Video Poker, Determine Payout

The next secret to success at video poker is to determine what the overall payback of any machine is. This is a mathematical computation that involves the payoffs in relationship to the number of times a hand can be made and is best left to the strategists. Let's look at the payoff schedule for a Jacks or Better 8/5 machine. (Note: This machine returns your money for a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces and pays 8 coins for a Full House, five for a Flush). In this game, you can expect a 97.3 payback but it is the least complicated game to learn to play properly and is the starting point for all serious video poker players.

Hand Payoff (1 coin) Royal Flush 250 Straight Flush 50 Four of a Kind 25 Full House 8 Flush 5 Straight 4 3 of a Kind 3 2 pair 2 Jacks 1

Now let's look at the full-pay (5/3) Deuces Wild machine (where full pay means five coins for one when you hit any four of a Kind and the three refers to payback on a full house).

Hand Payoff (1 coin) Royal Flush 250 4 Deuces 200 Wild Royal (Includes a deuce) 25 5 of a Kind 15 Straight Flush 9 4 of a Kind 5 Full House 3 Flush 2 Straight 2 3 of a Kind 1

Based on the pay schedule, this machine can return just slightly over 100 percent to the players. Now let's contrast this to a Deuces Wild game that pays 4 when you hit four of a Kind.

Hand Payoff (1 coin) Royal Flush 250 4 deuces 200 Wild royal (includes a deuce) 25 5 of a Kind 15 Straight Flush 9 4 of a Kind 4 Full House 3 Flush 2 Straight 2 3 of-a-kind 1

The return on this payback schedule, with perfect play, is less than 95 percent. Taking away that single coin from the four of a Kind alters the jackpot significantly.


What does all this mean to you? If you are going to play video poker in the long term, it means you should find the machines with the best potential payback and then learn the best strategy for that machine. Your money will last longer, giving you more opportunity to hit the higher payouts, and on the other hand, it means the same as any other concept in gambling. If you are in the right place at the right time, you could play one hand, end up with four deuces or a royal Flush, and be ahead of the game.


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