How to Read Pay Tables in Video Poker Games

If you play at online casinos, you’ve probably seen offerings for Video Poker. Video Poker is different from regular poker games, though, as you are trying to make a single hand of poker and are awarded money based on the hand you make. In other words, your winnings are based on the payouts set in the Video Poker pay tables.

For those new to Video Poker, you may be a little confused about what a pay table is and how it is relevant to the game. Today, we will explain the importance of a pay table in video poker and how you can use a pay table to your advantage when selecting video poker games.

What are Video Poker Pay Tables?

A pay table in Video Poker is precisely as it sounds. It is a table that shows what you can win according to a bet placed. Most Video Poker pay tables contain five columns which represent the number of credits you bet in a hand. If you play two credits at a time, then column two is what you use to determine how much you win.

In each column, you can see how much you can win for each hand. Below is a pay table for Jacks or Better video poker:

For example, if you bet one credit and hit a flush, you can win six credits. Notice that the prize increases in the multiple of the coins bet. The exception is the Royal Flush which pays a jackpot prize of 800x your bet.

There are common variations to pay tables. The most common is when games pay additional hands. For example, Bonus Poker will pay a higher amount for four aces than it will for other four of a kind hands.

In a few rare cases, you may run across a machine that allows you to play more than five credits. In this case, you will have an extended pay table and the only section shown is the one relevant to your bet.

Why is a Pay Table Important

A pay table tells you how much you can win in a poker game. It is also useful in helping you to figure out your expected value from a game. First, you need to understand how Video Poker pay tables are classified.

For Video Poker, you will often hear references to Video Poker games such as 9-6, 8-5, 7-5, and similar. This is the amount that a game will pay on a full house and a flush on a single credit.

Notice in the earlier example that a full house pays nine credits on a single credit bet while a flush pays six. This would make this game a 9-6 machine. Now that you know how to read a pay table, it’s important to know what to look for.

A pay table can tell you exactly how much a Video Poker game will pay back to customers. A 9-6 machine, for instance, will back 99.54% of all money put into the machine. This is assuming that perfect pay is followed.

This percentage drops dramatically as the pay table changes. A 9-5 machine pays back 98.45% while an 8-6 machine pays back 98.39%. Similarly, you can expect a 6-5 machine to pay back only 95%, and that’s assuming perfect play. Since few players can achieve perfect play, you can expect the casino edge to be a lot greater.

In a few rare cases, you can actually find Video Poker machines that will pay more than 100% of the money collected. This includes 9-7 Jacks or Better, 10-7 Double Bonus Poker, and 10-6 Double Double Bonus.

The odds for each game varies. Therefore, it is a good idea to go somewhere like Wizard of Odds to get an idea of what pay tables to look for.

Put the Odds More Into Your Favor

Take the time to check out the Video Poker pay tables on your preferred game. Most games will have the pay table clearly displayed on the main screen. If it is not, there is usually a Pay Table button you can click or tap to display the pay table.

Note that looking at a pay table is a perfectly acceptable part of playing Video Poker. This is not like card counting in live blackjack as most casinos do not have games that pay out more than 100%. Even the rare casinos that offer the games know that it will be rare that players will be skilled enough to exploit the game.

Even if you don’t play perfect strategy, it is a good idea to pay attention to the pay tables. This will help you find machines that are more prone to pay out. This in turn will help you play longer and even catch lucky to hit that magic Royal Flush.