Video Poker Rules

There is a not-so-hard explanation why video poker is one of the most sought-after casino games, as it is engaging, arresting, and above all, uncomplicated, which makes it fit the preferences of players with different experience levels.

Even though some players tend to draw a parallel between slots and video poker, one of the most outstanding differences between these two types of casino games is that with the latter, there is a skill element. This is exactly what makes them seem a bit challenging at first.

The predecessor of the video poker games we all know today saw the light of the day back in 1891, and it had five drums across which the images of card values appeared. The game has significantly evolved since that time, and presently, there is an extensive number of video poker variants to enjoy, especially when placing your bets online. They have all evolved from the five-card draw, which allows players to go ahead with their betting session right off as they will be more than familiar with the steps they need to make.

In order for players to come ahead of the casino, they should get their heads around the rules of the preferred video poker game, and if this is what you are set on, just read ahead.

Introduction to the Video Poker Rules

When players are looking to learn well enough to win, they should pay more heed to the rules of the preferred casino game simply because the informed and uninformed gambling enthusiasts will see the ruleset entirely differently. This holds true no matter what you are about to take up with, all the more so when casino games are concerned. As with all other casino games, there are also several complicating factors with video poker that are slightly hidden in the simplicity of the game and thus often remain off the radar of players.

Number of Decks in Play
Video Poker Machines Layout
Adjusting Your Bet
The Importance of the Number of Credits
Getting a Poker Hand
Multi-Hand Video Poker Variants
Doubling Down The Winnings

Number of Decks in Play

As mentioned already, video poker is developed on the five-card draw, which goes to explain why the hand rankings are the same. Unlike blackjack variants in which up to eight decks might be used, in video poker, there is just one standard deck of 52 cards. Therefore, the number of hands that can be dealt will be more than 2.580.000, and the likelihood of each of these hands to be formed are the same. The hand number will be significantly more manageable when duplicates are concerned. Keep in mind that 🃓🂣🂳🂪🃊 and 🃓🂣🂳🂪🃚 are different hands, but the way in which gambling enthusiasts will play them will be exactly the same.

Bear in mind that with the majority of the video poker hands, there is just one unique way to play them. That being said, there are also hands that, in spite of being different, bear the same value. Thus, if we assume that players are dealt 🂲🂤🃅🃖🂸, throwing everything away is not a good idea, although the chances of getting a payout might seem rather slim. If they are dealt such a hand, gambling enthusiasts should consider holding the first four cards or the second, third, fourth, and fifth ones.

Considering that players know how many cards are used in the game, it will be easy for them to estimate the chances of getting a specific combination.

Players will also stumble upon the so-called joker wild video poker variants because in such cases, one or multiple jokers will be added to the deck.

Video Poker Machines Layout

In spite of the fact that the layout of the video poker machines might vary slightly, most of the time, gambling enthusiasts will see the number of credits they currently have underneath the cards they are dealt. Normally, the paytable of the game is positioned on the left-hand side of players’ screen, which is exactly the case with the Jacks or Better variants developed by NetEnt and Playtech. With Pragmatic Play’s version of Jacks or Better, the paytable is positioned right above the hand players will be dealt.

What players will see is that the payoffs they will be offered for the different combinations will be adjusted according to the bet size they have chosen.

Adjusting Your Bet

As they power up the preferred video poker variant, gambling enthusiasts should check out its bet limits. Thus, Playtech’s Jacks or Better allows players to stake as little as $0.01 and a maximum of $500. This is not the case with Microgaming’s Jacks or Better, as opting for it means that players can wager between $1.25 and $25. NetEnt is another provider, which offers Jacks or Better, and this time, players will be allowed to wager between $0.25 and $100. What is important to note is that these limits might differ from one online casino to another, which is why checking them out is a must.

Bear in mind that first, you will be required to pick coin denominations and then to make up your mind how many credits you prefer to stake. Based on the video poker variant players have decided to give a shot, there might also be buttons that allow them to place the maximum possible stake with a single tap.

