Video Poker : Top 5 Versions + Strategies

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IGT started a trend by creating and combining the excitement of poker with a slot machine years ago. The first version of the game was Jacks or Better or Jacks+. From there, wild card versions like Deuces and Jokers Wild were introduced. Once video poker was moved online, the number of versions now numbers over 100.

This two-part article reviews 5 of the standard or original games or as I call them The Classics.

Video Poker is a game of skill that is enhanced by recognizing an advantage paytable and using correct strategies. Therefore, before we define the strategies, let’s explore the paytables that offer the best returns.

Video Poker PayTables

Video Poker payouts are displayed at each machine describing the amount of coins won for each hand. The table list payouts for play of a single coin up to the maximum that offer the largest payoffs possible. 

If you bet 5 coins, all winning hands are paid by a multiple of 5, except for the Royal Flush. This higher payout is your reward for playing max coins.

Below, find a VP paytable for 9/6 Jacks or Better with the value of max coin return.

9/6, noted in bold below refers to a 9 coin return for a full-house when betting one-coin and 6 coin return for a flush. Therefore, max coin return of 45 and 30 respectively.

This is defined as a full-pay version and has an overall return of 99.56% with optimum strategy.

Pay Schedule: Jacks or Better VP 9/6
HandMax Coin Return
Pair: Jacks or Better5 coins
Two pair (2 PR)10 coins
Three-of-a-kind (3/kind)15 coins
Straight (ST)20 coins
Flush (FL)=630 coins
Full House (FH)=945 coins
Four-of-a-kind (any)125 coins
Straight Flush (SF)250 coins
Royal Flush (RF)4000 coins

It is very important that before you get comfortable in front of a video poker machine, you make sure that you are playing the best paytable for that version.

The 5 VP versions described with strategies are listed here along with the average payback percentages. These percentages are maintained by playing max coins at a full-pay machine using optimum strategy.

  • 9/6 Jacks or Better = 99.56%
  • 8/5 Jacks+ Bonus = 99.17%
  • 10/7 Jacks+ Double Bonus = 100.15% OR 9/7 Jacks+ Double Bonus = 99.16%
  • 9/5 Deuces Wild = 100.76%
  • 7/5 Jokers Wild = 100.64%

A general strategy for Jacks+ bonus games #1, 2 and 3 on the list follows:

  • Never keep a kicker = an additional face card with any pair. Rather draw 3 cards.
  • Keep a small pair (Jacks or less) to draw for three of a kind.
  • Don’t break a flush even for a straight flush. Exception: if there is a one card draw to a possible Royal Flush.
  • If you have four cards in succession for a straight, draw one card. Four consecutive cards is called an outside straight when there are two possibilities for a winning hand. An example is 3, 4, 5, 6, either a 2 or 7 will payout.
    An inside straight allows for only 1 possible winning hand. Example, 3, 4, 6, 7 where a 5 is     the only winning card. Consider drawing to an inside straight if one of the cards is a Jack or better where a match would return your original bet.
  • Always keep a five-card dealt hand, except if there is a one-card draw to a Royal Flush.
  • If all your cards are 10 with no possible straight or flush, toss it for 5 new cards.

8/5 Bonus Poker Jacks+

8/5 Bonus Poker refers to an 8 coin return for a full-house as listed under 1 coin payout table and 5 coin return for a flush. The best version pays 10 for 2 pair, 4 aces pays 400 and four 2’s, 3’s or 4’s pays 200 at max coin.

Additional strategy tips for this bonus version include:

  • Hold two pair for the 10-coin payout, even if one of the pairs is Aces. 
  • The 10 coin or 2-1 payout for two pairs will stretch your gambling bankroll. 
  • Although a slightly lower overall payout than Jacks+, this version is more popular due to the higher payouts for aces and 2s, 3s and 4s=small quads (four-of-a-kind).

10/7 or 9/7 Double Bonus Poker Jacks+

To explain the double reference above, 10/7 Double Bonus is the top VP version in this group boasting an overall percentage of 100.15% with optimum strategy BUT it may not be available online.

Therefore, the next best option is 9/7 at 99.16%, lower but likely available and still a good bet.

10/7 refers to 10 coins for a full house and 7 coins for a flush as listed under 1 coin pay table.

The pays are return of your bet = 5 for max coins for 1 pair AND 2 pair. Also 4-of-a-kind 5-Ks = 250 coins, 4-of-a-kind 2 3 & 4s = 400 coins and 4 Aces=800.

The feature of the game is a full-house 50 coin payout while 9/7 offers 45 coins for the same hand.

Additional strategy tips are:

  • Two pair should be saved while seeking a rewarding full house payout for both versions.
  • Take note that there is a better payout of 25 coins than Jacks+ or Bonus Jacks, so think about holding 3 or 4 parts of a straight.
  • The top pays for Aces and small pairs rewards compensate for 2 pair only returning your bet.

Knowledge is Power, so use this information to join the Royal Class.

The Top 5 VP continue with 2 Wild versions in Video Poker 2.

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Article by Gayle Mitchell

Gayle MitchellGayle Mitchell is the leading female expert on casino gambling. Gayle is the author of seven books, 12 Ebooks, and five Tips booklets. She combines easy-to-understand strategies, wager management and an amusing flair in her articles/columns, newsletters and seminars. Online since 1999, Mitchell has owned and operated 4 gaming websites.Her writing and teaching style is targeted at educating novice and passionate casino players.

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