Video poker players draw more four-of-a-kind hands with Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces than with 10s or lowers. That works to player advantage in Aces and Faces, a new game growing in popularity in online casinos.

The game is a close cousin to Bonus Poker and sometimes is called Bonus Aces and Faces. It's not one of the more common games in live casinos, but is finding a niche among online players.

Like Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better, it pays 2-for-1 on two pairs compared with the 1-for-1 on most other non-wild card video poker games such Bonus Poker Deluxe or Double Double Bonus Poker. If you bet five coins in Aces and Faces and get two pairs, you get 10 coins. In Double Double Bonus, you just get your five coins back.

Also like Bonus Poker, most four of a kinds pay 25-for-1, or 125 for a five-coin bet, but there are four sets of premium quads. In both Aces and Faces, you get 80-for-1, or 400-for-5, when you have four Aces.

But in Bonus Poker, the other premium hands are four 2s, 3s and 4s. Draw any of those quads, and you're paid 40-for-1, or 200 coins for a five-coin bet. In Aces and Faces, that 40-for-1 payback comes on four Jacks, Queens or Kings instead.

That makes a difference in the overall payback percentage of the game. In 8-5 versions, in which full houses pay 8-for-1 and flushes 5-for-1, Bonus Poker pays 99.17 percent with optimal strategy. In Aces and Faces, the return steps up to 99.26 percent.

The Pay Table

Three pay tables have been spotted in play for Aces and Faces. They vary only in their return on full houses. The highest-paying version pays 8-for-1 on full houses, while others pay 7-for-1 or 6-for-1.

Let's look at the 8-5 pay table in detail.

8-5 Aces & Faces


Pay for 1-coin bet Pay for 2-coin bet Pay for 3-coin bet Pay for 4-coin bet Pay for 5-coin bet

Royal flush

250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four Aces 80 160 240 320 400
Four Jacks, Queens or Kings


80 120 160 200
Four 10s or lower 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 8 16 24 32 40
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Pair of Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

With that pay table, Aces and Faces pays 99.26 percent with optimal video poker strategy. If full house pays are reduced to 7-for-1, the return is reduced to 98.10 percent, while with 6-for-1 payoffs, the return is 96.96 percent.

As in most video poker games, there is an incentive to bet five coins built into the pay table. Royal flushes pay 250 coins for a one-coin bet, and nudge up another 250 for each coin wagered up to four. But when you bet the fifth coin, the royal takes a giant leap by an extra 3,000 coins, from a four-coin wager return of 1,000 to a 4,000-coin jackpot.

Because of that, your average return is highest when you bet five coins.

Frequency of Winning Hands

The most common paying hands in Aces and Faces are pairs of Jacks or better,  just as in all video poker games that start the pay table at a pair of Jacks.

But the biggest share of the return comes from two pairs. That 2-1 payoff makes a huge difference in Aces and Faces, Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better, and makes those games less volatile than other video poker games.

With optimal strategy, players average a pair of Jacks or better once every 4.6 hands, compared to once per 7.7 for two pairs, 13.4 for three of a kind, 89.2 for straights, 92.1 for flushes, 86.6 for full houses, 632.8 for four 2s through 10s,  1,703.7 for four Jacks, Queens or Kings, 5,106.1 for four Aces, 9,433.2 for straight flushes and 40,249.3 for royals.

Two pairs account for 25.9 percent of total payback, with 22.3 from three of a kind, 21.5 from Jacks or better, 9.21 from full houses, 5.4 from flushes, 4.5 from straights, 3.95 from four 2s through 10s, 2.4 from face-card quads, 1.99 from royal flushes, 1.6 from four Aces and 0.5 from straight flushes.

Video poker strategy

Bonus Poker Comparison

In Bonus Poker, where the 40-for-1 payback is on four 2s, 3s or 4s instead of Jacks, Queens or Kings,  those quads pop up an average of once per 1,896.2 hands. That's less often than the once per 1,703.7 for four Jacks, Queens or Kings in Aces and Faces.

There's nothing in programming that would make face cards come up more often than low cards. The difference in quad frequency is entirely because of player strategy.

Dealt a hand such as 4 of hearts, 5 of diamonds, 8 of clubs, 10 of spades and Jack of diamonds? The best strategy would be to hold the Jack of spades and discard the other four.  There are many possible winners, but key is that you could easily pair up the Jack for a high-pair win. With 178,365 possible draws, 44 result in four Jacks as well as one each with four Queens or four Kings.

Dealt the same hand with a 2 of diamonds instead of the Jack, there would be nothing to pair up for an instant win, so optimal strategy is to discard all five cards. With a full redraw, the number of possible draws soars to 1,533,939, with only 43 of them being four 2s, 3s or 4s. 

You get the 40-for-1 bonus pay on these hands once per 3,877.5 draws with the Jack, but only once per 34,862.2 complete redraws,

Other scenarios contribute, but strategies on such hands lead to drawing the bonus quads more often in Aces and Faces than in Bonus Poker.

Strategy Tips

Compared to the basic game of Jacks or Better, with its 25-for-1 payoffs on all four of a kinds, Aces and Faces pays more on quads. However, the difference isn't large enough to drive strategy changes as it does in games such as Double Double Bonus Poker.

Nothing in the Aces and Faces pay table requires extreme strategies. Optimal strategy for 8-5 or 7-5 Aces and Faces is the same as that for 8-5 or 7-5 Jacks or Better or Bonus Poker.

Here are some basic video poker tips on Aces and Faces strategy:

  • We don’t do anything special to chase the bonus four of a kinds in Aces and Faces. The bonus payoffs aren’t large enough to start holding Aces in preference to other high cards or to break up two pairs or full houses.
  • Flushes pay 5-for-1 on all versions of Aces and Faces. That means we don’t chase straight flushes or flushes as often as we do on 9-6 Jacks or Better, or on any video poker game where flushes pay 6-for-1 or higher.
  • Low pairs are more valuable than four-card straights, but not as valuable as four-card flushes. They are more valuable than individual high cards or multiple high cards of different suits. So dealt a hand such as 6 of diamonds, 6 of hearts, 8 of spades, 10 of clubs, King of hearts, the best play would be to hold the two 6s. 

Keep in mind that even with a 99.26 percent return on the 8-5 pay table, Aces and Faces gives an edge to the house.  When the big-paying hands come, you can have winning sessions either in live play or at an online casino, but sometimes the big winners don't happen.

Still, Aces and Faces is a low-volatility game that can give you a good run for your money. Good luck, and have fun!

For nearly 25 years, John Grochowski has been one of the most prolific gaming writers in the United States. He’s been ranked ninth by GamblingSites among the top 11 gambling experts at Gambling Sites and his Video Poker Answer Book was ranked eighth among the best gambling books of all time.