stub Best Video Poker Strategies That works in March 2024
Connect with us

Video Poker

Best Video Poker Strategies That works in March 2024

Updated on

Gambling has been a part of human society for as long as anyone can remember, and pretty much everyone encountered it at some point in their life. Those who decided to try it out likely experienced a number of different games, seeking the one that is just right for them.

However, if your main goal is to earn money through gambling and not so much to enjoy it, then you may have wondered which game is the best to play in terms of odds, and where you can apply math to boost your chances. Casual gamblers do not usually think about the odds of winning at each game, and often when they lose, they are convinced that the casino cheated them and that it was all a trick.

In truth, however, casinos do not need to cheat, because the odds are in their favor. A casino is a business, and as such, it’s in its interest to earn. However, it is not in its interest to cheat, because getting caught cheating would mean the end of their business. Instead, they give the house an edge, no matter how small, and let the math do the rest.

The edge in the casino’s favor is different from game to game, so roulette players can expect to lose 2.7% of all the bets they have ever made. However, if you turn to slots, the chances of losing are at least double what you encounter at roulette.

However, when it comes to games like video poker, the situation is significantly different. Video poker was among the first games to appear in electronic form, and is easily one of the most popular games in any casino. However, the fact is that casinos have a very, very low house edge in video poker games, which means that this could be the game where you, the gambler, have the best chances at winning.

Your chance to win a majority of video poker games is as high as 99.54%, if you play your cards right, and know what to do with them. However, that means playing the optimal strategy that can help you boost the odds in your favor. Today, we wanted to talk about video poker strategies and teach you what to do, what to watch out for, and what to expect from video poker machines.

Before we switch to that, however, there are a few other things that we would like to cover first, and ensure that everyone is on the same page, starting with:

What you need to know about video poker

Video poker machines are quite popular, and therefore, quite widespread. If you ever visited a casino, you likely saw at least a few of them. They have cards on the screen and look rather dated, with a button under each card that allows you to select the card in question.

Now, it should be noted that video poker is not real poker, which is significantly more complex. However, it is its simplified version that mimics a game of Five Card Draw. There are multiple variants of the game that have emerged over the years, with slightly different rules from game to game.

The most popular version is Jacks or Better, which is the one that new players tend to gravitate towards. This game deals you five cards, and allows you to discard as many as you want, and replace them with new ones. But, after your draw is done, you are paid in accordance to a preset paytable.

Then, there are games such as Deuces Wild, where all four Deuces, or Twos, serve as Wild Cards, which you can use to complete a winning hand by replacing any of the dealt cards with a Deuce.

There are also other games, such as Aces and Faces, which is a version where additional payouts are available for making four-of-a-kind Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces. there are different combinations where you earn more or less depending on the combination. For example, a straight flush will not reward you as much as four aces will, and alike.

Joker Poker is another popular one, where a single joker card is put into a deck that is otherwise a standard edition, and it can be used as a substitute for any other card. In order to win anything, you need, at the very least, a pair of kings in this game, and if you only have one, the Joker card can come in handy if you happen to be holding it as well.

In Tens or Better, the rules are similar to the ones in Jacks or Better, and the biggest difference between these two being that, in Tens or Better, you also have a winning hand if you hold a pair of tens.

Then, there is Bonus Poker, which is similar to Aces and Faces, but it offers a payout for making four of a kind of a certain hand. Lower overall payouts also reduce the RTP rate of the game.

As you can see, there are many different versions of video poker, with these ones only being the most popular options. Depending on the game, there can be more or less special payouts, which might influence your choice when it comes to selecting the game. However, we will explain the best strategies for the most popular games, so you will have the best chances of winning a payout regardless of which game you approach.

Also, make no mistake, while Jacks or Better definitely features the best payouts, other games are definitely worth checking out. For example, some casinos allow users to play a version of Deuces Wild where the casino puts itself at a disadvantage, as unbelievable as it may sound. In other words, if you get to choose between a game that has greater rewards and a game where you have a greater chance at winning, you will have to make a choice about which one to approach, yourself.

Why use strategies for video poker?

It is important to realize that you need to approach each casino game with a different mindset, and a complete understanding of how it works in order to win, or at least, to boost your chances of winning.

