Those who play video poker with any regularity generally have one or two favorite games they play. It may be some of my favorites such as Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, or Double Bonus Poker – games which have a high payback and low variance. Others prefer a bit higher risk, if it gives them a shot at more “jackpot” sized payoffs – such as Double-Double Bonus Poker. Still others – usually those who don’t play very regularly – will try any game they come across and try to get lucky. If you're playing video poker regularly and find yourself getting a little bored with the same low-variance game, you might consider trying Ultimate X Video Poker.

Bored Video Poker player plays Jacks or Better

  • Warning: This game is not for the faint of heart.


Ultimate X Video Poker is a variant of video poker that plays the same as standard video poker when playing one to five credits per line. The real allure of this game, however, comes when the player doubles the max bet from five to 10 credits per line. When this happens, each winning line sets up a multiplier for that line on the next game played.

  • Ultimate X Poker is manufactured by IGT and is available in several of the more popular games types.
  • These include Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Double Bonus Poker, Double-Double Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, and Triple Double Bonus.
  • Ultimate X games are available in 3-play, 5-play and 10-play variations.
  • Most machines offer multiple denominations ranging from five cents through 25 cents.
  • It takes 10 credits per line to activate the Ultimate X feature.
  • This means: 
    • On a nickel 10-line game the total bet per game is five dollars - 10 nickels (50 cents) per line for 10 lines.
    • On a 25-cent game, the full 10-play bet comes to 25 dollars. 


The multipliers for winning hands vary depending on the type of game, pay table, and the number of lines per game. Here is an example of the pay table and multipliers from actual Ultimate X Bonus Poker games. The table below shows the returns for 3-play, 5-play, and 10-play games. The multipliers increase a bit as the number of plays increases. The return for a standard 6/5 Bonus Poker game is 96.87 percent.

Hand Pays 3-Play 5-Play 10-Play
Royal Flush 800 2 2 4
Straight Flush 50 2 2 4
4 Aces 80 2 2 4
4 2s. 3s. 4s 40 2 2 4
4 5s through Ks 25 2 3 3
Full House 6 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 8 8 8
3 of a Kind 3 4 4 4
2 Pairs 2 3 3 3
Jacks or Better 1 2 2 2
Recent Percent   98.12 98.18 98.24

The multipliers increase the return by about 1.5 percent making a miserable return for a standard 6/5 Bonus Poker game a merely not so good return in Ultimate X. Keep in mind that better pay tables are available – they just might be a bit difficult to ferret out.

Most Ultimate X pay tables are configured at less than “full-pay” levels (as in the example above). The multipliers raise the returns. Several examples for video poker games are shown below.

Jacks or Better
Pay Table Standard Ult-X 3-Play Ult-X 5-Play Ult-X 10-Play
8/6 98.5% 99.29% 99.4% 99.42%
8/5 97.40% 97.87%


7/5 95.25% 96.72% 96.81% 96.82%


Bonus Poker
Pay Table Standard Ult-X 3-Play Ult-X 5-Play Ult-X 10-Play
7/5 98.01% 99.28% 99.34% 99.4%
6/5 96.86% 98.12%




Double Bonus Poker
Pay Table Standard Ult-X 3-Play Ult-X 5-Play Ult-X 10-Play
9/6/5 97.8% 98.88% 98.95% 99.03%
10/6/4 97.46% 98.45%



9/6/4 96.37% 97.3% 97.37% 97.45%
9/5/4 95.27% 95.94% 96.01% 96.08%


Double-Double Bonus Poker
Pay Table Standard Ult-X 3-Play Ult-X 5-Play Ult-X 10-Play
9/6 98.91% 99.72% 99.79% 99.86%
9/5 97.87% 98.36%


8/6 97.89% 97.22% 97.28% 97.35%


Notice the improved returns for the Ultimate X games. In fact, the 9/6 Double-Double Bonus Poker return is better than full pay (9/6) Jacks or Better standard play making this game the most popular Ultimate X game.


To help understand how this game is played, some samples of play are very helpful. 

