Video poker holds a very special place at the casino. If you play an optimal strategy, or even a near-optimal strategy, you can narrow the house edge down to a fraction – or even tilt the edge in your favor, when you find a progressive jackpot that has grown large enough. It does take a little bit of study, though. In order to figure out the right strategy for any video poker game, you have to look at the paytables and understand what they’re saying.

The paytable on a video poker machine is the list of all the different prizes you can win, depending on what hand you make and how many coins you bet. For example, if you play Deuces Wild at Ignition Casino, you’ll see the paytable displayed prominently at the top of the screen. Each winning hand is there, from 3 of a Kind all the way to Royal Flush, and payouts are listed from one coin to the maximum five coins. These numbers are the key to figuring out what video poker strategy to play.

Risks and Rewards in Video Poker 

Jacks or Better Multi-hand Video Poker, like any game at the casino, is about the probabilities of risk and reward. The rules of the game (number of decks, minimum winning hand, Wild cards, etc.) determine the probability of making a hand. The number of coins you bet determines the risk. Once you know the paytable for a game, you know the reward. The rest is math, and thankfully, there are plenty of free video poker strategy calculators available online where you can just punch in the numbers and let the software do the work for you.

Keep in mind that video poker paytables aren’t standard from casino to casino. Ideally, you want a “full-pay” game where the paytable is set to give you maximum value. If you’re playing live in Nevada, and you find a full-pay Deuces Wild machine, you can expect a 100.8% rate of return when you use the optimal strategy – and that’s without taking progressive jackpots into consideration. That’s the power of the paytable. Use it wisely.