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Understanding Video Poker

Hands and Variations in Video Poker

There are variations of video poker that affect the hands that you aim to hold. Understanding hands and variations in video poker will improve your strategy. The hands in the game of video poker are ranked and the aim of the game is to achieve the highest ranking hand possible. These hands, however, differ slightly depending on the variation of video poker that you are playing. There are a number of different variations and understanding the hands and the variations of video poker will allow you to improve your strategy and thus increase your odds.

Understanding Video Poker Hand Rankings

Hands are ranked in the game of video poker and winnings are paid out according to the final hand that you hold. Understanding video poker hand ranking is imperative to playing the game. In order of highest to lowest ranks, video poker hands are as follows:

  • Royal Flush – Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of an identical suit.
  • Straight Flush – Any five cards, in sequential order, all of an identical suit.
  • Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same numerical value, but with different suits. The fifth card is irrelevant.
  • Full House – Three cards of the same numerical value and another two cards of a different numerical value. All cards can have different suits. E.g. A, A, A, 6, 6
  • Flush – Any five cards of one suit with different numerical values.
  • Straight – Any five cards, in sequential order, all of different suits.
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same numerical value. The remaining two cards are irrelevant. E.g. 7, 7, 7, X, X
  • Two Pair – Two different pairs (identical numerical values for each separate pair). The fifth card is irrelevant. E.g. 6, 6, 9, 9, X
  • Pair – One pair of identical valued cards. The remaining three cards are irrelevant. E.g. 5, 5, X, X, XX = any card

Understanding Video Poker Variations

Video poker comes in a number of slightly different variations. Understanding video poker variations is critical to playing video poker as a slight variation in the aim of the game can dramatically affect the cards that you want to hold in your hand. Make sure that you are familiar with both the variation that you choose to play and with the hand ranking for that variation before you begin playing video poker.
Some common video poker variations include:

  • Jacks or Better video poker – this is the most common variation of video poker. Pairs of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces are the most common hand in this variation.
  • Double Joker video poker – Two jokers are used in this variation and they act as wild cards.
  • Jokers Wild video poker – A joker is added to the deck in this variation. The joker acts as a wild card.
  • Deuces Wild video poker – The four deuces (twos) act as wild cards in this variation.
  • Deuces and Joker video poker – In this variation one joker card is used. The deuces (twos) and the joker are used as wild cards.
  • Aces and Faces video poker – A hand of four Aces or four face cards is the ideal in this variation.