Getting Started with Online Video Poker: A Beginner’s Guide

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Video poker’s popularity amongst the iGaming community is truly extraordinary, making it one of the most captivating casino games around. Its popularity is second only to slot machines. Despite their initial similarities in machine design, video poker and slot games are quite different.

In some regions, slots are even referred to as pokies due to their similar machine appearance. However, unlike slots, which require minimal skill, video poker demands a certain level of expertise to win. Also, while slot players spin without knowing their exact odds, video poker offers some of the best odds in the casino world. Hence, with the right approach, you can strategically determine your winning hand in video poker.

Focusing on video poker, it’s a card game played with a 52-card deck that’s reshuffled after each round. Interestingly, joker cards can be used in this game, unlike others like Blackjack. Video poker is relatively easy to play, even for beginners, as our guide will provide all the necessary information. Once we’ve honed your skills, you’ll relish the exhilaration of playing video poker.

You can enjoy various versions of video poker on online casino platforms or physical terminals. Regardless of where you choose to play, the rules remain the same. However, most gameplay happens online. As such, you can try playing Real Money Video Pokers once you’ve grasped the game’s basics.

In this beginner’s guide to video poker, we’ll cover the basic rules and strategies, discuss the odds and payouts of different hands, recommend where to play, and delve into the game’s history.

A Concise History Of Video Poker

Let’s journey back to a time before most of us were born. Even though video poker is not one of the oldest casino games, its origin story is certainly intriguing. The first poker machine was introduced by the Sittman and Pitt Company in 1891. This machine had five drums or reels, each containing 10 playing cards. A coin was inserted to initiate play, and players would pull a handle to spin the drums, each drum stopping to reveal a card, ultimately creating a poker hand.

In 1898, Charles Fey, also known as ‘The Father of The Slot Machine,’ crafted a poker machine called the ‘Card Bell.’ This machine awarded a maximum of 20 coins for a Royal Flush. A few years later, in 1901, Fey invented the ‘Skill Draw’ machine, which allowed players to hold onto cards to improve their hands, resulting in the first five-card draw machine.


The holding feature was well received by gamblers, giving them a sense of control over the game’s outcome. Fast forward to 1970, Dale Electronics developed the first video poker machine, the Poker Matic. While it didn’t gain immediate popularity, it began to shine around 1981, thanks to Si Redd.

Redd transformed his company, SIRCOMA, into what is now known as IGT (International Gaming Technology), a well-known software developer in the gaming industry. Over time, video poker machines gained acceptance among gamblers in casinos.

Video Poker: The Transition to the Modern Era

The dawn of online casinos can be traced back to the late 19th century. The pioneer in developing online video poker games was a renowned software developer, Microgaming, in 1994. The game’s digital versions quickly gained popularity among the new generation of internet-savvy players.

Online video poker swiftly garnered admiration from virtual bettors. The element of strategy, combined with the chance to hold certain cards to improve one’s hand, made video poker a game-changer in the industry. Gradually, traditional casinos began to see a decline in video poker patrons.

Why would one choose to go to a brick-and-mortar casino and risk not finding a video poker machine when they could comfortably play from home? Global game providers like IGT, NetEnt, and Microgaming, to name a few, have made this possible. Welcome to the 21st century, where the game has undergone a complete transformation, revolutionizing the digital gaming sphere.

Now, the game can be enjoyed virtually anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a device like a PC, tablet, or mobile (Android or iOS), and you’re all set. The numerous variations of the game available add to its charm.


Moreover, the online versions employ Random Number Generator software, ensuring that all game outcomes are unpredictable. As a result, all game results are not predetermined but are fair and honest. With the best odds in any casino, video poker provides you with the most favorable chances of winning.

Guidelines for Video Poker and Instructions on How to Play

If you’re familiar with traditional poker, transitioning to video poker should be a breeze. If you’re new to the game, don’t worry – the rules are fairly simple. Video poker comes in many variants, so you’ll need to select the one that suits you best, but we’ll get to that later in this guide. To win in video poker, you need to have at least the lowest paying hand. For instance, in Jacks or Better, the minimum hand is a pair of jacks.

Furthermore, you must understand the rankings of all the hands you’ll encounter in your chosen video poker game. These hand ranks are usually displayed at the top of the paytable, and each hand has a different payout. It’s crucial to remember that the hands are listed in decreasing order, with the Royal Flush being the highest-paying hand. We’ll delve into these hand rankings later on.

