Beginner Strategy: Learn Poker Hands
Up until this point in the video poker series, we’ve assumed that you’re familiar with standard poker hand rankings. But not every aspiring video poker player knows these rankings by heart. Some video poker variants even include new hands, like Five-of-a-Kind, that don’t exist in traditional poker. It’s important to get these values figured out before playing video poker.
Let’s start with the 10 hands you meet in a standard draw poker game, from best to worst:
|10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. Same suit.
|Five consecutive cards. Same suit.
|Four cards of the same rank (ex. four Aces, four Threes)
|Three cards of the same rank, plus two of another rank (ex. three Aces, two Kings)
|Five cards of the same suit. Any rank. (ex. four hearts)
|Five consecutive cards. Any suit. (ex. Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven)
|Three cards of the same rank
|Two cards of the same rank, plus two of another rank
|Two cards of the same rank
|Highest single card in the hand (ex. Ace-High beats Jack-High)
In video poker, High Card isn’t on the pay table – you usually need at least a pair of Jacks. In fact, if you look at the pay table for Jacks or Better, you’ll see the other nine hands listed above, except at the bottom, it says “Jacks or Better” instead of “Pair.”
Things get more interesting when the wild cards come in. With Joker Poker, you play with 53 cards instead of 52; the Joker stands in for any card. Here are the top four hands for the version of Joker Poker available at Bovada Casino:
|10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all of the same suit, in that exact order
|10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all of the same suit – no Joker
|Four cards of the same rank, plus the Joker
|Royal with Joker
|Four cards to a Royal Flush, plus the Joker
From there, the hand rankings look the same, starting from Straight Flush – with one exception. Instead of Jacks or Better, you need Kings or Better to get the minimum payout. Other games will have unique payouts for the various ways of making Royal Flushes or Four-of-a-Kind hands, and different minimum requirements for cashing in. Your video poker strategy will depend on knowing these hand rankings and payouts, so take the time to memorize them. Your hard work will pay off at the machines.