Video Poker Games and Strategy

Video poker is one of the most popular casino games. It is the best game to play in terms of house edge in some markets, especially ones that are not permitted to deal live table games. Some casinos have video poker with a theoretical return of over 100%. In nearly all cases, video poker is better than playing slots. It can be better than live and electronic table games, too.

This is also true at online casinos. Most video poker games on the internet return at least 99%. Legal online casinos are found in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

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Best video poker games

The best video poker game at live casinos in terms of player payback is often Bonus Poker. For online casinos, it is usually Deuces Wild or Jacks or Better. Other common video poker games are Bonus Deuces Wild, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, Triple Double Bonus Poker, and Joker Poker. 

All these games have a pay table of at least 99%. Some of these games can be played on a paytable that returns over 100% in Nevada. The payback assumes perfect strategy and enough coins wagered to trigger an 800/1 payout on a royal flush. That usually requires a five-coin bet.

Bonus Poker

There are two versions of Bonus Poker that return over 99%. One is widely available and is often the best game in a casino. Bonus Poker has larger payouts on four aces, deuces, threes, and fours. It also pays two coins on two pair. It is the only major game in the Bonus Poker family that does that. The others only pay one coin.

Bonus poker video poker 4 Aces

Deuces Wild

Playing Deuces Wild video poker at Johnny Nolon's Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado

Deuces Wild involves four wild cards. The second largest payout is four deuces. The best paytable for Deuces Wild returns 99.73%. There are a few of these machines at Las Vegas locals casinos.

Double Bonus Poker

Double Bonus Poker is the lowest version of the game that pays one coin on two pair. That is because all four of a kind hands pay double in this game when compared to standard Bonus Poker. Kickers are not a concern in Double Bonus Poker. The best version of this game returns 100.17%. It is offered by many Las Vegas locals and rural casinos. There are coin game versions of Double Bonus Poker in downtown Las Vegas and in the locals market.

Double Bonus video poker at Colorado Grande Casino in Cripple Creek, CO

Double Double Bonus Poker

Double Double Bonus Video poker at Century Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado

Double Double Bonus Poker is the lowest variance in the series where kickers are a concern. This game usually drops the flush and/or full house down a coin to create new special four of a kind hands. If the player makes four aces, deuces, threes, or fours, and one of those cards is the kicker, it pays double the elevated payouts for those hands. The best version of this game available returns 100.06%. This Double Double Bonus Poker paytable is found at many Las Vegas locals casinos.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is the base game for many video poker variants. It is a classic title. The variance in Jacks or Better is low. The strategy for it is the easiest of all video poker games. It is perfect for new players. The best available paytable for Jacks or Better returns 99.54%. That is found at many live and online casinos.

Jacks or Better Video poker

Joker Poker

Straight Flush on a Joker Poker video poker machine

Joker Poker uses a different deck than most other video poker titles. There are 53 cards because the joker is added. It is wild. The best paytable for Joker Poker returns 100.64%. It is available in downtown Las Vegas. A 99.29% Joker Poker game is dealt by online casinos.

Triple Double Bonus Poker

Triple Double Bonus Poker has one of the highest variances of any video poker game. It pays the same for four aces with a 2, 3 or 4 kicker, as it does for a royal flush. That is because three of a kind only pays 2 coins for each wagered, and two pair only pays one. All that return is added to aces with a kicker, which is why the game has so much variance. The best Triple Double Bonus Poker paytable returns 99.58%.

Triple Double Bonus Video poker at Colorado Grande Casino in Cripple Creek, CO

How to play a hand of video poker

Video poker is a game of skill. Unlike most slots, there is a strategy to learn that helps increase the return to the player. The higher a player’s skill, the better the return will theoretically be.

The first step in playing a hand of video poker is to insert your casino players card into the machine. If you do not have one, you can get it at the casino’s rewards center. The players card will add to your return by paying slot points and potentially, comps. You can play without one if you prefer to remain unknown to the casino.

The next step is to put money into the machine. This is usually done with cash or slot tickets. There are a few hundred coin video poker machines out there that accept quarters, half dollars, or dollars.

At a casino site, choose video poker from the list of games. Next, click the game you want to play from the menu.

Place your video poker bet

The credits will show on the machine. If the machine’s max bet per hand is in your comfort level, you can start the hand by clicking that button. Alternatively, you can click the bet one button the number of times that equals your preferred bet. This option requires the player to press the deal button. Clicking max bet always deals the next hand automatically.

Betting enough coins to receive 800/1 on a royal flush is recommended. That amount is usually five coins. It may be 10, 20, or even 100 coins. Always check the paytable to make sure.

The video poker machine will then deal you five cards. Choose the ones that you would like to hold. Click the deal button to draw new ones. The cards you discard will be replaced with fresh ones. If you make a payable hand, your credits will increase. You can hit the deal button to play the same number of coins on the next hand.

Video poker machines reshuffle after every hand. Seeing a card during the last hand does not change its likelihood of appearing in the next one. A royal flush is just as likely if the hand before was a royal flush, as it is at any other time.

Hit the cashout button to get your money. This is usually paid in a slot ticket. These can be redeemed at the casino cage and at kiosks. Note that some slot ticket kiosks do not pay change. Older machines will dispense coins. These are placed in buckets and exchanged for cash at the cage.

Multihand versus single-hand video poker

Multihand video poker is when there is more than one hand. In this type of video poker, the player is dealt five cards. The ones held before drawing are kept across all hands. For example, if you are playing 100 hands and get dealt a pair of aces, you will draw to a pair of aces 100 times. That sounds great, but the hand could also be terrible, and then you draw to 100 hands of nothing.

The common multi-hand options are 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100. The paytables are typically worse on multi-hand games. Many video poker variants are dealt as multi-hand. The list includes Dream Card, Super Times, Pay, Ultimate X, and Split Card. 

Online casinos with video poker

Online casinos have several video poker games. Most return 99% or higher. Options include 9/6 Jacks or Better (99.54%), 20/9 Bonus Deuces Wild (99.45%), 9/6 Double Double Bonus (98.98%), and 20/6/5 Joker Poker with a sequential royal flush.

Online video poker denominations tend to be much lower than at live casinos. You may be able to find as low as nickel denominations with good paytables.

More online casino welcome bonus offers

Some parts of the video poker strategy sections were created with the hand analyzer at Wizard of Odds.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Kristina Mehaffey