Tips for Creating Your Own Video Poker Strategy

Tips for Creating Your Own Video Poker Strategy

Creating a video poker strategy is the first step to getting the most out of your online video poker experience. Video poker is a rare game in the casino where the odds can be flipped in your favor with the right strategy and game selection.

Is this always going to be possible in every casino? No. Casinos have tightened up over the last ten years and finding full-pay machines isn’t as easy as it used to be. They’ve replaced the games with lower pay tables.

Accountants are making it increasingly difficult to find full-pay video poker games at casinos.

Having said that, video poker is still one of the best bets in the casino. The majority of casino games are horrible bets and have high house edges. Then there are games with decent odds, like baccarat, but you have no control over the game.

There is certainly an element of luck to video poker, but a video poker strategy can put you more in control of the outcome and your odds of winning. If you are going in without a strategy, your odds of success are diminished.

The game of video poker is simple. The player is presented with five cards and can hold or discard what they want for the second draw. Knowing which cards to fold and keep are how you can help yourself at the video poker machine. Let’s get into the best online video poker strategies and how you can increase your odds of winning.

Video Poker Strategy

1. Find The Best Pay Tables

I don’t know how many times I’ve counted people playing video poker machines that have lesser payouts right next to a machine with a better pay table. This is a cardinal sin of video poker. Any video poker strategy must begin with finding the best pay table available.

If you are looking to maximize your profits, the first thing you must do is look at the pay table on the machine. This is before you ever sit down or insert money into your game. Do a scan of what the pay table is of the machines at your casino or online.

This can be done quickly at an online video poker machine, and if you do some online casino shopping, you can find the best video poker games. The goal is to find as close to a full pay machine as possible. A payout rate of 100.76% is the ultimate machine for any video poker advantage player.

Deuces Wild Poker

For 100.76%, this will only be found at a Deuces Wild Poker machine. Deuces Wild Poker can vary greatly, from a 94.82% machine all the way up to a game that is the best in the world at 100.76%. In other words, you can either be the casino’s worst enemy or best friend.

The 94.82% game has a pay table of 25/15/10/4/3/2 while the 100.76% is a 25/15/9/5/3/2 pay table.

These are going the way of the dinosaur, but they’re still out there if you look hard enough. No, there won’t be any on the Las Vegas Strip. The next best bet is a 25/15/11/4/4/3 pay table at 99.96%.

Jacks or Better

The most popular video poker game is Jacks or Better. These can be found virtually anywhere, with pay tables degrading in recent years. The worst pay table you can play is a 6/5 game.

In other words, 1 credit will pay $6.00 for a full house, while a flush pays $5.00.

Those are terrible odds and give the casino a considerable advantage at 95.00%. Your best bet for Jacks or Better is a 9/6 (9 = full house, 6 = flush) pay table. This has a payout of 99.54% for a razor-thin house advantage.

2. Learn Optimal Strategy

Like blackjack, there is an optimal strategy that can be employed to get the most out of your play. The percentages noted above take into consideration perfect play. Even if you play at a full-pay video poker machine, it doesn’t guarantee a winning session.

It’s important for any video poker strategy to include an optimal strategy. For video poker strategies, this is going to be much tougher and more complicated than a blackjack strategy. The basic strategy chart for blackjack is much simpler to follow.

Do you want to guess how many different combinations there can be on the first draw? Over 2 million.

That’s almost impossible to memorize every play, but you can get an idea with common hands and video poker strategies for what to do when you have a winning hand or an opportunity for a straight, draw, etc. for the second draw. The clear situations are easy, but borderline hands are where you should focus your attention for studying.

For example, if you have four cards with a chance for a royal flush on the second draw, always hold these cards. Throw away the fifth card even if it’s a winning hand. Always go for the royal flush in this case, even if you have a guaranteed flush.

Another common opening hand at the video poker machine is a four-card flush with a low pair (less than jacks). In this predicament, should you go for the three-of-a-kind or flush? The math suggests a flush.

This is another situation where you might be hung up: three cards to a royal flush (Aspade, Kspade, Qspade) against a pair. Hold the pair and give up on the royal.

3. Become An Expert At One Game

When it comes to sports betting, you should focus on sports that give you the best advantage. Trying to study and become an expert at every sport is not advised. Focus on what you are good at and the same applies to video poker at the casino and online video poker.

There are several different variations of video poker. Study one or two games max, with the best odds, so Deuces Wild Poker, Double Bonus Poker, and Bonus Poker Deluxe Jacks or Better. This is assuming you find full-pay machines.

Jacks or Better is the most simple game to implement a strategy, especially for beginners. There is also less volatility in Jacks or Better video poker.

We provide examples of the most popular video poker games below:
  • Jacks or Better
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Joker Poker
  • Deuces Wild Poker
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Super Double Bonus Poker
  • Triple Deuces Wild
  • Deuces Wild Bonus Poker

4. Set a Stop Loss

If your strategies for video poker don’t include a stop loss then it’s not much of a strategy at all. This is imperative before going into the casino.

A stop loss ensures that you are using optimal bankroll management skills for your video poker strategy. Once you lose a certain amount of money, walk away and try to analyze where things may have gone wrong. Sometimes you will just be on the wrong side of Lady Luck and have to acknowledge that there will be volaility.

At the next session, you can go in with a clear mind and your bankroll intact. Please apply the same rules for your next trip to the video poker machine, online or in-person.

The percentage you bet of your bankroll should never change, so your stop loss amount will change based on wins and losses.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

It’s easier than ever to practice your video poker strategies. This doesn’t require a penny of your money, either. There are free video poker app games to play in your free time. You can also search for free online video poker machines to play on your computer.

Here you can hone your optimal video poker strategy. Write down any tricky hands that are borderline and research what the perfect play is in that situation. Mathematically, there is always going to be one correct move.


Most casino games are money burners and should be avoided unless you are looking to have fun. However, video poker is one of a few games where you have the ability to influence the outcome and implement a strategy.

This is one casino game that isn’t a bad bet if you know what you’re doing and have the patience to adhere to a video poker strategy.

Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.