An Expert Guide to Video Poker

Our complete video poker guide covers all the relevant information you should know before you start playing at any South African online casino

Since its first appearance in casinos back in 1976, video poker has evolved to become one of the most popular casino games. This game attracts many players because it offers high odds and the chance to use a strategy. Even though video poker has a relatively low house edge, it provides gamblers with the opportunity to win big jackpots. Many players love video poker because of the simple rules that don’t involve complex thinking. What’s even more interesting is the fact that this game comes in many variations. Thus, you don’t have to worry about playing the same game over and over. 

Still interested in learning about video poker? Keep reading our comprehensive guide to finding out more exciting details.

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What is Video Poker?

The question of when did video poker first appear remains open for debate. However, one name pops up when it comes to the inception of the game, Jonathan Green. He first referred to “poker” back in 1834 when he called it a ‘cheating game.’ Initially, poker was played with 20 cards, before it evolved to 32 and later to 52 cards. In the 80s was first workable Video Poker machine was introduced to the public, and from the start playing draw poker on video poker machines became a real hit, you could find them not only in casinos but also there were special places for video poker machines only. Today, it is one of the most popular games played around the world. You can play hundreds of variations in online casinos, including the original jacks or better versions. What’s exciting is that these games are not only limited to online casinos, but you can play them at land-based venues too.

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How to Play Video Poker

This game has straightforward gameplay. It can be played by new players since there are no complicated rules to follow. This casino game is based on the standard draw poker version; however, you play alone and not against other people. The challenging part is choosing the right version for you. As you may be aware, the objective of video poker is to get the five best hands. Nevertheless, the rules of playing and payouts may vary depending on the variant you are playing. You’ll come across different winning hands, ranging from the Royal Flush to Pairs of Jacks. 

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Video Poker Hand Ranking

Whether you are a new or a pro video poker player, it is vital to understand the hand rankings and possible payouts. The least-paying hand in the game is Two Pairs (2:1), while the highest-paying hand is the Royal Flush. 

  • Royal Flush: It is the most valuable hand in video poker and features A, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same kind. The hand pays up to 250x your bet.
  • Straight Flush: The hand has five-same-suited cards in consecutive order and pays up to 50x your bet.
  • Four of a Kind: The hand has four cards with the same numerical value. It pays 25x your bet amount.
  • Full House: This hand comprises three cards of the game kind and one pair. It pays 5 to 9 times your amount.
  • Flush: There are 5 cards of the same suite in this hand. It pays 5 to 6 times your initial bet amount.
  • Straight: This hand is formed by 5 cards of consecutive ranks. It pays 4 times your bet amount.
  • Three of a Kind: The hand comprises three cards of the same kind. It pays 3 times your bet amount.
  • Two Pair: This hand consists of two cards of the same kind. It pays 2 times your bet amount.
  • Pair of Jacks or Better: This hand has the least payout of 1 times your bet amount.


For beginners, the following are some of the most common terms you will come across while playing video poker games:

Bust: A hand that does not increase after drawing additional cards.

Comps: Refers to the freebies the casino rewards players or high rollers.

Deuce: Poker card hands of the same value.

Drawing Hand: A poker hand that requires improvement to get better payouts.

Full Pay: The best payout you can get in a poker game.

Hold: Cards that you keep in your hand while playing.

Odds: The probability you have of winning a hand in poker.

Draw: To replace cards in a game.

Credits: The money set aside for betting in this game.

Action: The total amount you have wagered in a game.

Cycle: The number of hands that are needed for video poker to pay out a jackpot.

Cashback: The portion given to the player for using their player card.

Deuce: A card displaying only the number 2.

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Video Poker Variations

Leading South African online casinos to offer different variations of video poker games. These games are unique as they are from various software developers. Here are some of the most prevalent variations you may check out:

Jacks or Better

This is the first version to be released, back in the ’70s. It has an RTP of 96.54%, and the highest payout is 4000 coins.

Joker Poker

This game is played with a set of 53 cards with Joker as the extra card. The RTP of this game can increase up to 98.5%, depending on the table you are using.

Tens or Better

This version has close similarities with Jacks or Better. The difference between them is that it uses a pair of tens as the least-paying hand.

Aces and Eights

The game is played with a single deck of cards and can pay out up to 400 coins. It is a very easy and exciting game for both newbies and veterans.

Deuces Wild

This is one of the most popular variants of video poker. It’s the favorite of many South African players because it offers a payout of more than 100%.

Double Bonus Poker

This is among the most profitable games. You can play this variation as full pay or short pay. The RTP for this variant is 100.17%.

Play on Mobile

Mobile casino gaming has become very popular in South Africa over the past couple of years. Many developers employ modern cutting-edge technology like HTML5 to create cross-compatible games. You can choose to play your favorite video poker variations on the go or from the comfort of your home. The games are compatible with major mobile devices like Android, iOS, and Windows.

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Real Money vs. Free Play Video Poker

Like playing any other casino game, you get different benefits when you play real money and free video poker games. Some of them  include:

Real Money

  • Players keep what they win.
  • Real money games offer huge payouts to players.
  • Players can apply different strategies to increase their chances of winning.
  • Players can choose from different variations.
  • There are big bonuses and promotions.

Free Play

  • Players can not claim bonuses.
  • There is no real money involved.

Tips and Strategies

Looking for tips and strategies to boost your chances of winning? Here are some you can use on any variation:

First of all, always bet the maximum number of coins. Also, practice games in free mode before you play for real money and check the payout schedules and pay tables. Take into account that it’s not convenient to gamble when you are drunk. To boost your winnings, bankroll management skills and always play within your means. Moreover, It’s recommended to play a ‘Full Play’ video poker game.

How to Choose a Good Video Poker Casino

Many factors are to be considered when choosing a good video poker casino in South Africa. These factors include:

License and Regulation: A good casino should be licensed and regulated by a recognized authority.

Security and Safety: The casino site should be protected using the latest security systems like SSL encryption. 

Bonuses and Promotions: The casino should offer big bonuses to new players and promotions to loyal members.

Deposit and Withdrawal Options: There should be local and international payment options, including cryptocurrencies.

Games and Developers: The casino site should support a range of games from world-class software developers.

Support and Languages: The site should provide a multilingual support service 24/7.

Video Poker vs. Slot Machines

These are the main differences between video poker and slot machine games:

Players can use strategies when playing this game but not in slot machine games. Also, online slots have relatively bigger jackpots than video poker. Even though slot games are more fun to play than video poker, players can easily figure out the payout of the game. Moreover, players enjoy long-term profits in video poker compared to slot machine games.


Conclusively, video poker is a fun-filled game that is offered by top online casinos in South Africa. It comes in many variations and offers lucrative payouts to customers. The information we have provided should help you learn and start playing your favorite variants without a problem. But don’t forget to always play responsibly.


Sure, the rules of playing video poker are the same both in online and brick-and-mortar casinos

Yes, video poker is available in both free mode and real money versions.

Yes, you can play any video poker game on Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices

Royal Flush is the best paying hand in video poker

Jacks or Better was the first video poker game to be released in 1976

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