Video Poker

Video Poker machines first appeared in Las Vegas casinos in the 1970s, and have proven to be a timeless favorite among players worldwide

The concept of video poker is very simple. Players usually play one or more hands of 5 card draw poker on a machine and if you draw what is considered a winning hand – you win!

Beginners should learn the standard poker hand values before trying to understand video poker.

As with most very popular games, many variants of video poker have been developed over the years. Some variations introduce jokers or wild cards, and some involve playing many games or lines at once. Jacks or Better seems to be the most popular, with any hand containing a pair of Jacks or better winning a prize.

Video Poker Basic Strategy

When played to perfect strategy, some video poker machines/games can actually give odds very slightly in the players’ favour – certainly a rarity among casino games! The first step of good video poker strategy is to choose a good machine. You should look for machines that pay out 800-1 for a Royal Flush and 6-1 for a flush. (many only pay 5-1)

This strategy is for playing Jacks or Better machines. The options below are ranked from 1 (best hand) to 17 (worst hand). You should look at your hand, see where it possibly fits on the list, and then chase the highest option. Remember that your hand could fit more than one of these scenarios, so make sure you chase the higher option.

  1. Four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush – no cards
  2. 4 of a royal flush – draw 1 card
  3. straight, flush, full house – no cards
  4. Three of a kind – draw 2 cards
  5. 4 of a straight flush – draw 1 card
  6. Two pair – draw 1 card
  7. High pair (AKQJ) – draw 3 cards
  8. 3 of a royal flush – draw 2 cards
  9. 4 suited – draw 1 card
  10. Low pair – draw 3 cards
  11. open straight draw – draw 1 card
  12. 2 suited high cards (AKQJ) – draw 3 cards
  13. 3 of a straight flush – draw 2 cards
  14. 2 unsuited high cards (AKQJ) – draw 3 cards
  15. Suited 10/J, 10/Q, or 10/K – draw 3 cards
  16. One high card (AKQJ) – draw four cards
  17. Nothing – Draw another 5 cards

Random Fact

All slot machines in Australia are commonly called ‘Poker Machines’ or ‘Pokies’ because the original slots that punters fell in love with were all video poker machines!