Whether you play at live or online casinos, you’ve run across various variants of Video Poker. Video Poker is a slot-style version of poker that pays out based on your making a hand on the pay table. These tables vary wildly based on the Video Poker variant and the casino.
What some Video Poker players don’t realize is that the pay table can make all the difference between picking a machine that has a reasonable expectation to win long-term or picking a machine where you’re simply donating money to the casino.
Today, we’ll look at Video Poker pay tables, how to read them, and how you can use them to win more at playing video poker.
Recreate Las Vegas in your den or bar with a poker table. Having a dedicated gaming table adds an extra touch of class to your fun casino evening. These often feature slots for storing chips and a special fabric surface that makes it easier for cards to glide to the players as you deal. The maximum payout percentage for that pay table variation is 95.59%. There is another version that offers only 7x for a Straight Flush as well as only 2x for a Flush - that pay table offers a 95.19% max payout. 20/10/8/4/4 Deuces Wild - 95.96%. This pay table greatly differs from full pay Deuces Wild.
VpFREE2 provides insider video poker information helping you find the games you want and the machines with the best payouts for US and Canadian casinos. Even if you don’t know perfect video poker strategy and you only make the occasional mistake, that average return will only drop down to 99.52 percent. The one thing to look for when you play video poker games is a 9/6 pay table. Games with a table of 9/6 will pay 9. Play what you want to, with the best pay-tables. And learn how to play the best games you can find by using a video poker software program or strategy cards. If you want to get serious about video poker beyond recreational play, then seek the assistance of a real pro.
Poker Tables For Sale
What is a Video Poker Pay Table?
All Video Poker games have a list of payable hands, this is known as a pay table. For standard Video Poker variants, these tables have five columns with each column representing the number of credits bet. For example, if you bet three credits, then the third column lists your payouts. Generally, the column that corresponds to your bet will be highlighted.
To give you a clearer understanding, we’ve inserted below an example of a standard Video Poker pay table:
As you can see, reading the table is pretty simple. In the example above, if you bet one credit and hit a straight, you will win four credits. Notice that as the number of credits increase, the prize is multiplied. If you bet three credits and hit a straight, you get 12 credits. The only exception to this is when you hit a Royal Flush. This is the jackpot prize for Video Poker and pays 800x your wager. For .25 video poker, this is 4,000 credits, or a $1,000 return on a $1.25 bet.
The above table is for standard Jacks or Better Video Poker. There are multiple variants of Video Poker out there and also variations of pay tables for these games. Some games pay out special prizes for certain hands. For example, in Double Double Bonus Poker, four aces with a 2, 3, or 4 pays out 2,000 credits or $500 on a $1.25 bet.
You’ll occasionally run across Video Poker games where you can wager more than five credits per hand. Pay tables work on the same concept for these games. If your game takes 20 credits, then you’ll have a 20 column pay table.
Why Do Pay Tables Matter?
The basic function for a pay table is to tell you how much you can win each hand. However, pay tables can help you tell the expected value and house edge for video poker. To determine this, you’ll need to know how to classify video poker pay tables.
You’ll hear some Video Poker players refer to games using terms like “8-5” or “9-6.” These players are talking about how much a game will pay on a full house and flush when playing one credit. In our example above, you’ll see a flush pays six credits on a single credit bet and a full house pays nine. This makes this version of Jacks or Better a 9-6 game.
So why is this important? Pay tables will help you determine how much a Video Poker machine will pay out to players. Generally, a 9-6 Video Poker game will return 99.54% to players.
Looking at this, you’d think that over the course of its life, the casino only has a .46% advantage over the players on the above Video Poker machine. However, this is assuming that every player uses a perfect play strategy. We know that is not going to be the case. However, if you are smart enough to use perfect play, this is a great machine to play.
As you’ve probably already guessed, the amount a machine pays out changes according to the pay table. For example, a 9-5 Jacks or Better pays out 98.45%. Machines offering 8-6 fall back to 98.39%. This drops steadily until you get to about 95% on a 6-5 game. Remember, this is for perfect play, meaning that the edge against other players is even greater.
The great thing about Video Poker is that you can find a few rare machines that offer Full Pay, which means the machine pays back 100% or more of the money wagered. For Jacks or Better, 9-7 is the sweet spot you’re looking. Similar games include 10-6 Double Double Bonus and 10-7 Double Bonus Poker.
These are just a few quick examples. For other games and pay table variants, we recommend checking out sites such as Wizard of Odds for more information.