The Importance of the Number of Credits

Depending on the winning goals players have set, they should be mindful that in order to come by the maximum payout the preferred video poker version awards, they should go for the maximum bet allowed. The same also goes for benefiting from the highest RTP of the video poker version they have chosen to give a shot, as they should once again opt for the maximum bet amount.

Getting a Poker Hand

Once gambling enthusiasts have adjusted their bet, they need to hit the draw or deal button in order to see which five cards will come out of the permanently shuffled deck. Considering the number of cards, there will be 32 ways in which a hand can be played. Now, depending on the cards they are dealt, players will have several options to choose between as they can give up on all cards they got, hold all of them, or decide to hold only some of them based on the strength of their hand.

Some video poker variants available over the Internet offer the auto-hold feature, thanks to which if a winning combination is formed, the cards that are part of it will automatically be locked. Of course, if gambling enthusiasts think that a better hand will be formed when they draw extra cards, they can always overlook the suggestions of the feature.

When players decide which of the cards to hold and which to replace, they need to press the draw or deal button in order to see what cards will come instead and whether winning combinations will be formed. Whether the player wins or loses will be determined right off based on the cards that were just dealt. With most video poker versions, when a winning combination is formed, it is immediately highlighted, and gambling enthusiasts are paid accordingly.

Multi-Hand Video Poker Variants

In order to make their betting session more thrilling, gambling enthusiasts might wish to go for playing multiple hands simultaneously, which is an option many video poker variants offer these days. This is exactly the case with NetEnt’s Jacks or Better, in which players will be offered the chance to bet on up to 25 hands at the same time. The same number of hands is also supported by Playtech’s Jacks or Better. That being said, there are also video poker variants that allow betting on 50 or 100 hands at the same time.

Doubling Down The Winnings

With some video poker varieties, players will be offered the chance to double the amount they have come by using the double-or-nothing feature. Interestingly enough, together with the odds bet in craps, the double-down feature is the only one, which goes without a house edge. Whether or not players will use it depends solely on their preferences and, above all, on their reasons for playing, as making a wrong pick will cost them their winnings.

Volatility and Variance in Video Poker

As likely as not, players might have heard the term volatility but perhaps not in the context of video poker. In the event that the preferred video poker variant has high volatility, gambling enthusiasts will experience great swings in their bankroll during their betting session. The deep lows during their betting session, and this will happen because the high-paying hands will be funded by reducing the return of hands that pay less but are a lot more frequent.

Of course, if the game you are playing has just two outcomes, you will certainly grow bored very quickly, and for this reason, game-making studios have made sure that video poker variants will have an attention-grabbing feature, which comes in the form of the payout offered for a royal flush. It goes without saying that such hands occur quite infrequently, and gambling enthusiasts might need to play approximately 43.000 hands before they get such a payout.

Video Poker Volatility
Variance in Video Poker

Video Poker Volatility

Bear in mind that if the preferred video poker variant offers more substantial wins, you will be up against a high-volatility game. Let’s take as an example video poker variants that are not limited solely to regular payouts but offer something on the side, which is exactly the case with Double Bonus Poker. With such video poker versions, avid casino fans can come by an extra payoff when four Aces appear together. On such occasions, the offered payout will be 160 for 1.

The payouts offered for four 2s, 3s, or 4s are not to be overlooked as such winning hands pay at the rate of 80 for 1. The payouts for the 5s through Ks are also boosted, and gambling enthusiasts will be paid 50 for 1, and not 25 for 1.

As we mentioned already, the higher payouts offered for the above-mentioned hand combination will be compensated by the reduction of the payouts for some of the other hands. Thus, instead of getting a payout of 2 for 1 for two pairs, gambling enthusiasts will collect a payoff of 1 for 1. In addition to this, the contribution of the combinations that provide the more substantial payouts will be reduced. With this in mind, the bankroll of gambling enthusiasts will decrease at a quicker pace when the high-paying card combinations are not formed.

Variance in Video Poker

As opposed to what many players consider, variance and volatility are not two interchangeable terms, and they are not used to describe one and the same thing. In simple terms, variance is used in order to put a number to volatility, and with the majority of the video poker version available out there, it starts at around 15 and can reach 200 at the most.

The variance of the chosen video poker variant will shoot up, given that players will stand the chance to see more handsome-paying hands that do not appear that frequently.

