Understanding Video Poker Hands: Your Essential Guide

Grasp the Essentials of Video Poker Hand Rankings

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Key Takeaways

  • Understanding video poker hands is essential for developing an effective strategy.
  • Wild cards can significantly alter the outcome of video poker games.
  • Practicing for free allows players to hone their skills before playing with real money.

Understanding Video Poker Hands

Comprehending the various hands in video poker forms the foundation of an effective strategy. It’s vital to understand the hand rankings for various video poker options because each game awards the biggest win for different hands. For instance, the highest-paying hand in Bonus Poker is Four of a Kind Aces, while the highest-paying hand in video poker is Natural Royal Flush.

The chances of obtaining a royal flush in a video poker game are estimated to be 1 in 650,000. Subsequently, the jackpot can reward up to 250x your initial bet. With a general understanding of video poker hands in mind, we can now explore each hand ranking and its significance in the game.

Royal Flush

A Royal Flush is a 5-card combination of 10-J-Q-K-A of the same suit, which can be obtained in a video poker machine. Placing a maximum bet is required for winning the jackpot when landing a Royal Flush in the best video poker games. The probability of obtaining a Deuces Royal Flush in video poker games available in online casinos for real money is low, at approximately 0.18%. A Royal Flush typically pays out 250 to 1 in a standard game of Jacks or Better, which can be found in video poker machines.

The second draw in video poker increases the likelihood of landing a Royal Flush, a pivotal hand for players chasing progressive jackpots, as it often leads to sizable progressive prizes. The theoretical return of a Deuces Royal Flush in Microgaming’s Deuces Wild is 0.045915 per dollar wagered, as determined by the software provider.

Straight Flush

A Straight Flush is a hand containing five cards of the same suit in sequential order. The estimated probabilities of forming a Straight Flush in video poker are 72,192 to 1. In most cases, the payout for a Straight Flush is approximately 50 times the initial bet if a single credit was wagered. The probability of obtaining a Straight Flush on the initial draw in video poker is estimated to be 1 in 72,000 hands.

The Straight Flush, ranked just below the Royal Flush, is a coveted combination in video poker games. Appreciating the odds and payouts associated with this hand can guide players in their betting strategies and game selections.

Four of a Kind

Four of a Kind is a poker hand consisting of four cards with the same numerical value and a fifth irrelevant card, known as a kicker. The probability of obtaining four of a kind in video poker is 1 in 423. The payouts for Four of a Kind usually range from 20 to 25 times the initial one-credit bet; however, some online video poker variations may offer a payout of 17 times the initial bet for Four of a Kind hands.

The probability of making Four of a Kind on the initial deal is 4,164 to 1. The likelihood of obtaining Four of a Kind on the initial draw is 1 in 4,000. As the third-highest hand in video poker, Four of a Kind often results in considerable payouts, making it a key hand to comprehend while playing.

Full House

A Full House requires two cards to be matching. The other three must be the same rank. The probabilities of forming a Full House on the initial deal are 693 to 1. The likelihood of obtaining a full house in video poker is 1 in 90. For Jacks or Better, a Full House will award a payout of nine times your initial stake.

The fourth-highest hand in video poker, Full House, can yield substantial payouts. Being aware of the odds and payouts associated with this hand can guide player decisions regarding game choices and betting strategies.


A Flush is a poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit. The probability of obtaining a flush in video poker is 1 in 85. The payout for a Flush in Jacks or Better is 6 times the bet. In certain variants of Deuces Wild, a Flush pays out three times the initial one-credit wager.

Ranked fifth in video poker, a Flush can significantly influence the game’s outcome. Acknowledging the odds and payouts involved can aid players in choosing their games wisely and strategizing their bets.


A Straight is a hand consisting of five cards of consecutive ranks, regardless of suit. The typical payout for the Straight hand across the best video poker online casinos is typically 3 to 1 or 4 to 1. The probability of achieving a Straight on the initial draw is 1 in 256 hands, and additional draws can further enhance these odds. The chances of getting a Straight in video poker are very slim. It is estimated that the odds of this occurring are around 253 to 1.

