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Video Poker Variations

S. Stoynova (editor) |

6 Popular Video Poker Variations to Try Online

When video poker debuted across landbased casinos in the 1970s, it was available in a single variation that borrowed its rules from five-card draw. A lot has changed since those early days, however, as currently there are numerous variations of the game, each having a distinctive paytable and hand ranking. It is important to distinguish between the different varieties of this popular casino game as each variation requires incorporating a unique strategy.

Jacks or Better is easily the most popular variant players will encounter online but there are plenty of options for those craving a different gaming experience. Some variations like Deuces Wild and Joker Poker use wild cards that improve your chances of forming winning hands. Others, like Double Bonus Poker, offer extra payouts for specific combinations of cards.

A third group links to progressive jackpot networks, presenting you with the opportunity to win life-changing prizes, a prerogative previously reserved exclusively for slot players. This article provides information about the six most popular variations of video poker you will come across online. Readers will learn about their most distinctive features, paytables, hand ranking, and long-term payout percentages. This information will enable them to easily identify the video poker varieties that best correspond to their bankrolls and individual playing style.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better, also known as Draw Poker, the most widespread variation of video poker, quickly gained traction among players thanks to its simplicity and straightforward gameplay. Its simple rules and betting structure render the game suitable for video poker novices. Moreover, Jacks or Better has laid the foundations of all other variations that subsequently emerged and serves as their basis. Regarded as the first video poker game in history, it appeared in the mid-1970s. It is dealt out of a standard deck containing 52 cards and as its name suggests, the lowest winning combination consists of two Jacks or other high pairs. The odds of getting a paying hand are quite high, which also greatly contributes to the game’s increasing popularity.

Jacks or Better
Screenshot of Jacks or Better

This variant is very favorable for players, especially its fullpay version known as “9/6 Jacks or Better” where you have the best odds of winning and turning a long-term profit. Jacks or Better has one of the lowest house edges out there as it gives the casino a statistical advantage of 0.46% only. Respectively, the long-term expected return players can anticipate from this game stands at 99.54% provided they play strategically and bet the maximum number of coins on each round.

Jacks or Better Pay Table
Royal Flush25050075010004000
Straight Flush50100150200250
Four of a Kind255075100125
Full House918273645
Three of a Kind3691215
Two Pair246810
Jacks or Better12345
If players follow a reliable strategy, have discipline, and manage their bankrolls properly, they can profit in the long term while playing Jacks or Better.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is another widespread variation of video poker commonly available at online casinos. Its borrows its name from the colloquial term “deuce”, which refers to cards with a denomination of two pips (2s). All deuces are wild in this variation and can substitute for other cards to help you complete more winning combinations. For instance, if you have two aces and a deuce, the deuce counts as a third ace, giving you the lowest-paying combination in the game, a Three of a Kind. The game is played with a standard pack of 52 cards, including the four wild deuces.

Deuces Wild
Screenshot of Deuces Wild

There are many variations of Deuces Wild but the fullpay version enjoys the highest popularity as it offers positive expected return of 100.76%. It is among the most sought-after variants as it has proven to be both extremely exciting and very profitable. It should be noted that it is possible to win in the long term only on condition you apply a reliable strategy and manage your funds adequately.

Additionally, there is a difference between the wild cards in video poker and the wild cards in standard poker. In video poker, the payout for “unnatural” hands, or winning combinations completed with the help of wild cards, is lower. For example, a Royal Flush formed without wild cards pays 4000 coins, whereas the same winning combination completed with wild cards pays only 125 coins. Fullpay Deuces Wild gives players really good chances of winning and profiting in the long term, but only if they follow a reliable strategy.