Take slot machines as an example. They are extremely popular, and they dominate every single online and physical casino out there because they are extremely easy to use. There is no skill required other than putting in the money and pulling a lever, or pressing a button to start the spin.

All you can do with these machines is rely on pure luck and nothing else. Meanwhile, the result is locked in as soon as the lever is pulled. The spin is completely random, of course, and you can’t do anything about what will happen. In most cases, you will simply lose your money. However, a lot of players experience small wins, and even moderate wins. Jackpots are the rarest of them all, of course, but they do tend to happen. You might win a jackpot first time when you pull a lever, or the 10th, or 100th, or not at all — it’s all pure chance.

When it comes to video poker, however, there are things that you can do to impact the outcome. You still need luck, of course, as you require good cards in order to win a game, but you do have a say in which cards you will keep and which ones you will re-draw, and what your hand is going to look like once you finish.

You have total control over the five cards that you were dealt initially, and it is your choice what to do with those five cards. You can keep them all, discard them all, or only select a few to keep/discard — the decision lies with you. This is why you need to understand the rules of the game, and to know the worth of each hand, as well as the worth of the cards held.

Obviously, knowing the rules of the specific game that you are playing at the moment is necessary to know what to do with each card, as holding any specific card might be worthless in one game, but priceless in another. Different decisions will have a different impact on the overall outcome.

FOr example, what if you held four 3s and an ace. What would you do? Your choices are to save the straight flush consisting of the 9 of spades through the king of spades. Or, you can decide to keep the four cards of a royal flush, and hope for the best when you discard the ace.

Sure, there is safety in the straight flush, but a royal flush could win you a small fortune. If you get it, of course. As you can see, you can easily find yourself in a difficult situation where your choice can change the outcome from the best to the worst, and vice versa. You can always choose to play it safe and at least win something, or you can decide to risk it all for the chance at winning a greater amount.

This is where strategizing comes into play, as you need to understand your odds of winning in a situation that you will find yourself in after each potential move. The choice is yours, and the consequences of those decisions are something that you will have to live with. We cannot offer a solution, but we can show you your options. After that, the decision is yours and yours alone. But, as you can see, the situation is clearly more complex than what you would encounter at any slots machine, no matter what version of the slots game you are approaching.

Video poker strategies

With all that said, it is now time to finally start discussing strategies. The way this is going to work is that we can provide you with advice on what to do, depending on what combination of cards you end up having in your hand after the cards have been dealt. Naturally, the cards that you will want to keep in your hand will differ from one game to another, depending on the rules and what combination can help you win the biggest amount of money.

With that said, let’s start by looking into the strategy for the following:

Jacks or Better video poker strategy

In order to win any video poker game, including Jacks or Better, the first step is to understand how it works, and what your goal is. A large portion of it has to do with math and the odds, probability, which is why those who master these skills seem to always have more luck at the casino than others who just rely on blind luck.

In most situations, the chances are that the casino is going to win in the long run because each of them knows that the games are based on probability. In other words, the casino doesn’t actually gamble. It is just earning the money by playing the long game. If casinos were actually gambling, then this business would not be so profitable for them.

So, when approaching a video poker machine, the first thing that you will want to do is to check its paytable. In Jacks or Better, specifically, you should look for games that offer a 9/6 paytable, meaning that the game will pay 9 coins for a full house, and 6 if you get a flush. This is important to note because not every Jacks or Better machine is the same, and some only pay 8 coins for a full house. The difference may not seem that big at first, but in the long run, it can have a serious impact, and they will massively increase your losses over time.

So, after you find the right machine, the next step is to start playing. Simply press the deal button, and you will receive your initial five cards. This is where you need to make your first decision and figure out which cards you are going to keep, and which ones you should replace. This is also where a lot of players start making their first mistakes. Inexperienced players like to experiment, which leads them to making decisions on the spot, and that is never a good thing to do.

