Video Poker Terms

Written by: Webster Lupton , Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist

This page is a helpful reference for beginners and seasoned players alike. You will find many definitions of video poker commonly used while playing the game, plus some standard poker terms and slang.

Video Poker Terms & Definitions

Just like Blackjack, Poker has developed its slang and terminology. Here is some of the most common poker jargon you’ll find at poker tables.

Video Poker Terms A – Z

Jump to the Definitions in Alphabetical Order

Aces and Eights

Aces and Eights is a video poker variation in which four-of-a-kind hands with aces or eights award the player a higher payout. The payout for hitting four sevens is also higher. Aside from the extra payouts on these hands, the game follows the same fundamentals as Jacks or Better.


If the player has no pairs or better card combinations and only holds an ace.

Ante and Raise

The ante is the initial bet a player places down to join the game and must be wagered in every hand. The raise is the option the player has once they have their cards. If they choose not to raise, they lose their ante and are out of the hand. They must match their ante bet to a showdown against the dealer if they raise. The raise is sometimes also referred to as the play.

Ante Bonus

You will get an ante bonus If you’re wagering on the ante and raise bet type and you have a straight, flush, or straight flush.

Aces Full

Aces full is when you hold a full house with three aces and another pair.


Using a particular machine and betting on it is known as action. The amount of action you give also refers to the amount you bet on a specific machine during a session.


Poker players refer to a full house as a boat. It is a poker slang word for holding a three-of-a-kind and a pair in the same five-card hand.


A bankroll is a player’s total money set aside in a casino game. Bankroll management is vital if you’re looking to play long-term and are trying to manage your wins and losses effectively.

Basic Strategy

In many casino games, there’s a basic strategy you can follow to improve your chances of having a winning session by decreasing the house edge as much as possible.

Bonus Poker

Bonus Poker is a video poker variant that pays certain four-of-a-kind hands at higher rates. The trade-off is that you won’t get paid as much on lower hands to compensate for these bonus payouts.


The amount of money you have in a video poker machine is known as credits.


On video poker machines, the pay table is divided by coin payouts, from one through five. The denomination of the machine will determine how much an individual coin is worth. If you play on a $5 machine, one coin is worth $5, and five coins are worth $25.

Coin Denomination

A machine’s denomination is one coin’s value. On some video poker machines, the player can change the denomination.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is a video poker variant where a two is a wild card and can be substituted for any other card to make the best possible hand.

Double Bonus Poker

Double Bonus Poker is a video poker variation with bonus payouts for certain hands. Typically, if you get a four-of-a-kind with aces, twos, or threes, you get a high payback.

Double Double Bonus Poker

Double Double Bonus Poker is a version of video poker where certain four-of-a-kind hands will pay out double if the player gets a particular kicker. These kickers will pay out double on four-of-a-kind hands with aces, twos, threes, and fours.


The player draws for different cards once only. You can do this by selecting any or all of the initial cards you’re dealt with and then hitting the draw button to get new cards and establish your final hand.

Face card

Jacks, Queens, and Kings are face cards.


A whole hand of the same suit is known as a flush.

Four of a Kind

When you have four cards of the same rank, such as four aces, this is known as four of a kind and will result in a nice payout in most video poker games.

Full House

A hand consisting of a three-of-a-kind and a pair is known as a full house. It is sometimes also called a boat.

Full Pay Machine

A full-pay video poker machine has higher than 100% RTP with optimal strategy.


A hand is the five cards that a player holds at any point in time in video poker. The term hand can also refer to a player’s particular combination of cards, such as a flush or full house. It can also refer to the full round from when the bet is first placed to when payouts are determined.

High Card

When a player or dealer fails to make a pair, their hand is ranked according to the highest card they hold. This situation is known as a high card hand. A high card hand is a losing hand in a pair plus game.


Once a player is dealt their initial five cards, they’ll have the option of holding certain cards and discarding others to draw for new ones. The hold button on the machine allows players to choose the cards they wish to keep.

House Edge

The house edge is the amount of money the casino expects to make from any given game based on the rules and odds. Of all casino games, video poker is one of the best for players due to the house edge.

Inside Straight

A straight is a hand that has five cards in sequential order. Aces can be used as high or low, meaning a straight could be either A, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10, J, Q, K, and A. An inside straight occurs when a player has four cards to a straight, and the missing card is one of the middle ones.

Jacks or Better

One of video poker’s most popular game types is Jacks or Better. It’s the most straightforward game to learn and is a great starting point for beginners. In jacks or better, the first hand that is paid is a pair of jacks.