Deuces Wild Pay Table
Natural Royal Flush25050075010004000
4 Deuces2004006008001000
Deuces Royal Flush255075100125
Five of a Kind1632486480
Straight Flush1326395265
Four of a Kind48121620
Full House3691215
Three of a Kind12345

Double Bonus

Double Bonus is yet another popular video poker variation. The lowest winning hand here consists of paired Jacks or another high pair. A standard deck containing 52 cards is used for the game. The variation offers bonus payouts for different card combinations of Four of a Kind. It features a generous payout for a hand containing four Aces, which is 800 coins at the highest betting level when five coins are in play. Furthermore, if players manage to collect four 2s, 3s or 4s, they will get 400 coins. The payout for four 5s through Kings is 250 coins, which is still a decent amount. The expected return is positive at 100.17% provided that players play 10/7 Double Bonus Poker and bet the maximum number of coins. Do not forget you must always stick to the correct strategy for Double Bonus Poker in order to win in the long term.

Double Bonus
Screenshot of Double Bonus

Aces and Eights

Aces and Eights is a video poker variation that is nearly identical to Jacks or Better save for the higher payouts for Four of Kind with Aces and eights. The bonus payout for these winning combinations is usually 400 coins, whereas the standard payout for Four of a Kind is only 125 coins. The expected return for fullpay variants of Aces and Eights is still negative at 99.78% provided that the maximum number of coins is in play and you follow the correct strategy.

Aces and Eights
Screenshot of Aces and Eights

Even though the basic rules and gameplay coincide with those in Jacks or Better, the payout percentage of Aces and Eights is slightly higher. Different versions come with different paytables, so make sure you double-check the payouts before you start betting real money. The best variation you can find is 25/8 Aces and Eights, which yields the highest possible expected return. Here you get paid at odds of 25 to 1 for a Four of a Kind and 8 to 1 for a Full House. This fullpay version gives players better chances of winning as it has a lower house edge.

Joker Wild

Joker Wild, also known as Joker Poker, is one of the very few video poker variations that uses a 53-card deck. A joker is also included in the pack as a wild card that substitutes other cards and enables you to complete more winning combinations. This makes it easier to form solid hands, hence the payout reductions for certain card combinations. In most cases, the lowest winning hand players can form consists of paired Kings, two pairs, or paired Aces, but it all depends on which version you play and where.

Joker Wild
Screenshot of Joker Wild

Some versions of Joker Wild offer enhanced payouts for Five of a Kind. The payout differs from one variation to another, but in most cases, it is either 500 or 1000 coins. The game itself has three different versions – Kings or Better, Two Pairs or Better, and Aces or Better. The names coincide with the lowest winning combination players can form in the respective variation. The best version among these is Kings or Better as it gives players the highest payout percentage.

Fullpay Kings or Better Joker Wild, played with 5-coin bets and a perfect strategy, has a positive expected return of 100.64%.

Tens or Better

Tens or Better is a popular video poker variation that highly resembles Jacks or Better. This game is suitable for those looking to play for short periods as it offers lower payouts. Video poker enthusiasts who want higher payouts and better chances of winning big should opt for Jacks or Better. The weakest winning hand consists of paired tens and the payouts for a Full House and a Flush are also lower. As a result, players win less money than usual.

Tens or Better
Screenshot of Tens or Better

The highest winning combination remains the Royal Flush, as is the case in all other video poker variations. Tens or Better offers an expected return of 99.13% provided that players bet the maximum number of coins and use a reliable strategy. Most versions have a Gamble feature that enables players to try and double their profits after each winning combination. Using the feature is, of course, optional.

Tens or Better Pay Table
Royal Flush5001000200030004000
Straight Flush50100150200250
Four of a Kind255075100125
Full House612182430
Three of a Kind3691215
Two Pairs246810
Tens or Better12345


Video poker is one of the most exciting casino games as it marries chance to skill. Nowadays, video poker enthusiasts have the opportunity to enjoy Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, Double Bonus Poker, Aces and Eights, and other variations to diversify their gaming experience.

Some of these variations offer special bonus payouts, while others feature wild cards that enable players to form winning combinations much easier. Players should experiment with different variations to find those that best suit their personal preferences. However, before playing, it is advisable to double check the rules and paytable to make sure the game is beneficial enough.