Video Poker – How to Win and How it Works

hi and welcome to our instructional
video on video poker my name is Steve Bourie and I’m the
author of the American casino guide which is the number one bestselling book
in the US on the subject of casino gambling and travel and the only book that comes with more
than one thousand dollars in casino coupons if you want to know more about me or my
book just go to my website at As a gambling author I spend a
lot of time in casinos my favorite game to play is video poker
it’s really a good game for all levels of players and in this video I’m going to show you
how video poker machines work and how you can win on them. First of all let
me ask you this do you know the main difference between a
video poker machine a slot machine? well if you said a slot machine is a game
of luck and video poker is a game of skill then you are correct. When you play a
slot machine you put in your money and pull the
handle or push that spin button and you hope that you’re lucky enough to
get a winning combination in video poker however it is your skill
in playing the cards that affects the outcome of the game Now besides the skill factor there is one other big difference
between video poker and slot machines that I should mention and that is you
never know what percentage a slot machine is set to pay back to the public but you can always calculate a video
poker machine’s pay-back percentage just by looking at its pay table This is
a very important because it allows you to go into a casino and easily tell which video poker
machines are programmed to pay back the most money So those are the two main differences
between slots and video poker and I’ll return to those differences
shortly but first let me give you a brief rundown on the basics of how to play. Video poker
is similar to playing a game of five card poker the only difference is that you have no
opponent to beat and you can’t lose more than your initial bet first you deposit from one to five coins
in the machine to make your bet you are then shown five cards on the
video screen and your goal is to try to make the best poker hand
possible from those cards since it is a draw game you’re given one
opportunity to improve your hand this is done by allowing you to discard
from one up two of five cards from your original
hand Of course you don’t have to discard any if you don’t want to, but usually you
want to replace some cards to improve your hand After choosing which cards you want to
keep you then push the draw button and the machine will replace all of your
discards with new cards based on the resulting final hand the
machine will then pay according to the pay schedule posted on the machine naturally the better your hand the
higher the amount the machine will pay you back So those are the basics of how to play
video poker but now let’s go back and talk about
those two big differences between slots and video poker and how you can use that information to
help you become a long-term winner at video poker. If you see my how to win
slots video on YouTube where I explain how slot machines work you know that slot machine manufacturers
have a lot of flexibility when it comes to programming their machines if they want a machine to pay back less
money to the players they simply program in more losing combinations and if they want a slot to pay back more
money they just program in more winning combinations The problem
for you as a player is that when you walk up to a slot
machine you have no idea what it’s programmed to pay back Fortunately when you play video poker
you won’t have that problem you see with video poker machines the
manufacturers can’t increase or decrease the number of winning and losing combinations they
program into the machines and the reason they can’t do that is
because the number of winning and losing combinations are all based on a 52 card deck and
therefore the number of those combinations are
identical on all video poker machines of course I’m not including games with
jokers here but any video poker game played with a 52 card deck has exactly 2,598,960 unique five card poker hands
possible and every time you push the deal button
you will be dealt one of those hands. Now you may be wondering
if the manufacturers can manipulate the winning and losing combinations and how can they change the payback
percentages to make machines pay out less or more well the answer is they do that by
simply paying you less when you get a winning hand To get a
better understanding in this let’s take a look at a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine On this machine the jacks or better part
refers to the fact that you won’t win anything unless you have at least a pair
jacks and the 9/6 part refers to the payback schedule nine coins for a full house and six coins
for a flush this is one of the best games you can
find in a casino it is known as a full pay machine and
the expected return on this machine when you play the maximum five coins and use
perfect strategy is 99.54 percent. Now when a casino wants to make more money
on their video poker machines they will offer a lower pay table and that