Some decks have 53 cards or more. The extra cards are generally jokers. These jokers act as wilds and can be substituted for any other card in the deck to make a winning hand.


The kickers are the remaining cards that aren’t included in the winning combination of cards when a player holds a particular hand. In some video poker variations, the kicker is extremely important as it can increase the payout.

Max Bet

The highest amount you can bet on a video poker machine is known as the max bet. Many machines will have a max bet button that automatically bets the maximum and deals the hand. A max bet in video poker will be five coins at the rate of the machine’s particular denomination.

Min Bet

The opposite max bet is a min bet. The min bet is the absolute minimum a machine or game will allow you to wager on a single hand.


Most video poker games will also have multi-hand options. These will allow the player to play multiple hands at once. Each extra hand played is completely separate from the initial hand.


In most casino games, odds give the player a percentage chance of what outcomes will occur. The odds can instruct a player on what action to take based on the expected outcome.

Optimal Strategy

Optimal strategy is when players decide which cards to hold and discard based on the odds and best payback percentage.

Outside Straight

An outside straight is when a player has four cards in a row and needs a fifth card at either end. With eight cards left in the deck to make the straight, the chances of hitting it are double that of an inside straight. An example may be when a player has 4, 5, 6, and 7 and needs either a 3 or 8 to complete the straight.


The same as a face card, paint refers to Jacks, Queens, or Kings.


A pair is two cards of the same rank. A pair of aces is the highest possible pair.

Pat Hand

You have a pat hand when you’re dealt a five-card made hand that can’t be improved by drawing more cards.

Pay Table

On all video poker machines, you’ll be able to find a pay table that outlines how much you’ll win when you hit a winning hand. The tables will usually list payouts based on one through five coin bets. Some of our recommended online casinos will sometimes have a separate button that shows you the pay table instead of being on the game interface.

Payback Percentage

The percentage of all money that comes in that a machine gives back to players is its payback percentage.

Perfect Strategy

A perfect strategy is a set of decisions to follow that will give you the highest chances of winning based on each situation. You’ll decide which cards to hold before drawing when playing video poker.

Progressive Video Poker

Like slot machines, video poker games sometimes have an associated progressive jackpot. This means that the player will receive a jackpot prize if the top hand is achieved, such as a natural royal flush while betting max coins.

Often, there will be progressive jackpots at a bank of video poker machines in a particular casino area, such as a bar. On top of this, you can also find progressive video poker jackpots online, developed by a single software developer company, and available in multiple online casinos.


“Quads” is Poker slang for Four of a Kind.

Random Number Generators or RNGs

Many casino games operate by using random number generators to determine particular outcomes. These programs ensure that any draw or deal results are completely random.


The value of a card is referred to as the card’s rank.

Royal Flush

The ultimate hand, which every player aims for in video poker, is the royal flush. It is a suited 10, J, Q, K, and A, which is the highest straight flush you can get. It pays out the most on almost all machines and will result in a nice win if you beat the 1 in 40,000 odds.

You can achieve a natural royal flush by getting the standard five-suited cards, or in some games, you can get a wild royal flush which uses a wild card. This will generally pay out much less than a natural. A wild royal flush is also known as a dirty royal.

Side Bet

The side bet is a separate bet made in conjunction with the main bet in the game. These generally carry a much higher house edge, yet the payouts can be quite large.


A straight is a five-card hand in sequential rank order. An Ace can act as high or low for straights. For example, 10, J, Q, K, A, is a straight, as is A, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Straight Flush

A straight flush is a five-card hand in sequential rank order and all of the same suit. Once again, an Ace can act as low or high.

Strategy Card

Some casino gift shops will sell small cards with strategy information for certain video poker games. These cards are also available online from various websites.

They have basic instructions, usually in priority form, on which cards to hold and which to discard before the draw. Some casinos will frown upon players using these cards, so check with them before using one.


Cards are suited if they have the same suit.

Tens or Better

Tens or better is a video poker variation where the lowest-paid hand is a pair of tens. Tens or Better is very similar to jacks or better.

Three of a Kind

Three-of-a-kind is holding three of a certain ranked card in your five-card hand.

Two Pair

Two pair is when you have any combination of two sets of the same two cards. For example, two Aces and two Tens with a 5 is a two-pair hand. The five would be your kicker.


Wild cards can be substituted for any card in the deck to allow you to make the best possible winning hand.

Winning Hand

A hand awarded a payout based on the pay table is considered a winning hand.

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Webster Lupton

Webster Lupton Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist

Webster Lupton is a journalist and expert sports and casino writer with over 30 years of experience. He is a seasoned researcher and a published author that enjoys the outdoors and birdwatching.

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