Top Casinos for Video Poker Play

Your Complete Guide to Video Poker & the Best Online Casinos

If you want to learn how to play poker without having to go up against clever players at the table, video poker might be a perfect match. In fact many poker pros began their career playing video poker online and in land based casinos. If you are looking to uncover the how’s, what’s, and where’s this video poker guide will be perfect for you. When you’re ready you can head to the leading video poker sites on the web.

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1. Play Like a Pro

It’s no secret that online poker is all the rage, and despite a few sites closing down in the US, the poker phenomenon has continued to climb. Around the world, it’s bigger than ever and in the US, individual states are starting to launch their own online poker sites.

But not everyone wants to play poker online against other people around the world. Online casinos recognize this and have started to offer real money video poker. If you can play classic variations of poker like 5 Card Stud, you’re on your way to playing video poker. But here’s the best part. You don’t have to worry about being bluffed out of a hand. In fact, in most real cash games, you don’t even need to worry about the house’s hand. Here’s what else makes video poker so much fun:

  • You can bet cents per hand if you want
  • Your hand is the only hand that matters
  • Double or nothing bonus rounds available

Getting to Know the Game

Video poker is one of the most thrilling games available to poker fans. If you’ve played home poker games or at a casino then you’re probably used to waiting around for a great hand and throwing away all sorts of bad ones.

In land-based games you could be waiting hours to get a hand that you want to play. And every time you throw away a hand, it could be 5, 10, or even 15 minutes before the hand concludes, depending on how many players are involved and how determined they might be.

But in real cash online video poker, it’s just you and the house. And your job is to hold a poker hand that makes the payout board. Before we tell you how to play, we should tell you that there are literally dozens of video poker variations. Deuces Wild. Jacks or Better. Crazy Eights. And so on. But they all work pretty much the same.

Most video poker games are based on the 5 Card Stud hand ranking system. Here’s a refresher of how cards rank, from worst to best:

Video Poker Hands List

High Card

High Card

One Pair

One Pair

Two pairs

Two Pairs

Three of a Kind

Three of a Kind

Straight

Straight

Flush

Flush

Full House

Full House

Four of a Kind

Four of a Kind

Straight Flush

Straight Flush

Royal flush

Royal Flush

Now in most video poker games, you can’t win with a high card. Nor will just any pair cut it. In most real money video poker variations, you need at least a pair of Jacks to win. But playing is easy.

If you’ve got a pair of Jacks or better, you know you’re in great shape and have already won some cash. If not, don’t worry. You have the option to throw away as many as all five of your cards.

After you get new cards, you’ll get paid out if you’ve ranked on the payout schedule. Remember, Jacks or better usually get you some cash, but it varies based on the game you’re playing. The higher your poker hand is, the more money you’ll score.

Learn to Play in Under 1 Minute

Video poker is easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Choose the video poker game
  • Place your bet
  • Click ‘Spin’ and wait to be deal 5, face up cards
  • Review your hand and determine what cards you want to hold
  • Click or tap the ‘Hold’ button to keep cards
  • Now click or tap the ‘Deal or Draw’ button to replace cards you did not hold
  • If your resulting hand wins you will be paid according to the payout
  • The game is ready for your next bet. Repeat the process.

The rules vary depending on which type of video poker you’re playing. For example, you know the hand ranking system we mentioned a moment ago? That doesn’t always apply. In some real money video poker games, there are wild cards, Jokers, eights, or twos. When wild cards are thrown into the mix, a 5-of-a-kind hand becomes possible. And some games will pay out differently based on whether you hit a Royal Flush with wilds or one without.

3. Video Poker Strategy Guide

There's a lot to get right with a decent game of video poker, and experienced gamblers like to ensure they get a good game by sticking to casinos that meet their set feature requirements. Below we go through some core elements you should check for, and explain why:

High Payout Percentages

This percentage tells you the amount on average a casino pays out. A 97% payout percentage simply means that $97 is paid out by the casino for every $100 wagered. Remember that this figure is for the casino overall, and you will not get 97% back on an individual bet you make. It's still a good idea to opt for a casino that has a higher rate, however.

Payouts %

97%

61%

97%

96%

59%

Payouts in different casinos

Casinos

Not all casinos pay out the same

Weigh Out the Bonus Offers

Bonuses can be very enticing, but not all are created equal. If you are keen on accepting a bonus, make sure to do a little research on the offer itself and the terms and conditions that will apply. Not every player will be suited to a welcome bonus and should wait for promotions to be offered during game play.

