Among many gambling games, video poker is now one of the most well-liked options players normally go for, and the growing popularity of these games can be attributed to the fact that they **combine features from slot machines and poker**.

Unlike most other casino games like roulette and blackjack, video poker does not require interaction with a dealer, allowing gambling enthusiasts to place their bets at their own pace. Video poker draws the attention of players also because, unlike slots, **it has a skill element**, meaning that they can increase their winnings provided that they come to terms with the maths behind the game, and, by this, we do not mean exclusively the pay schedule.

This is a casino game, in which players hold some control over the events and, in some cases, can influence the turn of events, which is to say that whether they win or lose will not depend exclusively on luck, but on the decisions they make as well. The expected return to the player can improve significantly over time, and this does not go without getting a feel for the game basics, including **the hand rankings**.

## Basic Knowledge about Video Poker Hands

Video poker can turn out to be a **rewarding choice for gambling enthusiasts**, especially if they gain a good knowledge of the game basics, and most importantly, fully understand probability.

### The Dealing Process

As we mentioned already, video poker is a game in which the cards are not dealt by a dealer and instead, these duties are given to a computer, which will shuffle and deal them. As you might already know, **a single deck of either 52 or 53 cards will be used in video poker**, and the cards will stop shuffling as soon as players hit the draw/deal button. While gambling enthusiasts are making up their minds about the cards they want to hold and replace, the remaining 47 or 48 unplayed cards will keep on shuffling.

What this means is that if players decide to get rid of one or several of the cards they were dealt, these cards will not appear again during the current round. Once the outcome of the current round is determined, **all cards will be returned to the deck, and they will be reshuffled for the next game**.

### The Ins and Outs of Equivalent Hands

An **essential thing to remember** is that in video poker, two hands will be equivalent, provided that they contain cards with the same denominations and permutation of suits. Please note that if two hands have the same values but different suits, they will still be the same hands, and therefore, if players are dealt 🂱🂡🃑🂲🂣, 🂡🃑🂱🂢🃓, or 🃁🂡🃑🃂🂣 means that they should invariably stick to the same approach while determining their moves.

Another thing gambling enthusiasts should bear in mind is that there are **24 equivalents of the first of the above-mentioned hands**. Still, this will not always be the case, and there are hands with 12 or 4 equivalents. Fortunately for players, they do not need to remember all equivalent hands, as instead, they can simply pay closer attention to a single representative of the class to have an idea of how to proceed with them.

- Tens or Better Variations
- Deuces Wild Variations
- Jacks or Better Variations
- Video Poker Variations
- Video Poker Rules

## How Are Hands Ranked in Video Poker

Unlike craps, roulette, and keno, in which the way the game pans out is determined exclusively by luck, in video poker, **the discard decisions of players will have a significant impact on their chances of winning and losing**. Of course, some variants of the game are significantly more rewarding than others, so avid casino fans should always pay closer attention to the expected return of the preferred variant before they go ahead with their real-money bets.

Something important gambling enthusiasts should remember is that there might be some dissimilarities between the hands that rank the highest on the payscale of the preferred video poker variant.

Besides, they will stumblе upon **variants in which wild cards are used**, and this is exactly the case with the Joker, as it can be used instead of all other cards from the deck and thus to facilitate the completion of winning hands.

The same applies to **Deuces Wild**, where all four Deuces act like wild cards, and thus help players gain some advantage over the house, provided that they use the optimal strategy. Yet, wild cards are by no means available in all video poker variants available out there, and Double Bonus Poker is among the games where such are not used.

### Royal Flush

With most video poker variants available out there, **Royal Flush is the card combination, which stands the highest on the paytable**. It consists of 10, J, Q, K, and A of the same suit. An important thing to note is that such winning hands cannot be completed using wild cards. Considering the handsome payoff of 4.000 players will collect as soon as Royal Flush is formed, it makes sense that this is the combination they will all hope to get.

