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A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Video Poker

A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Video Poker


A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Video Poker

Discover everything you need to learn in our beginner’s guide to Video Poker and you will be playing and hopefully winning in no time at all.

Over the last few decades Video Poker has become incredibly popular, both online and at land casinos. The games give you the chance to develop your poker skills and win a huge amount of money, while having a truly enjoyable time.

At Casino Las Vegas you will find a number of different types of Video Poker game and if you have never played before then it can look a bit daunting. However, there is no need to worry. Here we will guide you through all of the different variants, clear up any confusion you may have, and you will be playing in no time at all.

The Video Poker Basics

While there are numerous video poker variants available, nearly all of them work in the same way. The aim of the game is to build the best five-card poker hand you possibly can. Most Video Poker games are a variant on 5 Card Draw. This means that in nearly all of the games you will receive five cards, you can then choose which to hold and which to discard, the discarded cards will be replaced, and then you will be paid out according to the strength of your hand.

When playing a game the first thing to do is select your coin size. These will often range from about €0.01 right the way up to €100. You then need to decide how many coins you wish to bet per hand, most games will allow you to bet anywhere from 1 to 5 coins per hand. You should always try to bet the maximum number of coins possible and the reasons for this are explained later.

You will see that some Video Poker games are described as being 4, 10, 25, 50, or any other number of lines. The lines refer to the number of hands that you are playing simultaneously. This means that the number of coins you bet per hand will be multiplied by the number of lines. Of course, the more hands that you are playing the better your chances of winning.

Once you have set your coin size and the number of coins you are betting you just need to click on ‘Deal’ to receive your first five cards. If you are dealt a winning hand then in most games the cards in it will automatically be held. However, you can unselect them and choose to hold other cards instead. When you are happy with your selection click on ‘Deal’ once again (sometimes labelled ‘Draw’) to replace your discarded cards. Your hand is assessed and you will be paid out according to its strength.

Types of Poker Hand

Regardless of which variant of Video Poker you are playing, the basic types of poker hand are the same. Only two things will vary, the minimum hand required to win a payout and the amount paid out for each type of hand.

Here is a quick explanation of the different hand types:

  • Two/Three of a Kind – This is a hand that contains either two matching cards or three matching cards. For example, two or three 2s.
  • Two Pair – This is hand containing two pairs, for example two 2s and two 4s.
  • Full House – This is a pair together with three of a kind, for example two tens and three kings. It doesn’t matter what suit the cards are, as long as they have the same value.
  • Flush– This is a hand where all the cards are the same suit, for example, 4, 5, 7, K and A of clubs.
  • Straight– This is a hand with five cards in sequence, for example 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Once again it doesn’t matter what the suit is and the Ace can be used at either the beginning or end of a sequence.
  • Outside Straight– This is a set of cards that can be made into a straight with another card on either end. For example, 9, 7, 10, 8, 3 is an outside straight because either a 6 on the low end or a Jack on the high end will turn it into a straight.
  • Inside Straight– This is a would-be straight with a hole in the middle. 9, 2, 10, 8, 6 is an inside straight because only a 7 will turn it into a straight.  It is important to know the difference between inside and outside straights as when playing Video Poker you would never bet on an inside straight becoming a straight as you only have one chance of completing the straight.
  • Straight Flush– This is a hand that is both a straight and a flush. For example, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of diamonds.
  • Royal Flush– This is a straight flush composed of the highest cards, such as 10, J, Q, K, A.  This is the strongest hand in video poker and if you see it then you know you are in for a big payout.

Video Poker Variants

As mentioned, at Casino Las Vegas there are numerous different types of Video Poker games for you to enjoy. Here is a quick guide to each of them.

Jacks or Better

Many Video Poker variants are named after the minimum hand needed to win a payout and Jacks or Better is one such game, if you don’t have at least a pair of Jacks then you will not win anything. A Pair of Jacks will win you back your stake, and the payouts steadily increase as you progress through the more valuable hands. For instance, two pair can payout 10 coins, while a Royal Flush can payout a massive 4,000 coins!

