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What is Video Poker? | A Game With Low House Edge
Video Poker Strategy | Jacks Or Better Strategy | Jacks Or Better Payout Scheme | Progressive Jackpots | Winning At Video Poker

What is Video Poker?

Video poker is a lot more about video than it is about poker, there's no doubt about that. The game itself is like a fusion of a slot machine and a game of five-card draw. Although you try to get the best five-card poker hand, you don't play against other players and the payout for each holding is fixed. So you need to know the poker hand ranking, but then the game has nothing to do with poker strategy.

A Game With Low House Edge

Playing video poker is not as easy as it may seem. The perfect strategy is quite complex, but if you manage to learn it, you can cut down the house edge to almost zero - and sometimes you can even get an advantage over the casino. Video Poker is one of few games that has the nice benefit that you can choose the game that is most favorable.Depending on which machine you choose the advantage is between 2.5% to the casino or 0.75% to you, so the most important choice you have to make when playing video poker is to pick a good machine.

But how can this be true? How can the casinos offer games where they lose money in the long run, games that sometimes also offer progressive jackpots?

The reason is simple. Most players don't play according to the perfect strategy, and as soon as they start making random decisions, the casino gets an advantage. This is obviously not the way to go. Playing perfect video poker is all about making the right decision every time, and don't hold certain cards just because "you feel lucky this time."

Video Poker Strategy

Winning at video poker games is not just about luck. The house edge is often referred to as the reason for not playing any casino games at all, but did you know that the video poker game actually could give you positive expectations on a bet? It is true!

Getting a huge payout, however, won't happen that often. You can play for quite a long time before you even get the chance to draw one card to a royal flush, and clearing a progressive jackpot is even rarer. But that doesn't really matter since you virtually play for free when you adapt the perfect strategy.

Strategy For Jacks Or Better

This is the perfect way to play Jacks or Better. Simply look in the chart below from the top and down. As soon as you find your hand, keep the cards that are specified.

Sometimes you'll see "s" after a hand. This means that the hand is suited - in other words, you can get a flush.

A=Ace, K=King, Q=Queen, J =Jack (these are also called high cards)

  • Royal Flush, straight flush, four of a kind
  • Four cards to a royal flush
  • Full house, flush, straight, three of a kind
  • Open ended straight flush draw
  • Two pair
  • High pair (jacks or better)
  • Three cards to a royal flush
  • Four cards to a flush
  • K-Q-J-T
  • Low pair (Ts or below)
  • J-T-9-8 or Q-J-T-9
  • J-T-9s or Q-J-9s
  • Open ended straight draw
  • A-Q-Js
  • Three to a flush draw (open ended)
  • Q-T-9s, J-T-8s, J-9-8s, K-Q-9s, K-J-9s
  • Q-Js
  • A-K-Q-J
  • K-Qs, K-Js, A-Ks, A-Qs, A-Js
  • Four to a straight (one gapper) with three high cards
  • Three to a straight flush with two gaps and one high card
  • Three to a straight flush with one gap and no high cards
  • K-Q-J
  • li>Q-J
  • J-T
  • K-Q, K-J
  • Q-Ts
  • A-K, A-Q, A-J
  • K-Ts
  • One high card
  • Three to a straight flush with two gaps and no high cards
  • Discard all five cards.

This may seem like a complicated chart, and it is, at least before you've learned it. The best way to learn the perfect strategy is to sit with this list by the computer and play with "fun money" in one of the many casinos online. After a while you'll realize that video poker isn't that complicated after all.

And sometimes you'll probably feel that the chart is wrong. For instance, many beginners have an urge to keep a kicker when they have a pair. This is because it might be a good play in five-card draw, but it isn't in video poker. Follow the chart rigorously if you wish to keep the house edge to a minimum.

Jacks Or Better Payout Scheme

Below, you find the payouts for the game Jacks or Better, which is the most popular video poker variation both in off- and online casinos. Remember that you usually have to bet the maximum amount allowed to receive these payouts.

HandPayout x wagered coins
Royal flush800
Straight flush50
Four of a kind25
Full house9
Three of a kind3
Two pair2
Pair (jacks or better)1

Progressive Jackpots And Positive EV

A progressive Jackpot video poker machine is actually a large number of machines that are linked together. A small portion of all players bets goes into a jackpot, which is then won by a lucky player who manages to catch a really big hand (usually a royal flush.)