Considering the bountiful payout Royal Flush offers, it makes sense that such hands are rather infrequent. In fact, the chances of getting such a winning combination during the initial draw are rather insignificant and **run into 0.00015**. As long as players have chosen to replace all five cards they were dealt during the initial draw, the chances of getting a Royal Flush will be 1 in 383.484 or 0.00260.

In spite of the fact that it does not happen very often, gambling enthusiasts might be dealt four cards to a Royal Flush, and under normal circumstances, this will come about once per 2.777 hands. With this in mind, the chances of getting the fifth card players will need in order to form Royal Flush will be 1 in 47 or 0.0212.

Gambling enthusiasts will get three cards to a Royal Flush, and this will be the case once per every 93 hands. This time, **getting a Royal Flush will happen once in 1.081 or 0.925**. Gambling enthusiasts can expect to get two and three cards to a Royal Flush once per 13 or once in 16.215 hands and once in 178.365, respectively.

Assuming that players have decided to give a **shot a full-pay variant of Jacks or Better** and they have staked five coins, the number of ways in which this winning combination can be formed will be four, and the payoff they should look forward to will be 800 to 1. Please note that these frequencies are only valid during the pre-draw.

### Straight Flush

**The second-best paying card combination is a Straight Flush**, and it is formed by getting five consecutive cards that share the same suit. Thus, an example of a Straight Flush will be a hand, which is made of 8, 9, 10, J, and Q of spades.

Naturally, this applies to all other combinations, with the exception of the one, which forms a Royal Flush. This winning hand **can be formed in 36 different ways**, and its payoff odds are normally 50 for 1. The percent of hands that contain a Straight Flush during the pre-draw will be 0.00001385. The probability of getting four and three to a Straight Flush will be 0.01980 and 0.0.252, respectively.

Please make sure that you have **checked the payscale of the preferred video poker version** because the offered payout might vary between the different games available out there.

### Four of a Kind

While players are availing themselves in a regular variant of Jacks or Better, they will notice that **the third-highest ranking hand is Four of a Kind**. As you might expect from the name, such hands comprise four cards that have the same value. An example of a hand, which features four of a kind will be such, which contains Q, Q, Q, 10, and Q.

The number of ways in which such winning hands can be completed is significantly higher when compared to the above-mentioned winning hands, and **getting such a winning hand is possible in 624 ways**, provided that players have chosen a full-pay version of Jacks or Better. The payoff gambling enthusiasts should expect to get if Four of a Kind is formed while reveling in such a variant of video poker is 25 for 1.

For the means of comparison, the number of ways in which four of a kind can be formed in a **full-pay variant of Deuces Wild** will be 31.552, and these frequencies only apply to the pre-draw. Getting four deuces while playing this video poker variant is indeed something they will look forward to as it runs into 200 for 1. Yet, the payoff for a regular combination of four identical cards will be 5 for 1.

With Double Bonus Poker, on the other hand, the number of ways in which four of a kind can be formed will be 432, and the rate at which players will be paid will be 50 for 1. While playing Joker Wild, there are 624 ways in which Four of a Kind can be formed when a Joker is not used, and 2.496 ways when there is a Joker. This time, the payoff odds will be 20 for 1.

### Full House

In terms of payoffs, **the Full House ranks fourth**, and to recognize such hands, players should check if they have three cards with the same value and one pair. Thus, players will get a payout for a Full House if they are dealt 7, 7, 7, Q, and Q, for example.

The payoff for such winning hands in 9/6 Jacks or Better will be 9 for 1, and the pre-draw frequencies stand at 3.744.

With the full-pay version of Deuces Wild, this winning hand will bring players a payoff of 3 for 1, and getting such a combination can be achieved in 12.672 ways. In Double Bonus Poker, the payoff and the pre-draw frequencies are 10 for 1 and 3.744, respectively. Choosing Joker Wild means that when players get such a winning hand, they will be paid at the rate of 7 for 1. If a Joker is not used, the number of ways in which such winning hands can be formed will be 3.744 and 2.808 when a Joker is available.

