Last Updated: Oct. 20, 2014

Video Poker

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Video poker made its entry to the casino in the seventies; and is today one of the most popular forms of gambling. For the player who likes a game of skill, a low house edge, the possibility of large wins, and the anonymity of playing alone there is nothing else that can compare to video poker. The rules of video poker are simple; you play 1 to 5 coins, the machine give you five cards, you choose which to hold and which to discard, the machine replaces your discards and pays you off according to the value of your hand.

You may have heard the adage that the "house always has the advantage." Video poker is an exception to that rule. If you look for the most liberal pay tables, and play them properly, you can have a thin advantage. Some pay tables, which are slightly in the machine's favor, can return over 100%, if you factor in incentives such as cash back, free play, mailers, and other comps.


Following are the rules for standard video poker:

  1. Most video poker games are played with a standard 52-card deck. Obviously, joker wild games will include one or more jokers in the deck.
  2. After making a wager and press the "deal" button the game will randomly give the player five cards from the deck.
  3. The player chooses which cards to throw away and which ones to keep.
  4. The game replaces the discarded cards with randomly chosen cards from the remaining deck.
  5. The player is paid according to the poker value of his hand and the posted pay table.

Playing Strategy

Following are some strategies to some of the most popular video poker games: Quick Quads strategies: Ultimate X strategies:

Return Tables

4-5 Bonus Poker
7 Stud Poker
Ace and Deuce Bonus Poker
Ace Invaders
Ace on the Deal
Aces and Eights
Aces and Faces
ACE$ Bonus Poker
Acey Deucey Poker
All Aces
All American
Anything's Wild
Atomic Fever
Big Split Poker
Big Times Draw Poker
Big Win Poker
Black Jack Bonus Poker
Bonus Deuces Wild
Bonus Poker
Bonus Poker Deluxe
Bonus Poker Plus
Bonus Royals (WMS MyPoker)
Bonus Video Poker
Build a Wheel
Chase the Royal
Deuce on the Deal
Deuces and Joker Wild
Deuces Wild
Dice Fever
Double Aces and Faces
Double Bonus
Double Bonus Deuces Wild
Double Bonus Poker Plus
Double Deuces Wild
Double Double Aces and Faces
Double Double Bonus
Double Double Bonus Poker Plus   
Double Double Jackpot
Double Draw
Double Draw Aces
Double Jackpot
Double Joker
Double Pay
Double Super Times Pay    
Draw 6 Poker
Dream Card
Extra Draw Frenzy
Faces 'n Deuces
Five Aces Poker
Flush Fever
Full House Bonus Poker
Going for Fours
Good Times Pay
Guaranteed Play
Hyper Bonus
Jackpot Poker
Jacks or Better
Joker Poker (Kings)
Joker Poker (Aces)
Joker Poker (Two Pair)
Keno Draw Poker
Loose Deuces
Lucky Suit Poker
Match Card
Max Out Poker
Movin' on Up
Multi-Strike Deluxe
Nevada Bonus
No Risk Double Up
One Eyed Jacks
Pay the Aces
Pick 'em Poker
Power Quads
Quick Quads
Royal Aces Bonus Poker
Royal Court
Royal Draw
Second Chance Royal
Sequential Royal
Sevens and Joker Wild
Sevens Wild
Spin Fever
Spin Poker
Super Aces Bonus Poker
Super Bonus Deuces Wild
Super Double Bonus
Super Double Double Bonus
Super Draw Poker
Super Times Pay
Super Triple Bonus
Super Video Hold 'Em
Super Video Hold 'Em Multi-Strike
Tens or Better
Three Card Draw Poker
Three Way Action
Trade Up Poker
Triple Bonus (Kings or Better)
Triple Bonus Poker Plus
Triple Deuces Wild
Triple Double Bonus
Triple Triple Bonus
Triple Trouble
Turbo Video Poker
Two Ways Royal
Ultimate 4 of a Kind Bonus (single-hand)
Ultimate 4 of a Kind Bonus (multi-hand)
Ultimate X
Ultra Bonus Poker
Ultimate Aces
Video Hold 'em
Wheel Poker
Wheel Poker Deluxe
White Hot Aces
Winning Streak Poker
World Series of Poker Final Table Bonus

Can't find the game or pay table you're looking for?
Video Poker Help Starts Here also carries lots of return tables.

