Video poker games are some of the most popular casino games worldwide. Loads of poker and slot fans are interested in trying video poker for the first time. Most new players don’t know that there are many popular variants of the game, with most being derived from either Jack or Better or Deuces Wild.
As with most casino games, minor changes to rules impact the odds and payouts you face. Below we take a detailed look at some of the most popular online video poker games and tell you what you need to know about them.
As mentioned above, most real money video poker games are variations of either Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild. These games have fundamental rule differences that affect the odds you face and the payouts for winning hand combinations.
Video poker games usually don’t go from high card to a natural royal flush. Most games remove some combos and add new ones.
The general rule of thumb is that games based on Deuces Wild are easier to win. However, games based on Jacks or Better pay better because the house edge is slightly higher. We will get into why people believe this in our description of both games below.
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better was the first variant of video poker. It launched in 1979 when the first physical video poker machine was created. The game is based on standard five-card draw poker.
It mostly uses standard poker hands, but the lowest hand to qualify for a payout is a pair of jacks, which will earn you a 1 to 1 payout. Any pair lower than a couple of jacks does not reward the player with anything.
Usually, games derived from Jacks or Better only change the card combination that allows for the minimum payout or the card that increases your payout. For example, in Tens or Better, the lowest possible winning pair features a pair of tens. In Double Bonus Poker, you get a bonus for a four-of-a-kind featuring four aces.
However, even within Jacks or Better itself, there are a few variations. Sometimes, game developers will slightly alter the rules to add extra bonuses for certain combinations. (For example, you get a bonus for a four-of-a-kind featuring jacks.)
However, mostly these differences concern paytables. Some games will pay more for combinations, whereas others will pay less. This all comes at the cost of return-to-player percentage.
Here are the payout percentages for some of the most common Jacks or Better variants:
6/5 Jacks or Better
7/5 Jacks or Better
8/5 Jacks or Better
8/6 Jacks or Better
9/5 Jacks or Better
Full Pay 9/6 Jacks or Better
Deuces Wild was the second version of video poker produced. The game differs from Jacks or Better because it uses a wild card. In the original Deuces Wild, the deuces (number two cards) are treated as wilds. Thus, they can be used to complete winning combinations.
This means it is slightly easier to get winning hands, but developers introduced other rules to make the game more balanced. Firstly, the lowest paying hand combination is a three-of-a-kind. This means that neither a pair nor a two pair pays out.
Secondly, winning combinations typically pay less in Deuces Wild because it is slightly easier to win. So, a lucky Deuces Wild games session may end in less profit than a lucky Jacks or Better session even if you win more games.
In Deuces Wild derivatives, usually, the wild card is changed. For example, in some games, the joker is included and becomes the wild. In others, players get to pick the wild at the beginning of the game and complete combinations with that.
Just as with Jacks or Better, there are sub-variations of Deuces Wild featuring different paytables too. Here are some of the payout percentages for some of the more common Deuces Wild variants:
Ugly Deuces Wild
Not So Ugly Deuces Wild
Other Popular Video Poker Games
Here is a list of the most popular derivatives of Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild:
Jacks or Better
As mentioned above, many of these games change the card that increases your payout or the card required for the minimum payout.
Aces and Eights
Tens or Better
Double Double Bonus
Double Double Jackpot
Here are some of the more popular Deuces Wild derivatives. You will notice that not all of the games have the deuces (twos) as wilds:
Bonus Deuces Wild
Deuces Joker Wild
Types of Video Poker Machines
As we alluded to when explaining the differences between Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild games, there are different versions of the same game. In this, we are not saying that Tens or Better is a derivative of Jacks or Better.
Rather we mean that two Jacks or Better games could function differently. Above we explained that some games have bigger payouts than others, but the game you choose to play could also impact how many hands you can play at a time.
There are two main types of video poker machines in this respect: single-play and multi-play. In single-play games, you play a single hand at a time. In multi-play games, you play more than one hand at a time.
Multi-play machines have a wide range. You can find games that will let you play anything from three to 100 hands at a time. When playing these games, you will start with a single hand. When you draw again, your hand will be split in to as many as you selected to play.
The hands will be independent of one another with the card you decided to keep being the same on all the hands.
Which Video Poker Game Should I Play?
You should play video poker games that appeal to you. Firstly, we recommend trying several Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild variations. You can find free video poker games at most gambling sites. Remember to read up on the video poker strategy for each game you play.
After you have done this, consider both options and what you liked and disliked about both games.
Always remember that while one game may payout more often or greater sums than another, it does not mean it is the right game for you. You should be having fun while gambling. So, choose games you enjoy playing the most.