Video Poker Strategy: How to Get Better Chances to Win at Video Poker

how to beat video poker machines

This article has been updated since it was first written.

In this article, I am going to explain how to beat the video poker machines by:

  • Playing smarter
  • Playing slower
  • Picking the best games
  • Reducing the house edge
  • Avoiding the stupidest mistakes

In case you already know all of this and can’t wait to play some of the best video poker games - this is the site you should visit.

However, if you’d like to know how to play better with a helpful video poker strategy - continue reading.

What Makes Video Poker Special?

Since it made its entry into the casino scene back in the 1970s, video poker has gone from strength to strength to become one of the most popular gambling games.

Do you know why?

Video poker is one of the few casino games that not only offer some of the highest odds in casino gambling, but it also gives you the chance to influence the game's outcome — although luck is still the dominant factor here.

Moreover, Video Poker gives you that much-craved anonymity in the sense that you can play alone and without the psychological pressure of a live poker game.

In other words, you don’t have to deal with pit bosses, dealers, or fellow players who dissect and even irritatingly comment on your play.

Play Video Poker Online

Play online video poker games with the best odds!

As if that’s not enough, video poker is also popular because it brings into the mix a low house edge (profit to the casinos) while still giving you, the player, a chance to interact with the game and not just be a passive spectator.

While these are just some of the few godsend advantages that video poker brings into your playbook, the biggest question remains: how can you get your best chances when you play on video poker machines?

You may have probably come across an adage in the betting circles that states:

"The house always has an advantage."

It may be hard to refute this, but video poker is almost an exception to this rule.

It doesn’t matter whether you play Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, or any other video poker variation.
With the right skills, strategy, knowledge and an element of luck, you can beat video poker machines hands down.

The fact that you are playing against a machine and not against other players is an advantage that makes video poker machines very beatable.

Add this to the fact that you’re almost five times more likely to hit a big jackpot (aka. the Royal Flush) when playing video poker makes it one of the best games out there.

In fact, you should seriously consider moving from traditional slot machines to video poker machines.

But before you blindly jump ships, here’s how to beat video poker machines.

Learn the Rules of Video Poker

Playing video poker is simple.

While there are various variants of video poker, they have one thing in common: they’re all based on simple mechanics of five-card draw poker.

5 card draw paytable

Video poker uses a standard 52-card deck.

After you make your wager and press the "Deal" button, the machine randomly gives you five cards.

At this point, you need to choose which cards to keep and which cards to throw away or discard.

To keep them, tap on the pictures of your chosen cards on the screen.

Once you have made your pick, press the "Draw" button for the machine to replace the discarded cards randomly.

In this exciting game, your winning is based on ending up with a poker hand such as flush, straight, two pairs, or even a royal flush.

Always keep in mind that the amount that you win per hand depends on the poker value of your hand and the posted paytable of the machine you’re playing.

One of the most important things to know on how to beat video poker is that you have to make a wise decision on which of your dealt five cards to keep and which ones to discard.

Remember, making the right decision from the word go will give you the best chances of winning - maybe even a jackpot!

Video Poker Odds

Your best chance of winning at video poker requires a thorough understanding of the video poker odds. This will help you to employ the correct video poker strategy and maximize your chances of hitting that jackpot win! Please find a full list of odds below:

Video Poker HandOdds
Royal Flush (first dealt)1/650,000
Royal Flush (player assisted)1/40,000
Four Aces + Kicker1/16,236
Straight Flush1/9,150
2s to 4s + Kicker1/6,984
Four Aces1/5,761
Four Deuces1/4,909
2s to 4s1/2,601
Four of a Kind1/423
Full House1/90

Video Poker Basic Strategy

The gravest mistake that you can make in your quest to succeed in video poker is to attempt playing by just…guessing.

You will lose a lot of money on a simple game that gives you a real shot at winning.

Remember, having the right skills and using an optimum video poker strategy will not only give you a higher chance of winning, but you will also enjoy the benefits that come with the satisfaction of doing everything the right way.

Keep in mind that you are also able to thoroughly practice on your computer before risking real money on a real video poker machine.

Fancy a game of video poker? Check out all the options to play video poker games for free. Click here to read more.