Cheat Sheets

For just the pay tables and returns of major games and pay tables see these documents:

Play for Fun

Practice over a dozen video poker games on my new and improved video poker game, available in both single-hand and multi-play.


Five-Card Hand Calculator

My free video poker analyzer will calculate the best way to play any hand and any pay table for most video poker games.

Game Return Calculator

My video poker analyzer will calculate the return for just about any video poker game in seconds.

Strategy Maker

I'm very proud to offer the only free video poker strategy maker. Enter any common game and then the pay table and the calculator will produce a near-optimal strategy. Here is an example of the output for 9-6 Jacks or Better.

Miscellaneous Advice and Comments

  • Always play the maximum coins. I have never seen a machine that didn't offer a bonus on the highest hand for five coins played. If you are uncomfortable playing five coins, then drop down to a lower coinage.
  • The cards are chosen at random and the games are fair. There is no switch inside the machine that can make the machine loose or tight. Do not be fooled by Pull Tabs, which are not real video poker games.
  • A royal flush can come along at any time with equal probability. A machine is never "overdue" in the sense that it becomes more likely to hit. Theories such as that a machine will get tight right before hitting a royal are simply not true.
  • Always use a slot club card if there is one, and there usually is. This is free money for playing, and can often make the difference in having an edge or not.
  • When you put your slot club card in make sure the game can read it. Every few minutes check to ensure the connection isn't lost.
  • Do research on where the most generous machines are. The best source in my opinion is VP insider, a subscription based site costing $20 for the first three months, and $15 for each additional three months. The best free source in my opinion is VP Free.
  • Some games offer a double-up feature. This, and the odds in craps, are the only bets you can make with no house edge. Whether you make the double-up bet should depend on your reason for playing. If you want low volatility, with long "time on device", you should decline it. If you are playing a 100%+ game, you should decline it. If you want high volatility, you should accept it. If you want to maximize return, including money bet on the double, then you should accept it. If you should take, up to what point, you may ask? That is something you can decide for yourself, according to how much you value risk vs. reward.
  • Tipping in video poker, as well as any game, is a matter of much debate. I think a good rule of thumb is to tip 0.5% to 1.0% on any jackpot requiring a hand pay. The smaller the jackpot, the larger the percentage. An exception can be made for games in which you get hand pays frequently, like $5 10-play. In this case, tipping on just big wins, or at the end of the session is acceptable. If you lost badly, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't tip.

Video Poker in San Diego

In November 2008 I did a video poker survey of the 11 casinos in San Diego County.

Video Poker in Macau

For a detailed explanation of the video poker scene in Macau, please visit my companion site, Wizard of Macau.

Bonus Expected Values in Video Poker

Often Internet casinos will match a deposit with free money. However, to withdraw you have to complete a lengthy play requirement. My page on Bonus Expected Values in Video Poker will show you your probability of completing the play requirement and how much you can expect to have left.

Video Poker Wizard

Please support this site by purchasing my Video Poker Wizard. For a host of video poker games, you can practice your game, with or without advice, or analyze any hand or pay table. A great way to have fun and improve your game anywhere.

My Video Poker Offerings

Basic Video Poker Info

  • My main Video Poker page
  • Return tables:
  • Probability of Ruin for single-play video poker
  • Random simulations of multi-play video poker
  • The standard deviation of n-play video poker

Practice / Play Video Poker for Free

Video Poker Calculator

  • Analyze the return for almost any video poker paytable

Other Stuff


Full-Pay Jacks or Better:

Full-Pay Deuces Wild:

Quick Quads:

Other Strategies:

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