Video Poker Strategy To Win At Online Casinos in Canada

Quintin van Wyk by Quintin van Wyk Reading time: 12min

For people who enjoy video poker online, it's no secret that there's a lot of strategy that can be involved with quite a bit of depth. This is why so many Canadian casino fans who play titles in this genre put time and effort into developing the best real money video poker strategies that they can. The depth of the game on this level is the main reason so many people love the genre, and with a chance to go head to head against the house instead of needing other players, it's convenient as well.

video poker strategy

Video Poker Basic Strategy for Real Money Casinos

Knowing the general ideas and basic fundamentals behind video poker casino strategy is where everyone should start. With that said, some players try to jump straight into the more complicated and advanced end of things without an understanding of these basics, and it typically turns out bad. To make sure that you're able to start off on the right foot, we have a quick Online Casinos Canada list of the things to start with here in what follows.

  • Set Your Budget First - Make sure that you start off by deciding on your budget and sticking to it. This allows you to pick your preferred bet size in the beginning, which makes things a lot easier.
  • Pick a Valuable Bonus - A big part of video poker basic strategy is realizing that where you choose to play should largely be centered around the bonuses and promotions that you can earn while you get in on the action.
  • Double Check the Rules - Some variations in this genre have some atypical rules that can throw you off if you're not familiar with them. Double checking the rules ahead of time can help you to avoid this type of issue.
  • Use an Online Video Poker Strategy Card - These charts are completely legal to use and help you to quickly spot exactly how to play most types of hands that you will be dealt in your sessions.
  • Choose Titles With Better Odds - This can mean picking actual games with better RTP ratings, but it can also mean picking a more favorable pay table for a title that you were already interested in.

Video Poker Basic Strategy Chart

A winning video poker strategy chart gives you an overview of how to play each major type of situation that you can run into. In most cases, it's read from top to bottom, and you'll read until you hit the first description of a hand that matches your cards. From there, you're given a guide on how to play that particular situation. In what follows, we'll give you a good starting point along these lines that can be used for most non-wild styles.

Hand Dealt Keep Cards Replace Cards Royal Flush 5 0 Straight Flush 5 0 Four of a Kind 5 0 Full House 5 0 Four to a Royal 4 1 Flush 5 0 Three of a Kind 3 2 Straight 5 0 Four to a Straight Flush 4 1 Two Pair 4 1 High Pair 2 3 Three to a Royal 3 2 Four to a Flush 4 1 Low Pair 2 3 Four to a Straight 4 1
winning at video poker

How to Win Video Poker Strategy

No matter if you're new to the game or have been playing for quite a while, getting on top of everything that goes into real money online video poker casino strategy can seem a bit intimidating in some cases. That's simply because there's so much that can go into it. To help you learn how to put it all together, we want to walk you through the steps one by one in the best order that you can learn them in. If you follow this approach, you'll be able to bring everything together the way you want quicker and easier.

1. Choose the Right Game

Game selection is a huge part of your overall strategy for video poker. Simply put, if you choose the wrong game, then you can start off with such a large house advantage that it's almost impossible to recover from. Fortunately for players, the maximum potential RTP (return to player percentage) is listed for Canadian players for virtually all major titles in the genre.

This makes it easy to look up the payout rate and house edge, assuming correct play, for any title you might want to enjoy. As a general rule, playing with an RTP of lower than 98% is typically a bad idea. However, you may choose a game with a slightly lower RTP than others simply because you like it or because you find the strategic ideas behind it easier to follow. A good example of this is players who prefer to avoid high-paying Deuces Wild titles because they're some of the most difficult to play correctly a high percentage of the time.

2. Understand the Payout Table

The game itself isn't the only thing that you need to examine. Each individual title can have multiple pay tables as well. It's difficult to learn how to win at video poker without knowing how to check out the potential payout rates of various pay tables within the same game. In most cases, individual tables are described based on a combination of their full house and flush payouts. This makes it much easier to find the RTP for individual pay tables.

For example, 9/6 Jacks or Better will have a 9x win for a full house and a 6x win for a flush and a 99.54% RTP. If you drop that down to 8/5, which is still a standard Jacks or Better pay table format, then your RTP falls all the way down to 97.25%. It can be very exciting to open a game up and to want to jump right into playing, but paying attention to these details can be the difference between winning and losing.

3. Reduce the House Edge

Overall, your main goal when learning how to beat video poker machines is to keep the house advantage as low as possible. Simultaneously, this means keeping your payout rate as high as you can while also taking advantage of bonuses and promotions as much as possible. This is really the key point of any solid video poker strategy guide because every individual thing you do is about incrementally dropping the edge that the house has in a game. If you make all of your decisions through the lens of that idea, then you can't go wrong very often.