The illustration of a three-play 7/4 bonus poker game below shows a screen after 10 credits per line for three lines (a total of 30) are bet and “Deal” or “Bet Max” button is pressed. Notice the “Ultimate X Poker ACTIVE!” in the lower right portion of the screen. This is the player’s confirmation the feature is activated.

Jacks or Better hand

One line is dealt. The player then holds the desired cards (in this case the pair of aces). This is a good situation since each of the three lines is a guaranteed video poker winner.

Ultimate X Video Poker: Aces

This is what the screen looks like after the aces are held. The player then hits the “Draw” button. The aces are held for all three lines and the three remaining cards in each line are filled by a separate deck with the 47 cards remaining for each line.

Ultimate X Video Poker, Jacks or Better hands

Unfortunately, none of the lines improved, and even though each line is a winner, the player lost money on this hand (bet 30, paid 15). However, a winning hand on the next game on any of the three lines will win two times the normal amount as indicated by the “Next Hand 2X” to the left of each line. 

Another 30 credits are bet and the next hand is dealt.

Ultimate X Video Poker X2

The “Ultimate X Poker ACTIVE!” is again displayed in the lower right corner of the screen. In addition, a “2X” is also displayed to the left of each line indicating that a win on these lines will be doubled.

This time the initial line contains two pair. This, combined with the “2X” multipliers, guarantees this hand will be a money maker as the least that will be won (with the proper hold) will be 10 credits per line which will be doubled to 20 credits per line for a total of 60 credits.

The player properly holds the kings and 5’s and hits “Draw”.

Ultimate X Video Poker Kings and 5s

None of the lines are improved from the two pairs, so the player gets 60 credits added to the credit meter and is up for this session. Any winning lines on the next hand will have the pays tripled as indicated by the “Next Hand 3X” to the left of each line.

Another 30 credits are bet and “Deal” or “Bet Max” button is hit

Ultimate X Video Poker deal or bet max

This time the proper hold for this 7/4 Bonus Poker game is the two high cards, which are held.

Ultimate X Video Poker 7/4 Bonus Poker

The two bottom lines are winners with a high pair in each. Thanks to the “3X” multipliers, this hand breaks even. Winners on the next hand in the bottom two lines will have the win amounts doubled.

Another 30 credits bet, the “Deal” or “Bet Max” button is pressed.

Bet Max or Deal

The pair of 9’s is held

The pair of 9 is held

The “Draw” button is pressed.

The “Draw” button is pressed.

The top and bottom line are both winners with two pair in each. Because of the “2X” multiplier on the bottom line, the player breaks even on this hand. Winners on the top or bottom line of the next hand will have the win amount tripled.

Hopefully, the above examples gave you a good feel for how the game is played. 


Obviously, the strategy changes slightly from the standard game due to the multipliers. Those hands with a higher multiplier will tend to be favored a bit more. To play perfect optimal video poker strategy would require a separate playing strategy for each different multiplier table. In video poker practice, however, a single strategy per game yields excellent results. 


Playing Ultimate X is like riding a roller coaster – an extreme roller coaster. The sample hands that are shown above turned out well for the player. However, due to the nature of Ultimate X Poker and the double the standard max bet required to activate the Ultimate X feature, the variance of this game is extremely high. If you get a high multiplier winning hand dealt and winning hands on the following game, credits come flooding in. But as seen by the first winning hand in the samples, not all winning hands (even if dealt to you) mean you make a profit. If you hit even a fairly minor losing streak, your bankroll for video poker is vanished before your eyes. To play this game, a properly sized bankroll is an absolute must.


Before you leave a game, make sure you play off any multipliers that remain. Don’t leave them for the next player. You earned then – use them. In this case, however, only bet five credits per line. You are leaving. You won’t be playing any multipliers the next game. Also, when you first sit down, run through the game types to check for any stray multipliers that may have been left. Play them with just five credits per line – no sense wasting an additional five credits per line hoping for multipliers on the next hand.


  • Look for the best video poker strategy return available.
  • Have the proper strategy for the game and pay table you select.
  • Limit your exposure to what you can afford to lose.
About the Author

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.