On the other hand some bonuses are welcoming to any player and should not be ignored. Finding the right bonus is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. If you don’t have the time to do this, you can count on us to point you in the right direction.

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Casinos almost always offer new players a welcome or sign up bonus, and will give you back a sum based on your first deposit.

The bonus you receive is a great way of building up a decent bankroll as you start out on your online gambling adventure. It also gives you a better chance of winning.

How you can use your bonus will normally be dependent on time and playthrough requirements set by the casino. It's always a good idea to go through the casino site's bonus requirements first before you join.

Tip: Look out for a casino bonus that offers a high figure alongside realistic wagering requirements for your gaming habits.

Don’t Forget About Your Safety

Your safety should be your number one priority. Before you play on any casino you should make sure it offers the best in digital security protocols. The green bar of trust at the top of your browser is a good starting point. Any site lacking this should be immediately overlooked.

Further security methods like firewalls, safe payment options, and frequent security checks are comforting compliments that can put your mind at ease. If you want to play at the safest video poker casinos, look no further than this page.

Additional Features

Other features you want to look for include a variety of payment methods, low or no transaction fees, and fast withdrawals. Round the clock customer support, proper jurisdiction documentation, and third party auditing is also commendable. Most of this information can be found on our individual casino reviews and on the casino site itself.

Why You Can Trust Our Advice

We love video poker for real cash, but we’ve come across a lot of sites that claim they’re amazing, only to find out that they’re bluffing. If you’re a video poker fan, you’re in good hands with us. We’ve rated and reviewed virtually every online video poker site offering real money games.

When you sit down to play, you want to know that the site you’re choosing offers a great variety of games, is honest about how they operate, and offers easy deposits and fast cashouts. We’ve looked at all these categories and rated each real cash online video poker site out of 10.

View The Top Trusted Casinos For Video Poker

3. Video Poker Strategy Guide

What to Hold & What to drop

There are loads of different variations of video poker, online and off, so to say that one basic strategy guide applies to all games wouldn’t be fair. Depending on which cards are wild and the minimum hand you need to get paid out, what to hold and what to drop can vary.

For this basic strategy guide, let’s assume that you want to play Jacks or Better. In this variation you’ll automatically win holding a pair of Jacks or anything better. Remember, you’ve got the opportunity to toss away cards that you don’t like. But knowing exactly what to keep and what to get rid of isn’t always easy. As a general guide for real money online video poker play, keep the following in mind.

Always hold onto a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, 4-of-a-kind, Full House, 3-of-a-kind, or 2 pair. Why? Because these are guaranteed winners. You’ve won cash since you’re holding something better than a pair of Jacks. Keep in mind, however, that if you’ve got 3-of-a-kind, it’s a good idea to get rid of your two other cards, no matter how decent they might seem. That’s because you could easily turn that 3-of-a-kind into a full house if you play your cards right.

Seems fairly basic, right? Well, there are some instances where we actually recommend breaking up a straight or a flush. If you’ve been dealt a 9cJcQcKcAc, you’ve already got a flush. But you’re one card away from hitting a Royal Flush. Drop the 9c and ask for a new card. Yes, you might lose out on hitting your flush, but you could score a 10c, which would give you a Royal Flush—and your payout would be massive. You might also end up hitting a Jack, Queen, King, or Ace, which would still give you a win.

More Tips...

4. Quick Tips to Play Video Poker

We’ve already covered the hand ranking system used for video poker (Jacks or Better, specifically). And we told you when it’s worthwhile to drop one, two, three, four, or all of your cards. But just how worthwhile is it? We’ve put together a typical payout schedule for Jacks or Better. Of course, payouts vary from real cash betting website to website, but the chart should give you an idea of what different hands are worth.

Royal flush

Royal Flush
2000 credits

Straight Flush

Straight Flush
250 credits

Four of a Kind

Four of a Kind
125 credits

Full House

Full House
40 credits

Flush

Flush
25 credits

Straight

Straight
20 credits

Three of a Kind

Three of a Kind
15 credits

Two pairs

Two Pairs
10 credits

One Pair

One Pair
5 credits

High Card

High Card
0 credits

Remember, the above is based on betting one credit, so if you bet more per hand, you’ll win more credits. And don’t forget, some games come with a top payout, so your winnings might be capped if you hit a Royal Flush.

