How to Play Video Poker

How to Play Video Poker

This post was written by JC Zuniga on May 15, 2018

Video poker was introduced in the 70s and the people back then did not really understand how powerful video poker actually was. However, it did not take long before it gained worldwide popularity, and it is now one of the most popular poker games online. There have been several attempts to make variations of the traditional video poker, but the one with five cards and Jacks or Better type of game still remains #1. Let’s see how it is played!

How to Play Video Poker

Placing a Bet in Video Poker

The traditional Video Poker machines would allow you to very limited betting options, while the new video poker games are more versatile when it comes to that. However, the principle is the same, you place a bet before you are given 5 cards and the bigger the bet is, the bigger your winnings will be if you manage to have a winning hand.

Dealing in Video Poker

Now, there are no other players in this type of game and there is actually no dealer. It is just you against yourself and the goal is to create a winning hand. However, the process of dealing is done 2 times. The first is the initial dealing and it is conducted after you place a bet. When you take a look at your cards, you get to choose which ones you want to hold. Those which are not labeled as “hold” are replaced in the second dealing.

The Main Game in Video Poker

There is actually no main game in this type of poker. It is basically just that – you get the cards and replace the ones that you do not think fit well in hope for the better ones. Once they are chosen, you get to see whether you won according to the paytable that is usually displayed right above. Here is the list of the standard winning hands in video poker, listed from the highest to the lowest:
  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • Jacks or Better
The Jacks of Better means that if you have one pair in your hand it will be counted only if that pair is either Jacks or a pair of cards that are better than jacks (Queen, King, Ace)

Strategy for Video Poker

It is always a good idea to hold those cards which you already have doubles – if they are Jacks or Better, that’s great as you have a pair for sure! Do not forget to think about the suits of the cards as they are important for flushes. Say you have four cards in hearts and the fifth one is a different suit. You’ll want to hold there four as you have ¼ chance to get a flush. The same way, do not forget to observe the number of cards so that you can have a straight. It may seem difficult at first to follow all aspects at once, but this is quickly acquired!