Basics on how to Pick a Video Poker Game

Considered one of the best casino games for its minimal house edge, video poker is a little like poker and a little like slots. Compared with regular poker, the stakes are much lower with video poker. There are no opponents to contend with, and you’ll never be forced to go all-in. There’s just a minimum hand that you work towards attaining in order to trigger a payout.


Video Poker winning hands are the same in standard poker, so if you’ve played Texas Hold’Em before, you have a head start in learning how to play video poker. Anything from a high pair to a royal flush is typically sufficient for a payout, with the stronger hands reeling in the bigger bucks.


So exactly how do you “work towards” getting a stronger hand? Unlike regular poker, video poker casino games give you one chance per round to improve your five-card hand by drawing replacement cards. The opportunity comes after being dealt your initial hand; at that point, you choose the cards that you want to keep, and swap the rejects for fresh new ones. Hopefully with the new additions, you have what’s needed to reel in a payout.


Difference Between Video Poker and Slots

If video poker’s core is inspired by poker, its structure is more like slots. Go to a land-based casino, and you may even confuse the two machines with each other. They each have a monitor, a lever, and flashing lights, with paytables illuminating the game’s wide range of payouts.


When you start playing video poker online, you’ll see that the similarities continue with the gameplay. Just like with slots, video poker games have game icons landing on the screen in random sequences using Random Number Generator technology. These icons are cards from a standard playing deck, although some games include the Joker as a wild. The aim for slots is to land matching icons on a payline; it’s a luck-based game. With video poker, you’re looking to build a standard poker hand, which is where the element of skill comes in.


Skill vs. luck is one way that slots and video poker differ. Video poker players can learn strategy and incorporate it into their decisions about which cards to keep vs. which cards to swap for new ones. The better you are at making this decision, the more money you’ll win.


Excitement: High Risk, High Reward

There are some pretty flashy video poker games that offer sizzling jackpots. These games are more volatile, meaning when you win, you win big. Why play Bonus Poker when you can play Double Double Bonus Poker? You’ll notice that there are iterations of the same game that provide you with a range in volatility. Let’s look at Bonus Poker vs. Double Double Bonus Poker.


Bonus Poker:                            Double Double Bonus Poker:


Royal flush: 250                                  Royal flush: 250                                 

Straight flush: 50                                 Straight flush: 50

4 Aces: 80                                            4 Aces: 160

4 2-4: 40                                              4 2-4: 80

4 5-K: 25                                              4 5-K: 50                                 

Full house: 8                                        Full house: 9

Flush: 5                                                Flush: 6

Straight: 4                                           Straight: 4

3 of a Kind: 3                                       3 of a Kind: 3

2 Pair: 2                                                2 Pair: 1

Jacks or Better: 1                               Jacks or Better: 1


In addition to the payouts for standard hands, Double Double Bonus Poker also awards big payouts for four Aces with a 2, 3, or 4 kicker (400 coins), and four Twos, Threes or Fours with an Ace-Four kicker (160 coins). With all these massive payouts, Double Double Bonus Poker is a more volatile, and thus more exciting game.



But not everyone plays video poker for excitement. Some people play it to relax after a stressful day, and these players are better off playing a low volatile game. Jacks or Better is an example of a game with low volatility.


Jacks or Better:                                         


Royal flush: 250                                                                     

Straight flush: 50                                                                                

4 of a Kind: 25                                                                        

Full house: 9                                       

Flush: 6                                               

Straight: 4                                          

3 of a Kind: 3                                      

2 Pair: 2                                              

Jacks or Better: 1


Jacks or Better doesn’t break up 4 of a Kinds like Double Bonus Poker does. Instead it offers one lower payout for all 4 of a Kind hands. The benefits of Jacks or Better are with the lower grade hands, such as a flush and 2 pair, which are the hands you’ll end up with most often. This will result in a less volatile playing experience; you won’t experience the high highs and low lows that the flashier games facilitate, instead you’ll make slightly bigger payouts with the more common hands, making Jacks or Better ideal for someone looking to wind down after a busy day.


Compare Paytables

Each version of video poker has its own unique paytable, which is where you’ll find the payouts offered for each winning hand. In addition to displaying the payout for each hand, you’ll see the difference in payouts as you increase the number of coins staked on a turn. All video poker games allow you to play 1-5 coins per round, and the more coins you stake, the higher the payouts. Many games offer an extraordinary payout for landing the Royal Flush when betting 5 coins.




Here’s an example of a paytable from the video poker classic, Jacks or Better:


Hand/Coins Bet 1 2 3 4 5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 Pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5



Hand/Coins Bet 1 2 3 4 5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 Aces w/KQJ 160 320 480 640 800
4 Aces 160 320 480 640 800
4 KQJ w/ALQJ 160 320 480 640 800
4 KQJ 80 160 240 320 400
4 2-10 50 100 150 200 250
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 5 10 15 20 25
3 of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 Pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5


As you can see, Double Double Jackpot Poker offers massive payouts for 4 of a Kind hands—way bigger than you’d get from Jacks or Better video poker. You’ll even notice slightly bigger payouts for Straights with Double Double Jackpot Poker. But to balance those increased payouts, the 2 Pair payouts are lower; you get paid the same for a 2 Pair hand as you’d get for a 1 Pair hand. The difference isn’t much, but you win far more frequently with a 2 Pair hand than a 4 of a Kind. That’s the difference in volatility: win big with games like Double Double Jackpot Poker, or win often with games like Jacks or Better. The choice is yours.