The best online video poker for UK players

Learn how to beat the house with video poker.

Since its introduction in the 1970s, video poker has become a staple of casino gambling. There are two reasons for its popularity: firstly, it’s very easy to play. Secondly, it presents some of the best odds for players.

Our guide will get you up to speed with the rules of video poker, take you through some popular variants (with pay-out percentages) and teach you how to minimise (even beat) the house edge.

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About video poker

Video poker is a game that’s based on five-card draw poker. It’s a single player game, where the player tries to create as valuable a poker hand as possible. If they create a hand above a certain value (usually a pair of jacks) they win cash. If they don’t, they lose their stake.

For each round, the player is dealt five cards face up via a video screen. They must then choose whether to hold any of their cards for the ‘draw’. They can hold any number from zero to five. All cards that are not held are then re-dealt, and the final hand evaluated.

Winning hands can often be gambled via a ‘higher or lower’ game. UK players will be familiar with this concept as it was used in the popular 70s/80s quiz show ‘Play Your Cards Right’. A single card is dealt and the player must guess if the next card in sequence will be higher or lower. If they choose correctly, their prize is doubled. Choose incorrectly, and all winnings for that hand are lost. Players can usually gamble in this way up to five times in succession.

The history of video poker

The first video poker games arrived at the same time as ‘Pong’ and early, primitive personal computers. Video monitors were hooked up to integrated circuits in which the game was programmed. Early video poker consoles were dismissed as a passing fad.

All this changed in the early 1980s when SIRCOMA, the company that would eventually become International Game Technology, decided to concentrate on perfecting the video poker console. This turned out to be a Vegas-shattering success, as it gave poker players who felt intimidated while playing on casino tables the chance to play their favourite pastime against a faceless ‘opponent’.

The popularity of video poker has yet to wane. While not too popular with Las Vegas visitors, the locals tend to enjoy playing video poker machines off the main Vegas strip. Nearly all real-world casinos will house a few video poker terminals under their roof.

Despite massive strides in computer technology and in particular video graphics, contemporary video poker machines are little different from their primitive forebears. Video poker fans are keen that their game is kept as ‘traditional’ as possible, and video poker has not developed in the same way that online slots games have evolved to be feature-rich monsters.

Video poker at online casinos

Nearly every single online casino will offer at least one variety of video poker, and most will offer several. While not as popular as slots, blackjack or roulette, video poker is a rarity as with correct play and taking in all factors, the house edge can be swung ever-so-slightly in favour of the player.

There are four main varieties of video poker:

  • JACKS OR BETTER – This is the main version of the game. To secure a win, a player must end up with a hand that contains at least a pair of jacks. All other hands lose. Payouts start at x1 for any qualifying pair, up to x800 for a Royal Flush.
  • ALL AMERICAN – Similar to Jacks or Better and with the same basic rules, but with a better payout structure. There are increased payouts for flushes, straights and straight flushes, but reduced payouts for full houses and two pairs.
  • DEUCES WILD – The lowest winning hand in this game is a set, but as the name suggests, all deuces (twos) are wild. There are additional winning hands, such as Five of a Kind, Wild Royal Flush and Four Deuces. The five-credit version of this game with the correct pay table actually has a negative house edge when played with perfect strategy.
  • JOKER POKER – Also know as ‘Joker’s Wild’, is played with a deck containing 53 cards in which one of them is a joker and can be used as any card when drawn. The lowest possible winning hand is a pair of kings, and Five of a Kind and a Wild Royal Flush are added to the the mix just as with Deuces Wild. Again, if the pay table is set correctly, the player actually has a 0.64 percent edge over the house with perfect strategy. There are also self-explanatory sub-variations of Joker Poker known as Kings or Better, or Two Pairs or Better.

Multi-hand video poker games have become popular at online casinos in recent years. This allows you to play up to 100 hands at one from the draw. If, for example, you hold two aces before the draw and play 100 hands, you can play all 100 hands with two aces and three newly drawn cards. This is very beneficial if you are dealt a winning hand before the draw.

Other less common varieties of video poker are as follows:

  • ACES AND FACES – A standard game with increased payouts for four of a kind of any face card or an ace. Payouts for other hands such as a full house are reduced.
  • ALL ACES or BONUS POKER – Same as Jacks or Better but with increased payouts for four aces, deuces, threes or fours, and reduced payouts for other hands.
  • BONUS FLUSH – Jacks or Better but with increased payouts for flushes.
  • DEUCES AND JOKER – A combination of Deuces Wild and Joker Poker or Joker’s Wild.
  • DOUBLE BONUS – Same as Bonus Poker but with a different payout structure.
  • DOUBLE DOUBLE BONUS – As above, but with other bonus hands such as four aces with a two, three or four kicker.
  • DOUBLE JOKER – Same as Joker Poker or Joker’s Wild but with two jokers instead of one.
  • PICK’EM POKER – Players are dealt four cards. They must keep the first two, and MUST discard either (not both) of the next two. After the decision has been made, the final two cards are dealt to complete the hand.
  • TENS OR BETTER – A pair of tens is the lowest winning hand. There are reduced payouts for flushes and full houses.

