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Understanding Pay Tables in Video Poker

With universal rules and standard winning hands, video poker games look the same at first glance. After all, there are no themes to differentiate between them the way there are with slot games. In order to find out how different versions of these games compare, you need to examine and understand the all-important video poker pay table.

Essential information like jackpot eligibility, minimum hand requirements, and the numbers needed to decipher house edge are all found within a video poker pay table. Knowing how to use this information to increase profits sets apart video poker pros from casual players. To increase your video poker know-how, continue reading this guide, as we explain how to read pay tables and use them to not only compare different games, but also choose the best video poker game for risk vs. reward.

What is a Video Poker Pay Table?

If you’re wondering what is a video poker pay table, you’re not alone. Always visible, video poker pay tables are situated above the action. They have all the winning hands listed in rows, starting with the highest-paying hands at the top, and trickling down to the minimum hand needed for a payout. Each hand has five payouts listed on the table—one for each number of coins wagered (1-5). As you select the number of coins you want to bet per round, the appropriate column is automatically highlighted, showing which payouts you’ll get based on your betting configuration.

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Reading a Pay Table

Reading a pay table consists of looking at each winning hand and comparing the payout listed for one, two, three, four and five coins wagered. This is simple enough with standard poker hands, as they’re the same hands used in Texas Hold’em:

Royal Flush

Straight Flush

4 of a Kind

Full House

Flush

Straight

3 of a Kind

2 Pair

Pair

Looking at this list, you may wonder exactly how does video poker pay out? On the pay table, each hand has payouts listed to the right based on the number of coins wagered. With each win, the payout listed on the pay table flashes.

The Payout for the Royal Flush

With the exception of the Sequential Royal Flush offered in a select few video poker games, the biggest payout available is for the Royal Flush—and not a Royal Flush containing wild cards. Most often, this top-tier hand awards a jackpot of 4,000 coins when five coins are wagered. In order to determine whether or not a jackpot is included for the Royal Flush, examine the payout increases for the Royal Flush on the pay table. As you’ll see below, the first series of payouts include a jackpot award; note that there are increases of 250 coins up until the 3000-coin jump for the 5-coin Royal Flush. The second series of payouts doesn’t include a jackpot, as the pay increases are consistently 800 coins—even for the top payout.

1. 250-500-750-1000-4000

2. 800-1600-2400-3200-4000

Jacks or Better Pay Table

The simplest of all video poker tables is the one for Jacks or Better. With no wild cards or bonus payouts, Jacks or Better has nine winning hands you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever played poker before. If you haven’t played poker, see below the paytable for an explanation of each winning hand.

[Insert Jacks or Better Pay table]

Royal Flush: Ten-Jack-Queen-King-Ace, suited

Straight Flush: Five consecutively-ranked cards, suited

4 of a Kind: Four cards, same rank

Full House: 3 of a Kind and Pair

Flush: Five cards, all same suit

Straight: Five cards, consecutively-ranked

3 of a Kind: Three cards, same rank

2 Pair: Two sets of two cards that have the same rank

Jacks or Better: Pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces.

Deuces Wild Pay Tables

For a contrast to the simplicity of Jacks or Better, we’ve included the pay table from Deuces Wild—one of our four wild card video poker games. In this game, Twos substitute for any other card.

Royal flush: 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit (10H, QH, JH, AH, KH).

Straight flush: In sequence, five cards of same suit (3S, 4S, 5S, 6S, 7S).

4 of a kind: Four cards of same rank (6D, 6S, 6C, 6H).

Full house: 3 of a kind, plus a pair (2H, 2D, 2S, 3H, 3S)

Flush: Five cards of same suit (2D, 4D, 6D, 8D, 9D)

Straight: Five cards in sequence (3H, 4C, 5H, 6S, 7D)

3 of a kind: Three cards of same rank (7H, 7S, 7D

In addition to the nine poker hands already mentioned in Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild has six extra winning hands:

Deuces w/A: Four Twos with an Ace kicker

4 Deuces: Four Twos

Wild Royal: Royal Flush with a Two included

5 Aces: Four Aces and a Two

5 3, 4 or 5: Four Threes, Fours or Fives and a Two

5 6-K: Four Sixes to Kings plus a Two

Single-Hand and Multi-Hand Video Poker

Although most casino players start playing video poker with our 1 hand variants, many players progress to the multi-hand versions once they get used to the game. Single and multi-hand video poker differ in terms of how many hands you play per round. With one-hand video poker, you get one five-card hand per round. With the multi-hand versions, you get 3 hands, 10 hands or 52 hands per round.

When playing video poker with more than one hand per round, you will be dealt one “primary hand” at the forefront of the screen. The cards you choose to keep in this hand will be used for all your hands, while each of the remaining hands receives its own set of new cards to replace the ones you’ve discarded. This process creates a series of semi-unique hands. Because the same “draw” cards are used for all hands, multi-hand video poker is more volatile than single-hand variants.

Bonus Poker Tables

When you start to get into bonus video poker games, unfamiliar hands may throw you through a loop. For example, with Double Double Bonus Poker, there are five unique payouts for quads alone. To get you started on the right foot, we’ll explain how to read bonus poker tables below.

4 Aces w/2, 3 or 4: Four Aces and a 2, 3, or 4 kicker.

4 2, 3, or 4 w/A-4: Four Twos, Threes or Fours with an Ace, Two, Three or Four kicker.

4 Aces: Four Aces

4 2, 3, or 4: Four Twos, Threes or Fours—any kicker other than Ace, Two, Three or Four.

4 5-K: Four of a Kind of anything between and including Fives and Kings. No specified kicker.

Risks and Rewards

Should you go with basic video poker, wild card video poker, or bonus video poker? Choosing a video poker game is all about knowing how you want to balance risks and rewards, which goes back to game volatility.

You may have heard of casino games being described as volatile or non-volatile. A volatile game results in fewer wins that pay well, while a non-volatile game results in more frequent wins that don’t pay as well. If you play casino games for the thrill of winning big, you want a more volatile game; any of our bonus poker games will suit your style. If you prefer to gamble conservatively, appreciating consistency over size of payouts, low or non-volatile video poker games like Jacks or Better will give you the steady experience you’re looking for.

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