Casino Gambling Guide

Video Poker strategy

Pick the best payout table

The key to a successful video poker strategy is to pick the the game with the best payout table. Learn to distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' payout tables, and act accordingly. For example, compare the following payouts for the traditional game of Jacks or better video poker in the following table.

Hand Full pay Short pay
Royal Flush 800 800
Straight Flush 50 50
4 of a Kind 25 25
Full House 9 8
Flush 6 5
Straight 4 4
3 of a Kind 3 3
2 Pairs 2 2
Pair of Jacks or better 1 1

The second column refers to full pay, or 9/6 Jacks or better video poker, while the third column lists the payouts for short pay, or 8/5 Jacks or better video poker. 9/6 Jacks or better video poker is associated with a house edge of 0.5%, while 8/5 Jacks or better video poker has a much higher house edge. Please note that some casinos use payout tables that are actually better than 9/6 Jacks or better video poker, but worse payout tables are more common.

Tip: Playtech casinos and Microgaming casinos offer full pay Jacks or Better video poker.

Always bet max. coins

Most of the time the payout table depends on the number of coins bet on a turn. More specifically you have to bet max. coins to be eligible for the proportional higher bonus payout on a Royal Flush. So as a rule of thumb always bet max. coins.

Play the highest jackpot

Some video poker games offer a progressive jackpot, as opposed to the more common 'flat top' machine. All other things being equal, you should play the machine that offers the highest jackpot. However, often the high jackpot for the Royal Flush is compensated by a negative deviation from the 9/6 payout table.

Royal Flush

As stated earlier 9/6 Jacks or better video poker is associated with a house edge of 0.5%. But beware that when not counting the Royal Flush the house edge is much higher. The chances of hitting a Royal Flush is about 1 in every 40.000 hands. As the average player will never play so many hands, you should take into account the higher house edge when comparing video poker with other games.

Average return versus Variation

The average return for 9/6 Jacks or better video poker is 99.5%. Some video poker variants offer an even higher average return, at the expense of a higher variance. The average return for Deuces wild video poker is above 100%, but the variance is higher. The average return for Joker's wild video poker is even higher, but the variance increases accordingly. A higher variance means you have to start with a higher bankroll when you plan to go for the regal Royal Flush.

9/6 Jacks or better video poker strategy chart

As the number of video poker variations approaches infinity, it would be impossible to list the optimal strategies for each variation. However, we *will* provide you with a basic strategy for full pay Jacks or Better, which can be found here.


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