change is almost always made in the payoffs for the full house and the flush For instance on one machine you may
only get paid eight coins for a full house while another may only pay seven and
another just six on the flush pay off the only change is
that they’re usually reduced from six to five Every time one of these payoffs is
reduced by one coin the effect is that the payback
percentage is reduced by about 1.1 percent So if you had a 7/5 jacks or better
machine that returned seven coins for a full house and five coins for a flush the expected return on that machine would be
96.15 percent rather than the 99.54 percent on a 9/6
Jacks or Better machine As you can see it it’s always a good
idea to look at the pay table at the video poker machine to make sure you’re
playing the game offering the highest return Many times casinos will scatter
higher-paying and lower-paying machines throughout the casino and it’s up to you to spot the better
ones You need to be careful however that you are comparing the pay table on
the same type machine you can’t compare a jacks or better machine
to a bonus game or double bonus or double double bonus or deuces wild if you like to play jacks or better then
just take a few minutes to walk to the casino and look at the
pay tables on all the jacks or better machines You’ll probably find some variations on
the full house and flush payoffs just be sure to play on the machine
where the payoffs are the highest for those hands Remember that the probability of getting
a full house in all those jacks or better machines is the exact same so why would you want to settle for
seven coins for a full house when another machine in the same casino may offer you 8 or 9? Actually every video poker
machine’s payback percentage can be mathematically calculated but it’s impossible to do that on your
own You can buy a software program to do it but it’ll cost anywhere from thirty
dollars to fifty dollars another option is to just go to our website
at and visit our video poker section In
that area you’ll see an article called video poker pay tables just click on
that and it will bring up a list of the most
common pay tables along with the notation of the payback percentage for that particular
pay table Now that you know how to find the best
machines to play you’ll need some help with the strategy It turns out that video
poker is similar to blackjack in a sense that there is a basic strategy and there is always one best way to play
your hand in any given situation and how is that strategy determined? Well
of course it’s done with computers There are 32 different ways any five
card poker hand can be played and the computer will analyze all 32 of
those plays to come up with an expected value for each play this expected value which is referred
to as EV by knowledgeable video poker players is the key to making your decisions and
the play that delivers the highest EV is how you should always play your
hand Let’s say you’re on a 9/6 Jacks or Better
machine and you’re dealt the following hand which includes a pair of 10s and four hearts Should keep the tens or go for the flush? Well if you look at the computer
analysis for this hand you’ll see that if you keep the pair
of 10s the EV of that hand is a little better than 4.1 points but if you keep the four card flush the
EV is much higher at more than 5.7 coins, so the correct
answers that you should keep the four card flush because that expected value is the highest as you see just like a machine’s pay
back percentage can be calculated so can the correct strategy for playing
any particular hand but once again you will need to buy a
software program costing up to fifty dollars However there are also strategy charts
you can buy that will show you how to play your
hands properly and those cost around five dollars Keep in mind that the strategy will
change slightly whenever the pay table is changed so you need to make sure you are using
the proper strategy for each particular pay table If you want to
get some video poker strategy charge for free you can do that on our website at just go to the video poker section and
click on the article title free video poker strategy charts You can
then print out any of those charts and bring them with
you to the casino One last thing I want to mention about video poker is thatat unlike slot machines you can actually
find machines are set to return more than 100 percent and how you may ask can a casino offer
a game with an expected return of more than one hundred percent?
Wouldn’t they lose money on that machine? Well yes they would lose money if
everyone who played that machine knew the right strategy but ninety-nine point nine percent of
the people who play that game don’t know how to play it properly so
they won’t even come close to achieving that 100 percent return therefore the casino can still make
money on that game So there you have it hopefully I’ve
answered most of your questions about video poker and the next time you visit a casino you’ll
be able to easily choose the best paying machines and use the proper strategy Thanks for
watching and best wishes for good luck on your
next visit to the casino!