The Straight, being the sixth-highest hand in video poker, can affect the game’s result. Comprehending the odds and payouts of this hand can assist players in making decisions about their game choices and betting plans.

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank comprise Three of a Kind in video poker. The odds of getting Three of a Kind is 1 in 50 hands. This means that you’re likely to get Three of a Kind roughly once every 50 hands. The payout for Three of a Kind in video poker is typically 3 times the initial bet on a variety of video poker options.

As the seventh-highest hand in video poker, Three of a Kind can substantially affect the game’s result. Being aware of the odds and payouts can guide players in their game choices and betting approaches.

Two Pair

In video poker, Two Pair is a hand consisting of one pair of cards of equal rank, another pair of a different rank, and an additional irrelevant kicker. The probability of obtaining a hand with two pairs on the initial deal in video poker is estimated to be approximately 5%. The payout for Two Pair in video poker is typically twice the initial wager.

Two Pair, the eighth-highest hand in video poker, can affect potential payouts. Comprehending the odds and payouts associated with this hand can guide players in strategic decision-making regarding game choice and betting.


A Pair in video poker is a hand composed of two cards of the same number or rank. Here are some examples of pairs in different video poker games:

  • In “Jacks or Better,” a pair of Jacks or higher is the lowest-ranking hand.
  • In Deuces Wild, the lowest winning hand is three of a kind.
  • The payout for a Pair in video poker provides a 1x payout of the stake.

As the lowest hand in video poker, a Pair can influence the game’s outcome. Familiarity with the odds and payouts of this hand can assist players in making strategic decisions about game choice and betting.

Video Poker Strategies

In video poker, various techniques are utilized to increase the likelihood of success. Some of these strategies include playing the maximum coins, which can optimize potential earnings and amplify the reward for obtaining a Royal Flush. Another strategy is utilizing a strategy list, which can guarantee success over time. The most effective approach for success in video poker is typically a slow and methodical one.

In addition to these general strategies, wild cards play a significant role in video poker games, influencing hand rankings and winning potential. We’ll now examine the role of wild cards in popular video poker variants.

Betting Strategies

Max bet, budget management, and progressive betting are all common strategies employed in video poker. Some key points to remember are:

  • Max bet can increase the payout for a Royal Flush significantly, from 1,000 to 4,000 coins.
  • Budget management is important to ensure you don’t overspend while playing video poker.
  • Progressive betting involves adjusting your bet size based on your wins and losses.

Budget management is a strategy that involves setting a limit on the amount one is willing to invest in a single game. Progressive betting is a strategy that involves incrementing the wager amount following each victory.

Applying these betting strategies can boost winning chances and maximize potential payouts. Selecting strategies that align with individual playing styles and preferences is key.

Game Variations

A range of video poker games with distinct rules and payouts can be found across all US online casinos. Some popular variations include:

  1. Jacks or Better: Requires a minimum of two jacks for a payout to be awarded.
  2. Deuces Wild: All twos in the deck become wild cards.
  3. Bonus Poker: Provides a higher payout for specific Four of a Kind hands, such as four Aces and a Five.

Comprehending the differences among various video poker game variations is key for choosing the best-suited game and adapting strategies accordingly. By doing so, players can maximize their winning potential and enjoy a more engaging gaming experience.

Optimal Play

Using optimal play strategies based on specific video poker variations is crucial for maximizing potential winnings. The house’s statistical advantage, or house edge, is expressed as a percentage. Most full-pay video poker variations have a house edge of 0.46%.

Adopting optimal play strategies, tailored to the particular video poker game at hand, can enhance success rates and enrich the gaming experience. It’s important to adapt strategies based on the unique rules and payouts of each game variation.

Wild Cards in Video Poker

Wild cards are cards that can substitute any card from the deck to form a winning hand. Their inclusion in video poker games can greatly impact hand rankings and winning potential. Some popular video poker variants featuring wild cards are Deuces Wild and Joker Poker.

