If you are new to poker, this is what poker hand names mean. If you already know this then skip to the next section of this Video Poker Guide.

  • Is a Full House a pair and a trio, like 3? 3? 9? 9? 3?. Note that the order of the cards does not matter. This is true for all types of winning hands – the cards can be in any order. If you can switch them around to be in order, (you don’t need to) it’s a winning hand.
  • Flush is a hand where all cards are of the same suit, 9? Q? 10? 4? 6?.
  • Straight is a hand with cards in sequence, such as 9? 7? 10? 8? 6?. Note again that the cards do not have to appear in order. The order of the face cards, from smallest to largest, is Jack (Jack), Queen (Queen), King (King) and Ace (Ace), which we abbreviate with J, Q, K, A. An ace can also count as 1, to complete a sequence where the other cards are 2, 3, 4, and 5. But it cannot count as low card and card at the same time, example: QKA 2 3.
  • An Outside Straight is a set of cards that can be turned into a straight with another card at each end. 9? 7? 10? 8? 3? It’s an Outside Straight because either a 6 as a low card or a Jack as a high card turned the set into a straight.
  • An Inside Straight is what a straight with a hole in the middle would be. 9? two? 10? 8? 6? It’s an Inside Straight because only a 7 made it a sequel. The distinction between outside straights and inside straights is important because in Jacks or Better we will never try to turn an inside straight into a straight. It’s too difficult as we only have one chance to complete the streak.
  • Is a Straight Flush a hand with both straight and suited, like 9? 7? 10? 8? J?.
  • Is a Royal Flush a Straight Flush composed of the highest cards, as in 10? J? Q? K? THE?. But of course they don’t have to be all sorted. Q? 10? THE? J? K? it’s still a Royal Flush. The Royal Flush is the jackpot in video poker, and it only hits about once in every 40,000 hands or so – or a week and a half of straight play time. Hey, it could be worse: The jackpot on a regular slot machine only happens every 262,144 spins.

Video Poker Lessons

Each variety of video poker and paytable has its strategy.

The strategy for Jacks or Better is different from that for Deuces Wild, and within each machine style, each paytable can have its own strategy. Learning all these strategies is boring, so I recommend finding out which video poker game you prefer first, and learning the strategy for it.

If you get bored with that game then you can learn another strategy at that point. For now, let’s start with a lesson on Full-Pay Jacks or Better. I choose this game because:

  • Jacks or Better was the original video poker game.
  • It’s still quite available and easy to find.
  • The Full-Pay version offers a nice return of 99.54%, and can still be found on the Vegas Strip.
  • Strategy is one of the easiest of the video poker varieties.