Learn how to play video poker

Learn how to play online video poker with RightCasino’s online guide.

Online video poker was introduced to casinos in the 1970s as a single-player equivalent to table poker. At the time, it was a bit of a technological marvel and quickly became popular. Today, the game is still played widely for its simple rules, low house edge and the possibility of big wins. Our step-by-step guide will steer you through the rules and variants of video poker so you can get the most out of this exciting casino game.

How to play

The rules of video poker are extremely straightforward…

Pick your coins

In most versions of video poker, you will use an electronic interface to bet on a virtually-generated straight poker hand. You begin by making a wager of up to five ‘coins’ (the value of which depend on the game and chosen settings). The more money you are happy to wager, the more you can win. Usually, your winnings are simply multiplied by the amount of cash you gamble, although you may receive a bonus lift if you go the whole hog with five coins.

Generating your hand

Once your stake has been set, the game will generate a hand of five cards based on a digital, 52-card deck (up to 53 in ‘Joker Wild’ games). This is your starting hand. In some games you can play 5, 10, 25 or even 100 hundred hands all at the same time. Each hand will begin with your ‘main’ hand as the base.

Choosing discards

Once your starting hand has been generated, you can choose which of your cards to discard. The discards are then replaced with new cards from the remaining deck.

Collect your winnings!

You are then paid on the value of your hand according to a paytable. Usually for a qualifying pair, you receive back the same amount of money you gambled. Payouts go up as far as a royal flush, for which you typically receive back 250x your stake.

Darest you gamble?

You can usually gamble your winnings when you hit a successful hand at video poker. If you do decide to gamble, you’ll be presented with a card, and you have to guess whether the next card drawn will be higher or lower. If you pick right, your prize is doubled. If you choose unwisely, then you lose everything. Depending on the game, you should be able to go ‘double or quits’ up to five times in succession.

Video poker variations

Find the best house edge with our list of popular video poker variations.

There are several different versions of video poker, all of which come with extremely favourable odds for the player (even positive expectation by some estimates). See which variants present the best edge with our overview of video poker variants (along with pay-tables). All pay-outs are calculated according to betting five credits and assume ‘optimal’ play.

Jacks or Better

Also known as 9/6 Jacks or Better. This is the most common form of video poker and payoffs begin at a pair of Jacks.

Hand 1 Credit 2 Credits 3 Credits 4 Credits 5 Credits
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5

House edge: 0.54%

Deuces Wild

In this game, all 2s (‘deuces’) are wild, changing their rank and suit to form better hands. This variant returns a higher return for ‘natural’ hands that contain no wild cards.

Hand Pay-out (multiple of bet)
Natural Royal Flush 800
Four deuces 200
Deuces Royal Flush 25
Five of a Kind 16
Straight Flush 13
Four of a Kind 4
Full House 3
Flush 2
Straight 2
Three of a kind 1

House edge: 1.1%

All American

This variant features higher pay-outs on flushes and straights and lower returns on full houses and pairs.

Hand Pay-out (multiple of bet)
Royal Flush 800
Straight Flush 200
Four of a Kind 34
Full House 8
Flush 8
Straight 8
Three of a Kind 3
Two Pair 1
Jacks or Better 1

House edge: 1.5%

Tens or Better

As you would expect, pay-outs start at a pair of 10s.

Hand Pay-out (multiple of bet)
Royal Flush 800
Straight Flush 50
Four of a Kind 25
Full House 6
Flush 5
Straight 4
Three of a Kind 3
Two Pair 2
Tens or Better 1

House edge: 0.9%

Joker Wild

This variant includes one Joker as a wild card. The lowest qualifying hand is a pair of Kings and, as with Deuces Wild, natural hands offer a better return.

Hand Pay-out (multiple of bet)
Natural Royal Flush 1000
Five of a Kind 200
Joker Royal Flush 100
Straight Flush 50
Four of a Kind 17
Full House 7
Flush 5
Straight 3
Three of a Kind 2
Two Pair 2
Kings or Better 1

House edge: 1.4%

Aces and Faces

This variant offers different pay-outs for four of a kind, depending on rank, with aces giving the best return.

Hand Pay-out (multiple of bet)
Royal Flush 800
Straight Flush 70
Four of a Kind (Aces & 8s) 80
Four of a Kind (Sevens) 50
Four of a Kind (Other) 20
Full House 8
Flush 5
Straight 4
Three of a Kind 3
Two Pair 2
Jacks or Better 1

House edge: 0.74%

Full and low pay video poker

Most online casinos offer full pay machines only, meaning that pay-outs are nine times your wager for a full house and six times for a flush. Low pay machines offer a lower return (8/5, where full houses and flushes return eight and five times your bet respectively are most common). This results in a higher house edge.