### Flush

A Flush is a hand, which is formed by getting five cards of the same suit. **Please note that the cards will form a Flush if they are not sequential ones**. Thus, players will be offered a payoff for a Flush if their hand is made of 4, 5, 9, 10, and K of spades, for example. Please note that if the cards are sequential ones, this will not be a Flush, but a Straight Flush.

In Jacks or Better, **the paying odds are 6 for 1**, and such winning hands can be formed in 5.108 ways during the pre-draw. Full-pay variants of Deuces Wild offer paying odds of 2 for 1 when a Flush is formed, and such hands can appear in 14.472 ways. In Double Bonus Poker, the paying odds are 10 for 1, and such winning hands can be formed in 3.744 ways. The payoff odds in Joker Poker are 5 for 1, and based on the availability of a Joker, the number of ways in which such hands can be formed will be 5.108 and 2.696, respectively.

### Straight

If gambling enthusiasts notice that their hand consists of **five consecutive and non-suited cards**, this means that they are dealt Straight. Therefore, players will have a Straight if the hand they are dealt is made of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, on the condition that these cards are not of the same suit.

Much like with the aforementioned hands, the payout Straight offers **will differ from one video poker variant to another**, and choosing Jacks or Better means that the paying odds will be 4 for 1, given that the maximum bet amount is selected. In full-pay variants of Jacks or Better, gambling enthusiasts can see such winning hands in 10.200 ways. Naturally, the paying odds in full-pay versions of Deuces Wild will not be the same, and forming Straight means players will be paid 2 for 1. With such versions of Deuces Wild, the pre-draw frequencies are 62.232.

**Giving Bonus Poker a shot** and getting a Straight means players will be in for a payoff of 5 for 1. With such video poker versions, a Straight can be formed in 10.200 ways. Choosing Joker Wild and getting a Straight means that gambling enthusiasts will be in line for a payoff of 3 for 1. Getting a Straight will be possible in 10.200 and 10.332 ways, respectively, and the availability of a Joker will be the decisive factor.

### Three of a Kind

If players’ hand contains **three same-valued cards** and two more cards the value of which does not matter, this means that they have Three of a Kind. This will be exactly the case if gambling enthusiasts are dealt 10, 10, 10, 7, and 3, for example.

**The payoff odds of full-pay variants of Jacks or Better are 3 for 1**, and presuming that avid casino fans have chosen to bet the maximum bet amount, the number of ways of getting such a hand on the pre-draw will be 54.912. Once players have successfully made such a hand while betting on Deuces Wild, the offered payout will be 1 for 1, and the completion of such hands will be possible in 355.080 ways.

Going for Double Bonus Poker and getting Three of a Kind means that avid casino fans will be paid at the rate of 3 for 1, and the number of ways in which such winning hands can be completed will be 54.912. In **Joker Wild**, the paying odds are reduced to 2 for 1, and depending on whether a Joker is used or not, the number of ways in which Three of a Kind can be formed will be 82.368 and 54.912, respectively.

### Two Pairs

Two Pairs is another hand, which will bring players a payout, and to get such a hand, they should be dealt two sets of two same-valued cards. Thus, you will get a payout for Two Pairs, on the condition that you get 10, 10, J, J, and 5, for example.

Depending on the preferred video poker version, most of the time, gambling enthusiasts will be in for a **payout of 2 for 1**. This is exactly the case with the full-pay versions of Jacks or Better, where the ways in which players can get such winning hands on the pre-draw will be 123.552.

Choosing Double Bonus Poker and getting Two Pairs means that avid casino fans will be provided with paying odds of 1 for 1. In this version of the many players’ favorite casino game, the ways in which Two Pairs can be formed on the pre-draw are once again 123.552. Opting for Joker Wild instead means that the payoff odds players will benefit from will be 1 for 1, and the number of ways in which hands can be completed will be 123.552 when a Joker is not added to the deck.