100 thoughts on “Video Poker – How to Win and How it Works”

  1. Gamble for fun it's not suppose too be a investment or a game of skill just have fun win and go home home that's all it is too it

  2. Steve probably lost his wife and home and everything else behind gambling now he selling books telling the slot machine life story instead of his 😂😂😂😂

  3. Hello my mentor. I have been converted from slots to VP will be in LV March 26 to 29th depart friday am. Where will you be hanging that weekend? South point? hope to meet you in person. I have the 208 ACG as well

  4. The other day I tried video poker for the first time and got 4 outta 1 cards for a Royal Flush
    I accidentally threw away the cards I wanted to keep! What is the chance I ruined a Royal Flush?

  5. Hello Steve, I sometimes visit the casinos in Montana, many of the casinos in the bars have "King's or Better" or "Queen's or Better" video poker. It's played the same as "Jacks or Better" except you need to get at least a pair of Kings to win even money. Other than that the pay table is the same. My question is, If I am playing a 9/6 KOB machine, how much does this payback percentage change?

  6. Question for American casino guide, I have a video poker app on my phone I used to at least learn the basics it plays 9/6 jacks or better. The question is in the app if you were to win a hand It gives you the chance to double down by picking a high card. Sometimes however, the higher card is not available meaning you have no chance to win, is that available for any or all video poker machines and if so would you recommend it?

  7. This has happened more times than I can remember: I am dealt a hand with a pair of Jacks ( or better) which is an automatic winning hand but this hand also has 4 cards of the same suit. So, do I throw away a winning hand to try for a flush, which pays much more than the Jacks? What is the basic strategy for this type of hand? Thanks.

  8. I haven't been in Vegas for quite a while, but the casino's all advertised their level of payback. I recall seeing 97% payback everywhere, except at the airport where they're only collecting what you have left before leaving town. Interesting video.

  9. It is easy to make money on video poker machines. A friend of mine is a millionaire today from them. The trick is simple he owned the machines.

  10. I will tell you guys how you can win and stay winning ok it is actually quite simple, ya ready to hear it? DON'T GAMBLE.

  11. is there any truth the best machines in casinos are the ones near entrance?so people who look in can see people winning?

  12. Would you happen to be in vegas next week oct 2nd through the 6th. I am a disabled vet and wouldnt mind watching and learning.

  13. Video poker is still somewhat based on luck.  You have no idea what cards you will draw.  You keep the cards that will give you the best chance to win.  I'm guessing getting a big payback, like drawing a straight flush or 4 of a kind or higher, is difficult to do.  I did notice that it gives you a higher payback for 4 2's 3's and 4's than 5's through kings, which i guess makes sense but seems somewhat random that they pick those numbers to increase payout instead of say 10's through queens.  I guess they think players perhaps even though its always right there in front of them, will still hold the higher cards like in real poker mistakenly thinking that's better as it would be a better hand in real poker.

  14. The "skill" or "strategy" involved in Video Poker is akin to the "better chance" and "more control" you have on slot machines where you can manually stop the reels by pushing a button. People play those a lot thinking that they have an edge because they can stop the reel, quote "wherever they want." This is untrue. Not only are the reels (be they virtual or physical) spinning too fast to be able to make any guess on where they'd land were they to follow your command to stop, but the command to stop itself is an illusion.

    Sure, the reels stop almost immediately after you press the stop button, but they key word is "ALMOST!" The machine is essentially operating like any other slot machine that uses a random number generator to determine wins (that is to say ALL modern slot machines). This means that like all other slot machines and electronic games of chance, there is no such thing as a near miss! You can never be "close" to winning on slots. It's digital. It's binary. One or zero. Win or lose. There's no in between.

    The inclusion of a stop or hold button under each reel is there to make you think that you're in control when in reality you're not in control any more than a normal machine. When you press stop, the reel continues to spin to where it would have landed anyhow, it just stops jarringly and with a quicker, more definite halt to the reel. It means nothing.

    Imagine you're playing a 3 reel single pay line machine and have 7 on reel one, 7 on reel two and try to stop it at 7 on reel three. Imagine the RNG determines this spin to be a losing spin. You pressed it at just the right time to freeze a 7 in place on the pay line and hit a jackpot but it either doesn't make it to the pay line or drifts just past the pay line because it is STILL a random number generator and the loss was determined the second you spun the reels.

    The stoppage had nothing to do with it, whether you did it or the machine did it. Had the spin been determined to be a 7s across jackpot and you stopped it at 7 on the third reel, that win had nothing whatsoever to do with skill or timing or hand to eye coordination. It was a pre determined win. You could have jammed your fingers into all three stop buttons at once and it still would have stopped at a win, jackpot 7s across. There’s nothing you can do to manipulate the predetermined outcome.

