Video poker holds a very special place at the casino. If you play an optimal strategy, or even a near-optimal strategy, you can narrow the house edge down to a fraction – or even tilt the edge in your favor, when you find a progressive jackpot that has grown large enough. It does take a little bit of study, though. In order to figure out the right strategy for any video poker game, you have to look at the paytables and understand what they’re saying.

The paytable on a video poker machine is the list of all the different prizes you can win, depending on what hand you make and how many coins you bet. For example, if you play Deuces Wild at Ignition Casino, you’ll see the paytable displayed prominently at the top of the screen. Each winning hand is there, from 3 of a Kind all the way to Royal Flush, and payouts are listed from one coin to the maximum five coins. These numbers are the key to figuring out what video poker strategy to play.

Risks and Rewards in Video Poker

Jacks or Better Multi-hand Video Poker, like any game at the casino, is about the probabilities of risk and reward. The rules of the game (number of decks, minimum winning hand, Wild cards, etc.) determine the probability of making a hand. The number of coins you bet determines the risk. Once you know the paytable for a game, you know the reward. The rest is math, and thankfully, there are plenty of free video poker strategy calculators available online where you can just punch in the numbers and let the software do the work for you.

Keep in mind that video poker paytables aren’t standard from casino to casino. Ideally, you want a “full-pay” game where the paytable is set to give you maximum value. If you’re playing live in Nevada, and you find a full-pay Deuces Wild machine, you can expect a 100.8% rate of return when you use the optimal strategy – and that’s without taking progressive jackpots into consideration. We’ll go over the paytables in our most popular online video poker games, including Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker Poker, and explain the pros and cons of playing the multi-hand versions.

Jacks or Better Paytable 

With just nine winning hands, Jacks or Better has a small but powerful online video poker paytable. It doesn’t diverge from the standard poker hands, making it easy for beginners. The minimal hand needed to win a payout is as advertised: A Pair of Jacks. When looking to play Jacks or Better, stick to full pay machines. These are often advertised as 9/6 Jacks or Better, with 9 being the payout for a Full House, and 6 being the payout for a Flush (both on one-coin wagers). 8/6 Jacks or Better is an example of a non-full pay machine, which pays just 8 coins for a Full House. As you can see below, we’re proud to exclusively offer full pay Jacks or Better in our casino. 

In addition to offering full payouts for the Flush and Full House, this version of Jacks or Better comes with a jackpot for the Royal Flush (on a five-coin bet). As you can see, starting with the payout for the one-coin bet, the Royal Flush payout increases by 250 coins with each additional coin wagered until you get to five coins—at which point, instead of offering a 1,250-coin payout, 4,000 coins are awarded.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jacks or Better has higher payouts for the lower-ranking hands than most other games. These hands are far likelier to occur than the higher-ranked hands, which results in more frequent quality payouts than what you’d get playing the more volatile video poker games. 

Deuces Wild Paytable

Deuces Wild differs from Jacks or Better in that it includes a wild card, which makes it easier to land winning hands. This edge is balanced by the minimal hand requirement increasing to a 3 of a Kind instead of a Pair, so while you’ll be dealt “set” hands easier, you also need a stronger hand to get paid. 

Out of the 10 winning hands listed above, a few are unique to Deuces Wild. Four Twos get you 1,000 coins on a five-coin wager, and a Royal Flush with a Deuce included gets you a lower payout than a natural Royal Flush. Another quirk is that 5 of a Kind is possible since a Deuce can be added to a 4 of a Kind; this pays more than a Straight Flush and less than a Wild Royal.

Joker Poker Paytable

Joker Poker is another one of our wild card video poker games, and this one comes with 12 winning hands, including the highest paying hand of all: The Sequential Royal Flush.

Hand Name Description Example
Royal flush 10, J, Q, K, A of same suit 10H, QH, JH, AH, KH
Straight flush in sequence, five cards of same suit 3S, 4S, 5S, 6S, 7S
4 of a kind four cards of same rank 6D, 6S, 6C, 6H
Full house 3 of a kind, plus a pair 2H, 2D, 2S, 3H, 3S
Flush five cards of same suit 2D, 4D, 6D, 8D, 9D
Straight five cards in sequence 3H, 4C, 5H, 6S, 7D
3 of a kind three cards of same rank 7H, 7S, 7D
2 pair 2 pairs of different rank JH, JD, KS, KC
1 pair 1 pair (two cards) of the same rank KS,KC

You’ll see the Sequential Royal Flush at the top of the paytable, promising a massive 20,000 coins on a five-coin wager. The Sequential Royal Flush is a Royal Flush that lands in consecutive order from left to right; according to the odds, this comprises just over 1% of natural Royal Flush hands. 

Other noteworthy winning hands include a 5 of a Kind, which is any 4 of a Kind plus a Joker, and a Royal Flush with Joker included. Like our other video poker games, Joker Poker offers a 4,000-coin jackpot for landing a natural Royal Flush on a five-coin wager. The minimal hand needed to win is a Pair of Kings. Note that the Pair and 2 Pair pay the same. 

Paytable Differences Between Single and Multi-Hands

Some video poker games have different paytables for single vs. multi-hand play, and when this happens, the single-hand online video poker variations always have the more generous payouts. Take Jacks or Better for instance. In the single-hand version, the Full House pays 45 coins and the Flush pays 30 coins. Switch to the multi-hand version, and you’re getting 40 coins for the Full House and 25 for the Flush. 

That being said, not all multi-hand versions come with stingier payouts, so it’s important to compare the paytables when playing online video poker for real money. Take a look at Joker Poker; this wild card video poker game has identical paytables for both the single-hand and multi-hand versions, which is worth considering when you want to get in that extra volume. 

Assessing paytables is necessary to building a good video poker strategy and the habit applies well to life beyond casino gaming. After all, you wouldn’t shop in a store without looking at price tags. Shop for the best video poker deal by comparing paytables today.