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How To Play Video Poker

Video poker is a fun and potentially lucrative game featured at many gambling establishments, including both online and brick-and-mortar casinos. Although there are many varieties of video poker, the rules of the game are simple, and savvy players will be able to make money quickly. Most video poker games are quite similar, and generally only differ in aesthetics and pay tables.

The Basics Of Online Video Poker


The basics of video poker are simple. Upon beginning a session, you'll be dealt five cards. You can then click on any or all of the cards in order to hold them. The appearance of a card will generally change after you click it to indicate that you wish to hold it. Next, click the "draw" button, and any cards you haven't held will be replaced. The goal is to create a traditional poker hand, such as three of a kind, a Full House, or a Royal Flush.


Before each hand, you'll have to place a bet. Regardless of what type of video poker game you choose to play, some sort of minimum bet will be enforced. Most games will allow you to play multiples of the minimum bet at once. For example, a video poker game with a $.25 minimum bet will allow you play anywhere from one to five "coins" per hand. This means that the maximum bet per hand will be $1.25. The amount of money you'll be awarded for a successful hand will depend on the size of your bet and the value of the hand you completed.

If you're playing at an online casino, the money you bet on each poker hand will be automatically extracted from your account. This will be the same pool of funds that you might use to play blackjack, roulette, or slots at the same casino site.

Poker Hands

In order to maximize your odds of winning video poker, you'll need to have a full understanding of each winning hand possible in the game.

  • The absolute best hand you can create is called a Royal Flush. This consists of the 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, all of the same suit.
  • A Straight Flush is the second best possible hand in most video poker games, and includes any five consecutive suited cards.
  • A Flush includes any five cards of the same suit. A Straight includes five consecutive cards of any suit.
  • A Full House consists of Three of a Kind and a Pair simultaneously.
  • Four of a Kind, Three of a Kind, and Two Pairs are also viable poker hands.
  • A Pair is sometimes not a winning hand by itself, but this will depend on the type of video poker game you're playing. In "Jacks or Better," for example, any pair of face cards will count as a winning hand.

Having all of the possible winning poker hands memorized will serve two important purposes. Most importantly, you'll know which cards to hold and which to discard in each hand. You'll be able to make this decision quickly, maximizing the amount of hands you can play each hour. Secondly, the game will be more exciting and enjoyable when you know what cards you're looking for.

Playing Style

When sitting down to begin a session of video poker, it's important to understand what your goals are. If you're mainly looking for entertainment, it may be wise to ration your funds accordingly and play smaller bets, typically only one coin at a time. This will extend your playing session, and reduce the sting of a failed hand. Along these same lines, it's important to realize that you'll encounter plenty of failed hands while playing, and if you expect to make a profit on every single hand you play, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you wish to maximize your profits, and don't mind a potentially shortened play session, you can bet more coins per hand.

Virtually any video poker game will award you with a large bonus if you score a Royal Flush after betting the maximum amount. For example, in "Jacks or Better," betting one coin and scoring a Royal Flush awards 250 coins. Betting two coins awards 500 coins, three coins awards 750 coins, and four coins awards 1000 coins. Each award is simply 250 times the bet amount. However, betting five coins and achieving a Royal Flush will award a whopping 4000 coins. In this way, video poker games will award "high rollers" for continuously playing the maximum allowable bet, hoping to eventually find their lucky Royal Flush.

Further Reading

Interested in learning more about video poker? We've found the best online articles about the subject:

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