The trick for a seasoned video poker player is to look at the current value of the jackpot and what standard payout the game has. These to factors will then decide whether it's time to enter the game.

Take a 9/6 Jacks or Better game for instance (9/6 describes the payout and if a full house pays nine times the wager, it is a 9/6 machine.) When the jackpot reaches 976 times the wager, you have positive expectation (EV .) But remember that you have to wager five coins to become eligible for the jackpot.

Will this ever happen? Oh yes, visit one of the casinos listed above, then choose one of the many Video Poker machines and do the math. You will soon realize that this calculation makes perfect sense!

Winning At Video Poker

Video poker is one of the better games you'll find in a casino in terms of odds. But on the other hand, catching a big jackpot is quite unlikely and even if you play every day for the rest of your life, chances are slim that you'll ever hit one. But since most players don't play according to the perfect strategy, jackpots have a tendency to grow quite rapidly.

You should play because you think it is fun, and if you happen to get lucky and catch a huge jackpot, congratulations! Videopoker is the perfect game if you just want to relax, have a good time and play for many hours. Just remember to use correct strategy and don't exceed your bankroll!

" Casino gambling is all about minimizing the House edge. Part of minimizing this edge is choosing the right game. Games like slots can give the casino an edge as high as 25 percent, whereas in a game like blackjack the house edge is often as low as one percent or less.


The other part of the game is playing the correct strategy.

Incorrect strategy in a game like Roulette can bump the house edge from around five percent to close to eight percent. Incorrect craps strategy can inflate the house edge as much as 15 percent!

Video poker is a great choice of game since it is among the best games in the casino in terms of house edge, and correct strategy can knock this edge down to less than half a percent.


No. 1: Always Play Full Pay

Different video poker machines may pay out at different odds. If you're playing the standard Jacks or Better machine, where you need a pair of jacks or better in your hand to win, you should only play if you can see the pay table offers at least 9-to-1 for a full house and 6-to-1 for a flush.

These are called ""full pay"" or 9/6 machines and they pay back over 99 percent of the money they take in.

No. 2: Play the Maximum Number of Coins

Many machines offer a substantially increased payout for a royal flush if you play the full number of coins, usually five.

While hitting a royal flush is rare, you'll want to get the largest benefit if you actually do it. In addition, you cannot get paid the progressive jackpot on a progressive video poker machine if you do not play the full amount.

No. 3: Know the Machine You're Playing

There are many different types of video poker machines. Some machines have wild cards, others special bonuses for hitting certain hands.

These machines usually have worse payout odds to make up for whatever bonus they offer. Know what to expect before you start pumping coins in.

No. 4: Don't Break Up a Winning Hand

Breaking up high pairs in order to go for straights and flushes seriously increases the house edge. You should generally hold onto pairs, even low ones, rather than chasing straights or flushes.

The major exception is if you have four to a royal flush with your pair. Here the potential payoff is so great that it is worth giving up the sure thing.


No. 5: Know Your Bankroll

Make sure you have a bankroll that is large enough for the game you want to play. If you have $100 to risk, you won't get very far on a dollar machine playing five coins a spin unless you get lucky fast.

If you don't have enough to play for the amount of time you would like without getting very lucky, move down to the next lowest denomination. You can still make plenty of money if you hit a big hand or go on a winning streak.


No. 6: Consider a Stop-Loss Point

You may increase your enjoyment of the game if you choose an amount that you are willing to lose and stick to it. This amount should be a small percentage of your bankroll. If you plan to only risk $200 each session, you will be mentally prepared and can still have fun even if you don't have a winning session.

To avoid having an exciting winning session become a potentially depressing losing one, set a stop-loss point for winning. If your stop-loss point is $300, once you go down $300 from your highest point it's time to quit.

For example, if you reach $1,000, you can play until you are down to $700.


No. 7: Play for the Right Reasons

It's very difficult to make a living playing video poker. The deck is literally stacked against you in that the game has a built-in edge that favors the casino. It is possible to find 100 percent payback machines, but they are few and far-between and even if you find one, you can only expect to break even over the long haul.

Your goal should be to have fun and come out ahead every once in awhile. This is an achievable goal and will increase your enjoyment of the game.


No. 8: Use Comps and Bonuses

While you may not get rich playing video poker, correct strategy combined with online bonuses or comps can tilt the odds in your favor.

Take advantage of these incentives whenever you can.