It is safe to say that variance makes the difference, and while choosing a video poker variant to give a shot, gambling enthusiasts should ask themselves whether they want to ensure that their bankroll will endure longer or that they will get to see winning combinations more frequently.

A Closer Look at The Paytable of Video Poker Games

Before gambling enthusiasts go ahead with their video poker betting session, they should always take their time to examine the payscale of the preferred version as it contains the most essential information they will need. From the information in the payscale, gambling enthusiasts can judge of the type of the game, its volatility, and the returns it offers. This will help them adjust their strategy accordingly in order to get the most out of their betting session.

With most video poker variants available over the Internet, gambling enthusiasts will be able to see the paytable right off as it will be displayed on the screen all the time. Yet, players might still come across video poker variants in which the paytable pops up on the screen after they navigate to the help section, but this is rarely the case.

How Does The Payscale Looks
Full-Pay Video Poker Variants

How Does The Payscale Looks

The layout of the paytable all video poker variants is of a piece, no matter when it comes to playing the game online or offline. The lowest-paying combinations stand at the bottom of the payscale, while the highest-paying combinations are featured at the top. On the right-hand side of the paytable, players will see the payout offered for the respective card combination and how it goes higher as the number of credits they have picked is increased. The rightmost column displays the payout gambling enthusiasts will stand the chance to collect if the maximum number of credits is chosen.

Full-Pay Video Poker Variants

The full-pay video poker variants are exceptionally appealing for players because of the better payoffs they offer for a full house and flush are better. The full-pay variants of Jacks or Better are often referred to as 9/6 ones simply because the payout for a full house will be worth six times the staked amount, while the payout for a flush will be nine times the staked amount. Therefore, the biggest difference between the full-pay video poker variants and the rest of the options is that the paytable schedule of the latter will be less advantageous.

What the Right Number of Credits Is

When table games are concerned, the number of credits players have chosen to bet will not have an impact on what the game returns to them.

Number of Credits in Roulette
Number of Credits in Video Poker

Number of Credits in Roulette

Thus, if we take as an example European-style roulette variants, the edge the house will maintain over players will be 2.7% and 1.35% if the La Partage and En Prison Rules are available. What this means is that the house will collect $2.7 or $1.35 for every $100 players wager. Therefore, if gambling aficionados stake $1,000, the amount the house will collect will run into $27 or $13.5, respectively.

No matter what the case is, the return to player will stay the same, and the rate will always be 97.3% or 98.65%. The same also applies to slots, and the number of credits gambling enthusiasts have chosen to stake will not influence the return percentage. Much like with the full-pay video poker variants, some slots also offer something on the side, and when this is so, gambling enthusiasts are required to place the maximum possible stake in order to attempt to get the extra or more handsome payout.

Number of Credits in Video Poker

As we explained already, the majority of the video poker variants available out there offer the most substantial payout when royal flush is formed, and the maximum number of credits is chosen. In the majority of the cases, gambling enthusiasts will be up against video poker variants that offer a maximum of five credits, but although scarce, such that offer ten or more are also available.

Yet, many players find it hard to determine the level at which they should keep their bets while reveling in video poker. The most obvious piece of advice is to always bet within their limits and make sure that they are comfortable with the bets they make.

Assuming that the bankroll you have set aside for your betting session is $200 and you have decided to give a go a dollar video poker variant with a five-credit maximum. Consistently betting the maximum number of credits means that each round will cost you $5. Considering your bankroll, you will be able to place 40 bets, given that none of your hands is a winning one. Even if this is not the case, players will run out of funds at a quicker pace than they might think.

A better alternative players should consider when they want to make sure that their bankroll will last longer is to go for a $0.25 game, which supports the same maximum number of credits as in this way, the cost of a single hand will drop down to $1.25. Considering that you join the table with a bankroll of $200, this amount will suffice for 160 hands without a single win.

Of course, the speed at which gambling enthusiasts play is an important factor to consider while determining the duration of their betting session.

How the Payback Percentage Changes in Video Poker

A facility with numbers is indeed in order to determine which variant is the most advantageous for players. This is so because players can refer to it in order to find out which variants are worse and which are superior to the rest of the options available out there.