Both picking your game and picking your pay table are examples of this approach. However, you also need to play with five coins in most titles to keep the house edge as low as possible, even if you have to lower the size of those individual coins to do so. This is because five coins gets you the 4,000x royal payout in many titles, which translates to 800x per coin. If you play for four or fewer, you're only getting the equivalent of a 250x payout, and the house edge for the game will increase substantially. Take a look at our rules for playing video poker to learn more about the game before playing for real money in 2024.

4. Play the Winning Hand

Every single time you're dealt your five cards, you have 32 different ways to play your discards (including standing pat). Of those 32 ways, you need to be able to pick out one of the top options when picking which cards to keep and which to throw away. This is where things like video poker strategy cards can come in handy, but you have to make sure that the chart you're using is appropriate for the title you're playing. A Deuces Wild video poker strategy card won't do you much good if you're playing Jacks or Better, for example.

To be able to use these charts effectively, not only should you make sure that they fit the game you're playing, but you need to practice with them ahead of time. This is where using the play money games to practice can be extremely helpful. It's also a good reminder that the demo versions can be a critical part of preparation in your overall real money online casino video poker strategy when they are used properly. Getting used to reading the charts is a good use for these free play versions, and they can make you much more comfortable when playing for real.

5. Be Patient - Video Poker Strategy Wins Over Time

Patience is probably the part of the game that gets ignored the most overall. It's all about making sure that you take your time with each individual hand and know what you have instead of just quickly pressing through to get to the next turn. Along these lines, it's critical to know all of the five-card poker hands that you can have in this game, and we'll show you what they are in what follows.

  1. High Card - None of the following hands down below (eg: QT832, not in matching suits)
  2. One Pair - Two cards of the same rank (eg: KK532)
  3. Two Pair - Two sets of two cards of identical rank (eg: 99884)
  4. Three of a Kind - Three cards that all have the same rank (eg: AAA62)
  5. Straight - Five cards in consecutive ranks (eg: JT987)
  6. Flush - Five cards of the same suit (eg: AJ872, all hearts)
  7. Full House - Two of one rank, three of another (eg: KK888)
  8. Four of a Kind - Four cards that all hold the same rank (eg: 55552)
  9. Straight Flush - Five cards in consecutive ranks with the same suits (eg: 76543, all spades)
  10. Royal Flush - An ace-high straight flush (eg: AKQJT, all clubs)
popular video poker types

Video Poker Variants and The Strategy Rules to Use

Within the genre, you'll find plenty of variations and styles of play. One main difference can be whether a title has wild cards, and if so, how many wild cards are available. Alternatively, you can see differences in how good of a hand is needed to qualify for a payout and what the overall pay table looks like. Likewise, Jacks or Better video poker strategy will be much different than what's needed for something like Joker Poker. In what follows, we'll show you a few of the more popular variations and some of the strategy rules to use when playing with top video poker bonuses.

  • Jacks or Better Jacks or Better -

    With no wild cards and a balanced style of play, this is the first game that most players should learn. As the name indicates, you'll need at least a single pair of jacks for the lowest available payout, which splits cards into high (jacks and up) or low (tens or lower). However, the highest payout is 800x for a royal flush as long as you're playing with five coins. Playing with fewer than five will effectively make the top prize 250x, which lowers the RTP substantially, so it's critical to always play with five coins per hand.

    Strategy rules to apply include holding your cards if your hand includes three to a royal flush, holdings all four cards if you hand has four to a straight flush, hold if you have three cards to a straight flush, holdings any jacks and cards higher than a jack, and holding any pair of cards.

  • Deuces Wild Deuces Wild -

    The most popular wild card game, all of the "twos" are wild in this title and count as whatever will give you the best possible payout. With so many wilds (over 7.5% of the deck), the average hand you make is better, so you need at least three of a kind to get a 1x prize. Special hands like five of a kind and wild royal flushes (a royal that includes at least one wild) are also found on the pay table. However, the best prize is still a natural royal flush with an 800x prize with no wilds.

    There are some strategy rules based on your hand that you can apply that will help increase your chances of winning. These include holding a pair, holding three cards to a royal flush, keeping any paying hands if you don't have any deuces, hold all four deuces if you are lucky enough to be dealt them, if you are dealt three deuces you should only hold the entire hand if you can make a royal flush or five of a kind.

  • Aces and Faces Aces and Faces -

    In this non-wild card version of casino video poker, everything is based around giving you extra high payouts for four of a kind of any card jack or higher. This game starts with a similar pay table as Jacks or Better but adds in special wins for four of a kind in aces or four of a kind in kings, queens or jacks. As such, high pairs are worth more on the discard since they have an opportunity to make these improved payouts. However, full houses and flushes have their prizes dropped slightly to compensate.