Recognizing the role of wild cards in video poker games aids in strategy adjustment and maximization of winning opportunities. We’ll now explore two popular video poker variants featuring wild cards: Deuces Wild and Joker Poker.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is a popular video poker variation where all twos act as wild cards. The highest-ranking hand in Deuces and Joker Poker is Five Wilds. The theoretical return of some Deuces Wild games is 100.08%. A Natural Royal Flush is the most rewarding hand in Deuces Wild, while the second-highest ranking hand is four Twos (or four Deuces).

This variation of deuces wild video poker offers unique challenges and opportunities for players due to the presence of wild cards. By adjusting strategies to account for the wild deuces, players can maximize their winning potential and enjoy a thrilling gaming experience.

Joker Poker

Joker Poker, also referred to as Joker Wild Poker, is a widely-played variation of video poker that includes a Joker card. This Joker card acts as a wild card, allowing it to substitute for any other card to form a winning hand. The minimum qualifying pair for a winning hand in Joker Poker is two Kings.

The addition of the Joker card in this video poker variant adds an extra layer of strategy and anticipation to the game. By understanding the impact of the Joker card on hand rankings and payouts, players can make the most of their gaming experience and increase their chances of success.

Playing Video Poker Online

The convenience and variety of games offered by online casinos have spurred the growing popularity of online video poker. Players can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Practice for free before wagering real money, allowing them to hone their skills and understanding of the game without risk.
  • Choose from a wide range of video poker games, offering different variations and themes.
  • Access high-quality graphics and gameplay, enhancing the overall gaming experience.
  • Take advantage of appealing bonuses and promotions offered by reliable online casinos.

Choosing a reliable online casino offering high-quality video poker games and appealing bonuses is crucial for a satisfying gaming experience.

In addition to the benefits of online gaming, players can also take advantage of various bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs offered by many online casinos. By carefully selecting the right casino and practicing for free, players can enjoy a safe and rewarding video poker experience.

Choosing the Right Casino

Choosing an online casino for video poker involves considering a variety of factors such as:

  • Available payment methods
  • Transaction fees
  • Withdrawal speed
  • Round-the-clock customer support
  • Jurisdiction documentation
  • Highest-quality digital security protocols
  • Games in the video poker lobby are independently audited to guarantee fairness and random results.

All the safest online casinos ensure their players’ personal and financial information besides ensuring the premium video poker gambling experience. By taking these factors into account, players can make informed decisions about which online casino best suits their needs and preferences. This will ultimately contribute to a safer and more enjoyable video poker experience.

Practicing for Free

For new players, begin playing video poker by practicing for free, which provides an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the game and enhance their skills without any financial risk. There are several avenues to play video poker for free, including free online video poker games, free video poker apps, and free video poker software.

By taking advantage of these resources, players can build their confidence and improve their gameplay before wagering real money.


In conclusion, understanding video poker hands, game variations, and strategies is crucial for maximizing your chances of success in this engaging casino game. By practicing for free, choosing the right online casino, and employing optimal play strategies, you can make the most of your video poker experience and increase your winning potential.

Read our online casino reviews guide to find the right video poker site tailored to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best hands to hold in video poker?

When playing video poker, the best hands to hold onto are pairs, three-of-a-kind, face cards, or high cards, while low pairs and no pairs should be discarded. Additionally, winning hands such as a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, or a pair of Jacks or better are also good to hold onto.

How do you play video poker hands?

To play video poker, deposit credit into a machine and make your bet. You’ll then be dealt a five-card hand which you can choose to keep or discard up to all five cards. After selecting the cards you want to keep, hit the draw button and receive replacement cards from the same ‘virtual deck’, then based on the results determine if you won.

Is there a trick to video poker?

Yes, there are strategies to improve your chances at video poker. To get the most out of it, consider using a strategy chart, playing the maximum coins, and holding cards that could lead to a high-ranking poker hand.

Is it better to hold a high card or low pair in video poker?

It’s better to hold a low pair instead of a single high card when playing video poker, as it gives you the best chance to win the most money. Holding a low pair gives you a better chance of making a strong hand, such as two pair, three of a kind, or a full house. This increases your chances of winning more money than if you had just a single high card.

What is the highest-ranking hand in video poker?

The highest-ranking hand in video poker is the Royal Flush, the best possible combination of cards.

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