Mastering Video Poker Strategies: A Player’s Guide

Video poker is a unique and popular internet casino game that blends elements of both slot machines and traditional poker. While it’s a game of chance, understanding and applying the right strategies can significantly improve your odds of winning. In this player’s guide, we will explore video poker strategies, including the basics and advanced techniques to help you master this exciting game.

Video Poker Basics

Understanding Video Poker

Video poker is a casino game that is based on five-card draw poker. The game is played on a computerized console and resembles a slot machine. Players are dealt a starting hand of five cards and can choose which to keep and which to discard to form the final hand.

The Objective

The primary objective in video poker is to achieve a winning poker hand. Payouts are based on the strength of the hand, with stronger hands earning higher rewards. The most common winning hands, ranked from highest to lowest, include Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and Jacks or Better.

Video Poker Strategies

Starting with the Basics: Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is the most common and straightforward version of video poker. The fundamental strategy in Jacks or Better is to obtain at least a pair of Jacks or higher in your starting hand. If you are dealt a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces, keep them and discard the remaining cards.

Perfect Strategy: Optimal Play for Every Hand

To maximize your chances of winning in video poker, you need to use what’s known as the “perfect strategy.” Perfect strategy involves making the best decision for every possible hand you are dealt. Many video poker machines provide a strategy chart that outlines the optimal play for each hand. By following this chart, you can reduce the house edge to a minimum.

Advanced Strategies: Progressive Jackpot Machines

Some video poker machines offer progressive jackpots that can reach substantial sums. To play optimally in these games, you should aim for the progressive jackpot-qualifying royal flush. While the odds of hitting a royal flush are low, the potential payout makes it worth pursuing.

Advanced Video Poker Strategies

Double Up or Gamble Feature

Many video poker machines offer a “Double Up” or “Gamble” feature after a winning hand. This feature allows you to risk your winnings in a double-or-nothing bet. While it’s tempting to use this feature to increase your winnings, it’s generally not a recommended strategy, as it increases risk and may lead to losses.

Bankroll Management

Effective bankroll management is crucial in video poker. Set a budget for your gaming session and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses by betting more than you can afford. Responsible bankroll management is critical to a sustainable and enjoyable video poker experience.

Progressive Jackpot Strategy

If you’re playing a progressive jackpot video poker machine, it’s essential to understand that you are effectively contributing to the jackpot with every bet. As the jackpot grows, the game becomes more favorable for players as the potential return on investment increases. To maximize your chances of winning a progressive jackpot, you should play when the jackpot is significantly larger than the base amount.

Tips for Success

Practice and Patience

Like any on-casino game, video poker requires practice and patience to master. Play free or low-stakes video poker games to hone your skills and learn the perfect strategy. Over time, you’ll become more proficient at making the right decisions for every hand.

Understand Pay Tables

Different video poker machines may have varying pay tables, affecting the overall RTP. Before playing, take a moment to review the pay table to ensure you are getting the best possible payout rates. Opt for machines with higher payouts for better results.

Keep an Eye on Your Credits

It’s essential to keep track of your credits while playing video poker. Monitor your wins and losses, and be aware of when to quit. Don’t let a winning streak or losing streak cloud your judgment.


Mastering video poker strategies requires understanding the basics and advanced techniques. Start with the fundamentals, such as Jacks or Better, and aim to achieve at least a pair of Jacks or higher in your starting hand. As you become more experienced, delve into perfect strategy charts and advanced strategies for progressive jackpot machines.

Remember that practice and patience are crucial to success in video poker. Responsible bankroll management and understanding pay tables can also improve your overall performance. By following these strategies and tips, you can increase your chances of winning in this exciting blend of poker and slot machine gaming.