There is a well-established formula here that can help you win money, and all you need to do is memorize a table of possible outcomes. This table will be your go-to solution for winning at Jacks or Better, and it covers pretty much all possible poker hands you might end up getting. In other words, if you stick to it, you pretty much can’t go wrong. Without further ado, here is what you want to keep, in the exact order, to get the best results:

  1. The best hands by far include Four of a Kind, Straight Flush, or Royal Flush. Following this, your best options include:
  2. Royal Flush via four cards
  3. Flush, Full House, Three of a Kind, Straight
  4. Straight flush via 4 cards
  5. Two pairs of any kind
  6. A single pair — Jacks or Better
  7. Royal Flush via three cards
  8. Flush via four cards
  9. A single Pair via tens or lower
  10. Open-ended straight via four cards
  11. A straight flush via three cards (no gaps)
  12. JQKA in one suite
  13. Two cards in a single suite
  14. A gutshot straight with three high cards
  15. A straight flush via three cards (single gap)
  16. JQK (single suite)
  17. JQ (single suite)
  18. TJ (single suite)
  19. QK or JK in different suites
  20. TQ (single suite)
  21. AK, AQ, AJ in different suites
  22. TK (Single suite)
  23. A single high card
  24. A straight flush via three cards (two gaps)
  25. And, if you get none of these hands, the best you can do is discard all cards, as your last reserve

As you can see, there are 24 different combinations that can help you make money, plus the bonus option to discard everything and get a second hand, so you definitely have options. However, a lot of players forget to stick to this strategy, and they fall into the temptation of trying some other approach. Many make the mistake of chasing long shots and even pure impossibilities in the desire to win as much money as possible. Doing any of that is a sure way to lose your money.

You should always stick to the strategy, and this one is the best for Jacks or Better. This is because video poker has fixed odds that do not change, and math is your best bet to win any sum of money. Sure, you might get lucky by playing a random game, but that is not a reliable approach, and we do not recommend it, as it will rarely do you a favor. The best you can do by far is to memorize the table above and stick to its approach.

Deuces Wild video poker strategy

Deuces Wild is another very popular version of video poker, and for the purpose of the guide, we will share strategies you can use to win full pay. Deuces Wild machines are very easy to find, and chances are that every casino you will walk into will have this machine. However, remember to check that it is the full-pay machine, as others will either reduce your wins or your chances to win.

Now, as far as the strategy is concerned, the one that we will present here soon was developed to win at full-pay machines, so it might not bring the same results for other machines. But, if you find the full-pay machine, it can help you win nearly 1% against the house in the long run. You will have to go through many hands to realize all your equity, and you will have to stick close to the strategy and ensure that you are doing everything right. Even small mistakes can have a big impact on the size of your winnings, which is why you need to remember the strategy and focus as best as you can.

Like in our previous entry, we will go through the combinations of hands that you can win, starting from the best-case scenarios, and moving down from there.

As a quick reminder of the rules — you will be dealt five cards at the start of each hand. You can decide which ones to keep, and which ones to discard, or substitute for the new cards out of the deck. The deck has 52 cards with no jokers. Every duce dealt is being counted as a wild card, meaning that hands like one pair and two pairs become insignificant and lose their value. But, you can now have five of a kind, straight and royal flushes, all achieved with the deuce.

Now, let’s take a look at the actual strategy. We broke it down into five segments, depending on whether you end up holding 4 deuces, or 3, 2, 1, or none. With that said, here is what you need to keep in order to get the most out of the game.

If you hold 4 deuces, keep them. This is the best hand that you can get.

If you hold 3 deuces, keep the following:

  1. Wild Royal Flush
  2. 3 Deuces with the non-paired cards discarded
  3. 3 Deuces with a pair and 9s or lower discarded
  4. Five of a Kind
  5. Four to a Royal Flush
  6. Straight flush or lower

If you hold 2 deuces, keep the following:

  1. Wild Royal Flush
  2. Five of a Kind
  3. Straight Flush
  4. Four of a Kind
  5. 2 deuces plus consecutive cards including 6 and 7, or higher
  6. 2 deuces

If you hold 1 deuce, keep the following:

