Joker Poker Paytables and Strategy

Joker Poker, sometimes called Joker Wild, is one of the most complicated video poker games to learn. There are two strategies to learn. One is when the joker is not dealt in the original hand. The other is when the player is dealt the joker. There are thousands of exceptions to Joker Poker strategy, making it virtually impossible for a human to master perfect strategy.

The two best forms of Joker Poker are kings or better and two pair or better. These play like two different games by both pay table and strategy. There is also aces or better Joker Poker. The pay tables available for that game are unplayable. 

A two pair or better Joker Poker is dealt in Atlantic City casinos. It is otherwise rare and has a substantially different strategy than this kings or better version.

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Most common Joker Poker pay tables

The Joker Poker pay tables below are the most common available. The payout assumes that five coins are wagered. If fewer than five coins are wagered, the royal flush usually pays 400 coins. This is better than the usual 250 coins for small video poker bets found on other games. This is likely due to the low number of natural royal flushes in Joker Poker.

The number in parenthesis is the theoretical return when wagering enough for the 800/1 or 940/1 natural royal flush and using perfect strategy. Some games may require 10 or more coins to trigger the larger royal flush payout. 

Full pay Joker Poker (100.64%)

The best Joker Poker pay table is full pay. It is found at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur in quarter and half dollar denominations, and at Plaza in quarters. Neither casino pays slot points on these games.

  • Natural royal flush: 800
  • Five of a kind: 200
  • Joker royal flush: 100
  • Straight flush: 50
  • Four of a kind: 20
  • Full house: 7
  • Flush: 5
  • Straight: 3
  • Three of a kind: 2
  • Two pair: 1
  • Pair of kings or aces: 1

Not So Ugly Joker Poker (99.29%)

This version of Joker Poker is spread in many Nevada locals casinos. It drops the four of a kind and raises the natural royal flush payouts. Players who enjoy coin games can find these pay tables on old-fashioned machines at El Cortez and Skyline in Las Vegas.

This game is most common at online casinos with video poker. If you find a multi-hand version of Joker Poker at a casino site, it may have a worse paytable than this.

  • Natural royal flush: 940
  • Five of a kind: 200
  • Joker royal flush: 100
  • Straight flush: 50
  • Four of a kind: 18
  • Full house: 7
  • Flush: 5
  • Straight: 3
  • Three of a kind: 2
  • Two pair: 1
  • Pair of kings or aces: 1

Ugly Joker Poker (98.4%)

This version is dealt in many casinos. It drops the four of a kind payout to 17. All other Joker Poker pay tables with kings or better return under 98%.

  • Natural royal flush: 940
  • Five of a kind: 200
  • Joker royal flush: 100
  • Straight flush: 50
  • Four of a kind: 17
  • Full house: 7
  • Flush: 5
  • Straight: 3
  • Three of a kind: 2
  • Two pair: 1
  • Pair of kings or aces: 1

Full pay Joker Poker basic strategy

The strategy below is for 20/7/5 full pay Joker Poker. The first list covers how to play when dealt a joker. The other is what to do when no joker is dealt. This game has thousands of exceptions and is extremely difficult to learn. This tool at Wizard of Odds is helpful for finding these.

When dealt the joker

  • Stand pat on a dealt full house, straight flush, and royal flush
  • Four to a royal flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Four to an open-ended straight flush
  • Stand pat on a dealt flush
  • Four to a straight flush with one gap
  • Three of a kind
  • Four to all other straight flush draws
  • Stand pat on a dealt straight
  • Four to a flush with a king or ace
  • Three to a royal flush
  • Two suited connectors with the joker
  • Joker with a straight flush including an ace or king
  • Joker with suited queen and jack or ten
  • Pair of aces
  • Three to a straight flush with one gap
  • Pair of kings
  • Four to all remaining flush draws
  • Joker with two-gap straight flush cards from seen to jack-high
  • Joker with 7, 8, or 6, in that order
  • Joker with nine, ten, and jack
  • Wild with 10 or 9, in that order
  • Wild with three, four, or five
  • Wild with five

If the hand you are dealt is not included in this list, then hold only the joker. It is rare that there will be no other cards to hold. It would require getting dealt a hand like 23JQ or 24JQ. There are a few exceptions to this.

When not dealt the joker

  • Stand pat on a full house, straight flush or royal flush
  • Four to a royal flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Stand pat on flush
  • Four to a straight flush
  • Stand pat on a straight
  • Two pair
  • Three to a royal flush including a king
  • Pair of kings or aces
  • All other three-card royal flush draws
  • Four to a flush
  • Pair of sixes through queens
  • Suited eight, nine, and ten or nine ten and jack
  • Pair of fives
  • Suited seven, eight, and nine
  • Pair of fours
  • Suited six, seven, and eight
  • Pair of threes
  • Suited five, six, and seven
  • Pair of deuces
  • Unsuited ten, jack, queen, and king
  • Three to a straight flush with no or one gap
  • Suited ace and king
  • Open-ended straight draws
  • Three to a straight flush with two gaps
  • King with suited ten, jack or queen
  • Unsuited ace and king
  • Ace with suited queen, jack, or ten
  • Single ace or king
  • Two suited cards, ten, jack, or queen

Using a players card at Joker Poker

Using a players card at Joker Poker can increase your return. While the full pay versions at Plaza and Arizona Charlie’s do not pay slot points, most others do. This can add up to 0.3% to your return. You can also receive perks by moving up in casino players club programs by earning tier points. You may receive mailers that include free slot play and other comps

Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Kristina Mehaffey