Jacks or Better
Full-Pay Deuces Wild

Jacks or Better

Paytable of A Full-Pay Variant of Jacks or Better
Hand Number of Credits
# 1 2 3 4 5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1.000 4.000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two Pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5

What players might have noticed is that no matter the winning combination, the winning amount invariably increases by one when playing a single credit. Thus, when you check the payout a royal flush offers, it becomes evident that such combinations pay 800 for 1. The payback percentage of the full-pay versions of Jacks or Better is 99.54%.

If Jacks or Better is the video poker game, which most appeals to you, you should remember that aside from the full-pay versions, you will also come across 9/5, 8/6, 8/5, 7/5, and 6/5 variants. In order to estimate the return percentage of each of the versions of Jacks or Better, you will need to take into account the payoff of each of the winning combinations and the odds of getting each of the combinations.

Payscale Return percentage
9/6 99.54%
9/5 98.45%
8/6 98.39%
8/5 97.3%
7/5 96.15%
6/5 95,00%

Bear in mind that the first two rows are the ones to take a look at when you wish to find out what the specific game is. This is so because when casino operators want to change the reuters, the payoffs for a royal flush and straight flush are the ones they will adjust, while the other ones will remain the same.

Full-Pay Deuces Wild

Payback Percentage of Full-Pay Deuces Wild
Payscale Payback Percentage
25/15/9/5/3/2 100.76%
25/15/11/4/4/3 99.96%
25/16/10/4/4/3 99.74%
25/15/9/4/4/3 98.91%
20/12/10/4/4/3 97.58%
20/12/9/4/4/3 97.06%
25/16/13/4/3/2 96.77%
20/10/8/4/4/3 95.96%
25/15/10/4/3/2 94.82%

If you compare the payback percentages of the above-mentioned variants of Deuces Wild and some slots, you will arrive at the conclusion that even the worst of the above-mentioned options pose a better alternative than spinning the reels.

When you examine closer the payback percentage the 25/16/10/4/4/3 Deuces Wild offers and you compare it to the full-pay variant of Jacks or Better, you will notice that the former is a better option. With this in mind, Deuces Wild might seem like an obvious choice, but gambling enthusiasts should remember that choosing such a video poker will need to calibrate their strategy, which will not be the case with Jacks or Better.

Payback Percentage, Return, House Edge And The Relation between Them


As far as casino games are concerned, each and every of them has house edge and payback percentage that are interdependent, but as it turns out, most players have no idea what these terms are all about.

2Payback Percentage

Under normal circumstances, European-style roulette variants will have a payback percentage of either 97.3% or 98.65%. This means that for every stake of $100, the amount gambling enthusiasts will be paid back will be $97.3 or $98.65%.

In blackjack, the payback percentage varies greatly from one variant to another, but if we say that it is around 99.65%, this means that players will be paid back $99. 65 for $100.

In craps, the payback percentage is not invariably the same because of the different bet types. Thus, if we take as an example the pass line bet, its payback percentage is 98.59%. The any seven bet is the one with the lowest payback percentage as it stands at 83.88%.

The payback percentage of slots also vary considerably from one game to another, and usually, it is somewhere between 95% and 83%. There are also titles with a higher payback percentage, but they are few and far between.

If you refer back to the video-poker related tables, you will notice that the payback percentage in these games also varies wildly as they can start at 95% and although rarely, can exceed 100%.

3The House Edge in Video Poker

If the payback percentage is used to indicate what amount will be returned to you based on the amount you stake. Online and brick-and-mortar casinos hold a specific portion of the money gambling enthusiasts stake, and this is exactly how they maintain their advantage.

Therefore, if you know the payback percentage of the preferred video poker variant, you will be able to calculate the house edge and vice versa. Please bear in mind that the sum of the house edge and the payback percentage cannot go over 100, no matter what casino game you are about to start playing.

In spite of the fact that it might be hard to find such, there are video poker variants that offer a return of 100.17% and this is exactly the case with Double Bonus Poker. In this case, the player is the one who holds the advantage, meaning that the house edge is negative.

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