video poker

What is Video Poker? Your Ultimate Guide to Become a Master

Are you looking for fast, fun, and convenient gameplay with a very good return to player (RTP)? Then video poker is your go-to! You may have a hard time understanding the game if you haven’t played it before. Or perhaps you have been playing for a while, but you have no clue what you are doing. You don’t have to worry; I, Gamble Sensei, have created this ultimate guide to video poker just for you! 

However, in this ultimate guide, I will talk about everything you need to know about video poker; from what it is, to how to play video poker and tips on how to win. 

What is Video poker?

Video poker is a variation of traditional casino games that has been around since the early 1900s. It is the common name for a fixed-odds poker game based on a five-card draw. It can be played either in online casinos or on a terminal (a video poker machine) like the slot machines we have in physical casinos. 

Video poker games give players a chance to influence how the game will go, thereby offering players a chance to win big through jackpots, promotional offers, and bonuses while also racking profit to the casino – an element of a house edge. 

Why Should I Play Video Poker?

I should start by listing the reasons why video poker game is one of the best choices for casino gamblers. The reasons are as follows: 

  • It is a simple game. One that does not require any type of special skill. 
  • It is easy to learn. Anyone who knows how to play cards can easily pick up the rules of video poker. 
  • The pay-outs are great.  
  • Most video poker games offer progressive jackpot prizes. 
  • You don’t need to have a crowd around you. You can play it alone
  • You can play as many rounds as you want without having to wait for long periods of time

Terms in Video Poker

As there are video poker rules, there also exist some terms that define the game. It would be good to know these terms if you are going to play the game and have a chance of winning. 


Just like slot machines, video poker also pays certain amounts based on the combination a player gets while playing. The paytable in video poker is the list of possible awards that a player can receive. The paytable lists the payout values for each combination of cards. The paytable will help you determine the volatility of the game

Payback, return, and house edge

Every casino game has these three interrelated terms that are often used as one. When talking about video poker, people often talk about the payback percentage. This is the amount of money a player wins after every hand. A higher payback means that the game is more volatile. In other words, the game is less predictable. On the other hand, lower paybacks mean that the game is easier to predict. 

A house edge on the other hand is what the casino takes from what you use to play a game. It is different from money bet, coin-in, and the game returns. 


Variance (also called volatility) is the measure of the intensity of swings in the player’s bankroll while playing the game. Simply put, it refers to the amount of money you could potentially win or lose. This is determined by the payout percentage of the game. A higher payout percentage means more money you stand to gain or lose. 

Bonus Rounds

In addition to paying out jackpots, video poker games also offer bonus rounds. These are extra rounds where players can earn additional rewards. The common ones include; free spins, wild symbols, and multipliers. 

Return to Player (RTP)

The RTP is the average amount of money a player will make over the course of a single session. The higher the RTP, the better the game. 


A jackpot is a prize that is paid out at random. Jackpots are usually awarded to players who achieve a particular combination of cards. These combinations are called jackpot combinations. 

Where to Play Video Poker

If you find yourself wondering where to play video poker, you’re probably not alone. Luckily, I’m here to help you. Because of the nature of video poker, you can play video poker online and on video poker machines best online casino. 

One thing to take note about video poker is that it varies in types. Even though many of the video poker games play the same way, the slight difference is the payback percentage on each one. 

That is why it is important to know the types of video poker games we have. 

Video Poker Types

Variety is the spice of life – that is life is more interesting when it includes different things. This is also true when it comes to finding the variety of video poker game that suits you. There are different categories of video poker games. Each category has its own set of rules and pay tables. Here are the main video poker types

Jacks or Better

One interesting thing about Jacks or Better is that it is the foundation upon which the knowledge of all other video poker game rests. Jacks or Better is straightforward, it is based on a five-card draw. Players get to choose which ones to discard and which ones to choose, and then get paid based on the poker hand ranking. 

Another reason you might like this game is because it is easier to spot the better pay tables, and also, it is straightforward. The strategy is very easy to learn. 

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is the second most common variation of video poker game after Jacks or Better. One big difference even though it plays like Jacks or Better is that all the 2s in the card deck act as wild cards. What this means is that they can stand in for any card you need to fill in your hand. 