Choose the Right Pay Table

One of the best things about playing video poker is that the machine allows you to know the expected return (RTP) before you even start to play.

Video poker is incomparable to any other game because unlike quite a few new slots, it is the only game that shows you the expected return on your money on the paytable.

Win at Video Poker strategy Paytable

It is, therefore, crucial that you do your research to identify the best video poker machines that offer good paytables.

For your best chance to beat the video poker machine, you should understand that the return on a particular video poker machine is based on the machine’s paytable.

For instance, online casinos average a profit of about 3% on each play of a video poker game.

This profit is known as the house edge.

Now if the Online Casinos get 3%, the player should get a return of 97%, which can vary depending on the video poker machine’s paytable.

That’s why you need to check out various machines and their paytables before you play the video poker game with the highest returns.

For example, you increase your chances of beating a video poker machine if you choose a game with a paytable that offers a 99.54% return than if you pick a video poker game with a paytable that provides a 97.29% return.

In other words, the 99.54% machine only keeps 0.47% house edge while the 97.29% machine keeps 2.71%.

In this case, choosing the 99.54% is the better option as it offers you close to full pay.

On the contrary, you will lose your money almost six times faster if you play on the 97.29% machine.

There is, consequently, no doubt that searching for a good machine will pay.

You should not fall prey to using machines that are lousy or machines that offer terrible payables.

How to Beat Jacks or Better Video Poker

Each video poker game has its own strategies.

For instance, the strategy that will help you play improved Jacks or Better is different from that which will help you play Deuces Wild.

And because learning all the strategies in the book might be tiresome, if not impossible, let’s look at how to play video poker Jacks or Better.

Even though Jacks or Better offers one of the lowest returns, especially when compared to games such as Deuces Wild, Double Bonus Poker, and other variations, it remains one of the most enthralling and rewarding video pokers games, at least according to the majority of video poker players.

Playing for Max Coins

Naturally, you must always adjust your stakes according to what is right for you, but Jacks or Better video poker machines offer the top payout for a royal flush (the jackpot) when all five cards are in play.

Even though you can bet between one to five coins per hand, you only stand a chance to get the bonus on a royal flush when you bet five coins per hand.

On the contrary, you can consider dropping down to a lower coinage if you aren’t comfortable with the five-coin bet.

The only difference is: you will not play for the jackpot.

Find the Best Video Poker Pay Table

Finding the best paytable is crucial if you are serious about playing on a video poker machine.

With regards to Jacks or Better, there is a myriad of pay charts available.

Although each pay chart offers a different house edge, you should always consider going for a 9/6 (or more) pay chart when playing Jacks or Better video poker.

This is because a 9/6 is a fair return that offers full house pay on nine coins and flush pay on six coins.

Playing on a pay chart that offers less than the 9/6 pay chart is a risky move and a clear indication that you are playing with a bigger house edge.

In this case, you are giving the casino more profit (money) per hand, thereby losing your money faster than you realize.

Slow Down Your Video Poker Play

Like almost all casino games, you should always remember that video poker machines are designed for one main purpose: make a profit (house edge) for the casino.

Either way, the more you play, the more you lose.

It is, therefore, advisable to apply what I call "a slow-down strategy" when playing Jacks or Better.

One of the benefits of playing at an online casino table is no one will chase you, and no one will call the clock if you take some time to decide what cards to keep.

Even better - You can play and go on a break anytime you want.

The key is not to rush and not to play for volume. Video poker, unlike online poker, is a gambling game where a greater number of hands played means a higher chance of you losing your money.

If you play poker, you know that the key to being a winning player is to play fewer hands.

Video poker is different.

In video poker, you don’t need to play fewer hands - you need to play slower hands.

This will help you in lessening your hourly losses, hence giving you the opportunity to play for longer and increase your chances to hit a royal flush or to put together a sizeable win.

Even though this is nothing but common sense, many players often ignore this basic gambling principle and therefore lose a lot of money within a very short period.

You need to take complete control of your hand-per-hour to get the chance to extend your playing time and minimize your losses at the same time.

video poker strategy

Play Jacks or Better Video Poker

Join a Video Poker Player’s Club

More often than not, the player’s clubs are created and designed to get you and other players to play more and longer to get comps.

While this may seem like a negative, it shouldn’t be your grounds for not joining them.