Certain video poker variants also feature a wild card. This is typically the Deuces (2) or the Joker. For instance, in Deuces Wild, the 2 card acts as the wild card. Similarly, in Joker Wild, the Joker card serves as the wild card.

Guidelines for Gameplay

Engaging in video poker is not complex. The ultimate objective is to secure a special set of cards that leads to a triumphant hand. As is common with all casino games, a wager is required before the game kickstarts. Unlike games like Blackjack that use playing chips, video poker operates with credits or coins. In a casino setting, you can stake up to 5 coins per hand. The coins carry varying values, with some as little as $0.20. Some platforms may even permit a minimum stake of $0.10.

Once you’ve positioned your preferred bet, click the deal button. Following the 5-card draw principle, you’ll be given 5 cards, randomly chosen by the RNG software. Based on the cards and game variant you’re playing, you might choose to retain or discard some cards. Additionally, you have the option to dispose of all the cards in an attempt to achieve a more robust winning hand. If your hand or card combination results in a win after the draw, you’ll be rewarded based on the paytable.

In a nutshell, here’s how to play video poker:

Decide on the number of credits/coins you want to bet. Press the draw/deal button to get cards in your hand. Choose hold to retain any suitable cards. All other cards will be discarded. After holding certain cards, click draw/deal to finalize your hand. If your hand wins, you’ll receive payouts. Click draw if you wish to play another hand after completing the previous one. The video poker pay table contains five columns with different hands. Your winnings are determined by the number of coins you’ve staked (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5). The payout details will be elaborated on in the odds section of this guide.

Various Hands in Video Poker

From a statistical point of view, there are approximately 100 versions of video poker available on online gaming platforms. This can be quite daunting for novices trying to master the game, especially since each version features multiple pay tables. To avoid overwhelming you with all these variations, we’ll focus on the most popular ones, including Jacks or Better, Tens or Better, Deuces Wild, and Aces and Eights.

There are other iterations of the game, such as Bonus Poker, that offer higher payouts. You may also come across jackpot and multiplay versions of the game. In multiplay variants, you have the opportunity to bet on multiple hands at once.

Jacks or Better

We recommend beginners start their online play with this variant when learning video poker. It has a simpler paytable compared to other versions and is a favorite among many players. It’s based on 5-card draw poker and employs a single deck of 52 playing cards.

The lowest winning hand in this variation is a pair of Jacks or better, hence the name. The best hand here is the Royal Flush, which pays out 4,000 coins with a maximum bet of 5 coins/credits. Some people may refer to this game as 9/6.

Deuces Wild

Another commendable video poker game is Deuces Wild. In this version, all 2s are wild cards, meaning they can replace any other card to help you form a better or winning hand. However, a pair of jacks doesn’t constitute a winning hand in this version. Additionally, the Deuces Wild pay table starts with a Three of a Kind.

A Royal Flush formed with the aid of a wild card is often referred to as a Deuces Royal Flush. The Deuces Royal Flush ranks second to the regular/Natural Royal Flush.

Tens or Better

Tens or Better is a sought-after variation of Jacks or Better. It mirrors Jacks or Better, but the key difference is that the minimum winning hand is a pair of Tens.

Aces and Eights

Lastly, we have the Aces and Eights variation, which is also similar to Jacks or Better. Here, a Four-of-a-Kind of either Eights or Aces will yield higher returns. With a maximum bet of 5 credits, either four Eights or four Aces will earn you 400 coins.

It’s also played with a single deck of 52 playing cards, and its paytable closely resembles that of Jacks or Better.

All these versions are beginner-friendly, and we suggest starting with them before progressing to other variations. Furthermore, you can practice by playing the free versions of your preferred variant before wagering real money in our casinos.


In Summary, The worldwide popularity of video poker among online betting enthusiasts is unmatched. With a Royal Flush hand, you stand a chance to rake in substantial amounts of money. As experts, we strongly suggest always placing the maximum number of coins (five) on that hand. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t present itself often, and it would be a shame to miss out. One of the most exciting aspects of video poker is retaining specific cards that could result in a winning hand. Similarly, you have the option to discard those that don’t serve your strategy, enhancing your hand in the process.Our guide for beginners has thoroughly explained every detail necessary to give you a competitive edge over other players. The ultimate aim is always to have a hand that surpasses all others for the win. Before you know it, you’ll be enshrining video poker as a centerpiece in your gaming collection.

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