If possible, you should always aim for full paying machines with a better return. Any game with a lower return than those in the tables above would be considered ‘low-pay’. Be sure to check the pay-outs before hazarding any cash.

Video poker strategy

Beat the house edge with our guide to basic video poker strategy.

Video poker is one of the few casino games where it is possible to beat the house edge. This page will introduce you to basic strategy for full-pay video poker variants (with and without wilds) via a series of hand charts, helping you get an edge over the casino with mathematically ‘perfect’ play. Credit to Michael Shackleford (AKA ‘The Wizard of Odds’) for these systems. If you need some help with the terminology, check out our poker glossary here.

Without wilds (e.g. Jacks or Better)

The following are the best plays, in order of absolute best to absolute worst (‘high’ card indicates a pair of Jacks or better).

1 Dealt Royal Flush
2 Dealt Straight Flush
3 Dealt Four of a Kind
4 Four to Royal Flush
5 Dealt Full House
6 Dealt Flush
7 Three of a Kind
8 Dealt Straight
9 Four to Straight Flush
10 Two Pair
11 High Pair
12 Three to Royal Flush
13 Four to a Flush
14 Unsuited K/Q/J/10
15 Low Pair
16 Four to an outside straight with 0-2 high cards
17 Three to a Straight Flush
18 Suited Q/J
19 Four to an inside straight, four high cards
20 Suited K/Q or K/J
21 Suited A/K, A/Q, Q/J
22 Four to an inside straight, three high cards
23 Three to a straight flush
24 Unsuited K/Q/J
25 Unsuited Q/J
26 Suited J/10
27 Two unsuited high cards, kings highest
28 Suited Q/10
29 Two unsuited high cards, ace highest
30 J only
31 Suited K/10
32 Q Only
33 K Only
34 A Only
35 Discard anything else

Pay-out: 99.54%

With wilds (e.g. Deuces Wild)

In the list below, a natural denotes a hand that uses no wild cards.

1 Natural Royal Flush
2 Four to a Royal Flush
3 Straight Flush
4 Four of a kind
5 Full House
6 Three of a Kind
7 Straight/Flush
8 Four to an outside straight flush
9 Suited Q/J/10
10 Four to an inside straight flush
11 Three to a royal flush, except Q/J/10
12 Pair
13 Two Pair
14 Four to a Flush
15 Four to an outside straight
16 Three to a straight flush, spread 3-4, suited
17 Two to a royal flush, jack highest
18 Three to a straight flush, spread five and suited
19 Four to an inside straight, except missing deuce
20 Two to a royal flush, queen highest
21 Two to a royal flush, king highest, no penalty cards
22 Discard anything else

Pay-out: 100.76%

Mobile video poker

Play virtual video poker anytime, anywhere on a variety of compatible devices.

Advancements in technology have made it possible for online gambling to be enjoyed from the convenience of a mobile phone. Video poker is an extremely popular game that is enjoyed across the globe by millions of players, many of whom choose to play via a smart device.

What is mobile video poker?

By recent estimates, around $10 billion is wagered through mobile platforms every singly year, and mobile revenues are increasing all the time.

Video poker on mobile devices is identical to the game you would expect on desktops: the interface is the same, as are the rules of play. The only difference is that you can gamble literally anywhere, as long as you have a compatible device and a robust internet connection.

Video poker on mobile devices

As video poker is a relatively simple game to port to mobile platforms, it’s genuinely surprising that more software providers do not provide versions of video poker for mobile devices. The reason for this could be due to the ban on US-based players from the mobile casino arena, and that video poker is still seen as an activity suited to US casinos.

There are a few mobile casinos that do offer a version of video poker on mobile devices – 32Red, for example.

Most casinos that offer video poker requires a download in order for players to be able to play the game. These downloads are only typically available for Android and iOS based systems. As more and more mobile software providers begin to embrace HTML5 as the mobile-coding ‘option of choice’, more games will be available for Windows Phone and BlackBerry users.

How to player video poker on a mobile device

Playing video poker on a mobile devices is as simple an affair as playing video poker at any online casino.

Unfortunately, only the most basic version of video poker – Jacks or Better – seems to be available for mobile platforms.

You begin the game by selecting the size of your bet, using from one to five coins. Once you’re happy hit the ‘Deal’ button to be dealt your poker hand consisting of five cards.

Tap any cards that you want to keep. You will see some indication that the card you have selected has been held. When you’re satisfied with your selection, hit the ‘draw’ button to receive your final poker hand. If you’ve managed to land a poker hand with at a least the value of a pair of jacks, then you will be paid according to the pay table as presented with the game.

  • Video Poker Wild Multihand

  • Jacks or Better

  • Play Your Cards Right

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