The Ultimate Guide to Video Poker

Video poker is one of the most popular games for online casino players in Canada. Because it’s so fun and offers the chance to walk away with huge profits the game is now a favorite for many. In addition, it’s so easy to play that virtually anyone could do it.

Video poker combines the traditional poker rules with the speedy nature of slot machines. Hence why this hybrid game is so popular amongst gamblers, especially those who like to play with bonuses. In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know about video poker and learn how to play like a pro.

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History of Video Poker

Video poker is a fairly new addition to the gambling industry. Actually, the general concept of video poker machines is nothing new. It’s a casino game that combines regular poker elements with the thrilling experience of slot machines. In fact, the first mechanical poker games were already around in the 1800s. But video poker as we know it today came to be much later in the 1970s. 

Back then technology’s evolution is what allowed for this innovation. However, the developments were not yet enough to make it accessible to the masses. So really it was when online casinos gained momentum that video poker became popular. Today’s video poker is a merger of the traditional card games (with a few tweaks) with the thrills of digital graphics. It’s an excellent choice for those who love both classic poker and slots.

Video Poker Guide

How to Play Video Poker

Playing video poker is actually very simple. The game involves a virtual version of the standard 52-card deck. Moreover, the rules are exactly the same as regular poker but the opponent is not a person. In order to start a round, you should place a wager and then press the ‘Deal’ button. Then, you will receive 5 cards and will have to decide which to keep. 

So once you’ve made up your mind on what cards to discard, select them and press the ‘Draw’ button. New ones will replace the old and this will form your final hand. From then on, the software determines whether you won or not. But remember, the winning hands are just like in online poker. They include two pairs, royal flush, straight, etc. Of course, the most important part here is knowing which cards to keep.

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Hand Rankings

The strength of your poker hand determines whether you win or lose. Here are all the possible combinations:

  • Royal Flush: This is the best hand and is made of 10, Q, K, and Ace of the same suit. 
  • Straight Flush: Consists of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. For example – 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of hearts 
  • Four of a kind: This hand is made of four cards of the same denomination. For example – four Queens and a 5.
  • Full House: Consists of three of the same card and two of another, like 3,3,3,7 and 7.
  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit, all non-sequential. For example – 5, 6, 9, 10, and A of spades. 
  • Straight: Five cards of different suits but sequential. For example – 5 of spades, 6 and 7 of hearts, 8 of clubs and 9 of diamonds.
  • Three of a kind: Three cards with the same face value and other two of a different denomination. For example – A, A, A, K & 3.
  • Two-pair: Made of two pairs of different cards. For example – 2, 2, K, K & A.
How to Play Video Poker

Basic Glossary

Like all other games, video poker comes with its own terminology. Here are the basics:

  • Action – The amount of money you wager on a slot machine during the session. 
  • Bankroll – The amount of money you set aside in your account for gaming. 
  • Bust – A hand that fails to improve after drawing more cards. 
  • Cashback – The refunded percentage of losses as a bonus.
  • Comps – Kickbacks awarded to loyal players. 
  • Cycle – The average number of hands it takes to win the jackpot.
  • Deuce – A two. Deuce of hearts, for example.
  • Drawing hand – Initial hand that has to be improved to get a payout. 
  • Full Pay – A video poker machine that pays out the most. 
  • Hand pay – When you win the jackpot and you receive money from the casino staff.
  • House Edge – The advantage that the casino has over players. 
  • Payout – The amount a video poker game pays for a particular hand.

Variations of Video Poker

Video Poker is an umbrella term for a variety of games. Here are the most popular kinds:

  • Jack or Better – This is the best variation for beginners. If you get two jacks you’ll win back what you wagered. But the better the hand is, the higher the payout.
  • Deuces Wild – All cards with a domination of 2 on Deuces Wild are Wild. Three of a kind is the minimum rank for the winning hand.
  • Aces & Faces – The goal is to get a five-card poker hand consisting of a winning combination. This game has no wild cards. 
  • Tens or Better – This game is like Jacks or Better but the lowest hand to receive a payout is a pair of tens. 
  • Joker Poker – This game is more like Jacks or Deuces Wild or Better. The only difference is that it includes a Wild Joker as an additional card.
  • Double Bonus – A video poker game in which you can beat the house edge and win by using your player card and the right strategy.
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Playing Video Poker on Mobile

There are two ways to play video poker on your mobile device. You can go to the casino’s site via any standard mobile browser and access the games instantly. Alternatively, you can download and install the application if your casino offers it. Most casino apps are available for both Android and iOS devices. 

However, unlike iOS, most Android apps cannot be downloaded directly from the PlayStore. Because of Google’s strict guidelines concerning gambling, to get the Android app you will often have to go to the casino’s website first.

Real Money Gaming vs. Free To Play

At virtually any online casino, you can play video poker both for real money and in free mode. Free play is great for beginners who are looking to learn how to play and for those who want a risk-free gaming session. However, without playing with real money you can’t win anything either. In addition to the huge profit potential, real money play is full of thrill and fun. Moreover, this way you can also take advantage of the various casino bonuses your operator offers.

Video Poker Strategy

Tips, Strategies, and What to Avoid

Although video poker can be a game of chance, it’s not always all about luck. With the right strategy you can improve your chances of winning.

Use Max Bet

Much like with other games, wagers in video poker have a minimum and maximum limit. You should always consider using the max bet option. Because if you’re lucky to win – the larger the wager, the larger the payout as opposed to otherwise.

Know When to Bet

Especially with progressive jackpots, it’s all about the timing. Since the prize here accumulates before it’s won, you won’t walk away with a huge amount if someone else just did. So, wait until the jackpot has reached a considerable sum before you wager.

Manage Your Bankroll

Video poker is a fun and entertaining game but it can be easy to get carried away. Always keep a separate budget for gambling and never wager more than you can afford to lose. But even if your budget is small, with a lower denomination game and some management on your part it can go a long way.

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How to Choose Where To Play Video Poker

To find the best online casino to play video poker, always keep in mind to:

  • Take advantage of the welcome bonuses –They increase your playtime and chances of winning.
  • Choose a licensed site – Because a licensed casino is a safe casino.
  • Choose a site that offers games from top developers – Reputable developers bring fair play and amazing graphics.

Video Poker vs. Slot Machines

Many casino players appreciate slots for their simplicity, lack of need for strategy and the huge potential profit. Some slot machines even offer progressive jackpots that are worth millions of dollars. On the other hand, video poker offers much smaller payouts for your winning hand.

However, although video poker does not offer a chance to win a lot of money at once, the payback is higher. So if you are looking for a higher chance of winning, then you should definitely choose video poker.


Video poker is one of the most popular games among Canadian casino players. It’s a simple game that combines your favourite poker elements with the thrill of slot machines. The rules are just like in regular poker, so to play you need to understand the hand rankings. In addition, learning some basic terms will go a long way, too. But most importantly, you should choose the right gaming destination first. We’ve got a great selection of casino reviews for you to choose from and start your journey quicker.


The same way you would play regular poker, except you don’t play against anyone but just the computer.

Yes. But video poker is a game of strategy and if you have a good strategy, you stand a chance to win against the house.

Yes, video poker is available in free mode at most online casinos.

Like with most casino games, utilizing a good strategy is the key to success.

Virtually any online casino in Canada offers video poker games but make sure the site is legitimate first.

Of course you can. As long as the casino’s site is optimized for mobile devices you can play from anywhere.

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