    In a nutshell, the millisecond you press "Spin" the outcome has already been determined via RNG. You can mess about with the reels and the buttons all you like but nothing will change the outcome which was determined the instant you bet and spun.

    Video Poker is much like this. Imagine I get a hand with three spade cards, I hold them, discard and draw again and get a fourth spade but miss the fifth and get a diamond card, ruining my potential spade flush. Seems like I was close but I wasn't, it was a loss. A zero. Had it been a jackpot, nothing I would have done could change me getting a Royal Flush, even a full discard and redraw. That’s as far as I know.

    I know there needs to be some sort of sway in the numbers due to your ability to hold cards. That does allow for a change of outcome but I’d imagine most of the time it’s not a downgrade or upgrade in what you would have won, but just a win with alternate cards.

    Say the machine wants to pay out a 25 credit 4 of a kind hand. If you were dealt two deuces, a jack, a king and an ace and held the deuces, it would likely guarantee you the other two deuces in the deck on the redraw. Had you held nothing and discarded all for a fresh hand, it would have landed on a different 4 of a kind that doesn’t involve the first five cards dealt. Say four 9s and a 7. At least I think that’s how it works.

    But now and then downgrades or upgrades must occur because if the machine wanted to pay a win of three of a kind and I held four suited cards, there’s no way I’m getting that three of a kind because there’s no room for it. Had I discarded 3, 4 or all 5 cards, would my predetermined three of a kind then hit? This is a question for the experts. I suppose this is where the “best way to play a hand” and basic strategy come in.

    I’ll take that over slots any day but in the end it’s still a negative outcome machine and my win or loss is based mostly on timing and luck or the illusion of luck. When a machine begins to “loosen” you want to be there, but you’ll never know when that is unless you’re the winner. Nor will you ever know how long a “loose” streak will last.

  15. You sir,are the worst kind of huckster there is.this is all bullshit and you know make your money off selling books. You give false illusions that you somehow you can beat the casinos.
    Over the long run that's impossible and anyone with a half a brain is aware of that. Many seniors loose there social security checks playing this game.lets hope they dont buy your crap.
    P.s I watched till the 6 min mark and that was enough

  16. Kinda funny they showed south point cassino in Vegas , I was playing video poker ( duce's wild) at the Grandview lounge and hit two Royal flushes in a row dealt straight up , and the payout was 4000 × 2 after I hit the first one I said too the bartender watch it's going too give me another one , as he was walking away saying yeah right, it delivered another R/F $

  17. anyone who thinks they know how to beat a poker machine is a fool, there is no beating a machine that has a program to run in a cycle, you have no idea what the cycle is you have to play over 100,000 games to know what the cycle is. A machine is set to a payback over a percentage played. so a 95% Payback Machine is set to give you 95% of your money back over a 100k game. this is set by the gaming commission and cannot be altered on the fly by the casinos. it is NOT Bases on a 52 card deck. it is based on a shoe. I have been a slot tech since 1991, I use to Program Slot and poker machines for Bally Gaming in the 90s

  18. The Machine may lose games. Over time it ALWAYS wins. Notice how noisy they are when they pay out but how quietly they take your money.

  19. All of you folks are the ones who build the 4 billion dollar casinos. This man has it nailed. I been out there 105 times, and except for the first two, never came back with less than I went. You need diligence, practice and perfect play. Yes you can take the edge from the house – be funded proper tho, till the big one hits, it will, deuces wild 5, 10, 50 or 100 play in the VIP room increases your odds. I took the Rio for $63,000 in 25 minutes playing VP in the champagne room. Even the big boss black silk suited pit bull finally came down and said 'Mr X, we are extremely impressed with your play and would like to invite you to stay in our tower suite here, with all expenses paid for the rest of your trip.' I had to apologize and thank him because I get better comps than that at my home casino. Last time a whole wing and much more. At checkout behind the waterfall and frosted glass, I had $24 000+ of hotel bills and plane fare taken care of, and the comps were anything i wanted, even front row center to Elton John and more – I've been in the Verona suite twice. The only other game worth sitting down for is three deck hand dealt Blackjack – you don't win any jackpots, but you know at the high stakes table, every player knows what he's doing – it makes an enjoyable loooong and winning evening. All you crabisaurs saying it's all the same? Keep thinking that, I'll take your money too – if you're going to play, play to win or shut up, you mean nothing to professional gamblers except free everything and a pocketful of green to fly home with. Thanks for your complete ignorance, really, just don't ever sit down at my table…