    When playing for real money there are strategies you should use. These include always betting the max amount, holding a pair no matter what value they are, keep four cards that can make a flush, if you can almost make a royal flush you should discard whatever cards you need to and try to get the royal flush, and always hold a winning hand unless you can make a royal flush.

  • Double Bonus Double Bonus -

    Special wins are applied for four of a kind of twos through fours, and Double Bonus video poker strategy is slightly more complicated as a result. This is another title based largely on Jacks or Better, but this time it's the low cards 2-4 along with aces that get bonus payouts. This affects your strategies a bit because low pairs like 22, 33 and 44 that would otherwise not be worth a lot can suddenly land you payouts of around 80x depending on the software provider. These additional bonus payouts have made this one of the most popular styles among Canadian players.

    The strategy rules to use in this video poker variant include keeping a pair even if they are low value, holding single high value cards, discard a hand that doesn't contain any pairs, keep any three cards that can make a flush, and keep any four cards that can make a flush.

Best Online Casinos in Canada to Play at in 2024

We have a number of recommendations for where Canadians should play and learn how to play video poker properly. Our full ratings and reviews for all of these names have shown just how great they are for players, particularly in this genre.

  1. 1 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1600
  2. 2 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $250
  3. 3 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $150
  4. 4 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1200
  5. 5 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $475
  6. 6 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $750
  7. 7 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1000
  8. 8 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $480
  9. 9 Sign-Up Offer 400% Match Bonus Up To $4
  10. 10 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1500
  11. Load More

Get Started with a Free No Deposit Bonus

Sometimes, you can start off playing with a no deposit bonus. This gives you a free chip (or set of free spins) to start with no risk that can actually lead to real money wins. You start by clearing the wagering requirements, and if that happens within the rules, you can actually cash out your winnings. With that said, they often do not allow video poker play right away, but you can use them to build a starting bankroll that you can then use for whatever you want after you cash out.

deposit bonuses for video poker

Don't Want a Free Bonus? Try a Low Deposit Real Money Casino

Getting in on the action for smaller amounts is also a very viable strategy. Different sites that we have recommended offer the ability to get started at different minimum deposit levels. They all have great bonus opportunities no matter how little you want to play for, but some of them on the lower end of the scale are not viable for video poker simply because the games aren't typically allowed. However, here we'll break down what you need to know in the following and show you how to get started regardless.

  • $1 Minimum Deposit $1 Minimum Deposit :

    We have full reviews of many different $1 minimum deposit casinos available to Canadian players. Despite being great deals, virtually all of them only allow slots for taking advantage of their offers at this level.

  • $5 Min Deposit Bonus $5 Min Deposit Bonus :

    Some of the $5 min deposit sites we have reviewed allow for play at virtually any games you want while many still only allow slots. However, in either case, the terms and conditions tend to be a bit more flexible.

  • $10 Minimum Deposit $10 Minimum Deposit :

    For sites that operate at the $10 minimum deposit level, you can usually find options to play any title that you want without much trouble. This is the preferred minimum amount for most video poker fans, and you get a lot of super valuable bonuses to take advantage of.

Practise Your Video Poker Strategy For Free

A great way to get started practicing and learning video poker odds is by playing no download titles that require no registration or deposit. We have a collection of free video poker games that are an awesome place to start since you can pick and choose which titles you want to work on. It's also an awesome opportunity to decide on which games you seem to like the most and which may not be for you.


  • Where can I get free video poker strategy charts?

    Many free charts are available online for the different games, and some software developers even provide them as well.
  • Which game has the best video poker odds?

    All Aces pays out at 99.92% on average with correct play.
  • Can I practise my video poker strategies at online casinos for free?

    Yes, free play and demo versions are always available.
  • Can I play video poker online for free on my mobile?

    Yes, the free versions of these games can be played on Android and iOS.
  • Have there been any big Canadian winners in this game?

    Many Canadian players take down sizable payouts every month in this genre.
  • Can I play for a progressive jackpot?

    Progressive versions of Jacks or Better are particularly popular.
  • Does a video poker strategy guarantee a win?

    No, but it does maximize your chances to come out ahead.
  • What's the best bonus to use to play this game for real money?

    We like the bonus from Jackpot City that offers up to $1600 after four deposits.
  • How to beat video poker machines every time?

    No proven method exists to win every single time, but you can boost your overall odds with correct tactics and approaches.
  • Is there a video poker tournaments strategy for winning?

    Yes, video poker tournaments techniques for winning include ideas like adjusting your bet size to coast when you're ahead.
About the Author
 Quintin van Wyk
Quintin van Wyk - Lead Editor

Quintin is a strategic wordsmith and avid gambling enthusiast who has been editing and writing content for the iGaming industry for over 10 years. With the gaming industry constantly expanding and evolving, he is ready to guide both newcomers and experienced players with comprehensive news articles, unbiased casino reviews and informative how-to guides you can trust.