  1. Wild Royal Flush
  2. Five of a Kind
  3. Straight Flush
  4. Four of a Kind
  5. Four to a Royal Flush
  6. Full House
  7. 1 deuce and three cards to a straight flush, 5, 6, and 7 or higher
  8. Three of a kind
  9. A Straight
  10. A Flush
  11. Four to any Straight Flush
  12. Three to a Royal Flush with K being the highest card
  13. 1 deuce and two more cards, including 6 and 7 or higher, to a Straight Flush
  14. Three to a Royal Flush with A being the highest card
  15. 1 deuce

If you hold no deuce, keep the following

  1. Natural Royal Flush
  2. Four to a Royal Flush
  3. Straight flush
  4. Four of a Kind
  5. Full House
  6. Three of a Kind
  7. Straight or a Flush
  8. Four to an Open-ended straight flush
  9. Q-J-T (suited)
  10. Four to an Inside Straight Flush
  11. Three to a Royal Flush
  12. One pair
  13. Four to a Flush
  14. Four to an Open-ended Straight
  15. Two to a Royal Flush where J is the highest card
  16. Four to an Inside Straight
  17. Two to a Royal Flush where Q is the highest card
  18. Two to a Royal Flush where K is the highest card
  19. Discard the entire hand

And with that, you are ready to approach the Deuces Wild video poker machines and handle them like a professional. Keep in mind that the strategy is quite volatile, although it can be rewarding if you stick to it with patience and discipline.

Aces and Faces video poker strategy

When it comes to Aces and Faces, it is also played with a standard deck featuring 52 cards, with five cards dealt in the first hand. You can hold as many of them as you want with the goal of building the strongest hand. The cards that remain will be discarded and replaced with new ones from the same deck.

As the name indicates, the game’s payoffs are tied to combinations of aces and face cards, starting with a pair of Jacks. The highest payout is for a Four of A Kind combination featuring Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks. The game doesn’t have wild cards, unlike our previous entry.

Now, when it comes to the strategy, it is very simple, and once again, we will present it now from the best solutions to the worst ones starting with:

  1. Four of a kind, royal flush, or straight flush
  2. Four cards to a royal flush
  3. Straight, flush, full house, or three of a kind
  4. Four cards to a straight flush
  5. Two pair
  6. High pair with a Jack or better
  7. Three cards to a royal flush
  8. Four cards to a flush
  9. Low pair
  10. Four cards to an outside straight
  11. Two suited high cards
  12. Three cards to a straight flush
  13. Two unsuited high cards, where you would use the lowest if you got more than two
  14. Suited high cards, including 10 paired with J, Q, or K
  15. Jack or Better
  16. Discard the entire hand

As you can see, for this game, things are pretty straightforward, and you cannot make a lot of errors if you stick to this table. While it is not as rewarding as Jacks or Better, it can certainly help you win some money if you prefer this game.

Joker Poker video poker strategy

Next, we have Joker Poker, which is sometimes called Joker Wild. It is another variation of video poker, and specifically, of Jacks or Better. The biggest difference between this game and Jacks or Better is the fact that the Joker is inserted as a wild card here.

If there is one rule that you should always follow in Joker Poker, that’s to never discard the wild card. The wild card is your ticket to success, or at the very least, it boosts your chances significantly. As a result, the deck that is used has 53 cards in total, instead of 52 like in previous games.

Other than that, the rules are pretty much the same, which is why we will jump straaight into the strategy. So, when playing Joker Poker, your goal is to hold the following:

  1. Royal flush, Straight flush, or Four of a Kind
  2. Four to a Royal Flush
  3. A pat full house or a pat flush
  4. An open straight Flush
  5. Three of a Kind
  6. Inside Straight Flush
  7. A pat straight
  8. Two Pairs
  9. Discard the entire hand

This is pretty straightforward, and while not the most complicated game, it significantly differs from other video poker games. But, it is easy to learn, so we do not expect it will pose much of a problem for you, even if you are a novice.

Tens or Better video poker strategy

Tens or better is very similar to Jacks or Better. In fact, there are very few differences, with the biggest one being that the payouts are typically lower for things like Royal Flush, Full House, and Flush. Another difference is that the winning hand is a Pair of Tens. However, even if the payout is lower, you can still win some money, and in the end, that is what matters.

Without further ado, here are the hands that you should keep when playing this version of virtual poker, heading from the best to worst, as always.

