Complete Video Poker Strategy Guide

Neon Video Poker Sign With Video Poker Screen in Background

Gamblers have a choice between playing games where they have no influence on the results and playing games where they directly influence the results. The way you influence the results of gambling games is by using strategy.

When you play slot machines or bingo, you can’t influence your results. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t use strategy to improve your chances to win.

Many casino games do offer the chance to use strategy to improve your results. This doesn’t mean that you can win in the long run, but it does mean that you can minimize your losses. The secret is to learn how to use the best strategy for each casino game.

The reasons to play video poker is because it is one of the easiest forms of gambling for using strategy. With dozens of different base games with each having multiple pay tables, at first glance video poker looks complicated when it comes to proper strategic play.

All of the game variation and pay table combinations are designed to keep you playing while disguising the best options. Most video poker players fall into this trap, but you don’t have to.

Everything you need to play video poker like a professional is included below in the ultimate video poker strategy shortcut guide.

This guide is designed to get you started as quickly as possible while still giving you the best strategies to use.

After completing this ultimate guide you can immediately start playing video poker using a strategy that cuts the house edge to under a half percent.

Once you learn everything in this guide, you can keep learning more about video poker games, pay tables, and strategy to find new opportunities if you want to squeeze the last few drops of the house edge out, but it’s going to be challenging.

The good news is if you use this ultimate video poker strategy guide you’re going to get better results than all but a few players. In addition, if you do want to keep learning and improving, you’re going to know what to look for and how to get started.

Video Poker Game Choices

Most video poker games are designed using five card draw. You start with a five card hand dealt from a 52 card deck, and then have the option to exchange any or all of your starting hand for new cards. After the exchange of cards you get paid if you have a hand that ranks high enough to show on the pay table.

Some video poker games use a joker and some use wild cards, but the main thing that makes one game different than another is the pay table.

The pay table also directly influences the house edge. The house edge is the money the casino keeps as a profit, and it’s usually expressed as a percentage.

A video poker machine with a 1% house edge keeps 1% of all of the money wagered on the machine in the long run. This means that if you make $10,000 worth of bets, the machine is going to keep $100. It doesn’t matter if you make 10,000 $1 bets or 100 $100 bets; the only things that matter are the total amount wagered and the house edge.

The amount the casino keeps for profit, or house edge, is a long term number. This means that in the short term the percentage goes up and down, but the longer you play and the more you bet, the closer your results are going to line up with the edge. In the long run, you can’t overcome the house edge, but you can influence it to keep it as small as possible.

If you want to play with the lowest house edge possible, you need to pick a good video poker variation, find the best pay table, and use the best possible strategy. You’re going to learn more about strategy in the next section, but first you need to learn how to pick the best game.

Video Poker Machine Screen

The best video poker machines are the ones with the best pay tables combined with the base game with the lowest possible house edge. You can find dozens of variations of base video poker games, and if you want t advance to a true professional level you need to learn more about most of them. But this guide is designed to get you started as fast as possible, so I’m focusing on the two most popular variations.

Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better are the two most common variations of video poker. The good news is that both of these games offer a low house edge if you play on machines with a good pay table.

Both of these variations use the basic five card draw structure and a 52 card deck. The only difference is that there are no wild cards in Jacks or Better, and all of the two’s are wild in Deuces Wild.

The house edge using proper strategy and a good pay table for each game are included below.

Jacks or Better using a pay table that pays nine for a full house and six for a flush is .46%. This is called a 9/6 machine, and the full pay table is 4,000 – 250 – 125 – 45 – 30 – 20 – 15 – 10 – 5 in the five coin column.

The Deuces Wild pay table you’re looking for is a NSUD pay table that has a pay line of 4,000 – 1,000 – 125 – 80 – 50 – 20 – 20 – 15 – 10 – 5 in the five coin column. This pay table offers a house edge of just over .27%.

You always need to bet the maximum five coins to keep the house edge as low as you can. You receive a bonus pay out amount for a five coin wager when you hit a natural royal flush.

Video Poker Strategy Explained

The way you play each hand influences the house edge. Every starting five card hand has a single best way to play to keep the house edge low. In order to achieve the house edge numbers listed in the last section, you must always make the best possible play.

How do you know what the best possible play is?

It can be difficult to know what the best plays are, but the good news is that computer programs have already done all of the hard work. You can use a strategy card or strategy chart that has the best plays listed in order.

Closeup of a Video Poker Machine Bill Acceptor

You can use advanced math concepts or computers to determine the best plays if you want to, but you can simply get a strategy chart and skip the hard work.

Here’s an example of a video poker strategy chart for Jacks or Better:

The way to use the Jacks or Better strategy chart is to start at the top and read down. The first line that includes a hand that you have is the one you use. Ignore all of the plays listed below the first line that describes your hand.

Video Poker Strategy Card

The Simple Plan

I promised you this was the ultimate video poker strategy shortcut guide, so here’s your simple plan to get started. All you have to do is follow these simple steps and you can start playing video poker using proper strategy and play with a low house edge.

Use the strategy chart I listed in the last section for Jacks or Better and always wager five coins to unlock the bonus for a royal flush. Find a Jack or Better machine that offers the 9/6 pay table I discussed in the first section.

You can find these machines in some land based casinos, but it’s easier to find them when you play online. Most online casinos offer 9/6 Jacks or Better machines.

That’s all there is to playing video poker with a low house edge. Find the right machine offering the right game and pay table, wager five coins, and always use the proper strategy.

If you want to keep learning, the next step is to learn about the best strategy for Deuces Wild. The reason I chose Jacks or Better for this guide is because the strategy is simpler than Deuces Wild strategy, and I wanted it to be as simple as possible to get started.


Video poker is an easy game to play at the best online casinos and it offers an easy way to play with a low house edge. Once you understand how to find machines offering a pay table with a low house edge, all you have to do is use the best strategy. Follow the simple video poker plan on this page and you can start playing in just a few minutes.