Video Poker

If you love playing poker and online slots, video poker can offer the best of both worlds. Learn more about this fun skill-based game here.

One of the most popular casino games of all time is slots since they’re so simple to play. But for those who love skill-based games, video poker offers a unique experience. It’s the perfect fusion between poker which is all about skill, and online slots and their fun interface. Basically, it’s a poker game but in a format inspired by slots. 

Generally, the rules are largely the same as in regular poker and the payout is certainly worth it. Moreover, most online casinos in the Philippines offer at least a few options, so you can definitely experiment. The rest of this comprehensive guide will walk you through all there is to know about video poker.

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A Brief History of Video Poker

Video poker has evolved over the years, with several additions making up the modern versions. But because of the use of reels and overall gameplay, the history of video poker is somewhat related to slots. Although video poker used to be a manual game, it’s now available online as well.

But back in 1891, the Sittman and Pitt Company, a Brooklyn company, invented the first-ever video poker. It had five reels with 10 cards on each. So just like slot machines, to play players had to insert a coin and spin the reel. Of course, from then on players hope to land a winning combination.

Soon after, Charles Fay, commonly known as the father of the slot machine, introduced the hold feature into video poker. His invention became known as the Skill Draw Poker Machine. It gave players the ability to hold one or more cards and to re-spin so as to improve their hands.

Online Video Poker

How to Play Video Poker

All variants of video poker are based on five-card draw poker which is similar to flat card poker. So, generally, video poker rules are largely the same as general poker and there’s always a standard 52-card deck. Basically, after making your wager, press the Deal button and you will get five random cards. 

Next, you need to choose the cards you wish to keep and the ones you want to discard. When you are done selecting the cards you wish to keep, press the Draw button and you’ll get new cards. The objective is to get the highest-ranking poker hand possible, on which your payout depends.

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Video Poker Hand Ranking

In descending order, here are the video poker hand rankings:

Royal flush – When you have a ten, king, queen, jack, or an Ace all of the same suit, the hand forms a royal flush. 

Straight flush – A straight flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit. 

Four of a kind – If the reels form four cards of the same rank, then you have a four-of-a-kind hand. 

Full house – Out of the five reels, if three cards are of one rank and two cards of another rank, you have a full house hand. 

Flush – Flush is any of five cards that are of the same suit, and don’t have to be in any particular order. 

Straight – Straight is formed by five consecutive cards of a mixed suit, and they don’t have to be of the same suit. 

Three of a kind – If the reels show three cards of the same rank, then you have a three-of-a-kind hand. 

Two pairs – Two pairs occur when you have two cards of one rank. 

One pair or high card – One pair is just two matching cards and a high card hand has no matching cards.

Pair of jacks or better – A pair of jacks, kings, queens, or ace is a pair of jacks or better.

Five of a kind – Five of a kind is a hand with 5 cards of the same kind.

Basic Glossary

  • Bust. To bust means to lose a video poker game.
  • Cashback. Cashback is the percentage of a bet that losing players get back. 
  • Cycles. Cycles are the average number of hands you can expect to play before you get a winning hand. 
  • Comps. Comps mean to raise a small bet to the amount that would be a normal-sized bet. 
  • Deuce. Deuce is another term for the number two, so anytime you get a 2 card it is a deuce. 
  • Drawing hand. This is when players replace cards in their hands with cards from the deck. 
  • Expert card. These are cards that indicate how profitable a certain play will be in the long run.
  • Full pay. Full pay is a payout schedule used in early versions of video poker. They are used to tell the highest paying variant. 
  • Hand pay. Hand pay is a condition where the game cannot pay the player in a certain manner.
How to Play Video Poker

Video Poker Variations

There are a few popular video poker variants, including:

  • Jack or Better. Jack or Better is the simplest variant of video poker with an attractive payback of 99.54%. The lowest-paid hands in this variant are Jack or Better.
  • Bonus/Double Bonus. Double bonus poker is a variation of Jack or Better. The reason for the bonus in the name is because of the additional payout for 4 of a kind hands. 
  • Double-Double Bonus. Double-Double Bonus video poker is the most popular video poker game. This video poker pays off an extra bonus when you get four 2s, 3s, 4s, or aces accompanied by a kicker card. 
  • Joker Poker. Joker Poker has a standard deck plus a Joker card, which serves as a wild card. The additional wild card in this variant makes it possible to form a five-a-kind hand. Hence the higher odds of winning. 
  • Deuce Wild. What differentiates this variant is that all four Deuces or twos serve as wild cards. 

Mobile Play

Of course, much like all other casino games, video poker is available on mobile as well. However, whether it is available and what variants are there depends on the real money casino you choose. Some online casinos even have a mobile app that you can use to play video poker. But if there isn’t, most likely the casino will be accessible via standard mobile browsers. So, just check with your operator beforehand.

Real Money Gaming Vs. Free Mode

Besides mobile-friendly video poker options, most online casinos nowadays will also offer two modes of play. Of course, you can play in real money mode which is the only way to actually make a profit. Moreover, the thrill of the risk is what attracts many Filipino players in the first place. But there is also a free or demo mode that you can use to practice or just try out a new game. However, if you play for free you can’t cash out any of your winnings.

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Our Pro Tips and Strategies

Of course, video poker involves a bit of luck but there are a few things you can do to tilt the odds in your favor. First, ensure you choose the right paytable – different games have different payout rates. Moreover, some games like Jacks or Better offer higher payouts when you bet the maximum amount, so pay attention.

On the other hand, there are also a few things to avoid in video poker. For instance, avoid playing progressive games because they tend to pay out slower. Additionally, pro players stay clear of the widespread blunder of retaining a kicker. 

How to Choose Where to Play

Video poker is available at just about any online casino in the Philippines but choosing the right one can be overwhelming. First, and most importantly, you should always make sure the casino has a proper license to operate. Moreover, find out what security measures are in place to protect your data and avoid platforms that don’t take that seriously. 

Of course, the selection and size of casino bonuses and promotions are also very important. So, compare between sites and pick the best offers. But don’t forget about the range of payment options – they should be safe and fast. Finally, look for a casino that partners with reputable software developers, so that you can get the best games.

Video Poker vs. Slot Machines

Unlike slot machines which are all about luck, video poker requires skill and a good strategy. Of course, many love online slots because they offer larger jackpots. But video poker can also pay a lot, especially if you’re good at it.


Especially in the Philippines, video poker, especially Jacks or Better, is one of many punters’ favorite choices. Because these games come with many fun features, players stand to win huge prizes. Moreover, it’s a great way to enjoy the visual experience of slots with the thrill of skill-based poker play. If you want to try it for yourself, check out our casino reviews and find the best one for you.


Yes, the rules for both are largely the same with just a few minor differences.

Not always, sometimes, you can have the advantage in video poker.

Yes, but check with your casino if free mode is an available option.

You can bet high or low in video poker, so it depends on how much you have budgeted.

Most players keep the low pair, although it depends on the hand. Usually, a high card does not offer big chances of creating a winning hand.

Royal flush are the highest paying hands in video poker partially because they are hard to get.

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