Play to Win By Taking Advantage of Pay Tables
Video Poker pay tables are easy to spot. Most will have the tables listed at the top of the game while you’re playing. Other games will have a button you can click to access the pay table information.
The smart play is to check out the pay tables of each game you’re interesting in playing and find the best pay table available. It may take some time, but often you will find games with favorable pay tables by doing a little digging.
Understanding how video poker pay tables work is the first step in becoming a
smart gambler-at least if you like gambling machines. How much money you get as
a payout for each hand is the determining factor for the overall payback
percentages for the VP machines.
The goal of this page is to explain what a payback percentage on a gambling
machine is, how the payback table on a video poker game determines that
percentage, and what all of this means to your gambling bankroll.
What Is a Payback Percentage?
We’ve explained on other pages of our site what the house edge is and how it
But we’ll cover it again briefly here, because it relates strongly to a
gambling machine’s payback percentage.
The house edge is a theoretical percentage of each bet that a gambler
mathematically expects to lose over the long term.
In roulette, the house edge is 5.26%. This means that if you place enough
bets (thousands+), you can expect to lose $5.26 for every $100 you wager.
In the short run, anything can happen. You might bet on a single number and
hit, winning 35 to 1 on your money. More likely, you’ll miss, and you’ll lose
100% of your bet.
But if you average out your losses over an extremely large number of spins,
you’ll eventually start getting close to the theoretical average.
Gambling writers use house edge when talking about table games.
But when they talk about gambling machines, they talk about payback
This is the expected percentage of each bet that you’ll win back over a lot
One of the reasons for this distinction is because table games pay off at X
to Y odds, while gambling machines pay at X for Y odds.
Here’s what that means:
If you bet $100 on a single number at the roulette table and win, you get
paid $3500. That’s 35 to 1. You keep your original bet and get the winnings on
top of it.
But if you buy $100 in credit on a slot machine or video poker machine and
wager that entire amount on a single spin or hand, you don’t get your wager
back. It’s included in the winnings.
You bet $100 on a hand of video poker and get a pair of jacks. That payoff on
that hand is 1 for 1, which means you win $100.
But you don’t get your original $100 back.
In other words, the lowest paying hand in video poker is a break-even
As a result, when you talk about gambling machines, you talk about payback
If a slot machine has a 96% payback percentage, you can expect to win back 96
cents for every dollar you wager over time.
The Big Difference Between Slot Machines and Video Poker
Slot machines and video poker are remarkably similar. Both games deal with
combinations of symbols on a payline. Both games have payouts for specific
The difference is that on a video poker game, we can calculate the
probability of getting a certain hand. That’s because video poker bases its
random number generator on a deck of cards.
We know the possibilities available with a deck of cards:
- You have a 1 in 52
chance of getting a specific card.
- You have a 1 in 13
chance of getting a card of a specific rank.
- You have a 1 in 4
chance of getting a card of a specific suit.
But on a slot machine game, you have no way of knowing the probability of
getting a specific symbol. It could be 1 in 10, 1 in 20, or 1 in 200.
If you know how much a result pays off, you can compare that with the
probability of getting that result to get an expected return for that
In jacks or better, you win 1 for 1 if you get a pair of jacks or higher.
You’ll see that hand roughly 20% of the time, so the expected value for that
hand is about 20 cents on the dollar.
You can calculate that for every possible outcome, including outcomes where
you win nothing (50% of the time). Add those numbers together, and you have the
theoretical expected return (payback percentage) for that pay table.
On slot machines, you’re missing that crucial piece of information-the
This is the big advantage video poker has over slot machines.
The secondary advantage is that video poker payouts are almost always better
than slot machine payouts.
An average video poker game has a payout percentage of 96% or higher.
An average slot machine game has a payout percentage of 95% or lower.
You’ll rarely find a video poker game with a payback percentage lower than
But it’s easy to find slots with payback percentages in the 75% – 80% range.
Just visit a bar, a supermarket, or an airport in Las Vegas.
The Importance of Strategy and How It Relates to Video Poker Pay Tables
The other thing to keep in mind about video poker is that the expected return
for a game assumes you’re playing each hand correctly. When you decide which
cards to discard and which ones to keep, you’re making 1 of 32 decisions. And
only one of those decisions has the highest expected return.
Suppose you have a hand which includes a pair of jacks, but it also includes
4 cards to a royal flush.
The pair of jacks is a 100% winner of even money.
To fill the royal flush, you only have 1 card out of 47 which can fill your
hand. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call that 2%.
But if you hit the royal flush, you’ll win 800 for 1.