The Player’s Clubs are your best chance to earn special bonuses that online casinos give only to their most valuable players.

This works to your advantage in the sense that it helps you reduce the house edge in the long run.

I strongly recommend you browse through the best casinos online and choose the one that has the best advantages when it comes to long-term video poker playing.

Play the Progressive Jackpot Video Poker Machines

One of the main reasons why almost all casinos offer progressive jackpots is to give players an added chance of reaping big on a relatively small bet.

Jacks or Better video poker games are known to offer some of the best progressive jackpots out there, but you only stand a chance of winning if you use the best strategy.

The problem is many progressive Jacks or Better video poker machines use very terrible pay tables.

You should be very vigilant to ensure that you only play progressive jackpot on machines that offer a comparatively good pay table.

Remember, progressive jackpots offer players the chance of winning phenomenally big. It could be you.

But if you pick a video poker game that gives you no chance of winning, then you won’t get a single chance to beat the game.

Keep an Eye on the Video Poker Bonuses

There are always a lot of promotions and offers not just on the Jacks or Better video poker but on other video poker games too.

By targeting the right promotions, you stand a bigger chance to play for longer on video poker machines.

Don’t ignore the bonuses to play video poker, and don’t be afraid to use a casino’s live chat feature to ask if there’s something for you or clear doubts you might have about the terms and conditions.

Only last month, I received four bonuses only because…I asked for them.

Sometimes, online casino websites are so bad that it’s nearly impossible for an average user to find all the promotions or all the latest casino bonuses that are running at any given time.

Things to Avoid in Video Poker

And now, a few practical and simple tips to win at video poker online.

The Kicker

When you play Jacks or Better video poker, you should always avoid the widespread blunder of retaining a kicker.

Many players mistakenly think that keeping a kicker gives them a higher chance to win with a higher payout.

The Straight/Flush

You should also never attempt to keep three cards in your quest of chasing a straight or a flush.

Keeping three cards with the hope of grabbing a straight or a flush only leaves you in a losing position.

The only time that you can keep all three cards is when you can pull off the highly valuable straight flush in your attempt at going after a big payout.

Keep in mind this basic strategy on how to play video poker machines: Never give up a winning hand in an attempt to get an even bigger hand.

video poker online

Video Poker Strategy Conclusion

Playing video poker games, particularly Jacks or Better video poker, is one the best choices you can make when you log in to your favorite online casino.

Video poker games come with a lot of options and features that not only make them a proper alternative to traditional slot machines but also give players a real shot at some fun.

FAQs - Video Poker Strategy

What video poker game has the best odds?

It all depends on the video poker paytables, but you should probably be looking at full-pay Deuces Wild games if you want a video poker game with the best odds.

Can you cheat at video poker?

You can cheat everywhere, but you don't want to. You'd risk your winnings, and you can get your account banned. Instead, use proven video poker strategy and tips and land some winnings the right way.

Is video poker better than slots?

In many ways yes. The slots have their own advantages, but as a whole, it is hard to find slots that offer a house edge which would be as beneficial to the player as video poker does.

How to beat Jacks or Better at video poker?

To beat Jacks or Better video poker game, you need to keep two things in mind: you must find games with good payables (9/6 or more), and you have to play for the max. Only betting five coins per hand will give you a chance to land the Royal Flush (the jackpot), and that's how you win at Jacks and Better video poker.

What is the strategy to win at video poker every time?

There is an element of chance, just like with any other casino game, so you cannot win at video poker every time. You can maximize your chances, though; find games with good payables, understand the rules, take your time when making decisions, and aim for progressive jackpot machines. These would be the winning video poker tips in a nutshell, but you might want to read up on that in more detail, and this is the perfect article!

Can I play online video poker for real money?

Yes, you can definitely play video poker online for real money. Simply pick a casino that offers video poker games and is available for real money play in your region, choose a game you fancy, and use tips to maximize your wins. Don't forget to gamble responsibly!

The promotion presented on this page was available at the time of writing. With some Casino promotions changing on daily basis, we suggest you to check on the site if it still available. Also, please do not forget to read the terms and conditions in full before you accept a bonus.
  • Check out our simple guide on how to beat video poker and the best video poker strategy to win when playing online.

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