Quick Video Poker Tips

  • Hold Cards Always hold onto cards that have made the board, like a pair of Jacks or better.
  • Throw Twos Throw away twos, unless they’re part of a straight, flush, or set.
  • Bonus Keeping hold of any automatic wins is essential.
  • Pay Tables If you’re offered a double or nothing bonus round, give it a try—but quit while you’re ahead. Check out the pay tables.

5. The History of Video Poker

Video poker has a colorful history and can be traced back to the late 1800s. It all began when Charles Fey created the first ever Liberty Bell slot machine in his garage in 1898.

  • 1901 - Overtaken by his exciting creation, Fey was inspired to create more machines including the Skill Draw poker machine. This had a special hold feature which allowed the player to hold one or more cards and re spin to create a better hand. This was the first five card draw machine ever to be created.
  • 1900s - Fey and his competitors Sittman and Pitt began to release 5 card draw poker machines throughout the early and mid-1900s. They were a big hit and could hardly keep up with the high demand. Due to gambling being illegal in most areas in the US, the machines paid out prizes like cigars, cigarettes, and drinks.
  • 1970 - Dale Electronics released the first electronic video poker machine called Poker Matic. Every Vegas casino had them installed, but they were minimally popular. Poker Matic laid the foundation for a bright future that was to come.
  • Mid 1970s - Si Redd, a distributor for Bally’s Gaming introduced a new game called Video Poker. The idea was not accepted by Bally’s executives and they gave the patent to Si. Determined he set out to find a company who backed him. Eventually he landed a deal with Fortune Coin Company. Together they formed machines called Si Redd’s Coin Machines or SIRCOMA. The machines were mass produced, but slow to catch on.
  • 1981 - Finally people started to notice the SIRCOMA machines and by 1981 they were some of the most popular games behind slots. Si took the company public and renamed it International Gaming Technology, or IGT. Today this company is still one of the most respected in the industry.
  • 1980s - 1990s - Video poker machines were a big deal on the casino floor. Over time the size of the machine was scaled down and different themes were added. A casino house edge was also introduced. It was determined by basing the odds on a hand and comparing them to the payout of the particular hand. Today this is mathematical algorithm is still used.
  • 2000s and Beyond - Video poker continues to thrive and is one of the most popular games online and offline. As technology has flourished so too has video poker. Now the games can be accessed on every device imaginable. We’re certain it will also be a hot choice when gambling enters the world of VR.

6. Common Video Poker Questions

We've played enough video poker and reviewed enough sites to know what players want to hear about a casino before they sit down to a game. We went through all of the questions you're likely to have and detailed the answers below:

Where can I find a good video poker game?

Well, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel - the first place you should look is at our selection of online video poker casinos. This is the best way for new players and experienced players alike to find games that have the best graphics, payouts, and bonuses because we test all of the new games as they come on the scene. We make sure the video poker casinos are safe and secure, and provide you with easy to use platforms so you can just enjoy the experience.

Do I need special software to play?

No necessarily. The majority of casinos will offer a free downloadable client which you then play through. However, there are some sites offering web-based applications that allow you to enjoy all the games you love right from your usual browser. These type of instant play casinos are largely available for players on Mac & iPhone devices.

How do I place bets with my money, and get winnings?

In order to play for money you'll have to be able to transfer funds using a credit card or bank account. Many online video poker casinos also work with e-wallet payments such as Neteller, EcoCard, or Skrill, making it even more secure for you in that you never have to give the casino your private financial information. When you want to access your winnings, you can deposit them directly to your bank account, or in many cases onto major credit cards. You can also deposit winnings into an e-wallet account for instant access.

What types of games are available?

The two most common video poker variations are Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. However, at each casino you'll find a variety of games that will certainly keep you busy. These include games with mind blowing progressive jackpots that accumulate over time, offering the chance to cash in on a very big payout.

Do you play video poker the same way you play real life poker?

Basically, yes. There are a few differences, such as two of a kind not paying out even if it's the high hand. You'll find a list of hands on the board of each game, most start at three of a kind. The biggest difference in video poker vs. land-based games is that you aren't playing against anyone - just the house.

What is a "cycle"?

This is a statistical approximation of the number of hands that must be played in order for a specific winning hand combination to be displayed. For example, a Royal Flush is said to occur once every 30,000 hands played. This doesn't mean that, after 29,999 hands, you will get a Royal Flush for certain though!