No. 9: Don't be Afraid to Dump Your Whole Hand

If you have five cards with no high cards or legitimate straight or flush possibilities, like 5d 9h 3c 7s 2c, go ahead and start over.

You have a better chance of hitting a winning pair with five new cards than you do holding two or three random cards to try to make a straight, flush, trips or two pair.

This is especially true in a game like Deuces Wild where there are wild cards in the mix.


No. 10: Don't Abandon Your Jackpot

If you do happen to hit a jackpot at a live casino video poker machine, don't leave your machine until the jackpot is verified by casino personnel.

If you do, someone else may try to claim your jackpot.

" " Next to slot machines, video poker is probably one of the most popular casino games to play online. Although these games look very similar in a lot of ways, there is a key difference. Players cannot alter the House edge in online slots, while those skilled at online video poker can significantly reduce or even effectively eliminate the House edge under the right circumstances.

Finding the Right Game

There are a number of different online video poker options out there, from jacks or better to aces and faces. You should know what the correct pay table should be for any game that you tend to play.

For jacks or better, a full pay machine is 9/6, meaning nine coins paid for a full house and six coins paid for a flush. Pay tables for other games will vary.

The right game with the right pay table can mean a significant difference in the House edge. Take the time to find the ideal game and pay table before you start.

Play Basic Strategy

Just as in online blackjack, there are correct moves in online video poker that have already been calculated for maximum player benefit. The systems are a bit more complicated to learn than in blackjack, but fortunately, just like in online blackjack you can call up a strategy chart to refer to as you play.

The basic idea in video poker is to choose surer wins over big payouts. However, if you have the chart on hand, you don't need to worry about the concepts behind the strategies.

Be Patient

Even if you play correct strategy on the best machine, you will probably lose about half the time. This is simply a result of the House edge built into the game.

Resist the temptation to deviate from your strategy. Simply bide your time and wait for the cards to go your way. This will offer you your best opportunity to book some nice wins while playing online video poker.



" " Video poker offers you a distinct head start toward managing your money. Statistically you'll part with less money playing video poker than you would if you were playing other casino games. The house edge in video poker is substantially smaller when you play Jacks or Better 9/6.

If you add a few proven money management tricks and a few common sense tricks, your money will go further playing video poker for entertainment, and you have a much better chance of walking away a winner if you practice a little discipline.


Losing Your Mental Edge Increases the House Edge

Because video poker combines skill with luck, you'll need to be mentally sharp whenever you play. The skill component of video poker requires you to be in complete control of your faculties when you play. If you make mistakes, you alter the house edge and you lose any advantage that you gained by selecting a game with a low house edge.

Keep track of the time. It""s easy to lose track of the time in a casino, and staring at a video poker machine can put you into what amounts to a light trance. Set an alarm, if necessary to limit your play.

Take frequent breaks. When you""re tired, you get sloppy, and that defeats the superior house edge.

Don""t drink and play video poker. Alcohol can impair your focus and mental concentration. (Why do you suppose that the casinos ply you with free drinks?)

Leave the machine when you get tired. Come back when you""re in shape to play.

Slow Down and Take Your Time

Have you ever paid attention to what""s going on around you in a casino? The atmosphere gives new meaning to lights, camera, action. Everything is loud and fast,by design. Every aspect of the atmosphere is geared toward putting you at a further disadvantage by distracting you and making you play faster, all in an effort to part you and your money faster. Distractions cause mistakes, and mistakes increase the house edge.

Make a conscious effort to slow down.

Study each hand.

If you're playing at home, you can mute your speakers to increase your concentration.

You're Not Playing with Play Money

When you play online or you play with one of the new machines that uses bill receptors, it""s easy to forget that you""re playing with real money.

Set limits and stick to them. Set a bankroll for a specific period of time. If you lose your bankroll, walk away.
When you build up a nice winning cushion, cash out and tuck some of the money away. If you lose the rest of your money, you still walk away a winner.
Don""t give back all your winnings. Somehow, people have come to believe that they should play until all their money has gone into the machine. How on earth can you expect to win if you expect to feed all your money to the machines.


Don't Get Greedy

Greed is the number one factor in turning a winner into a loser. Don""t let the greed bug bite you.

" " Though there are literally hundreds of online systems that can be used to plot your strategy when playing Video Poker, there is no one sure-fire method for ensuring Video Poker success.