### One Pair

One Pair or Jacks or Better is **the lowest-paying hand in video poker**, and it is completed by getting two cards with the same value. It is important to note that gambling enthusiasts will get a payoff for such a hand, no matter the suit of the two cards.

Speaking of payouts, gambling aficionados should not expect to get that handsome prizes as was the case with some of the aforementioned hands, and when they get Jacks or Better, they will get a **payoff, which is equal to the staked amount**. Something vital to bear in mind is that usually, their hand will bring them a payout for a Pair, given that they are dealt two Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces.

Yet, this will not be the case if they have opted for Tens or Better as in such cases, getting two 10s will also result in a payoff for a Pair.

As mentioned already, a Pair is a hand for which **the paying odds are 1 for 1**, and getting such a hand in full-pay versions of Jacks or Better can be achieved in 337.920 ways during the pre-draw.

In **Double Bonus Poker**, the paying odds and the number of ways in which such winning hands can be completed remain the same. With Joker Wild, on the other hand, the availability or absence of a Joker will greatly influence the number of ways in which such hands can be formed, and in the first case scenario, their number will be 93.996. The number of ways to get Jacks or Better on the pre-draw without a Joker will be 168.960.

## The Significance of Penalty Cards in Video Poker

### 1Penalty Cards

Penalty card is a term players need to gain a better understanding of before they start making real-money bets on the preferred video poker variant. It is used to describe **cards players have decided to replace during the pre-draw**, thus decreasing their chances of completing a winning hand.

### 2Types of Penalty Cards

If players give up a card, which can help them form a Royal Flush, this card will be referred to as a **Royal Flush penalty card**. If the card players have discarded can help them form Straight, it will be referred to as a Straight penalty card, and so on.

### 3Why Are Penalty Cards Important

Gambling enthusiasts should not underrate the significance of penalty cards, especially when they can be used to form several straights because the greater their number is, the more the return will dwindle. **The return to player** will be affected even more severely when several penalty cards are available.

## Probability of Getting Each of The Winning Hands

### Probabilities of Getting a Winning Hand

### Chances of Getting a Royal Flush Based on the Number of Held Cards

### Chances of Getting a Royal Flush on the Pre-Draw Hand

Once you have got a feel for the different winning hands in video poker and the way they are formed, you should also take your time to examine the probability of getting each of the hands on the final hands.

Royal Flush | 0.000025 |

Straight Flush | 0.000109 |

Four of a Kind | 0.002363 |

Full House | 0.011512 |

Flush Straight | 0.011015 |

Straight | 0.011229 |

Three of A Kind | 0.074449 |

Two Pairs | 0.129279 |

Jacks or Better | 0.214585 |

Number of Cards Held | Combinations | Probability of Hitting a Royal Flush |
---|---|---|

None | 1.426.800 | 0.002891 |

1 | 16.805.604 | 0.034053 |

2 | 96.804.180 | 0.196154 |

3 | 195.055.740 | 0.395240 |

4 | 152.741.160 | 0.309498 |

5 | 30.678.780 | 0.062164 |

Pre-Draw Hand | Probability | This Equals |
---|---|---|

RF5 | 0.00015 | 1 in 649.740 |

RF4 | 0.036 | 1 in 2.777 |

RF3 | 1.09 | 1 in 92 |

RF2 | 7.7 | 1 in 13 |

RF1 | 16.7 | 1 in 6 |

## Payouts Offered by the Different Video Poker Variants

It is hardly a coincidence that video poker variants are normally among the most sought-after casino games as they offer **the highest expected return**, on the condition that players make use of the optimal strategy. It goes without saying that some of the variants available out there are more advantageous to players than others, which is exactly what we will pay more attention to now.