The difference between this type of video poker and the previous one I mentioned above is the way the pay tables are constructed. In Deuces Wild, you don’t have to keep up with just 2 hands with different payoffs. 

This makes Deuces Wild much harder than Jacks or Better. You still get to choose what cards to keep and what cards to discard, but now you have to worry about whether the wild card will match up with the card you need to complete your hand. 

You can also try Deuces Wild if you want to experience the thrill of winning without having to deal with the risk of losing. 

Pick’em Poker

This type of video poker game is sometimes called Pick a Pair Poker. Pick’em Poker is another interesting game on the list, as it definitely has a different gameplay than the others. In pick’em poker, you start with 2 cards, which are the foundation of your hand. You also get 2 more cards, which you have to make decision to keep one of them and discard the other. Then, you get dealt with 2 more cards in order to have a final hand. 

The advantage Pick’em Poker has over other types of video poker games on the list is the strategy, which is easier to learn. 

Bonus Poker

Bonus poker plays like Jacks or Better, but with a slight difference in gameplay. It is still a video poker game with no wild cards — the only difference is the payoffs.  

The payoff for 4 of a kind in Jacks or Better is consistent from game to game, while that of Bonus Poker is based on the ranks of the card

Jokers Wild

Jokers Wild (also known as Joker Poker) is different from Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better due to the fact that it has a different paytable and also a different kind of deck. There are 53 decks in Jokers Wild instead of 52. The pay table is also different in the sense that the payoffs start with a pair of Kings or Aces. 

Since there is no wild cards, you have another hand available – 5 of a kind which pays off at 200 to 1. 

How to Play and Practise Video Poker

Just like other casino games, video poker is quite easy to play once you know the rules. Although it has many variants, but all are based on one of poker’s simplest varieties, the five-card draw. 

The basic concept behind video poker is simple: you get dealt five cards face down from a standard 52-card deck. After that, you can choose to hold or discard any number of those cards. If you decide to keep all your cards, you will be given one final round of betting. At this point, you will be able to see which cards you have kept. Based on the value of these cards, you will either receive an award or lose money unless you decide to practise playing on free video poker machines.

Below is a step-by-step guide you can use to play the video poker game:  

  • The first thing to do in order to play any video poker game is to make a deposit  
  • After you’ve made a deposit, you can now bet on your choice of video poker game 
  • Then you would be given your five-card to start with. You can discard the ones that don’t seem useful. 
  • Replacement cards will be given to you from the same deck 
  • After each betting round, you will be shown the current payout for each winning combination. 

How to Win at Video Poker

I must tell you that there are no sure-fire ways you can win at online video poker or a video poker machine, but there are some strategies you can employ to increase your chances of winning

The way you play each hand influences the house edge. If you play too fast, you may end up making mistakes. This could result in you getting less money back. 

If you play slowly, you’ll be able to analyse your hand better and make decisions faster. You need to take advantage of the chance presented by the game and always make the best possible play. 

Even though it can be difficult sometimes to know what the best plays are, but you can salvage the situation and use a strategy chart that has the best plays listed in order. Another way to determine the best play is to use advanced mathematical concepts


I hope with this ultimate guide, you’ve understood what video poker actually is, the main types, how to play, and most importantly, how to win at the game? With this guide, it should be easier to start playing, as it will definitely get you started on the right part. 


Can I Play Free Video Poker Games? 

Yes! Playing free video poker games are a great option if you’re looking to learn and master the rules of the game. And once you’re confident with the basics you’ve learnt, you might want to start playing video poker for real money.

Can I win at video poker? 

Yes, you can. Although, there are no sure-fire ways to win at online casino games like video poker, there are ways you can increase your chances of winning.  For you to win at video poker, you’ll need a game with high pay-outs, a huge bankroll, a lot of patience, and a perfect gameplay. 

Other Online Casino Games

Are you interested in online table games? Well, you are in luck! I have prepared a list of popular online casino games that might catch your eye. The list consists of games such as online roulette, online slots and more. You can find what games you want to excel in here: