Online Video Poker Free Guide – Tips and Tricks
Video Poker remains a popular online casino choice for a reason: it’s one of the only games where a bit of strategy and study beforehand can lead to some really big wins!
If you’re looking to learn how to play Video Poker, as well as the rules and strategy you need to know, then you’re in the right place!
Why You Should Play Video Poker
Whether you’re a fan of traditional poker or you’ve never played before, Video Poker is a game you should be playing.
Video Poker is a fun, strategy-based game, with some serious opportunities for high returns – with very few rules to learn. It’s an ideal game for slots players who enjoy the thrill of a semi-automated game, but who are looking for more certain wins.
There’s more control than in traditional table Poker, not to mention some very easy to learn tips and strategy. It’s one of the only casino games with an 100% payout percentage, and a very low house edge. For example, the Jacks or Better Video Poker variant has a house edge of 0.46%, which, when compared to some other casino games – Baccarat – 1.06%-14.36%; Roulette – 2.7% – 5.26% – makes it even more popular, with a high winning potential.
How to Play
Getting started playing Video Poker is easy. Although there are several different variants you might want to try and which have slightly different rules, the actual gameplay is pretty straightforward and similar in each:
- You first need to choose your starting bet. This can be from as little as 10p, to as much as £5.
- When you’re ready, place your bet, and press ‘Deal’. You’ll receive 5 cards – this is your ‘hand’.
- Here’s where you might want to change the hand you’re dealt: you have to choose which cards give you the highest chances of winning. This is called making your hand – and it’s also the time you choose which cards to return to the dealer’s deck.
- To keep cards, select the ones you want by clicking on them. Then, when you’re ready, press ‘Draw’ to be dealt other cards to replace the ones you discarded. Here’s where it’s a good idea to brush up on your strategy, and the game’s highest paying hands – the harder the hand to make, the bigger the payout will be.
- Play against the dealer. If you win, you’ll be awarded your payout. If you don’t, you are taking to the next round and next hand.
- You’ll likely see a few columns in the paytable, because any payouts you receive for wins will be dependent on the number of coins you play.
- There are 3 important buttons you need to know about:
- Deal – this button will mean you’re dealt another round.
- Hold – this will keep the cards you want in your hand
- Draw – this button will give you new cards, to replace the one(s) you discarded.
The Double Up Feature
There’s also the Double Up feature, which you’ll see in some, but not all, variants of Video Poker. It serves up some potentially huge wins, if you play your cards right!
The Double Up feature will activate once you’ve won a hand. You’ll see 5 cards dealt, one face up, and four face down. You need to choose a face-down card which will beat your face-up card – if you manage to do this, you’ll double your original win.
If your chosen face-down card is lower than the house’s face-up card, you’ll lose your entire win. If the card is the same value as the house’s face-up card, it’ll either be treated as a push (no win/no loss), or a player loss, depending on the variant you’re playing.
In some variants, you’ll be able to Double Up only once per win, and in other variants, you’ll be able to keep going until you either stop or lose.
Video Poker Rules and Variations
As with any online game variant, there are several rules of Video Poker which apply to each variant game. These are:
- You are dealt 5 starting cards
- You choose whether to ‘hold’ or return any of the cards
- If your hand matches a certain poker hand, you win the amount stated in the game.
In each variant of Video Poker, the winning hands remain the same:
- Royal Flush: having five cards of the same suit, in order from Ace to 10 (i.e. the ‘face’ cards)
- Straight Flush: having five cards of the same suit in order (e.g. 10-5, 2-7)
- Four of a Kind: Holding four cards with the same value, e.g. four Jacks
- Full House: holding three of a kind and a pair
- Flush: holding five cards of the same suit
- Straight: holding five cards of different suits, but in order (e.g. 2-7, across Deuces, Hearts, Spades and Clubs)
- Three of a Kind: holding three cards with the same value (e.g. three 5s)
- Two Pairs: holding two pairs of cards (e.g.: holding two pairs in a hand (e.g. two 7s and two 5s)
- Pair: Holding a pair of cards in a hand (e.g. two 8s)
Of course, certain variants have other rules of gameplay, but the above rules make up the basis of gameplay across every variant.
Variations of Video Poker
There are several wildly popular variants of Video Poker – the following games are just some of the most popular Video Poker variants out there:
Jacks or Better
Probably the most popular version of Video Poker Jacks or Better’s rules state you have to be holding a pair of Jacks – or better – in your hand in order to win. Anything less than this is worthless, while anything better than this has its own pay scale.
In the Deuces Wild variant, all Deuces in any hand are considered wilds, and can be counted as any rank or suit. Needless to say, this makes it very easy to get big, winning hands… so the payouts tend to be more reduced than in other variants.
Jokers Wild/Joker Poker
Played with a standard 52-card deck, plus one added Joker, the Joker can be used as a wild card, counting as any suit or rank.
Similar to the Jacks or Better variant, the Ace, 2, 3 and 4 cards are worth more, and should be used in any hands formed if possible.
Aces and Eights
Both Aces and 8s are worth additional pays, with wins for four of a kind 8s – it’s pretty similar to Jacks or Better, in this way.
Aces & Faces
Similar to Aces and Eights, this variant pays out on four of a kind hands – and big wins up for grabs whenever the four of a kind is made up of face cards or Aces.
Tens or Better
Similar to Jacks or Better, in this variant, the lowest paying hand is a pair of 10s.
Using a standard 52 card deck, the lowest winning hand available is a pair of 9s. The name comes from the fact that during the gameplay, players are given a choice of picking between two stacks of cards to add to their hand.
Two Ways Royal
This variant gives players a fresh twist on a royal flush: in this game, a 2-6 straight flush pays out the same as a royal flush.
Video Poker Strategy
Generally, Video Poker strategy depends on the type of variant you’re playing.
Otherwise, there are a few tips and tricks you should know about playing, just to increase your chances of winning.
- Don’t get tempted by ‘possible’ hands, or what could be – work with what you have. If you’re holding a pair and a high card, go with the pair. The single high card you’re holding is just that – by itself, and risking what you have for what you might have won’t pay off, most of the time.
- On that note, if you have absolutely nothing to work with – no high cards or low pairs, discard your hand entirely. There’s no point betting on something which might happen – instead, wait it out and play the next hand instead – your bankroll will thank you for it.
- If you’re lucky enough to get them, you should always hold: a royal flush, a straight flush, for of a kind, a full house, three of a kind or two pair. A word of warning though – if you hold a three of a kind, discard the other two cards in your hand to give yourself the opportunity to hold four of a kind.
Our List of Trusted Poker Sites
If you’re ready to get started playing Video Poker, then we have just the online casino for you! Check out our list of trusted recommended casinos (personally chosen, audited and reviewed by us), and enjoy the best bonuses and service while playing.