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Video Poker Hand Randings

Hand Rankings in Video Poker
It is a fundamental principle of gambling that the lower the probability of achieving the outcome the greater will be the payout. The same applies to video poker, which follows the hand rankings of poker. The higher the ranking the hand has, the less is the likelihood of getting it and the higher is the payout received for it. Though the payouts for the hands vary from game to game and even for the same game on different machines the order of the hand ranking remains essentially unchanged.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is the most widespread video poker game and the hand rankings are being first discussed with reference to this game. Variations will be elaborated upon later. The lowest hand ranking in poker is the “highest card”. This implies that there is no higher ranking possible and that the rank of the highest card determines the rank of the hand. The next higher ranking is a “pair” such as 2 tens or two fives. In Jacks or Better there is no payout for “highest card” or “pair” of ten or less. Hence the pay table begins with a pair of jacks. This ranking is known as “jacks or better” and gives the game its name. The complete hand rankings from the lowest to the highest are given below.

 Jacks or better: A pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces. All these pairs will have the same payout in any game of video poker.

 Two pairs: Two sets of two cards of the same rank, such as JS, JH, 5H, 5C, X (where X is the fifth card, which is inconsequential)

 Three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank, such as 9H, 9S, 9D, X, Y.

 Straight: Five cards in running sequence with all the cards not being of the same suit, such as 4C, 5H, 6H, 7D, 8C.

 Flush: All five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence, such as 3H, 6H, 7H, JH, KH.

 Full House: Three cards of the same rank and the remaining two cards of the same rank, such as JH, JS, JD, 5H, 5C.

 Four of a kind: Four cards of the same rank, such as 9H, 9S, 9D, 9C, Y.

 Straight flush: All five cards of the same suit in running sequence, 4C, 5C, 6C, 7C, 8C.

 Royal flush: This is a special case of straight flush, being the ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit.

Variation in Lowest Ranking Hand

In certain video poker games there are jokers and wild cards that increase the chances of getting a higher-ranking hand. Hence the payout table does not begin with “jacks or better” but with a higher-ranking hand.
Jokers Wild is played with a 54-card deck containing two jokers. The lowest winning hand is “kings or better”, which is a pair of kings or a pair of aces.

Deuces Wild has the deuces functioning as wild cards. The lowest winning hand is “three of a kind”.


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