Deuces Wild

Here is another good example of a Video Poker game whose name gives you a big clue about how the game works. In Deuces Wild all the 2 cards are wild, meaning that they can substitute for all of the other cards. Thanks to this it is much easier to form winning hands, but you will have to form more valuable hands to win a payout. In Deuces Wild a pair is not good enough to win, you will need at least three of a kind to hit the money. In this game it is possible to form a 5 of a Kind hand, and this of course pays out much more than 4 of a Kind. The most valuable hand is a Natural Royal Flush, four Deuces can payout up to 1,000x coins, and a Royal Flush containing wild cards pays 125 coins.

Joker Poker

As the name suggests, Joker Poker is played with a deck of cards that contains a joker, so 53 cards in total. The joker is a wild card and it will substitute for all of the other cards to help you form a win. However, as there is just one joker in a pack, you can win payouts with a pair of Kings or better (unlike Deuces Wild, which requires 3 of a Kind). In this game a Joker Royal Flush can payout 500 coins, a 5 of a Kind hand can payout 1,000 coins and a Natural Royal Flush will payout a massive 5,000 coins!

Aces and Faces

As the name suggests, this game offers enhanced payouts for hands that have combinations of Aces and face cards (Jack, Queen and King). As such, there are special payouts for 4 Jacks, Queens or Kings of up to 200 coins, and a special payout of up to 400 coins for four Aces. As usual, the Royal Flush is the strongest hand and will payout up to 4,000 coins.

2 Ways Royal

2 Ways Royal is based upon Jacks or Better but it gives you two ways of forming a Royal Flush, hence the name. The game has two kinds of Royal Flush, a Hi Royal Flush and a Lo Royal Flush. The Hi Royal Flush is the standards 10, J, Q, K and A in the same suit. The Lo Royal Flush is the cards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the same suit. Both of these have the potential to payout up to a massive 4,000x depending on the number of coins bet. The game also offers enhanced payouts for Four of a Kind (up to 200 coins).

All American

This is another game based upon Jacks or Better, but it offers enhanced payouts for Straight Flushes. This means that if you are betting five coins per hand you can win payouts of 1000 coins for a straight flush. The game’s top payout is 4000 coins for a Royal Flush when betting five coins per hand.

10’s or Better

The name of this game pretty much gives it away. It pays out if a hand contains at least a pair of 10s. As it is easier to form winning hands the game pays out slightly less for a Flush, a Full House or Four of a Kind. However, it offers enhances payouts for a Royal Flush when betting less than the maximum five coins. For instance, if you are betting one coin and have a Royal Flush it pays out 800 coins whereas Jacks or Better would payout just 250 coins.


This is exactly the same as Jacks or Better, but it gives you the chance to win a progressive jackpot. If you are betting the maximum of 5 coins per hand and you have a Royal Flush then the jackpot is yours.

Pick ‘em Poker

This is a simplified version of Video Poker and is a great choice if you are new to the game. In the game you have just one choice per round. You will be dealt two cards and two stacks of three cards. You will be able to see the top card of each stack and you then need to choose a stack to use to complete your hand. You then win based upon the strength of your hand. As you have less control in this game it will payout for hands of 9s or better. Furthermore, a Royal Flush can payout 6000 coins while a Straight Flush can payout 1199 coins and 4 of a Kind can payout 600 coins.

Bonus Features

Nearly all of the Video Poker games at Casino Las Vegas offer one small bonus feature. After a winning hand you have the chance to try to double your payout by playing a small game. You will be shown one face up card and need to pick from the four face down cards to find one that is higher in value. You get only one pick but if you choose correctly then you can repeat the process. This way you can keep doubling your winnings until you reach the double up limit. You can also choose to gamble just half of your winnings.

Basic Video Poker Strategy

The most basic of Video Poker strategies, regardless of which variant you are playing, is always to bet the maximum number of coins possible per hand. This is because the payouts for the top hands are always far bigger when betting the maximum number of coins. For example, most games will payout 250 coins for a Royal Flush when betting one coin, 500 coins when betting two coins, 750 coins when betting three coins, 1000 coins when betting four coins, but then a massive 4,000 coins when betting five coins. Thanks to this, by playing with the maximum number of coins you give yourself the chance of much larger returns, even if you have to play with a smaller coin size.

Video Poker strategies will vary slightly depending on the variant you are playing. But here we will explain a basic Jacks or Better strategy, as this is the most popular form of the game, and you should be able to derive other strategies from it.