Despite this, there are two ways to go about your strategy:

a. Either pick one strategy and stick with it through all hands no matter what, or

b. Use probability to determine one of two strategies you will go with.

Either of these ways of playing has varying degrees of success; it mostly depends on what strategy you pick.

For example, there is many a Video Poker junkie that will play to hit a Royal Flush always, no matter what. What this means is they will break up pairs or even full houses (which has a fairly nice payout to it) in order to achieve the Royal Flush, because that has the highest payout, and maybe even a huge Progressive Jackpot. The setback to this strategy is that a Royal Flush is pretty hard to get, statistically speaking. And so you give up a lot of smaller wins to go after a big win that could take months or years to get, if ever. I am not saying this is a bad strategy, but it sure can be frustrating over the long haul, and you must expect to win a while lot of money before you (possibly) hit the big jackpot.

The second way of going about things requires you to have a little knowledge of statistics and some quick thinking and intuition. Basically, you will play each set of cards with a slightly different strategy, based on the probability of hitting a particular hand.

For example, if you get a pair of aces, that is an automatic payout, although a small one. But based on the other cards you were dealt, you may have a chance to improve that hand to make a bigger payout. Let's say you have those aces, but also a K, J and 10 of the same suit. All you would need is the Q of the same suit to make yourself a Royal Flush, or any Q to make a straight. Either way, that would make you a much better hand than a simple pair, and therefore a bigger win. In this case, you should take the calculated risk that you will get a Q if you break up that pair of aces.

However, let's say the rest of your hand is smaller numbers such as a 10, 9 and 8. Sure, you could send both aces back and hope you get the rest of the numbers needed for a straight. But the probability of getting two cards in sequential order back is small. Therefore, you would be better off keeping the aces, discarding the number cards and seeing if you can maybe get two pair or a set of aces.

Of course, there are more complicated hands for you to have to figure out, should you go with this 'hand-by-hand' strategy. But with practice, you will find that your recognition of such hands, along with your ability to play them wisely, will increase. And you don't even have to spend money to get that practice- many online casinos offer free games you play without real money. Take advantage of these, as they are a great tool for not only increasing your playing time, but helping you decide on what strategy you want to use.

" " Five things every video poker player should do.

Do NOT use Auto Hold: Some online casino software will offer the options of the software automatically holding the best cards of a dealt hand and playing the entire hand out for you. The problem with this is if you are trying to go after a royal flush or a straight, it may not recognize this and instead keep high cards hoping for a pair result. As good as some of this software is, it may not be optimized for your strategy, so if you are serious about winning you will want to play the cards yourself.

Have a strategy: This ties into the first tip a bit- if you don't have a strategy, auto hold won't matter. But you should have a strategy, as Video Poker has a little bit of skill involved and is not based on just luck. For instance, you may have a pair of aces in your hand, but if you also have a KQJ, you may want to break up that pair and see if you can get a 10 to complete your straight, and especially if it is of the same suit- which means you would win with a Royal Flush. So basically, how you play your hands depends on how much you want to win- smaller, more frequent amounts with pairs or one big amount with a huge hand. It's up to you, but the point is to have a strategy and stick with it.

Play max coins: This should be a part of your Video Poker strategy, no matter what it is. If you can play with a quarter but up to three coins, then play the full 75 cents. If you hit on a big hand and didn't play max coins, I guarantee you will be sorry. If this is the case, you will not hit on that big bonus amount; instead you will find a much smaller amount coming your way. Playing max coins means that you will win the max amount of money for any hand you hit on, and this is always a good thing.

Look for games with bonus rounds or Progressive jackpots: Bonus rounds and Progressive jackpots are great ways to increase your winnings, and quick! A bonus round means you can further push your wager and possibly double your money or more. A Progressive jackpot is an amount of money that grows with each play then is paid out to one lucky, random winner who gets the right hand. Either way, they are a thrill to win and require max coins, as stated in the last point.

Take your time: This is especially true if you are playing multi-hand Video Poker. There is not time limit- you will not hit on a better hand or have better results if you rush through your games. All rushing does is lead to reckless play and more losses. Take your time, and use your strategy. Not only will this prolong play, allowing for more bang for your buck but it ensures better play and therefore better results. Practicing also helps you with your strategy and will help you see the benefits of slower play when it comes to Video Poker.

" " It was bound to happen, the marriage between the game of five card draw poker and technology, the creation of the phenomenon known as video poker. Late last century, in the 1970s, the popular game of poker and the allure of the slot machine merged to form the wildly popular game of video poker.

