Video Poker Terms

This page serves as a useful reference for beginners and seasoned players alike, with many definitions of video poker terms that are commonly used while playing the game.

Aces and Eights

Aces and Eights
A video poker variation where four of a kind hands with aces or eights awards the player with 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.

Ace-High

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

Aces Full

If you hold a full house with three aces and another pair.

Action

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

Boat

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

Bonus Poker

Online Bonus Poker
Certain four of a kind hands are paid out at higher rates in the Bonus Poker video poker variant. The trade-off, however, is that you won’t get paid out as much on lower hands to compensate for these bonus payouts.

Credits

The amount of money you have in a machine is known as credits. This is just another way that casinos try to disassociate that the player is actually wagering real cash.

Coins

 Coins icon
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, then one coin is worth $5 and five coins are worth $25.

Denomination

As outlined above, the denomination of a machine is the value of one coin. On some video poker machines, the player can change the denomination. It’s important to always bet max coins when playing video poker to ensure you’ll be getting the highest payback percentage possible, so ensure you play at a denomination that supports this and your bankroll.

Deuces Wild

Online Deuces Wild
In Deuces Wild video poker, a deuce is a wild and can be substituted for any other card to make the best possible hand.

Double Bonus Poker

Online Double Bonus Poker
This video poker variation has bonus payouts for certain hands. In double bonus poker, if you manage to get a four of a kind with aces, twos, or threes, you get a high payback.

Double Double Bonus Poker

Online Double Double Bonus Poker
A version of bonus 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.

Draw

The player draws for different cards once only. You can do this by selecting any or all of the initial cards you’re dealt and then hit the draw button to get new cards and establish your final hand. It is this hand that will be compared to the pay table to determine if a win should be awarded.

Face card

Jacks, Queens, and Kings are known as face cards.

Four of a Kind

Four of a kindWhen 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

Full HouseA hand consisting of a three of a kind and a pair is known as a full house. It is sometimes also called a boat. An example of a full house is a player holding three queens and two jacks.

Full Pay Machine

A machine with the highest payback percentage is known as a full pay machine. In jacks or better this would be a machine that has a 9/6 pay table. That is, a full house pays out 9 coins and a flush 6 coins. In deuces wild, a full pay machine can actually pay back over 100% when the optimal strategy is used.

Hand

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

Hold

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 a player to choose the particular cards they wish to hold.

House Edge

House Edge iconAny casino game will have a house edge that gives the casino operator a percentage edge which will mean they will always win in the long run. Some video poker games do pay back over 100%, meaning there isn’t a house edge, but casinos rely on players making mistakes to push that back down below 100. Of all casino games, video poker is one of the best for players when it comes to the house edge.

Inside Straight

A straight is a hand which has five cards in order. Aces can be used as high or low, meaning a straight could be either ace, 2, 3, 4,5 or 10, jack, queen, king, ace. An inside straight occurs when a player has four cards to a straight and the missing card is one of the middle ones. Meaning there are only four outs in the deck that will complete the hand for a straight. The odds of hitting an inside straight are quite low and in most forms of poker, it isn’t worth going for.

Jacks or Better

Online Jacks or BetterOne of the most popular game types in video poker is Jacks or Better. It’s the simplest 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. From there it increases up to a royal flush being the best possible hand with the highest payout. The best pay table for jacks or better is a 9/6 pay table, with a full house paying out 9 coins for a 1-coin bet and a flush paying out 6.

Joker

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. Joker poker is a jacks or better style video poker game that includes a joker. It’s sometimes also referred to as jokers wild.

Kickers

When a player holds a particular made hand in video poker, that is a hand that pays out, the remaining cards that aren’t included in the winning combination of cards are known as kickers. In some variations of video poker, the kicker is extremely important as it can increase the payout on certain hands, such as four of a kind hands in double bonus poker. In other games, the kicker will have no value.

Max Bet

Highest iconThe highest amount you can bet on a video poker machine on one hand 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 machines particular denomination.

Min Bet

Lowest iconOn the opposite end of the betting spectrum from a max bet is a min bet. This is the absolute minimum that a machine or game will allow you to wager on a single hand. It’s never a good idea to min bet as the payback percentage will be impacted by the lower payout for hitting a royal flush. You want to always bet the maximum coins in case you hit a royal flush. If this makes a single bet too large for you, then drop down to a lower denomination machine.

