Video Poker Rules

Bob Dancer once made a million dollars in six months playing video poker. Who is Bob Dancer? It doesn’t really matter but he’s one of the top video poker experts in the world.

The thing is, he used to be an average Joe just like you or I. What made him special was his calculated approach to the game.

The one thing that separates video poker from most gambling games is that in video poker, you have an opportunity to make decisions that affect the outcome of the game. If you make the mathematically correct decision every time, you can minimize (or even overcome) the house advantage.

With the right strategy, you too can gain an advantage over video poker machines. Live video poker machines are the loosest but you can still find some pretty loose video poker machines online. In fact, Bodog Casino has some of the loosest video poker action on the internet. You can even visit their website and practice for free without having to register an account.

Video Poker Casinos

Getting started with video poker is easy. The first thing you need to do is find a safe, high-paying casino. For video poker, I recommend you play at a casino that has a strong reputation. There are many casinos to choose from but it’s best if you stick with one of the big name casinos that you see advertised regularly. If you decide to play at a different casino, make sure you do a little research before bringing your money there.

How to Play Video Poker

Every video poker variant is a little different but they are all based on five card draw. After you put your money into the machine and click the deal button, you are given five cards. You then get one chance to discard as many of those cards as you wish and receive up to five new cards. You can choose which cards to keep by selecting those cards and “holding” them.

After you have made your selections, you click the deal button to receive your new cards. The game will then analyze your final hand and pay you according to the pay table posted near that video poker machine. The stronger your final hand, the bigger your prize.

Video poker pay tables are charts that explain how much money you get paid for achieving certain hands. The rarer the hand is, the more you get paid. Also, the more coins you play at a time, the bigger your potential payouts. One thing to note about video poker pay tables is that there is a large step up in payouts when the maximum number of coins are played at a time.

When choosing a video poker machine, don’t forget to check out each machine’s pay table. Most video poker games offer similar payouts but it never hurts to double check. Some video poker games simply pay out more than others.

Video Poker Variations

There are several types of video poker you are likely to encounter online:

Jacks or Better

This is the most common and most popular form of video poker. You get paid if your final hand is equal to a pair of jacks or better. There are no wild cards or special rules. This is the simplest video poker variation and therefore the most recommended for new video poker players.

Deuces Wild

This is my personal favorite. In Deuces Wild, all 2′s are considered wild cards but you need to have a 3 of a kind or better to get paid.

Bonus Deuces Wild

This one varies from Deuces Wild in 2 ways. First, the payouts for 5 of a kind are divided into three categories:

Five Aces

Five 3s, 4s and 5s

Five 6s through Kings

Five Aces gives the highest payout, 3s-5s gives the second highest payout and6s-Kings gives the lowest payout.

Second, Bonus Deuces Wild also has a special payout if you end up with 4 deuces and an ace.

Minimum paying hand: 3 of a Kind.

Loose Deuces

Deuces are wild and there is a payout for the Wild Royal Flush, which is a Royal Flush made with deuces. The Wild Royal Flush ranks between 5 of a Kind and Four Deuces.

Minimum paying hand: 3 of a Kind.

Sevens Wild

As the name suggests, 7s are wild in this game. There are special payouts for having four 7s and for Royal Flushes made with 7s.

Minimum paying hand: 3 of a Kind.

Aces and Eights

This game is similar to Jacks or Better except it has special payouts for 4-of-a-Kind:

Four Aces or Four 8s

Four 7s

Four of anything else

Minimum paying hand: Pair of Jacks.

Bonus Poker

This variant is based on Jacks or Better except the payouts for 4 of a kind are divided into three categories:

Four Aces

Four 2s, 3s or 4s

Four 5s through Kings

Minimum paying hand: Pair of Jacks.

Double Bonus Poker

Double Bonus Poker is played with the same rules as Bonus Poker except the payouts for any hand equal to a straight or better are much higher. This is made up for with lower payouts for two-pair.

Minimum paying hand: Pair of Jacks.

Double Double Bonus Poker

This variant is similar to Bonus Poker but the payouts for 4-of-a-kind are a little different. The payouts for 4 of a Kind are divided into 5 categories:

Four Aces with 2, 3 or 4

Four Aces with 2, 3 or 4

Four Aces

Four 2s, 3s or 4s

Minimum paying hand: Pair of Jacks.

Bonus Poker Deluxe

Bonus Poker Deluxe is played with the same rules as Jacks or Better except the payouts for 4-of-a-kind are much higher and the payouts for 2-pair are even money.

Minimum paying hand: Pair of Jacks.

Mystery Bonus Poker

Every time you hit the “deal” button, a hand shows up in the Mystery box in the top right hand corner of the screen. If your final hand matches that hand, you get an increased payout. Mystery Bonus Poker also pays out more for Royal Flushes than most video poker variants.

Minimum paying hand: Pair of Jacks.

Seven Stud Video Poker

Unlike the other variants listed on this page, 7 Stud Video Poker is not based on 5 card draw. In this variant, you are dealt 5 cards face down and 2 cards face up. You then have the option to place another bet and reveal another card. This continues on for each card. You also have the option to “check it down” at any point by clicking on the Deal All button.

Video Poker Strategy

The proper strategy for video poker varies widely from one machine to the next. For a complete list of video poker games and the proper strategies, take a look at the Wizard of Odds’ video poker strategy page. The Wizard of Odds is one of the most respected gambling authors in the world and I constantly refer to his stuff.

If you care about making your money last at the casino, video poker played with the proper strategy is the best way to do exactly that. With the right video poker strategy, you can achieve a return of 99.5% or higher. At some video poker machines, you can actually gain a positive return!

Video Poker Volatility

Even if you play with perfect strategy, be prepared to experience a lot of volatility with video poker. It’s a very close game when you play with a solid strategy so you’ll see a lot of ups and downs during your playing days. Sometimes it will seem like you always win and other times it will feel like you can’t hit a thing.

Another thing you’ll want to remember is those 99% + returns we were talking about earlier take into account the occasional royal flush bonus. A video poker player can expect to hit a royal flush about once every 40,000 hands. That’s why it’s vital that you play with the maximum number of coins every time. If that’s a little expensive for you, look for machines that offer lower coin denominations.