### Jacks or Better

- Royal Flush – 250x, 500x, 750x, 1.000x, 4.000x (if the chosen version is a full-pay one)
- Straight Flush – 50x, 100x, 150x, 200x, 250x
- Four of a Kind – 25x, 50x, 75x, 100x, 125x
- Full House – 9x, 18x, 27x, 36x, 45x
- Flush – 6x, 12x, 18x, 24x, 30x
- Straight – 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, 20x
- Three of a Kind – 3x, 6x, 9x, 12x, 15x
- Two Pairs – 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x
- Jacks or Better – 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x

### Deuces Wild

- Royal Flush (natural) – 250x, 500x, 750x, 1.000x, 4.000x
- Four Deuces – 100x, 400x, 600x, 800x, 1.000x
- Royal Flush (wild) – 25x, 50x, 75x, 100x, 125x
- Five of a Kind – 15x, 30x, 45x, 60x, 75x
- Straight Flush – 9x, 18x, 27x 36x, 45x
- Four of a Kind – 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 25x
- Full House – 3x, 6x, 9x, 12x, 15x
- Flush – 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x
- Straight – 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x
- Three of a Kind – 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x

### 8/5 Bonus Poker

- Royal Flush – 200x, 400x, 600x, 800x, 4.000x
- Straight Flush – 50x, 100x, 150x, 200x, 250x
- Four of a Kind (Aces) – 80x, 160x, 240x, 320x, 400x
- Four of a Kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) – 40x, 80x, 120x, 160x, 200x
- Four of a Kind (all other cards) – 25x, 50x, 75x, 100x, 125x
- Full House – 8x, 16x, 24x, 32x, 40x
- Flush – 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 25x
- Straight – 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, 20x
- Three of a Kind – 3x, 6x, 9x, 12x, 15x
- Two Pairs – 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x
- Jacks or Better – 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x

### Double Double Bonus Poker

- Royal Flush – 250x, 500x, 750x, 1.000x, 4.000x
- Straight Flush – 50x, 100x, 150x, 200x, 250x
- Four Aces with w/any 2, 3, 4 – 400x, 800x, 1.200x, 2.000x
- Four 2s, 3s, 4s with w/any Ace, 2, 3, 4 – 160x, 320x, 480x, 640x, 800x
- Four of a Kind (Aces) – 160x, 320x, 480x, 640x, 800x
- Four of a Kind (2s, 3s, 4s)- 80x, 160x, 240x, 320, 400x
- Four of a Kind (5 through K) – 50x, 100x, 150x, 200x, 250x
- Full House – 9x, 18x, 27x, 36x, 45x
- Flush – 6x, 12x, 18x, 24x, 30x
- Straight – 4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, 20x
- Three of a Kind – 3x, 6x, 9x, 12x, 15x
- Two Pairs – 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x
- Jacks or Better – 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x

## What Are Strategy Charts And How to Use Them

### 1Cheat Sheets

Strategy charts or cheat sheets, as they are also known, are among **the most useful tools** players can take advantage of when they want to play their favorite video poker variant in the best possible way.

Strategy charts are designed with the idea to help gambling enthusiasts make the most out of their betting session by telling them what the proper way to proceed to the hand they are dealt is.

### 2How to Use Strategy Charts

If you are a total **video poker novice**, you might find strategy charts exceptionally useful as you can use them to compare the cards you are dealt with the information in the chart in order to determine whether you need to save some of the cards as they can potentially form a winning hand.

Thus, if we assume that players are dealt 7, A, A, 7, 7, they need to save all these cards as they Three of a Kind and one Flush, or in other words, a Full House. Once players have saved all cards, they need to hit the draw/deal button and get their payout.

Please note that while using a strategy chart, you need to **start from the topmost line**, and if the hand you are dealt is not described there, you will need to go down the lines. Gambling enthusiasts should continue moving down the lines in the strategy chart and save cards until they reach the final line. When this happens, they will be required to press the draw button without saving any additional cards.

### 3Do Strategy Charts Help

Players can take advantage of strategy charts when they are looking to **maximize their winnings**, but to achieve this, they should take their time to learn their ins and outs.

As long as players come to terms with the specific strategy chart beforehand, it will be significantly easier for them to wrap their heads around it while being at the casino. Not to mention that by doing so, gambling enthusiasts will be able to play the preferred video poker variant at a faster pace, which will work to their advantage.