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Four of a Kind
  4. Four to a Royal Flush
  5. Full House
  6. Flush
  7. Straight
  8. Three of a Kind
  9. Four to a Straight Flush
  10. Two pair
  11. High pair (Tens to Aces)
  12. Three to a Royal Flush
  13. Four to a Flush
  14. Tens paired with JQK
  15. One pair
  16. Four to a Straight with 3 high cards
  17. Three to a Straight Flush
  18. Three to a Straight with 3 High Cards
  19. Two Suited High Cards
  20. Four to an Open Ended Straight
  21. JQK
  22. KQ, KJ
  23. Two to a Royal Flush
  24. Suited 10J, 10Q
  25. Two high cards
  26. One high card
  27. Discard the entire hand

Clearly, there are plenty of combinations this time, and you can win fairly easily as a result. Again, you will not be winning grand prizes like you would in Jacks or Better, but any win is a good win if it means that you are getting money, rather than leaving it with the casino.

Bonus Poker video poker strategy

Finally, the last game that we have to present is Bonus Poker, which is just another variation of Jacks or Better. However, this one offers bonus payouts for a Four of a Kind, with the bonus depending on the cards’ rank.

With very little being different from Jacks or Better, we will simply proceed with the actual strategy, which means listing a table of the hands you wish to have when playing this version of video poker. Here are the hands you want to hold, from best to worst:

  1. Straight Flush, Royal Flush, Four of a Kind
  2. Four to Royal Flush
  3. Straight, Full House, Flush
  4. Three of a Kind
  5. Four to a Straight Flush
  6. Two Pairs
  7. A pair of J, Q, K, or A
  8. Three to a Royal Flush
  9. Four to a Flush
  10. KQJT unsuited
  11. Low Pair
  12. Four to an Outside Straight
  13. Three to a Straight Fush
  14. AKQJ unsuited
  15. Two suited high cards
  16. Three to a Straight Flush
  17. Four to an Inside Straight with three high cards
  18. Unsuited JQK
  19. Unsuited JQ
  20. Three to a Straight Flush
  21. KJ, KQ unsuited
  22. JT suited
  23. AK, AJ, AQ unsuited
  24. Ace
  25. Three to a Straight Flush
  26. QT, KT suited
  27. Jack, King, or Queen
  28. 3 to a Straight Flush
  29. Discard the entire hand

With that, we conclude the strategy for Bonus Poker, as well as strategies for video poker variants. Hopefully, these strategies will help you win as many hands of each game as possible, and while there is a lot to remember, once again, with practice, you can become an expert in winning these games fairly easily.

Tips to remember while playing video poker

The mentioned strategies are your ticket to walking away from a video poker machine with winnings on most nights. However, we are not done yet. There are still some tips and tricks that we have to share that are well-known among the professionals. These are not the secrets of the trade, and all of them are based on regular common sense.

However, gambling has a strange way of making people forget about these things, so we decided to put them here, as well, simply to remind you of them and add them to our official list of tips. As mentioned, they are nothing revolutionary, but they will help you make the absolute maximum of your video poker sessions. More than that, you can apply them to any form of gambling, as they are not video poker-exclusive.

Here is what we recommend you do:

1) Remember to use bonuses and promotions

Most, if not all casinos, provide certain promotions and sometimes bonuses of some kind, be they real-life casinos or their online counterparts. Believe us when we say that remembering to use these promotions and bonuses can make a great difference, and it can give you a way better fighting chance.

We mentioned earlier in this guide that the house almost always has an edge, and no matter how low it may be, statistically, it matters a lot in the long run. Some extra cash can, therefore, make a big difference. And, while it is true that promotions usually do not apply to video poker players, it is also true that live casinos typically do not discriminate with their promotions, and you can still make use of them, even if you are only there for video poker.

2) Use progressive bonus machines

Next, you should try to remember that a lot of video poker machines feature some sort of a progressive jackpot attached, which can be very beneficial to you. The trick here is to find a machine with full pay that offers a good chance to win a progressive jackpot.

