Video Poker Variants

Video poker has some of the best odds in the casino, but did you know there are lots of different video poker variants?

Knowing the subtle differences between different video poker game variations is essential because it can have an impact on both the total return to player and the video poker strategy you should use.

Common Video Poker Variants Explained

Jacks or Better

This is probably the most commonly played version of video poker. As the name suggests, the lowest value hand you can win with is a pair of Jacks.

Always try to find full pay Jacks or Better, otherwise known as 9/6 Jacks or Better. This refers to the fact a Full House pays 9 coins and a Flush pays 6. With this paytable, you have the best chance of winning. Even a small differences in the payouts can mean a huge drop in the overall payout percentage.

Aces & Eights

Aces & Eights is one of the best versions of video poker to play, since it has a slightly better return to player percentage than even 9/6 Jacks or Better.

Aces & Eights offers payouts on Four of a Kind combinations, but the highest payouts is still a Royal Flush. The best versions pay 25 coins for Four of a Kind of anything other than Aces, eights, and sevens, while four sevens pays 50 coins, and four eights pays 80 coins.

Tens or Better

Another common variant of video poker, Tens or Better requires only a pair of tens to win.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is an easier game to win that Jacks or Better. The payout on the best Tens or Better games is actually lower, with most games paying 6 coins for a Full House and 5 for a Flush, which significantly reduces the overall return to player.

Deuces Wild

One of the popular wild card variants of video poker, the twos in this game can replace any other card, making it easier to make winning hands.

When studying the Deuces Wild pay table you will notice some interesting payouts which you won’t see in every game – the Five of a Kind pays 15 coins, the Wild Royal Flush pays 25 coins, and the Four Deuces pays 200 coins.

This is one video poker variant with a return to player rate of more than 100% over the long run if played with a perfect strategy.

Jokers Wild

Another wild card video poker variant, this game features the Joker, which acts as a wild and can, therefore, substitute all other cards to form winning hands.

Naturally, having a wild card adds a few extra entries to the paytable, with Five of a Kind and Wild Royal Flush paying out 200 and 100 coins respectively.

There are actually several variants of Joker’s Wild itself, defined by what the lowest paying hands is. Kings or Better, Two Pairs or Better, and Aces or Better are all available online.

This is another variant which pays out over 100% when using a perfect strategy over a long enough timeline.

Double Bonus

This variant is actually extremely similar to Jacks or Better, but pays out extra on any hand with Four of a Kind in it.

For example, if you receive four Aces, the payout is 160 coins in the best games, while four of anything between 2-4 is 80 coins.

Again, this game can pay back over 100% with a great strategy and a big enough bankroll to play over the long run.

Video Poker Tips

As you can see, picking the best video poker variant is important, and the key to doing so is understanding the exact variant you are playing.

Here are some other video poker tips to help you win. Don’t skip any of these.

– Double check pay tables. Spend a little time looking around at the different paytables and pick the best returns. Even a small drop can lower your returns significantly. Most video poker players never do this kind of research, and casinos are banking you won’t either.

– Play some practice hands. If you are a new video poker player or are new to a specific variant, play a few free rounds either by using a no deposit bonus or by using a free video poker simulator. Only once you fully understand the game variant in question should you play video poker for real money.

– Bet in accordance with your bankroll. Especially when it comes to the variants of video poker which pay back more than 100% over the long run, you need a big enough bankroll to absorb a string of losses before things turn around. Remember, these games pay back more than 100% LONG TERM, and if you blow it all on a few big bets, you are just gambling recklessly.

– Learn about video poker strategy. Each game variant has its own strategy based on odds. Download a video poker cheat sheet and keep it handy. Believe it or not, there are exact mathematical probabilities as to what is likely to happen based on the cards you have, and knowing these can help you make the best decisions while playing video poker online.

– Always take the casino bonus. It’s free cash. You can’t lose playing video poker with house money.