Video Poker Guide for Beginners

It’s not difficult to understand why video poker is one of the most popular casino games around. It’s a game of luck and skill, balancing the strategy of poker with the accessibility of slots. It also provides excellent odds, making it perfect for beginners and experienced players alike.

Our video poker guide will teach you everything you need to know to get started. From the intricacies of video poker rules to basic strategies you can use to gain an edge, we’ll teach you how to play video poker like a pro!


Video poker rules are relatively simple. If you already know how to play poker, it’s a piece of cake! The game’s objective is to make the best ranked five-card hand you can. If you make a winning hand, you win. It’s that simple. Unlike regular poker, everything in video poker comes down to you; no bluffing, no opposing players to contend with, it’s just you and your skill against the computer.

Before you start playing, you’ll need to take a look at your game’s paytable. A video poker paytable determines how much you stand to win based on the value of any given hand.

First off, let’s walk through a standard video poker round:

1. You can choose to bet between one and five coins. The maximum bet is known as “max coin.” If you want to get the most value from your cards, it’s best to bet “max coin.”

2. Five starting cards are dealt to you.

3. You can choose to discard any of the cards – all five if you really want.

4. If you do wish to get rid of any of the cards, press the draw button, which gives you a replacement card.

5. If you have a winning hand, you win. Simple.


Video poker odds can vary across games, but on the whole, it’s a game that provides excellent odds. Some Deuces Wild games, when played using optimum strategy, offer a 100.77% return, while Jacks or Better can offer a return up to 99.54%.

Like many other slots games, video poker offers players a progressive jackpot, meaning that the jackpot increases with every round that isn’t won. For the skillful player, the opportunity to win big is impossible to resist.


There are numerous variations of video poker for you to explore. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular games on the market.

1. Jacks Or Better

Also known as Draw Poker, Jacks or Better is probably the most famous video poker game. In this variation, a pair of Jacks is the lowest value winning hand. If you’re just beginning to learn to play video poker, Jacks or Better is probably the right game for you.

2. Double Bonus

This is a variation on Jacks or Better, except a hand containing four aces provides a substantial bonus payout.

3. Deuces Wild

In Deuces Wild, the 2 card can be substituted for a new card of any rank or suit, which can help you to create winning combinations.


We’ve touched on this earlier, but one simple strategy that you can pursue is to bet “max coin” on your hands. It’s particularly effective for extracting the maximum value from a Royal Flush, the most valuable winning hand in the game. In some video poker games, a “max coin” Royal Flush payout is 850 to 1, while a payout for under five coins is substantially lower.

There are several hands, known as “pat hands” amongst video poker players, which you should rarely draw on. A Straight or Straight Flush should only be broken up when you’re missing just one card from a Royal Flush. The payout from a Royal Flush is substantially larger than the payout from a Straight, for example, so in this instance it’s acceptable to break up a winning hand. On the whole, it’s unwise to break up a Straight, Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, or Three of a Kind.

If you do want to discard some of your cards, it’s probably better to discard a high value card over a low value pair. The high value card may end up being worth nothing, whereas the low value pair is, after all, a winning hand.