Online video poker is one of the most popular casino games. It has many features that account for its popularity. Physical poker players appreciate video poker as a means of practicing their strategy without social pressure, while everyone appreciates that low house edge. While there are several variants of video poker, we recommend that you focus on one until you have mastered it. In fact, many poker players play only one.
Did you know that you have a better chance of winning with video poker than you do with slots (if you play your cards right)? Video poker is not considered a game of luck, but a game of skill.
With this strategy guide, we'll be focusing on Jacks or Better, the most popular video poker game. It has a low house edge and some great ways to win, so we think you'll enjoy learning Jacks or Better online video poker.
The steps to playing video poker are relatively simple:
The most important aspects of winning in video poker start before you're sitting at the table (or open your app). Poker experts all agree that the most important aspects of winning in video poker are 1) concentration and knowing 2) the odds and 3) the rules. If these two components are in place, you are poised to play your game without errors to attain the least possible house edge.
Focus or concentration is key to winning video poker (or any casino game, for that matter). While playing for fun is great, when you're placing larger bets you want to be sure you're playing your best game. Making sure that you're setting up an environment without distraction is essential to that. This doesn't mean you need to seal yourself off in a white room. Some people focus better in busy environments (like casinos), whereas others do need a quiet place with few visual distractions.
The important thing is to set the scene where you'll work best.
Many people play video poker in part because of its low house edge. The RTP is generally around 99.5%, or even better. This information is readily available on any game you're playing. Be sure you're not starting off behind!
There are probably hundreds of poker variants available online. And while variety may be the spice of life, bland wins in poker. Well, not that there's anything bland about poker. But the experts again agree that it is 1) best to concentrate on a single variant and 2) dangerous for your bankroll to hop around too much. The reason is simple: you need to be an expert on your game. You need to know:
Poker variants follow the same sequence of winning hands as long as you're playing a high game. For example, 3 of a Kind and 2 pair can swap places in their worth depending on the game you're playing. In a high game like Texas Holdem, 3 or a Kind wins; in a low game like Razz, 2 pair win.
Be sure to study the chart relevant to your game. If you're playing on a phone, you'll probably want to print out your list or keep it on another screen. It is crucial that you are working toward your best statistically probable hand.
You should also search for a full pay, 9/6 game, which means you get nine coins for a full house and six coins for a flush.
Many hands would be great to have, but not likely. In the meantime, players constantly throw away strong hands in search of what they think will be better. So what is the best hand you can get?
Hint: chances are that it's not a Royal Flush. The bane of many poker players is getting so fixated on the Royal Flush that you miss other strong hands (and then don't draw the Royal Flush anyway).
It is important to keep in mind that you are trying to build the best hand you can. And here you need to be aware of any tendency to fixate those pairs or a small straight you want to see longer or 2 cards in a suit, but not see other possibilities in view of what's likely. You need to be asking yourself "what else" and "what if" questions" with every hand, with only a few exceptions.
We'll give you a list of how you can best play some common scenarios below.
Before you sit at the table (or screen), you need to be sure you're clear on some simple, but crucial, details. These can determine your likelihood of winning.
Here we’re interested in two things: what is your expected return from this game? And second, which hands are going to win the most (so you can play toward those hands). Finding the payback percentage can involve some hunting.
One of the highest returns is Jacks or better. As the name implies, you’ll need a pair or jacks or a stronger hand to win. So your likelihood of winning is quite low, but if you do, payout is big.
Your winnings can be different based on whether you're playing a 9/6 game. While 8/5 games are also common, you may also see 6/5s, like the one below (6/5 payments are in parentheses).
Most fullpay 9/6 (and a 6/5) payouts:
RTP 99.54% (95%)
As you can see from the RTP above, it pays to find a fullpay 9/6 in case you have a Full house or Flush (why get only 6 times your win instead of 9?). Be sure to check the numbers from top to bottom on the game you're playing, but it shouldn't be difficult to find a fullpay 9/6.
These are some pointed tips specifically for winning Jacks or Better, but they're applicable to many poker variations.
Know your winning hands!
Don't get greedy
Something is better than nothing
As you see, there are many possibilities in any hand. Finding the winning hand, and the statistically achievable strongest hand, takes some thought. This takes you toward the error-free playing that takes you to the top of the RTP in video poker.
Playing smart pays off. Follow the guidelines above to improve your playing!