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5 Video Poker Questions for Beginners


Every gambler should ask questions and seek answers if they want to have the best chance to win. Video poker is a good choice for beginning gamblers if they know which games to play and how to play them.

Many video poker machines offer a house edge of less than 1%, so they’re a better option than almost every other game in the casino.

Here are five questions that every video poker beginner needs to ask, with the answers that can help you gamble with a low house edge.

1 – How Do I Use a Video Poker Strategy Card?

Popular video poker games have strategy cards available. These strategy cards have been developed using computer programs to determine the best possible way to play every hand and learn which hands are more important than others.

You should never play video poker without using a strategy card. Using the correct strategy card is the only way to play video poker with the lowest odds and house edge available.

The strategy card is a simple list of poker hands. And this is exactly what it is. This strategy card is for the common Jacks or Better video poker machine. Look at the simple strategy chart first.

The way you use a video poker strategy card is to start at the top. Read every line going down until you find a hand that matches your starting hand. As soon as you find a hand that matches your hand, keep what the strategy card says and discard everything else.

It doesn’t matter if your hand fits the description for two or more lines; you only use the line that is listed highest on the strategy card.

For example, if you have 9, 9, 7, 7, 4 and start down the list, the first line that fits your hand is two pair. You also have a low pair, but you ignore this line because it’s listed below the two pair line. You keep your two pair and discard the 4.

2 – What Video Poker Game Is Best for Beginners?

The best video poker game for beginners is a matter of opinion. I’ve been gambling for years, and I’m going to tell you the best game in my experience. This doesn’t mean that it’s the best game for everyone, but it’s not a bad choice, even if everyone doesn’t agree with me.

The best video poker game for beginners is Jacks or Better. It’s a simple game based on Five-Card Draw Poker.

You start with a five-card hand dealt from a standard 52 card deck of cards. You can keep as many of the five cards as you want, and trade the rest for new cards.

In order to have a paying hand, you have to have at least a pair of jacks. Any hand higher than a pair of jacks wins. The better your final hand as far as poker hand rankings, the higher the payout.

For Example:

If you bet five coins and have a pair of queens, you win five coins. But if you have a straight, you win 20 coins, or if you have a full house, you win 45 coins. These payouts are based on a 9/6 pay table. You’re going to learn more about pay tables in the next section.

The only other video poker game you should consider as a beginner is Deuces Wild, but I think Jacks or Better is a little easier, so I suggest starting with it.

3 – Why Do Pay Tables Matter?

Video poker pay tables are important because the pay table dictates the house edge. You learned about using strategy in the top section. And if you always use the right video poker strategy, you make the house edge lower.

It’s important to play on video poker machines with good pay tables. Here’s an example of how the pay table changes the house edge in video poker.

Jacks or Better Is Available With a Wide Range of Pay Tables

The tables are described based on what the payout is for a full house and a flush. So a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine pays six for a flush and nine for a full house. The house edge on a 9/6 Jacks or Better pay table is .46%. The edge on a 9/5 machine is 1.55%, and on an 8/6 machine it’s 1.61%.

The best thing to do is identify the best pay table for every video poker machine that you’re going to play. You should only play on machines with good pay tables. Every time you play on a video poker machine that doesn’t have a good pay table, you cost yourself money.

This is one reason why you need to pick one video poker variation and learn as much about it as you can before playing a different game.

Learn the pay tables and best strategy for one variation so you know how to play with a low house edge every time you play. Jacks or Better is a common game, and it has an easy strategy. This is why I recommend it for beginning video poker players.

4 – Why Is Wagering One Coin Bad?

When you play most casino games, the best plan is to play for the minimum available stakes. This helps reduce your long-term losses. But this isn’t the case with video poker.

When you play video poker, you need to wager five coins when you play. This is because the pay table gives you a bonus with a five-coin wager.

On the page I linked to above, you can see the pay tables for Jacks or Better. When you look at the win amounts for one to four coins, you see that they all are the same per coin you wager. But when you look at the win amount for a royal flush, you see that instead of winning 1,250 coins with a five-coin wager, you win 4,000 coins.

You aren’t going to hit many royal flushes playing Jacks or Better, but the extra 2,750 coins you win when you do makes the house edge considerably lower. This is why you must wager five coins.

The good news is that you can find Jacks or Better available in many different coin denominations. The coin size starts at a nickel and goes up from there. You can determine the amount of each wager by multiplying the base coin amount times five.

The five-coin amount on a nickel machine is 25 cents. A quarter machine has a bet size of $1.25. A dollar machine has a bet size of $5.

5 – Can I Win in the Long Run?

Even with a low house edge like the one you get using strategy on a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine, you’re still going to lose in the long run. You can do a few other things to limit your losses, but it’s extremely rare for a video poker player to win more than they lose in the long run.

You can find a few video poker variations and pay tables that can pay out slightly more than 100%, but these are extremely rare. In fact, these machines are so rare that if you do find one, the odds are high that someone is already playing it.

There are a few other things you can do to improve your chances of winning. You can use online bonuses, and you can earn rewards when you join casino player’s clubs.

Online video poker bonuses all have specific requirements, so read the details before you sign up for one. The odds are that you’re going to have to play so many hands that you’re still going to lose, but if you get lucky and hit a royal flush, you can come out ahead.

Player’s clubs will pay you benefits in the form of comps, and these offset your video poker losses. But you will rarely earn enough comps to eliminate your losses.


Now you know the answers to five important video poker questions. Most video poker games are simple, and if you use the answers on this page, you can easily gamble with a house edge under .5%.

Get a strategy card for Jacks or Better and find a 9/6 pay table to play. This combination, along with five-coin wagers, gives you a house edge of .46%. This is lower than almost every other game in the casino.

You can play real money video poker online or in land-based casinos. And if you play online, you can get a bonus to improve your chances of hitting a royal flush and getting a big payout.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. …

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