The strategy works to a very basic principle. Below is a list of hands and you need to pay the highest hand that you can. The list shows you which cards to hold depending on what you have been dealt.

  1. Full House or Better
  2. 4 to a Royal Flush
  3. Straight, Three of a Kind, or Flush
  4. 4 to a Straight Flush
  5. Two Pair
  6. High Pair
  7. 3 to a Royal Flush
  8. 4 to a Flush
  9. Low Pair
  10. 4 to an Outside Straight
  11. 2 Suited High Cards
  12. 3 to a Straight Flush
  13. 2 Unsuited High Cards (if more than 2 pick the lowest 2).
  14. Suited 10/J, 10/Q or 10/K
  15. One High Card
  16. Discard Everything

Here are some examples of how to use this list.

Example 1

You are dealt: 9 Clubs, 7 Hearts, Jack Spades, 3 Diamonds, 2 Clubs.

Following the list above the best you have is number 15, One High Card. You need a pair or Jacks to win a payout so you will hold the Jack and hope to draw another one.

Example 2

You are dealt: Queen Spades, 8 Hearts, Jack Diamonds, 5 Clubs, 2 Clubs

Now you have two high cards, Queen Spades and Jack Diamonds. You will hold them both as drawing a Jack or a Queen will form a winning pair. This is number 13 on the list, 2 Unsuited High Cards.

Example 3

You are dealt: Queen Spades, 8 Hearts, Jack Diamonds, Ace Clubs, 2 Clubs

You are holding three high cards, Queen of Spades, Jack of Diamonds and Ace of Clubs. However, if you hold all three it would be impossible to get a Full House. Therefore, hold the Jack and Queen; once again, this corresponds to number 13 on the list.

Example 4

You are dealt: 8 Hearts, Jack Clubs, Queen Diamonds, Ace Clubs, 2 Diamonds

You have two suited high cards so you hold them as they can become a Flush, or even a Royal Flush. This corresponds to number 11 on the list.

Example 5

You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 5 Spades, 5 Hearts, 2 Diamonds

You have three of a kind so hold them and hope to receive another 5 for four of a kind.

Example 6

You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 5 Hearts, 2 Hearts, 3 Spades

You have a pair of 5s, hold them and hope to draw another. This is number 9 on the list, Low Pair.

Example 7

You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 8 Clubs, 2 Hearts, 6 Hearts

You have four to an outside straight (5, 6, 7, 8). You need a 4 or a 9 to make it a straight so hold all cards but the 2. This is number 10 on the list.

Example 8

You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 8 Clubs, 2 Hearts, 4 Hearts

Here you need a 6 to complete the straight (it is an inside straight). You should never draw to an inside straight so all you can do is replace all five cards.

Example 9

You are dealt: 9 Hearts, 7 Hearts, 5 Clubs, 2 Hearts, 4 Hearts

You have four cards of the same suit, therefore you have four to a flush. Discard the five and hope for another heart. This is number 8 on the list.

Example 10

You are dealt: 9 Spades, 6 Spades, 3 Hearts, 5 Spades, 8 Diamonds

You have three to a straight flush (5, 6, 9). Hold the cards and hope to receive a 7 and 8 of Spades. The returns from a straight flush are far higher than a straight so you would draw to a straight flush, but not an inside straight.

Example 11

You are dealt: 4 Clubs, 5 Spades, 6 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 7 Hearts

You could hold the four to an outside straight (4, 5, 6, 7) or hold the two 7s for three or four of a kind. Looking at the list above, a Low Pair is 9 on the list and Four to an Outside Straight is 10. Therefor you hold the 7s.

Example 12

You are dealt: 4 Clubs, Queen Clubs, 6 Clubs, 7 Clubs, 7 Hearts

You have a pair, but you also have Four to a Flush. Hold the four Clubs and hope to form a flush.

Example 13

You are dealt: 4 Clubs, 4 Diamonds, Queen Clubs, King Clubs, 7 Spades

Here the low pair is higher on the list than the two suited cards so you hold the two 4s.

Example 14

You are dealt: 10 Clubs, Jack Clubs, Queen Clubs, King Hearts, King Diamonds

Here there is a potential straight (10, J, Q, K), a high pair (2 Kings), and three to a royal flush (10, J, Q). The high pair is the highest on the list (number 6), so you hold the pair of Kings.


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