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Video Poker Pay Tables: What They Are and How to Read Them

Video poker has been around for about 50 years, and it’s as popular as ever. Its fast-paced and exciting gameplay appeals to many. If you’re a fan, you shouldn’t hesitate to join in the fun. However, make sure you have the concept of video poker pay tables down before you start.

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Image of Video Poker PayTables

These tools are the core of every viable real-money poker theory and the foundation of a profitable game. Read this article to learn what video poker pay tables are, their most common types, and how you can use them to your advantage.

What Is a Pay Table in Video Poker?

A video pay table displays the payouts for every winning hand in relation to the number of wagered coins. The purpose of all video poker pay tables is to illustrate the theoretical return for a particular game, provided one plays it using the perfect poker strategy.

The video poker pay tables feature hands based on ones you’ll encounter in traditional poker games. The payout you’ll receive for each hand will depend on its ranking. However, the available hands and the hand-ranking system might differ between games. For instance, some games might pay more for a Four of a Kind than other higher-ranked hands. It all depends on the variant you’re playing.

Video poker bet limits usually range between 1 and 5 coins. Nevertheless, you may come across machines whose bet limits expand lower or higher than that. Again, this information will be a part of the pay table linked to the game.

Importance of Video Poker Pay Tables

The basic definition of pay tables does not reveal their full significance. If you’ve used these charts with slots, you might think there’s nothing special about them. Nevertheless, video poker pay tables differ from slot pay tables, and their importance lies in that difference. 

Video poker is designed in a way that allows us to calculate the odds of getting a particular symbol, while slot machines aren’t. The secret lies in the fact that video poker gameplay always relies on a deck of cards. Each character these games display on the screen corresponds to a playing card. So, the odds of getting a particular card in a video poker game are the same as if you physically drew that card from a standard card deck. Since the number of cards is limited (usually 52 or 53 with the inclusion of the joker card), we can calculate those odds.

The ability to calculate the probability of getting a specific card opens up the possibility of calculating the odds of getting a particular hand. Cards combine into 2,598,960 different hands, and you’re bound to get one of them. To that end, you can use the video poker pay tables to compare games and choose the best one to play. 

In contrast to video poker, slot games use random symbols. The symbols can be anything you can think of, from fruit and gems to cartoon and movie characters. So, there’s no way you can calculate the probability you’ll get any of them, and there’s no house edge. The only strategy you can apply to playing slots is bankroll management.

Most Common Types of Video Poker Pay Tables

Video poker’s popularity has given birth to numerous variants over the years. Each of those games comes with a unique pay table. Most experienced video poker players select their games based on these tables.

We’ve outlined the most popular video poker variations and their pay tables so you can do the same. Have a look below.

Jacks or Better Pay Table

Jacks or Better is the most basic version of video poker and the foundation of all other variations. It’s played with a standard electronic 52-card deck and no wild cards. The game pays off on any hand that ranks at a pair of jacks or higher.

Jacks or Better’s simplicity makes this game and its pay tables the perfect video poker introduction for beginner players. All Jacks or Better pay tables typically feature identical payouts for all lower-ranked hands. You can see from the table below that a 5-coin bet will get you a 5-coin payout with Jacks or Better, a 10-coin payout for Two Pair, a 15-coin payout for Three of a Kind, and so on.

Image of Jacks or Better Pay Table

The most obvious exception is the Royal Flush, the highest-ranked hand. This hand usually pays 250 to 1 for every bet except the 5-coin one. A 5-coin bet on Royal Flush pays out 800 to 1 because it’s one of the rarest outcomes in the game.

You’ll notice the main differences between Jacks or Better tables in the Flush and Full House payouts section. The discrepancies are so common that players often refer to these tables in relation to the Flush/Full House payouts they feature. As a result, you can find 9/6 Jacks or Better pay tables, like the one displayed above, or 6/5 Jacks or Better pay tables, like the one shown below.

The few-coins difference in the payouts between these two pay tables might seem small at first glance. However, it significantly impacts the payback percentage the games offer.

The 9/6 pay table games have a 99.5% return, and the 6/5 pay table games have a 95% return.

The 9/6 and 6/5 aren’t the only Jacks or Better pay tables you’ll come across. The following table lists the other common ones.