What are "quads"?

This slang term refers to a winning hand is also known as four-of-a-kind, a combination comprising four cards all having the same rank. Use this word to show your friends how much you know about video poker, but have the strategy ready to back it up!

What is "hold"?

This refers to keeping, or holding, specific cards and not exchanging them when given the opportunity.

What is a "pat hand"?

A "pat hand" is a hand that has been dealt to you and cannot be improved in any way, such as being dealt four aces.

Doesn't the house have the advantage in video poker?

Actually, poker is still the strategy game it always was, even in video poker. Players who have a good strategy can potentially win against the house more often than not in certain types of games.

Do poker strategies work in video poker?

Absolutely! Strategy can make or break a poker player and that's true in video poker as well.

What does 10/7 Double Bonus and 9/6 Jacks+ mean?

These names are derived from pay schedules of two specific games: 10/7 Double Bonus and 9/6 Jacks+. A 10/7 Bonus video poker game would pay 10 coins for a full house and 7 coins for a flush on a single coin bet, while a 9/6 Jacks or Better refers to payout of 9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush.

What is a full pay video poker machine?

A full-pay video poker casino offers the best payouts, as near as possible to 100%.

Are hands ranked in the same order as real life poker?

Yes, and you will find a hand ranking chart on each video poker game as well so that you can keep track of the hierarchy as well as the payout for each hand. Just as in real life, poker hand rankings vary between games, so make sure you know what you are dealing with before you start betting, rather than after.

Can I play for free?

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How do I know that the cards being dealt in Video Poker are not fixed?

Casinos should be audited by an independent firm who verify that the software being used is completely random, as well as certifying the claimed payouts. Online casinos are highly regulated and monitored. As a result, they can be trusted to provide fair gaming experience.

7. Video Poker Glossary

Action

The total amount of money wagered.

Bankroll

The total amount of money a player has available to be used for gambling, whether in the form of chips or sitting in your bank account.

Cash Back

A monetary bonus awarded to a player, in return for playing with a given casino.

Cycle

The average number of hands that pass between top-payout victories on any given video poker machine - typically through the use of the royal flush. The phrase may seem to imply that there is a predictable number of spins between each top payout, but this interpretation is misleading. Each hand is totally random, you could even win twice in a row.

Drawing Hand

A poker hand which requires a specific card to improve in value.

Face Card

A card category that includes Kings, Queens, and Jacks.

Full Pay

The best, statistically speaking, version of any particular game. The 9/6 Jacks or Better game, for example, is the full pay version of Jacks or Better. Other variations give the house a larger advantage and should be avoided, though with some casinos, you might not have the option to play full pay games.

House Edge

The houses statistical advantage displayed as a percentage. For players, a lower house edge is a good thing. The casino, on the other hand, is looking for the highest edge possible.

Inside Straight

A potential straight that requires you to draw one or more cards to fill a gap on the inside of the sequence. For example, a hand that contains 6, 7, 8, and 10 requires a nine, and only a nine, on the draw to become a straight.

Kicker

A hand's highest, non-paired card that could be used as a tie breaker in traditional poker games. Do not hold kickers in video poker - they don't serve the same function.

Outside Straight

A potential straight that requires you to draw one of two cards to finish the five-in-a-row sequence o f a straight. This is much easier to complete than an inside straight. For example, a hand that contains 9, 10, J, and Q, can be made into a straight by receiving either an 8 or a K on the draw.

Pay Table

The diagram that tells you how much each hand is worth - payouts are displayed in terms of your bet size.

Progressive Jackpot

A jackpot that grows larger as players fail to win it. Typically, many machines are linked together to feed the same progressive jackpot, and there is no limit to how large these video poker jackpots can grow. Once won, it will reset to its starting amount.

RNG

Short for random number generator, this is the digital mechanism that allows for random events to take place fairly. In the case of video poker, the random number generator produces a random 5-card hand from a deck that does not actually exist.

Short Pay

The counterpart to "full pay". These are less than optimum slot machines because of their less generous pay tables. These should typically be avoided.

Volatility

A measure of how much a player should expect a machine to deviate from its expected return. Higher volatility should result in bigger swings in your bankroll, both positive and negative. Although this point is often debated, many players believe that higher volatility leads to increased risked.

Wild Card

A card in a specific video poker game that can act as any other card to create a more valuable hand.

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