How To Play Video Poker Online In 2020

If you’re an at-home poker player who loves playing slots when you hit the casino floor, video poker is for you. The game often combines the strategy of five card draw poker and the glitz and graphics of an online slot machine. This guide will walk you through the basics of video poker, explain the differences and best hands and how to find the best online site.

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What are the Differences between Video and “Regular” Poker?

video poker

In regular poker, there is a dealer and several players situated around a table. You’re dealt two cards face down and have five community cards to work with to build the strongest hand possible to win the pot. Whereas in regular poker, when you are competing against the players around you or in LIVE Texas Hold’em when you’re trying to beat the dealer, video poker acts more like a five card draw poker slot machine.

Much like other online casino games like blackjack and roulette, random number generator software powers video poker games.

How to Play Video Poker

While there are several variations to choose from, these basic rules will help get you started.

After finding an online casino and choosing a video poker game, you’ll first need to place a bet. The great thing is that many casinos offer FREE play for beginners that use bet “credits” until you’re ready to play for real money. Most games offer affordable minimum bets, but the per hand cost can go up if you wish. Shop around to find the best game that fits your bankroll budget.

When placing that initial bet, be sure to pay attention to the pay table, typically located at the top of the screen. You can bet one credit, but a MAX bet (ex: 5x credit cost) offers better payouts if you win. Just be careful because MAX bets can burn through a bankroll if you hit a cold streak.

After you’ve placed a bet, you’re dealt five cards and can review where your hand ranks on the pay table. This is where video poker is very similar to five card draw poker.

If you are looking at a straight flush, for example, you would want to HOLD all your cards because the pay table likely pays a premium for a hand that strong. There are typically HOLD buttons beneath each card you wish to hold before drawing a second time.

If you don’t have one pair, you are likely going to want to draw five new cards. In this case, you would not HOLD any cards before clicking DRAW.

After the new cards are dealt, the software will AUTOMATICALLY let you know how you fared. If you win, credits will be added to your balance. The better the poker hand, the bigger the payout, but always be sure to review the pay table beforehand to know what to expect when you hit big!

Hand Definition
Royal Flush five cards of the same suit, ranked Ace through 10 (ex: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 of Hearts)
Straight Flush five cards of the same suit and consecutively ranked (ex: Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight of Diamonds)
Four of a Kind four cards of the same rank (ex: four 9s)
Full House three cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank (ex: Three 8s, Two 5s)
Flush any five cards of the same suit (ex: Queen, Jack, Seven, Four, Two of Hearts)
Straight any five cards consecutively ranked (ex: 4 of Clubs, 5 of Diamonds, 6 of Diamonds, 7 of Hearts, 8 of Spades)
Three of a Kind three cards of the same rank (ex: three 5s)
Two Pair two cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank (ex: Two Queens, Two Kings)
One Pair two cards of the same rank (ex: Two Aces)
High Card five unmatched cards (ex: no pairs, high card wins)

Different Variations

Jacks or Better

This is the most popular video poker game. The game is won if you draw a pair of Jacks or better in your five-card hand.

Deuces Wild

Another popular option, Deuces Wild allows you to substitute any card for a 2 of Spades, Clubs, Hearts or Diamonds to make the best possible five-card hand. For example, if you draw a KING, 10 of Spades, KING, 2 of Hearts and 2 of Diamonds, those 2s can be flipped into KINGS, handing you a four-of-a-kind winner and a big payout.

Bonus Poker

This game is based on Jacks or Better, but typically pays out better return on a four-of-a-kind hand. The value of the payout varies based on which four cards you draw.

Bonus Poker Deluxe

This game is different than Bonus Poker because all four-of-a-kind hands pay the same rate.

Poker Glossary

Poker Term Definition
Credits a value assigned to video poker machine wagers (i.e. a credit could equal $0.25 or $5)
Five Card Draw video poker is very similar to five card draw poker rules minus the dealer
Draw receive initial cards or receive new cards
Hold keep up to 5 of your dealt cards by holding
MAX bet typically wager 5x video poker machine credits per betting round
Random number generator (RNG) the algorithm-powered software that generates each video poker hand
Paytable the infographic box that explains to players which video poker hand pays out
Face cards King, Queens and Jacks are referred to as face cards
Return to Player Percentage (RTP) how often a video poker machine pays out to the player, on average
House Edge the mathematical advantage the casino (house) has over the player
Progressive jackpot when the top hand, typically a royal flush, is achieved while MAX betting 5x credits, it unlocks a top prize jackpot
Wild, Wild Card A card that can possess any value to make your video poker hand stronger
Bankroll The amount of video poker money you have access to
On Tilt emotionally fueled poker betting void of reason or strategy, trying to make up for ones losses

Frequently Asked Questions