  20. This video is absolutely terrible. I cannot believe he has a best-selling book. I think the only thing he is betting on is you buying his book!! Absolutely terrible

  21. 😂 all you people calling bullshit. Everything he is saying is based on math. Also he isn’t selling anything. Now anyone that says they can beat the system and try’s to sell you something is absolutely full of shit. He’s not selling anything here. I fail to see any motivation for this guy to be lying. He is simply offering some tips to help you use the mathematical system of the machine to improve your odds a little. He isn’t guaranteeing you hit a jackpot or anything.

  22. Ok, so i get the math/odds/payout table stuff but the thing I never trusted with VP is the initial deal may be random but what's preventing the computer from favouring the house with the 2nd cards? For the example you showed you had 4 hearts going for the flush on the 5th, that's where I think the computer could think "no way I'm dealing out a heart" can you explain?

  23. Video poker, is a game of chance, it legally can't be a game of skill, it is true you can be an idiot and lose your money faster.
    Also the % it pays out is set, and it doesn't matter how much a winning hand pays, because the casino can set it at whatever they want.
    I can see why the casino's gave you the $1,000 in coupons

  24. lost all my money to this guys advice , now my children cant go to uni , i have a loan on my car and house . my wife is divorcing me , i've pawned all my personal assets for this guys video . somebody please donate

  25. Thanks for the Strategy charts…This tutorial is very informative…On my way soon to a Poker Machine w your strategy!! Much Appreciation! $$$$

  26. Disappointing video. god man, get to the strategy, percentages of "outs" etc…looking more and more like a casino shill.

  27. Im going to educate some of you, every machine , even Poker, is set. within a 24 hour period, to a week to a month, what each machine will pay out and they will always make money. This poker machine will hit a 4 of a kind on the 2nd, 4th, 13th, 20th and so on. so the casino knows exactly what their going to lose. Thats if ? they meet their PROJECTED NET INCOME. Each machine is a tax payer, thats right, it makes income, so the casinos have to pay taxes on each machine that makes income, so its easy to set their winnings, EVEN POKER and loses. The Casinos ran fiber optics to each slot bank or poker bank, which goes to a main frame casino board, and it calculates, when the bank makes this much, machine 3 will pay off a 4 of a kind and so on. Every machine is set, even poker. Now, how can they do this? its not a gamble when they rig a machine? that is correct. Do you all notice that its called so and so GAMING? THIS AND THAT GAMING? NO GAMBLING HALLS ANYMORE HUH? NOPE, CAUSE YOU CANT FIX A GAMBLE, BUT YOU CAN A GAME. Lawyers and Greedy CEO's who now have you pay to park did this. Come on now, its tuff living on 10 million a year, while they complain that a housekeeper makes 20 an hour. Your best ways to gamble are? Baccarat, and Craps. true games of luck, or? your just hope you sit at the right machine. Doesnt matter what you play, their making money and its set. Now you get freebies with points, all computerized. So they know how much Mr. Johnson spent this year, oh Mr. IRS Agent? you need some info ? he said he made only this? he lost twice that here? Your not gambling like when the mob ran Vegas, you know? the town was better to its customers then to. Richest county in the U.S. and the worst school district. Dont pay teachers, kids have to pay for uniforms, cut band out schools, no books. So wheres the money go? Your all making stock holders and CEO's very happy. Oh and around Thanksgiving ? Layoffs, well the Casino made 22.3 million, but our Projected net income was 28 million so? we have to lay off over the holidays. Sorry, its all for the team though Merry Christmas. Just find the right machine, thats the real gamble And good luck.