In fact, early slot machines dating back to the end of the 19th century used cards rather than symbols, so the amazing fact is that a proper marriage didn't occur sooner.

The Early Days of Video Poker

It all began during the first oil crisis, fueled by the oil embargo and the Las Vegas casino mavens' desire to stoke the dying embers. Video poker proved the perfect prescription, as hoards of gamblers flocked to the casinos to join in the newest rage, and Las Vegas began its revitalization. The familiar look of the machine probably contributed to its popularity. Players could learn as they played by consulting the payout table, and machines prompted you by alerting you to winning hands. Everyone with a history of go fish or gin rummy was flocking to the video poker machines. But could the trend last?

Combining the skill required for poker with the ease of using a slot machine, while lacking the pressure of multiple opponents and the pressure to act quickly, gamblers began an enduring love affair with video poker. Gamblers love any game that introduces some control into the luck equation, and video poker fits the bill on several levels:

Players can virtually set their odds by selecting machines that offer incredibly good odds.

Video poker rewards the accomplished player, and mastering video poker falls far short of learning rocket science.

The variations are almost endless.

Video poker introduced transparency into gambling. It's simple to determine the odds of any video poker machine, based on the payout of two hands: the full house and the flush. They might as well advertise the odds on any given machine. The looseness or tightness of a machine is posted in the payout table for all to see. Contrast that with the slot machines. The player only knows the overall payout, not any given machine's payout.

Video poker can also give the player the best odds in the house of any game. Some machines provide the player with a small statistical advantage over the house, assuming perfect play. Unlike roulette or craps, there's no juice fee or house commission. It doesn't get any more transparent and up front than video poker. In fact, in Las Vegas, regulations ensure that regardless of the number of coins played, players are dealt the identical hand. There's no wondering if you'll get a worse hand if you deposit the max coins.

Could it Possibly Get Any Better?

One of the unintended consequences of the Texas Holdem craze is that everyone wants to get into the poker action any way they can, and this has only increased the video poker mania. Not everyone is cut out of for the intensity of table poker. Thanks to cable TV, every breathing, warm body has access to the latest poker craze to sweep the world?Texas Holdem. Tournaments are televised day and night, and the action is addictive. Everyone wants a piece of the action, and this has had an effect on video poker.

Since the Texas Holdem craze has proved more than just a passing fancy, slot machines in the casinos are being replaced with video poker machines. Newer machines include Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Joker""s Wild, Deuces Wild, and Poker Frenzy. In addition, machines that allow players to play up to 100 hands simultaneously are emerging.

Where Will it All End?

Who knows! In the context of gambling and games of chance, video poker has only been around for the blink of an eye. Some of the other popular games date back to the middle ages. As long as creative minds keep thinking up variations that please players and that don't break the casino bank, video poker can look forward to continued success. Video poker players expect phenomenal returns, so in the end, it may come down to who is more greedy, the players or the casinos or it may continue to offer a win/win gambling experience for all involved for centuries to come.

" " There are many people who make a living playing games. Some people play baseball, some play golf, some play poker and some even play Video Poker. At one point in time, Video Poker machines were only available in land-based casinos. Now, however, they are also available in the comfort of your home on the Internet at many different websites.


It is possible to make a living playing Video poker as long as you remain faithful to the important strategies necessary. As with any game you play, whether it be to earn a living or for fun, it is imperative for you to practice. Practice is one the main ingredients in making you better at the things that you do. Now, keep in mind, it can sometimes be painful. And, while it may not be physical pain that you endure when playing Video Poker, it may be monetary pain because sometimes you do lose money. No matter what kind of professional you are, you can't win 'em all. Losing is a part of the game.

In addition to practice, many people use strategy cards. In the past creating strategy cards was a time consuming activity. Now, though, there is software available for purchase (relatively inexpensive) that you simply add information to it and it will create multiple strategy cards for you. What's awesome about strategy cards is that they are completely legal - so whether you are playing on the Internet or at a land-based casino, you can bring them along with you to assist with your playing.

