Sitting at a poker table, counting the statistical probabilities of certain cards and hands while perfecting your psychological approach to other players not your thing?

Enter Video Poker.

While you may not have the edge from such strategies as bluffing, basic understanding of poker strategy will help increase your edge over the house while playing Video Poker.
Based on Five Card Draw Poker, Video Poker became extremely popular in the ‘80’s. With a limited set of options, Jacks or Better was one of the most commonly played Video Poker game of the day. Today there are over 100 variations.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the basics of play, and some of the more popular Video Poker games and how to play.

Basic Play

Whether you like to bet big or small can dictate which Video Poker game to play. This is where the Pay Schedule comes in. Find the best Video Poker game that offers the best payout for the size of bets you are willing to make. Pay schedules are listed on the front of the machines and show you what hands are eligible for payout, and how much your return will be depending on your bet.

Place your bet. You will be given the option to bet 1 to 5 coins. Your payout on a given winning hand will also be determined by how many coins you bet, as listed above in regards to the Payout Schedule.

The machine will now deal five cards. You will have the option to discard unwanted cards, and receive new ones, while keeping the rest. The resulting hand is what you will be paid out on. This is where real poker strategy comes in. While professional players will have hand probabilities memorized, if you are not at that level yet, bringing along a Probability Table will help increase your edge. A probability table can be printed small enough to fit in your hand and is legal to use.

With the basic rules of playing Video Poker machines rather simple, your choice of game is where different variables may come in. Here are some of the more popular Video Poker games played.

Video Poker Games

Jacks or Better

Also known as Draw Poker, this is a great beginner’s game because it is a rather easy game to play with a nice payout. The Full Paid version of this game is also referred to as 9/6 Jacks or Better. This is because the payout for receiving a Full House is 9 credits, and the payout for receiving a Flush is 6 credits.

As the name implies, the lowest hand that pays is a pair of Jacks or better. Here is an example of the pay schedule:

Royal Flush- 1 Credit/250, 2 Credits/500, 3 Credits/750, 4 Credits/1000, 5 Credits/4000

Straight Flush- 1 Credit/50, 2 Credits/100, 3 Credits/150, 4 Credits/200, 5 Credits/250

Four of a Kind- 1 Credit/25, 2 Credits/50, 3 Credits/75, 4 Credits/100, 5 Credits/125

Full House- 1 Credit/9, 2 Credits/18, 3 Credits/27, 4 Credits/36, 5 Credits/45

Flush- 1 Credit/6, 2 Credits/12, 3 Credits/18, 4 Credits/24, 5 Credits/30

Straight- 1 Credit/4, 2 Credits/8, 3 Credits/12, 4 Credits/16, 5 Credits/20

Three of a Kind- 1 Credit/3, 2 Credits/6, 3 Credits/9, 4 Credits/12, 5 Credits/15

Two Pair- 1 Credit/2, 2 Credits/4, 3 Credits/6, 4 Credits/8, 5 Credits/10

Jacks or Better- 1 Credit/1, 2 Credits/2, 3 Credits/3, 4 Credits/4, 5 Credits/5

Theoretical Return- 1 Credit/98.4%, 2 Credits/98.4%, 3 Credits/98.4%, 4 Credits/98.4%, 5 Credits/99.5%

Deuces Wild- Using the standard 52- card deck, this game utilizes the 2‘s, known as “deuces”, as wild cards. This adds a nice little twist for implementing a good poker strategy. Here is a full pay payout schedule commonly used in Nevada:

Natural Royal Flush- 1 Credit/300, 2 Credits/600, 3 Credits/900, 4 Credits/1200, 5 Credits/4000

Four Deuces- 1 Credit/200, 2 Credits/400, 3 Credits/600, 4 Credits/800, 5 Credits/1000

Wild Royal Flush- 1 Credit/25, 2 Credits/50, 3 Credits/75, 4 Credits/100, 5 Credits/125
-Five of a Kind- 1 Credit/15, 2 Credits/30, 3 Credits/45, 4 Credits/60, 5 Credits/75

Straight Flush- 1 Credit/9, 2 Credits/18, 3 Credits/27, 4 Credits/36, 5 Credits/45

Four of a Kind- 1 Credit/5, 2 Credits/10, 3 Credits/15, 4 Credits/20, 5 Credits/25

Full House- 1 Credit/3, 2 Credits/6, 3 Credits/9, 4 Credits/12, 5 Credits/15

Flush- 1 Credit/2, 2 Credits/4, 3 Credits/6, 4 Credits/8, 5 Credits/10

Straight- 1 Credit/2, 2 Credits/4, 3 Credits/6, 4 Credits/8, 5 Credits/10

Three of a Kind- 1 Credit/1, 2 Credits/2, 3 Credits/3, 4 Credits/4, 5 Credits/5

Theoretical Return- 1 Credit/99.7%, 2 Credits/99.7%, 3 Credits/99.7%, 4 Credits/99.7%, 5 Credits/100.8%

Jokers Wild- This game is played with a standard 52-card deck with a Joker added. This Joker can be used to replace any other card. The minimum hand to win in this game is a pair of Kings or better, because of the Joker. You will see the hands needed to actually win money on your bet in the pay schedule below:

Natural Royal Flush- 1 Credit/750, 2 Credits/1500, 3 Credits/2250, 4 Credits/3000, 5 Credits/5000

Five of a Kind- 1 Credit/200, 2 Credits/400, 3 Credits/600, 4 Credits/800, 5 Credits/1000

Joker Royal Flush- 1 Credit/100, 2 Credits/200, 3 Credits/300, 4 Credits/400, 5 Credits/500

Straight Flush- 1 Credit/50, 2 Credits/100, 3 Credits/150, 4 Credits/200, 5 Credits/250

Four of a Kind- 1 Credit/17, 2 Credits/34, 3 Credits/51, 4 Credits/68, 5 Credits/85

Full House- 1 Credit/7, 2 Credits/14, 3 Credits/21, 4 Credits/28, 5 Credits/35

Flush- 1 Credit/5, 2 Credits/10, 3 Credits/15, 4 Credits/20, 5 Credits/25

Straight- 1 Credit/3, 2 Credits/6, 3 Credits/9, 4 Credits/12, 5 Credits/15

Three of a Kind- 1 Credit/2, 2 Credits/4, 3 Credits/6, 4 Credits/8, 5 Credits/10

Two Pairs- 1 Credit/1, 2 Credits/2, 3 Credits/3, 4 Credits/4, 5 Credits/5

Kings or Better- 1 Credit/1, 2 Credits/2, 3 Credits/3, 4 Credits/4, 5 Credits/5
While there are variations in strategy from game to game when playing Video Poker, the most optimal strategy is to have a firm grasp of poker hands and probabilities.

So now that you have the basic idea of Video Poker, pick your game, relax, and have fun.