How to Play Video Poker

The first trick in learning how to play video poker lies in identifying machines that offer an attractive payoff schedule. Only a small proportion of the games available fall into this category. See Jacks-or-Better payoff schedule and Deuces Wild payoff schedule for details.

Most casinos have a slot club that offers a rebate or other compensation for using a card, instead of coins, to play. To get a card, you generally just need to fill in an application and hand it to a slot-club booth. It makes sense to get a card because you can count any rebate into your expected win rate.

Starting to Play Video Poker

Once you’ve located a video poker machine that offers a decent payoff schedule, you insert your player’s card in the machine and then insert the number of coins you want to play. Most video poker machines take from one to five coins, although some accept more. In rare cases, you can even play up to 100 coins. Generally, you should play with at least the number of coins (usually five) needed to qualify for the full per-coin payoff on all jackpots.
Once you’ve inserted your coins, you press the Max Bet button and the machine deals you five cards. The machine will then generally alert you if you have been dealt a paying hand.

Choosing Cards to Hold

You choose the cards you want to keep by pressing the Hold buttons for those cards, or, if the screen is touch sensitive, by touching the card images. You can usually press the same Hold button or a Cancel button for a card if you change your mind, to deselect a card. Once you’ve chosen to hold a card, the machine will indicate “HELD” for that card.
If you’ve been dealt a paying hand, you can sometimes break up the hand. For instance, you may choose to break a dealt flush or straight in favour of a four-card royal flush draw, depending on the game you’re playing.
Once you’re ready, you press the Deal or Draw button, and the machine replaces the cards you’ve chosen not to hold.
The machine then determines whether you’ve got a winning hand and pays you out based on its payoff schedule.
Visit Video Poker News to stay up to date with industry news and see video poker terms for a glossary of the terms you should be familiar with, and video poker tips for some helpful guidelines.