Multi-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 and the same bet must be made on every hand. Multi-hand games first deal a player five cards, the player then chooses which cards to hold and these are held for every extra hand. Each hand is then dealt the relevant number of new cards from separate decks.

Odds

In most casino games, odds provide the player with 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

When players make the best possible decisions on which cards to hold and discard based on the odds and best payback percentage, this is known as optimal strategy.

Outside Straight

If a player has four cards in a row and needs a fifth card at either end, this is known as an outside straight. With eight cards left in the deck to make the straight the chances of hitting it is 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.

Paint

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

Pat Hand

When you’re dealt a five card made hand that can’t be improved by drawing more cards, you have a pat hand. This can occur when you flop a flush, straight, straight flush, or royal flush. Depending on the game you’re playing it can also occur when you hit a four of a kind. A pat hand purely means you stand pat with what you have.

Pay Table

Paytable iconOn 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 as opposed to it being on the game interface, like in most real casinos. It’s always a good idea to inspect the pay table before playing to ensure you’re using a machine that has the best possible payback percentage.

Payback Percentage

Payout IconIn the long run, the return that a machine gives back to players is known as the payback percentage. In video poker, the player’s strategy is vitally important in respect to getting the highest possible payback. A payback percentage can be calculated based on the pay table and when the player is using perfect strategy. Obviously terrible play can push a payback percentage way down, so you need to properly learn how to play video poker before starting to bet on a machine.

Perfect Strategy

Betting Strategy iconWhen playing video poker, you’ll make decisions on which cards to hold before drawing. This brings strategy and skill into the game. If you employ the perfect strategy of which cards to hold and which to draw in a given situation, then the payback percentage will be increased as much as possible.

Progressive Video Poker

Progressive slots jackpotLike slot machines, video poker games will sometimes have an associated progressive jackpot. This means that if the top hand is achieved, such as a natural royal flush while betting max coins, then the player will receive a jackpot prize. Quite often there will be progressive jackpots at a bank of video poker machines in a particular area of a casino, such as a bar. On top of this, you can also find progressive video poker jackpots online. These are usually developed by a single software developer and are available in multiple online casinos. The progressive jackpot for these can be huge, however, they usually have an extra component added to the game to win, as opposed to just having to hit a royal flush. This component can sometimes ruin a player’s perfect strategy and significantly decrease the payback percentage.

Quads

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 are programs that are developed to ensure that the results of any type of draw or deal are completely random. This means that every time a card is dealt, every card in the deck has the same probability of coming up. Contrary to popular belief, video poker machines in casinos are not rigged, and the vast majority of games online also are not rigged. They both operate using RNGs to assure the player and the casino that everything is completely random. Like slots, each hand is independent of the hand before it, so a machine can’t be running hot or cold as all the results are random.

Rank

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

Royal Flush

Royal FlushThe ultimate hand and the one that every player is aiming for in video poker is the royal flush. It pays out the most on almost all machines and will result in a very nice win if you manage to beat the 1 in 40,000 odds. You’ll find one variation when it comes to royal flushes in video poker. 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.

Straight

Straight
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

Straight flush
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 that have strategy information on them for certain video poker games. These cards are also available online from various websites. They have basic instructions to follow, 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 be sure to check with them first before using one.

Suited

If a group of cards have the same suit, then the cards are considered suited.

Tens or Better

Tens or Better PokerA video poker variation where the lowest paid hand is a pair of tens. Tens or Better is very similar to jacks or better, except the aforementioned lowest hand, and the fact you will be paid out less because a lesser hand than a pair of jacks will be awarded a win. For a better payout percentage stick with jacks or better.

Three of a Kind

Three of a Kind
When you hold three of a certain ranked card in your five card hand, this is known as having three of a kind.

Two Pair

Two Pair
If you have two Aces and two Tens, or any other combinations of two sets of the same two cards, then you have two pairs.

Wild

In many forms of video poker such as deuces wild and jokers wild, there are wild cards that can be substituted for any card in the deck to allow you to make the best possible winning hand. In deuces wild, all the twos are wild, meaning you have four possible wild cards in the deck. This makes deuces wild a very attractive game, and if you find a full pay machine then it will pay back over 100% when the perfect strategy is followed. In jokers wild, there is one extra card in the deck which is a joker. The joker acts as a wild.

Winning Hand

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

You can consult additional terms related to poker and video poker on PokerNews.