  28. I love the video poker machine. It really is a lot of fun. Would anyone know where I could buy a video poker machine?

  29. All of this is of course assuming the programming truly is random, and it's not designed to give you losing hands, no matter how perfectly you play.

  30. I’m a slots technical manager, none of those things you’re saying are true. I can tell you that the percentage and payouts do not change or work the way you say it does lol if there was an easy way to win or guaranteed way I would know it and be rich. All casino employees who program them would be, you made me rant. Not cool preying on people gullible trusting nature and need to win. Shame!!

  31. I will never understand ppl who gamble to win. I play VP on my phone and can get 30 minutes out of $20. Now, I know actual machines may be shorter but if you can play for 20 or more minutes, that's at least 2 free drinks. That's what matters. Not actually winning. The comments are from bitter ppl who gamble to win like weirdos.

  32. Each card is no different to a fruit or symbol on a fruit machine, you hold and you spin, and hope for a winning combination that the machine allows.
    Auto play will usually decide the best holds on offer for you.
    Anyone who thinks video poker is skill needs a reality check

  33. he forgot one small detail…if you hold the 4 hearts instead of the two 10's I guarantee you the card you draw is a 10, on the other hand if you hold the two 10's instead you'll 99% mostly likely not get another 10 and likely get a heart…it's rigged to pay or not pay, just like a slot machine.

  34. I enjoyed the video. I didn't know that a strategy to play any machine in a casino existed. I figure they are just rigged to make you lose no matter what.

  35. Thanks man!
    One thing that troubles me is that this video is 9 years old and you said 99.9 percent people don't know how to play properly, so do you think so many people are dumb today also?

  36. What he is telling about comparison of slot machines and video poker payback is simply lie, you can also program video poker to draw losing combinations, that's not a big deal.

    However just for clarification none of this practices legitimate casinos use.

  37. Always play for the four of a kind or the royal flush I never draw to a straight or a flush. 2 pair dealt, yeah go for the boat. Always keep the ace or king or whatever and also the 10 suited. I've had more three card royals drawed than any other hand. Keep all pairs and go for the four of a kind. Stay away from all them sucker straits andflush draws. I probably hit at least 30 royals this year. And hundreds in my life. Only play double double poker. One hand at a time. If you play those 5 + 10 + 100 + hand poker machines your brain and your wallet will explode.

  38. Any time I find a 9/6 machine, you have to look at the two pair payout to make sure it is 2 and not 1 as in a high pair. Much better to play an 8/5 with two pair paying 2, than a 9/6 that only pays two pair 1. Your going to get far more 2 pairs than full houses or flushes. Canadian casinos routinely pull that fast one.

  39. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if you're playing a computer game, the odds are extremely stacked against the player.
    Do you really think the computer is going to let you win?
    If so, I have some land to sell ya

  40. It's funny….a lot of people on here think there is a strategy to beat a computer game that is set up so that the odds are against the player.

  41. It is based all on luck. for instance, me and the wife stopped by a gas station here in Reno. I dropped a 20$ bill in a video poker machine and played 1$ amount with 5$ a bet. My first hand was 1 Ace. Held it and it dealt me 3 more Aces. Cashed out 800$ immediately .

  42. PLease Insert Uneducated Stupid Comments here, AmericanGuideCasino is handing out Free No Deposit Bitch Slaps. Limited time Offer. Btw i subcribed just due to the fact that your such a savage when replying to idiots Lol

  43. This man isnt taking into consideration that the program that deals you cards can be programmed to keep you losing. The random it takes are algorithmic variables that plot based on the guts of the machine and the +5/-5 volts processing used to compute the algorithm. This plot can be tested and used to make you lose more than you win. In layman's terms, you are not given a genuinely random deal. And the state game commissioners are not able or willing to diagnose this problem.

  44. Skill???🤪
    A machine which is made for the soul reason of profit will not allow you to win the only way that you'll win is luck ..
    Luck of going on it when its algorithm decides to pay out . BULLSHIT..🤔🤥🤥
    Did anyone else notice the main cards held 666..🤣🤣. As if that's not telling you about gambling..😂

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