Pay table Payback percentage
9/5 98.45%
8/6 98.39%
8/5 97.3%
7/5 96.15%

Deuces Wild Pay Table

Deuces Wild is the second most popular video poker game today. It’s played with a 52-card deck and includes a wild card feature. In this game, all deuces (2s) can substitute any other card in the deck to form a winning card.

Image of Deuces Wild Pay Table

Deuces Wild video poker pay tables aren’t as easy to use as the Jack or Better ones. The paybacks these games feature depends on more than two hands. Experts use a special shorthand to distinguish between the tables. The shorthand typically starts with Wild Royal Flush and ends with a Flush value. For instance, the shorthand for the Deuces Wild pay table below would be — 25/15/9/5/3/2.

With the optimal poker strategy, the above Deuces Wild payback percentage is 100.76%. It’s one of the rare games where the players have the edge over the house. Other pay tables you’ll come across are less advantageous. You can see their examples in the chart below.

Pay table Payback percentage
25/15/11/4/4/3 99.96%
25/16/10/4/4/3 99.74%
25/15/9/4/4/3 98.91%
20/12/10/4/4/3 97.58%
20/12/9/4/4/3 97.06%
25/16/13/4/3/2 96.77%
20/10/8/4/4/3 95.96%
25/15/10/4/3/2 94.82%

Tens or Better Pay Table

Tens or Better is a video poker variation similar to Jacks or Better, hence the title. The main difference between the two is their lowest-ranked hand. Tens or Better features a pair of 10s instead of Jacks. The rest of the qualifying hands are the same.

Image of Ten or Better Pay Table

Tens or Better pay tables typically differ in their Four of a Kind, Full House, and Flush payouts. So, players usually use these values to distinguish between them. For example, you can find 25/6/5 or 25/6/4 tables out there.

The Tens or Better pay table in the picture (25/6/5) is the full-pay game you’ll typically find in casinos. Its payback percentage is approximately 99.14% — slightly lower than the highest-payback-percentages pay tables discussed in previous sections. However, other Tens or Better pay tables are even less profitable and harder to find. You can see examples of them below.

Pay table Payback percentage
25/6/4 98.10%
25/5/5 97.99%
20/6/5 97.96%
40/20/6/5 97.86%

Double Bonus Poker Pay Table

Double Bonus Poker is another video poker variant that shares most of its features with Jacks or Better. The Double Bonus part comes from the high payouts this version features for the Four of a Kind hand. The games also pay out for more hand combinations than Jacks or Better overall.

Image of Double Bonus Poker Pay Tables

Double Bonus Poker pay tables usually deviate from one another in payouts for two hands — Full House and Flush. So, most tables you’ll encounter will have numerical values such as 10/7 or 9/4 pay tables. Nevertheless, some games come with Straight payout adjustments and carry three-value denominators like 9/6/4 or 9/5/4.

The full-pay Double Bonus Poker pay table is the 10/7 game we’ve mentioned above. It comes with a 100.17% payback percentage and leaves its players with a significant advantage over the house. Other pay tables you’ll find for this game offer somewhat lower payback percentages.

Pay table Pay percentage
9/7 99.11%
9/6 97.81%
9/4 97.74%
9/6/4 96.38%
8/6 96.23%
9/5/4 95.27%


Video poker pay tables are among the most useful tools for playing this game. Their payout information will help you:

  • Calculate your winning odds
  • Compare different games
  • Choose the most profitable option

They can even direct you toward the strategy you should use in a specific game. So, they’re a fantastic crutch for both beginners and experienced players.


Why are video poker pay tables important? A video poker pay table can assist you in calculating the odds of a specific game and choosing the best variant for your needs.
What’s the best video poker pay table? The best video poker pay tables offer high payback percentages. Some examples include 25/15/9/5/3/2 Deuces Wild and the 10/7 Double Bonus Poker. The former has a 100.76% and the latter a 100.17% payback percentage with the optimal poker strategy. So, they both give players an edge over the house.
Where do I begin with video poker pay tables? Jacks or Better pay tables are the best video poker pay tables for beginners. They feature the same payouts for lower hands across multiple pay tables, making them easier to understand.

About the Author

Author Hi all! My name is Jayson Peter, and I am the Chief Editor here at Casino USA. I have always been a huge fan of casinos, but I noticed that there are not a lot of websites out there that discuss the gambling industry in enough detail, so that’s how the idea for was born. With my extensive knowledge of the industry and the help of my team, I am ready to give you an insight into the exciting world of casino gambling in the United States.