You can find useful Video Poker tips here at casinoguide and there are also other online resources available. There are main definite rules that should be followed when playing specific games and each different type of Video Poker that is out there has different tips and different strategies used to win. You want to make sure you are playing on machines with good pay outs - the main machines that I always hear about playing on are the ones that pay nine times what you play for a full house and six times what you play for a flush. These machines tend to have the best pay out scale. Whether or not you play machines with progressive jackpots is completely up to you. Some people prefer these kinds of machines only because when they hit the awesome royal flush - they also ensure an incredible jackpot. But keep in mind that their payouts are usually not as good as the ones on regular machines.

You also need to have patience and discipline when you play. You should always be analyzing how you play - did you do your best today? Take your time when you are playing - watch your errors so you can notice what you have done wrong. There is also software available in the market that you can buy that will assist you with analyzing your Video Poker playing skills. It will tell you when you have made mistake, what your mistake was and what you should have done instead of what you did do.

" Video poker is one of the more desirable casino games for those who are looking to play to win. Video poker does not have the volatility of some casino games and it has one of the lowest House edges that you will find in the casino.

House Edge

The odds in video poker vary from machine to machine. On full pay machines, the House edge for a jacks or better game with perfect strategy is less than .5 percent.

On a full pay deuces wild machine with optimal strategy, the edge actually shifts in favor of the player, for about a .77 percent edge. Finding a full pay deuces wild machine is difficult. Playing optimal strategy consistently is also a challenge, but it is possible.

Full Pay Video Poker

What does full pay mean? The optimal pay table for the type of video poker you are playing. To get the best odds, you must be working with a pay table this favorable or better.

A full pay jacks or better machine pays 1-for-1 for a pair of jacks through aces, 2-for-1 for two pair, 3-for-1 for three of a kind, 4-for-1 for a straight, 6-for-1 for a flush, 9-for-1 for a full house (due to the flush and full house payouts, these machines are often referred to as 9/6 machines) and 25-for-1 for a full house.

On progressive video poker machines, a straight flush usually pays 10 percent of the progressive prize pool and a Royal flush the entire prize pool. If the machine is not progressive or you do not play the maximum amount of coins, you can expect 50 coins for a straight flush and 800 for the Royal.

The full pay deuces wild machine pays 1-for-1 for three of a kind, 2-for-1 for a straight or flush, 3-for-1 for a full house, 5-for-1 for four of a kind, 9-for-1 for a straight flush, 15-for-1 for five of a kind, 25-for-1 for a Royal flush with wild cards and 200-for-1 for four deuces. On a Royal flush with no wild cards, the payout is 800-for-1.

" " Video poker is a game in which you can get an advantage over the casino by employing a winning strategy. Here we review two books by video poker experts who have managed to become long term winners.

Video Poker: Optimum Play By Dan Paymar


Dan Paymar's book on video poker is called ""Video Poker: Optimum Play,"" because this is what you need to beat the game of video poker. And it can be beaten. It has been scientifically proven that by choosing the right machine and making the right play every time, you can reduce the house edge to almost nothing or even shift the odds in favor of the player.


Video Poker: Optimum Play

Why don't more video poker players do this? It's because they don't know how. Dan Paymar shows them. Paymar moved to Las Vegas in the 1980s and immediately began developing a system for beating video poker. He went to multiple casinos to analyze their video poker games and hypothesize about successful strategies. He used computers to confirm his conclusions until he was ready to produce his first book on video poker, ""Video Poker-Precision Play."" Over the years, Paymar has continued to modify and refine his theories in order to create ""Video Poker: Optimum Play.""

Video Poker: Optimum Play Features

""Optimum Play"" focuses on Jacks or Better, the most common video poker game, where a pair of jacks is the minimum hand required for a payout, but he deals with other games as well. For each game listed, Paymar breaks down the correct moves, which players can learn and bring with them to casino in order to reduce the house edge to its lowest possible amount. Many video poker players swear by this volume by Dan Paymar, and those who are first discovering the game should check it out as well.


The Video Poker Edge: How to Play Smart and Bet Right by Linda Boyd

The Video Poker Edge: How to Play Smart and Bet Right by Linda Boyd teaches players what they need to know to hold their own in video poker.

The Video Poker Edge


Boyd, a former math teacher, takes a mathematical approach to the game of video poker. There is no room for speculation or hunches in her guide to being a winning player. Every play she offers is backed up with mathematical evidence. Video poker players who read the ""Video Poker Edge"" will not only know what to do, but why they are doing it.