3) Seek out the best machines

We briefly mentioned this earlier, but not all video poker machines are the same. Even if you are targeting a specific game, such as Jacks or Better, different machines offer different payouts, and they can differ in other ways also. The best machines with the most features are fairly rare, so you might not even find one of those in the casino you visit. However, it doesn’t cost you anything to check the machines out and see what the casino has to offer.

4) Keep a good bankroll

Gambling requires you to keep a healthy bankroll, and that doesn’t only include video poker, but pretty much any and every betting game there is. Video poker is a fairly safe and low-edge game, and by applying the strategies discussed earlier, you can win more often than not. But, this too depends on what version of the game you are playing, what bonuses the machine might be offering and other details.

And then, there is the luck aspect, which some believe might be the most important one for the entire betting process. We believe that skill has more to do with video poker than luck, but no matter what you believe, you should split your bankroll and ensure that you will have access to plenty of bets. That way, you are keeping your options open, and the opportunity to win some of the things you lost.

5) Join the casino’s VIP club

Another thing that can help you out significantly with betting in most live casinos is joining the VIP club and making use of their loyalty programs. In doing so, you will ensure that playing your regular games will start accumulating points, and you can then use these points to improve your overall performance and increase your bankroll.

6) Stay away from low pay machines

This one hardly needs any explanation, but we should once again point out that not all machines are the same, and that some of them offer a lower payout percentage. You should identify them as soon as you walk in, and stay clear from them. Gambling on these machines means that you have a disadvantage.

7) Play at the pace that fits you

In the end, you need to keep in mind what your goals are, and that’s the win money and have fun. Both require you to play at the pace that fits you best. If you wish to win money and you rush the games, you will start making mistakes and lose. If you wish to just have fun and you focus too hard and move too quickly, it will soon become very stressful, and not at all what you came to experience in the first place.

Where to Play Video Poker for USA Players

We recommend these casinos:

Ignition Casino – Our current favorite for players from the USA or Australia. Ignition casino offers eight versions of video poker including Bonus Deuces Wild, Joker Poker 1 Hand, 3 Hands or 10 Hands, Jacks or Better 1 Hand, 3 Hands or 10 Hands, & Double Double Bonus Poker.

The games are supplied by recognized game developers such as Revolver Gaming and RTG. These games have high-definition video graphics that allow gaming across multiple devices. More importantly, this casino has some of the fastest payouts of winnings on the planet, along with responsive 24/7 customer service.

Read our Ignition Casino Review or visit Ignition Casino.

Wild Casino – This is an online casino that caters to USA players by offering a safe gaming experience with responsive customer service. The top notch software includes a large assortment of games with single hand versions of Tens or Better, Joker Poker, Double Joker, Deuces Wild, Faces & Faces, Jacks or Better & Deuces Wild. They also offer multi-hand versions of Tens or Better, Joker Poker, Jacks or Better, Double Joker, Deuces Wild, Deuces & Poker, and Aces & Faces. There’s a generous bonus for all new players, and a myriad of deposit and speedy cashout options.

Read our Wild Casino Review or visit Wild Casino.

Cafe Casino – Established in 2020, Cafe Casino is a relative newcomer to the gaming scene but they have established an impeccable reputation amongst players for offering state of the art video poker games along with responsive customer support, and fast payouts. New players can of course claim a generous sign-up bonus, and they offer multiple deposit options including by Bitcoin.

Read our Cafe Casino Review or visit Cafe Casino.

Where to Play Video Poker for International Players

For readers from other jurisdictions we have compiled the following guides:

Conclusion

Video poker can be a lot of fun, as well as a great way to win money, and challenge yourself to think strategically and get rewards for when you do it right. Of course, there is a bit of luck involved as well, but in the end, it all revolves around your ability to remember a strategy and stick to it. It requires discipline, having a cool head, but also knowing when to stop and call it a day, and when to keep going.

Out of all the gambling games out there, video poker offers the best chance to win often and lose rarely, if you “play your cards right.” If you are a beginner, remember that it will take a bit of time and practice to figure things out, and you might be losing a lot at the beginning, which is why it might be good to practice on free games where there is no money involved first, before you start putting real money on the line in real casinos. Once you get a hang of it, however, there will be no stopping you from dominating the game.

Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.