Would you rather have a 100% chance of winning $1, or a 2% chance of winning
Best Poker Table Top
The mathematically correct say to make that decision is to multiply the odds
of winning by the size of the jackpot. That’s your expected return for that
In this case, 100% X $1 is an expected value of $1.
2% X $800 is an expected return of $16.
Since $16 is clearly more than $1, the choice if obvious.
The reason we call this example “super-simplified” is because it doesn’t
account for the possibility of getting other hands.
If you keep the pair, you also have the possibility of getting 3 of a kind, 4
of a kind, or a full house.
If you keep the royal flush, you also have the possibility of getting a high
pair again on the draw.
But the odds of those are so small that you can safely ignore them. Drawing
to the royal flush is correct in this case.
You’ll find more about video poker strategy in our comprehensive guide.
Specific Pay Tables for Specific VP Games
We obviously can’t list all the possible pay tables for every possible video
poker game on a single page. But we can provide some specific examples to
illustrate the concepts you need to be familiar with.
We’ll start with a classic pay table for Jacks or Better video poker:
|Coins/Hands||1 coin||2 coins||3 coins||4 coins||5 coins|
|4 of a kind||25||50||75||100||125|
|3 of a kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or better||1||2||3||4||5|
The columns list the payoffs for how many coins you’ve wagered if you get a
specific hand. All the payoffs save one are multiplied by the number of coins
you’ve wagered. That’s an important distinction.
The royal flush is the top hand in almost all video poker variations. The
games are programmed to pay off at 800 for 1 for that hand, but only if you
wagered 5 coins on the hand. If you wager fewer than 5 coins, the payoff for
that hand is only 250 for 1.
This has a huge effect on your bottom line. In fact, it’s the first rule of
video poker strategy:
This isn’t true for most slot machine games-although it is true for some.
But it’s always true for video poker games.
You give up so much expected value for paying for fewer coins that you’re
always better off playing for 5 coins at lower stakes than playing for 1, 2, 3,
or 4 coins at higher stakes.
The other thing to notice about the Jacks or Better pay table is the payoff
for the full house and the flush. You’ll notice that the full house pays off at
9 for 1, and the flush pays off at 6 for 1.
On most Jacks or Better video games, the only variables on the pay table are
those 2 hands. In fact, this specific pay table is called a 9/6 Jacks or Better
pay table. An 8/5 Jacks or Better game has the same payouts on all the hands
except those two, which pay off at 8 for 1 and 5 for 1 respectively instead.
You can find other variations, but they’re rare enough that most people don’t
worry about that.
But here’s the key number for a 9/6 Jacks or Better game:
That’s the payback percentage if you’re playing with correct strategy on
This means the house edge for this game is only 0.46%. That’s better than
almost any other game in the casino. It’s even better than the house edge for
blackjack, which hovers around 1% at most casinos.
The payback percentage for this game drops dramatically as the payoffs chance
for Jacks or Better:
- 8/5 Jacks or Better pays
off at 97.3%.
- 7/5 Jacks or Better pays
off at 96.15%.
- 6/5 Jacks or Better pays
off at 95%.
How the Payback Percentage Affects Your Bottom Line
Casino managers and game designers like to forecast what kind of money a
specific game will make them over time.
As luck would have it, the math for this is easy enough that even someone
like me (and you) can understands it.
You simply multiply the average bet size by the number of bets per hour to
get the amount of action the game sees per hour.
You multiply that number by the house edge to get the amount the casino
expects to win (and you expect to lose) per hour.
An average Jacks or Better player probably gets in 600 hands per hour. (It’s
a fast-paced game.)
Let’s assume you’re playing a dollar machine at max coin, so you’re putting
$5 into action per hand.
This means you’re putting $3000 per hour into action.
Best Video Poker Pay Tables
On a full-pay (9/6) game, you’re expected to lose 0.46% X $3000, or $13.80.
That’s not bad for an hour of entertainment at a casino.
Deduct the cost of a couple of free premium liquor drinks from the cocktail
waitress, and you’re playing a close to even money game.
But how much can you expect to lose per hour on the 8/5 game?
Video Poker Pay Tables Charts
The house edge for this pay table is 2.7%, which means you’re expected to
lose $81 per hour.
That’s a huge difference in your bottom line.
Play the 6/5 game, and you’re expected to lose $150 per hour.
And that’s still a better deal than most slot machines.
You can find pay tables for individual video poker games on the game guides
page on this site. We also offer specific strategy advice to help you get close
to the expected return for those games.
If something about our explanation of these concepts (pay tables, payback
percentages, and payouts) wasn’t clear, please contact us and let us know so
that we can update this page accordingly.