Video Poker Basic Rules

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Video Poker Basic Rules
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Published: 08.10.2015 Updated: 21.05.2021
By Andrew Russell

Video poker is a fun and exciting version of poker that can be played both in a live casino at a slot machine or in an online casino at a virtual online slot machine. Basic video poker rules are similar to live poker in that the ranking of hands can be the same as regular live poker, but because of the addition of video, extras can be added to the game to make it even more fun for the player.

We will cover basic video poker rules for you here so you may become familiar with them and we will also cover some basic strategies. This is a fun and exciting game that appeals to slot players, poker players, and everyone in between.

Card Values:

Card values rank from high to low as follows:

  • Ace
  • King
  • Queen
  • Jack
  • Ten
  • Nine
  • Eight
  • Seven
  • Six
  • Five
  • Four
  • Three
  • Two
  • Ace

Ace appears twice because it can count as either low or high card.

In video poker hands, typically the player is dealt five cards and is then given the opportunity to hold one or more of the initially dealt cards. The player clicks on the cards to keep, and then clicks on a button to deal again, or continue, and the cards not held are discarded and new cards are dealt to replace them. The player then is paid on the best hand possible from the remaining five cards in their hand if they have any winning combination in those cards (winnings will be determined by both the house payout and the players initial wager).

videopoker rules

Basic hand rankings

The basic hand rankings in a non-specialty video poker game usually rank as follows, starting with the lowest:

  • Jacks or Better: Jacks or Better is a hand that not all video poker games pay out on, but many do. What this hand means is that the player’s best hand is a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces.
  • Two Pair: A hand containing two pair has two different pairs of cards, such as two sixes and two eights.
  • Three of a Kind: A Three of a Kind hand contains three of the same card. For example, three nines.
  • Straight: A straight is made up of five consecutive cards of different suits. For example, if your hand contained a 2,3,4,5, and 6 and these cards were of mixed suits this would be considered a straight.
  • Flush: A Flush is five cards of the same suit, but not in any particular order, so for instance if your hand contains five hearts but were not consecutive (a 2, 7, 8, 10, King), you would have a flush.
  • Full House: A Full House consists of three cards of one value and two of another. For example, if you hand contains three tens and two Kings, this would be considered a Full House.
  • Four of a Kind: Four of a Kind hands include four cards of the same value, for instance, four Aces, or four Queens, or four fives.
  • Straight Flush: A Straight Flush is made up of five cards in consecutive order that are also of the same suit. For example, if your hand contained a 2,3,4,5, and 6 and they were all hearts, this would be a Straight Flush.
  • Royal Flush: A Royal Flush is the best of the best. This hand is made up of the five highest value cards of the same suit. An example of a Royal Flush would be a ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, all of the Spades suit. This hand typically pays the highest jackpot in video poker and is usually what the player’s goal is when scanning for cards to hold.


There are some variations on video poker that are very popular. For example, a player may frequently find video poker games that offer multiple hands played at one time. In games of this nature, there may be up to five hands dealt at once, with only one hand dealt up so the player can see the cards. The player chooses which cards to hold, and those cards are held for all five hands. The rest of the cards are discarded and the player receives the last of their cards for all five hands, all face up. The player then receives a payout for any combination in any of the five hands. This variation is exciting because there is an opportunity to win multiple times.

A player could potentially win five different winning combinations in any one round.

Another popular variation on video poker rules is when one card is considered a wild card, very frequently the two, or deuce. These games are called Deuces Wild. In Deuces Wild video poker rules, there are some basic strategies for which cards to hold and which to discard that will assist a player in scoring the best hand possible:

If a player receives four deuces on the first deal, they should hold all five cards no matter what the fifth card is because the hand cannot be improved upon. In a Deuces Wild game, the Royal Flush is not the best hand, the Five of a Kind becomes the best hand, so anything matches with four deuces automatically wins the best hand.

If three deuces are dealt initially, the player should keep all the cards only if they result in a wild Royal Flush or wild Five of a Kind since these are the top two payouts. Otherwise, only the three deuces should be held for the best opportunity at the highest payout.

If two deuces are dealt on the first hand, any hand that is Four of a Kind or better should be held, and so should any four cards that would make up a Royal Flush. Otherwise, hold only the deuces to increase the chances of improving on the hand.

If only one deuce is dealt on the player’s first hand, any paying hands can be held, but look for the best possible combination to increase your payout opportunity.


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