, and A-J: These pairings offer straight potential, but earning a high pair or maybe even a two pair is more of a possibility.
- Ace: An ace card can come in handy in multiple ways, so do not discard this card as it acts as a very valuable high card, especially when you’re this low on a strategy chart.
- A suited K-10 or Q-10: This hand may lead you to the highest-ranking hand, but the odds of this are low.
- King, queen or jack card: Unless you form a high-ranking combination, it is never recommended that you discard these cards.
If none of the above scenarios occur, it is recommended that you discard your entire hand, draw new cards and start over.
DOUBLE BONUS POKER VIDEO POKER STRATEGY
As you can expect, the Double Bonus Poker video poker machine offers similar gameplay to the Bonus Poker machine, and thus, Jacks or Better.
However, where Bonus Poker offers a bonus with every four-of-a-kind, this game awards an additional payout upon earning a hand with all four aces.
As a strategy, you can follow the below hierarchy of hands, so that you can understand where on the scale your current combination lies. This list also depicts the expected return from best to worst.
The best way to play using this strategy is to start from the top of the list and work your way down until you reach the hand you have. If your hand is not listed then, like in other video poker machines, it is recommended that you discard the hand and draw a new one.
- The highest-ranking hand
- The second highest-ranking hand
- Four to a royal flush
- Three aces
- The fourth-ranking hand
- Any other three-of-a-kind (except for aces)
- Four cards to a draw of the second highest-ranking hand
- Two pair
- A high pair
- Four to a flush draw
- Three to a royal flush draw
- Four to an outside straight draw
- Any low pair
- Unsuited A-K-Q-J
- Three cards to a draw of the second highest-ranking hand
- Four cards to an inside straight draw with three high cards
- Suited Q-J
- Three cards to a flush draw with two high cards
- Any two suited high cards
- Four cards to an inside straight draw with two high cards, or one high card.
- Unsuited K-Q-J
- Suited J-10
- Unsuited Q-J
- Three cards to a flush draw with one high card
- Suited Q-10
- Unsuited K-Q or K-J
- An ace
- Suited K-10
- A jack, a queen, or a king
- Four cards to an inside straight draw with no high cards
- Three cards to a flush draw with no high cards
VIDEO POKER STRATEGY CHARTS — HOW TO USE THEM?
The best part about video poker is, when it comes to forming a strategy, there are ready-made strategy charts that you can use!
Strategy charts are kind of like cheat sheets that may help you make decisions based on the hand you’re dealt, especially if you’re new to video poker.
These charts compile a list of every possible hand outcome and explain how to go about them — which cards to hold, which to discard, the steps you should take to form a stronger winning hand, etc.
So, if you’re ever at an impasse, referring to a strategy chart may help you find solutions to your problem. Sometimes there is no solution, and you’d have to forfeit, but this is what comes with playing video poker online.
Here are a few charts you may encounter:
|2||Second highest-ranking hand|
|4||Four cards to a RF|
|9||Four cards to an open-ended SF|
|11||Four cards to an inside SF|
|18||Three cards to a SF|
|1||Four-of-a-kind or better|
|2||Four cards to a RF|
|3||Three-of-a-kind or better|
|4||Four cards to an open-ended SF|
THE MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO POKER TIPS FOR YOU
Below you’ll find a list of tips that may help boost your chances of earning a payout:
- Use an online video poker strategy to have an idea of when to discard and keep cards.
- Understand the gameplay and game rules thoroughly before you bet.
- Familiarise yourself with the paytables.
- Play maximum coins by adjusting your bet size to max out your win potential — larger bets mean larger payouts.
- Play online video poker machines with the best odds.
- Practise in the demo mode first.
Of course, take these tips with a pinch of salt. Your strategy of play will largely depend on the cards dealt at the time. As we’re sure you know, there is a big difference between a royal flush and a two pair, but it’s things like this that make video poker such an exciting game.
For more information, check out our casino article on ‘Video Poker Tips’.
WHAT ARE POKER HAND RANKINGS?
Like in any poker game, knowing the hierarchy of poker hands is crucial — especially if you want to play this gambling game as skillfully as possible. Here are all the poker hands, ranked from strongest to weakest:
- Royal Flush: The most valuable card combination in poker and the hardest hand to form. It is built with an ace, king, queen, jack and 10, all of the same suit.
- Straight Flush: The second-best hand you can build. This hand is built with a series of five consecutive cards of the same suit.
- Four-of-a-Kind: Consists of four cards of the same rank.
- Full House: The combination of a three-of-a-kind and a pair. It consists of three cards of one rank and two of another.
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit.
- Straight: A series of five consecutive cards of different suits.
- Three-of-a-Kind: Three cards of the same rank.
- Two Pair: Two cards of one rank and another two of another rank.
- One Pair of Jacks or Better: The lowest-ranked winning hand you can earn. It is built with either two jacks, queens, kings or aces.
If you want to learn more about poker hand rankings and how they tie into your strategy, hop over to our casino blog and give our ‘Poker Hands Ranking’ post a read!
CONCLUSION — HOW TO WIN USING VIDEO POKER STRATEGIES?
Video poker machines bridge the gap between two totally different worlds.
On the one hand, you’ve got the many poker elements that make up the rules, but on the other, you’ve also got the many slot elements that make up the gameplay. And that gameplay becomes extra fun when you play video poker online.
However, the main selling point of video poker is that it can actually be beaten. Video poker has such a low house edge that, through the use of strategy charts, you can make the most optimal decisions depending on the hand you’re dealt at the time.
Some might argue that that is also the case with blackjack, but trust us when we say that video poker gives you a way clearer shot of winning. Don’t take our word for it, though. Head to LV BET to start playing!
Our Casino offers a whole range of the best video poker games for you to have a whack at. And while you’re at it, do not hesitate to give the rest of our collection a gander. You may find yourself part of our VIP Club, though we guarantee you’ll have a great time either way.
✅ WHAT MAKES VIDEO POKER SPECIAL?
Video poker features elements of both slots and poker, though what makes this game different is that you might be able to win money with all the bets you place using a good-enough strategy.
✅ DOES THE STRATEGY VARY FROM GAME TO GAME?
Yes definitely. Because of the varying rules, the strategy you’d use when playing Joker Poker would be different to the ones used in other video poker games, especially if they are progressive bonus machines.
✅ DOES EVERY STRATEGY LEAD TO A WINNER ON VIDEO POKER MACHINES?
If playing optimally, no matter whether you’re playing full-pay machines or low-pay machines, you could, technically, win every time. However, this is largely dependent on the hand you’re dealt.
✅ WHAT THINGS SHOULD YOU AVOID IN VIDEO POKER?
When you go to play video poker online, make sure that you avoid placing large bets if your bankroll cannot handle it and if you’re not sure of the rules.
If you’re a beginner, it is recommended that you give these gambling games a few practice runs in the demo mode, before betting all five coins.
✅ IS VIDEO POKER BETTER THAN SLOTS?
Whether video poker machines are better than slots is totally up to you and your personal preferences.
Video poker is a low-edge game, which is great for some players. However, there may be other players who prefer higher stakes.
Similarly, slots offer a lot more gameplay options in comparison to video poker and other table games, too, especially with progressive jackpots and Free Spins rounds in the mix.
In reality, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a game. If a progressive jackpot is what you seek, go for the Mega Moolah slot. But, if you want a game that will test your wits while still coming out on top, then play video poker.