Video poker games are unlike slot machines because players are able to determine the games return by using information on the pay table.

The pay tables detail how much is paid for each winning hand. By knowing the odds for each winning hand and the amount paid for that winning hand, returns can be calculated.

This article explores the odds of hitting winning hands on some of the more popular video poker games.

Table of Contents

1. How odds are determined

Odds are stated as x-in-y hands where x is usually 1 and y is the number of hands, on average, that the hand will occur. It is a complex process that includes both the originally dealt hand and the cards held and discarded from those hands.

2. Odds change based on playing strategy

Playing strategy is developed by holding the cards, if any, that produce the highest average return. A strategy that favors drawing for a specific hand will increase the odds of that hand appearing.

3. Odds change based on the pay table

Since the strategy is based on highest return, pay tables affect strategy. For example, a pay table that pays more for a flush will have a strategy that tends to favor drawing for a flush. Because of this, flushes will have better odds of appearing with this pay table.

 

vp odds

 
 

4. Sample games and odds 

Let’s look at some different games first. The odds shown are based on playing the strategy that produces the highest average return.

Jacks or Better
Hand Pays (per credit) Odds: 1-in-
Royal Flush 800 40390
Straight Flush 50 9149
4-of-a-kind  25 423
Full House 9 87
Flush 6 91
Straight 4 89
3-of-a-kind 3 13
Two Pair  2 7.7
Pair of Jacks or Better  1 4.6
Not a winner 0 1.8

Note that higher odds numbers mean lower odds of happening. For example, in the above game of Jacks or Better, there is a 1 in 40,390 chance of getting a royal flush – on average.

Double Bonus Poker
Hand Pays (per credit) Odds: 1-in-
Royal Flush 800 48,048
Straight Flush 50 8,841
4 Aces 160 5,030
4 2’s, 3’s or 4’s 80 1,908
4 5’s thru Kings 50 622
Full House 10 89
Flush 7 67
Straight  5 67
3-of-a-kind 3 14
Two Pair 1 8.0
Pair of Jacks or Better 1 5.2
Not a winner 0 1.8

In this Double Bonus Poker game, the odds of getting a royal flush drop to one in 48,048 hands.

Double-Double Bonus Poker
Hand Pays (per credit) Odds: 1-in-
Royal Flush 800 40,799
Straight Flush 50 9,123
4 Aces w 2, 3, or 4 400 16,236
4 2-4 w a, 2, 3, or 4 160 6,983
4 Aces 160 5,030
4 2’s, 3’s or 4’s 80 1,908
4 5’s thru Kings 50 622
Full House 9 89
Flush 6 67
Straight 4 67
3-of-a-kind 3 14
Two Pair 7 8.0
Pair of Jacks or Better 1 5.2
Not a winner 0 1.8

A couple of highlights from the above tables:

  • Odds for hitting a royal flush vary from 1-in-40,390 to 1-in-48,048.
  • Odds for hitting a straight flush vary from 1-in-8,841 to 1-in-9,148.

The game can, indeed, make a difference in the odds.

Video Poker

 
 

5. Odds for the same game and different pay tables 

Now let’s look at how different pay tables can change the odds. The full-pay (10/7) and the short-pay (9/6) Double Bonus poker odds are shown below. 

Double Bonus Poker (10/7)
Hand Pays (per credit) Odds: 1-in-
Royal Flush 800 48,048
Straight Flush 50 8,841
4 Aces 160 5,030
4 2’s, 3’s or 4’s 80 1,908
4 5’s thru Kings 50 622
Full House 10 89
Flush 7 67
Straight  5 67
3-of-a-kind 3 14
Two Pair 1 8.0
Pair of Jacks or Better 1 5.2
Not a winner 0 1.8

 

Double Bonus Poker (9/6)
Hand Pays (per credit) Odds: 1-in-
Royal Flush 800 40,864
Straight Flush 50 9,205
4 Aces 160 4,462
4 2’s, 3’s or 4’s 80 1,906
4 5’s thru Kings 50 617
Full House 9 93
Flush 6 90
Straight  5 64
3-of-a-kind 3 13
Two Pair 1 8.3
Pair of Jacks or Better 1 4.7
Not a winner 0 1.8

The major differences between the 10/7 and 9/6 tables are:

  • A royal flush is about 17.6 percent more likely in the 9/6 version (1-in-48,048 vs. 1-in-40,864).
  • A straight flush is about 12.7 percent more likely in the 9/6 version (1-in-5,030 vs. 1-in-4,462).
  • A flush is about 34 percent less likely in the 9/6 version (1-in-67 vs. 1-in-90).

As the information above clearly shows, the pay table can make a significant difference in the odds for certain hands appearing.

6. How to determine odds for other games and pay tables

This article shows only a few examples. Information for other games and pay tables can be determined by using a piece of video poker strategy software or app. Google “video poker strategy software” to get a listing of software and apps that are available.

Summary

  • The odds for hitting video poker hands are determined by both the originally dealt hand and the cards held and discarded from that hand.
  • Odds are calculated based on playing strategy.
  • Since playing strategy changes based on game and pay table, pay tables affect the odds.
  • The odds of hitting paying hands for any video poker game and pay table can be found using video poker strategy software or apps that can be found on the internet
     
About the Author
By

Jerry “Stickman” has been involved in casino gambling for nearly 30 years. He is an expert in blackjack, craps, video poker and advantage slot machine play. He started playing blackjack in the late ‘80s, learned several card counting systems and used these skills to become an advantage blackjack player and overall winner of this game. He also acquired the skills necessary to become an overall winner in the game of craps, accomplishing this by a combination of throwing skill and proper betting techniques. Stich is also an overall winner playing video poker.