The Video Poker Edge Bonus Features:

In addition to the basic strategies and charts provided (which players can take to the casino in portable form), Boyd tells players how to handle the aspects of the game that they often do not consider, such as bankroll size, budgeting, and the all-important game selection. In craps or blackjack, it often matters little which table one plays at, but selecting the right machine in video poker is crucial to a player's success, and Boyd shows her readers just how to do it.

About the Author

As both a math expert and long time video poker player, Boyd is in an ideal position to instruct others on the game of video poker. Unlike other gambling experts who make outrageous claims that make you wonder why they are wasting time writing a book, Boyd makes it clear exactly what kind of wins you can expect and why, making the video poker edge appealing for any fan of the game.


" " Video Poker Glossary - Learn all specific Video Poker terms.

The return the player receives on a bet.

Payout Percentage
The percent of each dollar played into the video poker machine that the machine is programmed to return to the player.

Two cards of the same value in a hand.

Pat Hand
A winning hand that is played as dealt without drawing a card?a straight, full house, flush, or four of a kind.

Pay Cycle
The commonly held belief that slot machines run on pay cycles: after taking a certain amount of money, the machine pays out a certain amount of money. This is why people look for a machine that hasn't ""hit"" for a period of time. In reality, slot machines pay out on a percentage basis over a long period of time, typically up to one year, not in short-term cycles.

Payout Table
Table on the front of the machine listing what each winning hand will pay for each coin played.

Progressive Jackpot
The top jackpot that grows progressively as more coins are dropped into the machine. Machines are sometimes linked together among several casinos to form a larger combined jackpot.

Progressive Video Poker
A video poker game that pays only for a royal flush. Each coin deposited increases the payout. Learn how you qualify for a progressive jackpot.

Four of a kind.

Three or four cards of different suits.

Royal Flush
The highest ranking hand in poker: an ace, king, queen, jack and ten of any suit. Also called a Royal Straight Flush, or a Royal.

A defined period of time to play the slots or to play on one slot machine, rather than endless play with no built-in goals or stop loss.

Five sequential cards of any suit.

Straight Flush
Five sequential cards of the same suit.

A temporary run of good or bad luck.

Four types of cards in the deck: clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades.

Cards of the same suit.

Take Cycle
The opposite of a pay cycle?the belief that the machine will not pay out until taking in a predetermined amount of coins.

Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same value.

Three Flush
A hand dealt with three cards of the same suit, needing to draw two more cards of the same suit to make a flush.

Three of a kind. (Also knows as triplets and trey.)

Two Flush
A hand dealt with twocards of the same suit, needing to draw three more cards of the same suit to make a flush.

Two Pair
A hand consisting of two separate pairs and a singleton.

The amount of money a player bets.

Wake Up With A Hand
To get a hand with winning potential on the deal.

Wild Card
A joker, or other designated card that the player can substitute for any card in his or her hand.

" " The rules of video poker are found somewhere in between slots and draw poker. It combines automated gambling with elements of strategy. It's not as advanced as real poker, obviously, but requires more thinking than slots.


In slots, you don't have any options besides how many coins you decide to wager. In video poker, on the other hand, you must make decisions based on the hands you receive.

Therefore, it's very important that you know the rules of the game before you sit down by a video-poker machine or start playing in an online casino.


Video Poker Fundamentals

Usually video poker is based on five-card draw.

In five-card draw, players receive five cards, discard 0 - 5 of them and then receive new replacement cards.

The object of the game is to get a five-card poker hand ranked as high as possible.


Hand ranking (listed from best to worst)

Royal Flush Straight Flush Four of a Kind Full House Flush Straight Three of a Kind Two Pair One Pair


How to Play Video Poker

The game itself is pretty straightforward. Follow these four steps and you've played a hand of video poker-

1. Make an initial bet. Always study the payout chart before you make a wager. Usually, it's best to wager the maximum amount allowed since these bets give you better payoff.

2. Press the ""deal"" button. You will now receive your starting hand.

3. Decide which cards to keep. This is when the video-poker strategy comes into play. Press the ""hold"" button below the cards you wish to retain.

4. Press the ""deal"" button. Now you will receive the replacement cards and your final hand appears.

Learn More To Play Optimally

Even though the rules of video poker is this simple, you may not know how to play the game well just because you've understood how the machine works.

To get the highest return and minimize the house advantage as much as possible, you must know which cards to throw away and which ones to keep.

When you know that, video poker is a great casino game. Maybe the best on the casino floor to be honest.

Read more about Video Poker Strategy