Video poker stands as a captivating blend of luck and skill, offering players an opportunity to influence outcomes through strategic play. Unlike traditional slot machines, where luck reigns supreme, video poker demands a deeper understanding of the game’s mechanics and optimal strategies for maximizing wins. Here’s a guide to mastering video poker strategies.

Understanding the Basics

Video poker shares similarities with traditional poker in hand rankings, but it’s played on a machine resembling a slot game. Players receive a hand and have the opportunity to discard and replace cards to form the best possible poker hand.

Basic Video Poker Strategy

  1. Know the Paytable: Different video poker machines have varying payout structures. Understanding the paytable is crucial as it influences the strategy. Look for machines that offer favorable payouts, especially for crucial hands like a full house or a flush.
  2. Start with the Basics: Optimal strategy varies depending on the variant of video poker being played (Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, etc.). Begin with a simple game like Jacks or Better. The strategy involves holding or discarding cards to pursue strong hands.
  3. Hand Evaluation: Know which hands to prioritize. In Jacks or Better, aim for pairs of Jacks or higher. When dealt a hand, assess the potential for forming a winning combination and hold the cards that contribute to those hands.
  4. Discard Wisely: When dealt a hand, evaluate which cards to discard. Generally, hold onto pairs, high cards, and cards that contribute to potential straight, flush, or royal flush combinations.

Advanced Strategies

  1. Playing for Royal Flushes: Pursuing a royal flush, the highest-paying hand, requires a specific strategy. In certain situations, it might be beneficial to break up a lesser-paying hand for the chance at a royal flush.
  2. Understanding Variance: Video poker involves variance, meaning short-term results can vary significantly. Manage your bankroll accordingly and avoid chasing losses.
  3. Use Strategy Charts: Strategy charts outline the optimal moves for different hands in various video poker games. These charts offer guidance on which cards to hold or discard based on the dealt hand and the potential for forming winning combinations.

Practice and Patience

Mastering video poker takes practice. Start with free online versions to hone your skills before wagering real money. Patience is key; understand that results may not be immediate, and consistency in applying strategies pays off in the long run.


Video poker, with its blend of chance and strategy, offers an engaging gambling experience. Mastering the game involves understanding hand values, knowing which cards to hold or discard, and employing optimal strategies outlined in strategy charts. As with any form of gambling, responsible play is crucial. Establish a budget, stick to it, and view video poker as entertainment rather than a guaranteed money-making opportunity. With dedication, practice, and a grasp of optimal strategies, players can enhance their chances of success and enjoy the excitement that video poker brings to the casino floor or online gaming platforms.