Video Poker Payout ("Pay") Schedules

All Video Poker Games are NOT Created Equal. The Only Way to Tell the Difference Between Two Identical-Looking Video Poker Machines is By the Payout Schedule Prominently Posted Directly Above the Screen on ALL Video Poker Machines.

If you are new to video poker or even if you have been playing for a while now and want to increase your edge over this beatable game, you need to understand what the Payout Schedule means.

Every individual video poker machine pays out DIFFERENTLY, depending on the winning hand AND the payout schedule for that particular machine. The payout schedule is simply: How much does the machine I am playing pay out for a pair, three of a kind, a straight, a flush, a full house etc. By understanding what you will be paid (i.e. how many coins) for a winning combination, the player can better evaluate how profitable (or unprofitable) a particular video poker machine may be. This information must be prominently displayed directly above the video screen on the poker machine you are playing. Video Poker machines are identified by the astute player based on their payout schedule, specifically how much a particular machine pays out for a full-house versus a flush. Knowledgeable video poker players identify the best games according to this information. For instance, a player may say, "I have found a good 9-6 Jacks or Better machine". What this means is that the particular machine this person is playing pays out 9 Coins for each coin bet for a full-house and 6 coins for each coin bet for a flush. He has also identified the type or variation of video poker game on which he is wagering. In this case, Jacks or Better.

Now here is a question I frequently get from new students who I am teaching: Why didn't the player simply state the name of the game he or she was playing in the above example? Don't all Jacks or Better video poker machines pay out the same? The answer is a resounding NO! Games of the same variation of video poker, sitting side by side in a casino can (and typically do) offer very different payouts for the winning hands. The reason is that the casinos believe (and correctly so in many cases) that players are not aware enough to realize that one machine is paying out more and is typically a better gamble than another machine and the more machines they have that offer worse payouts (and thus worse odds) the higher the casinos bottom line will be at the end of the quarter or year.

Let's take a look at a typical Jacks or Better Machine below with its payout schedule prominently posted above the playing screen to see how we read the pay-out schedule:

Jacks or Better Video Poker

The pay-out schedule for the above machine states that a Pair of Jacks or Better pays 1 coin for each coin bet, Two Pairs pays 2 coins for each coin bet, 3-of-a-kind pays 3 coins for each coin bet. This machine (like all video poker machines) will be identified by how much it pays out for a full-house versus a flush. This is your typical 9-6 Jacks or Better machine because, as you can see from the payout schedule on the machine, it pays out 9 coins for a full-house and 6 coins for a flush.

But what is a good payout schedule and how can use it to my advantage? Typically, the 9-6 Jacks or Better machine shown above has what we would call a favorable payout schedule. It is difficult these days to find ANY machines that pay better than 9-6, but if you do you should play them! Any Jacks or Better Video Poker Game you find that pays more than 9 coins for a full-house and 6 coins for a flush is a good gamble.

Now, sometimes other variations of video poker (such as Double Double Bonus) may appear to have a better payout schedule than 9-6, however, whether the payout schedule is favorable or not ALSO LARGELY DEPENDS on the variation of video poker you are playing. In a future article, I am going to address ALL favorable and unfavorable payouts for each different form of video poker, but for now, follow these guidelines:

  • If you are playing Jacks-or-Better, look for a 9-6 payout schedule or better
  • If you are playing Double Bonus, look for a 9-7 payout schedule or better
  • If you are playing Double Double Bonus, look for a 10-7 payout schedule or better

Just remember to advance to that next level of video poker mastery, it is necessary to understand and incorporate the concept of the video poker payout schedules for any variation of video poker you decide to play and use this knowledge to always select the best and most profitable games. Sometimes it takes a little detective work to find the video poker machines with the best payouts, but your scouting efforts will be well-rewarded by your increased win-rate.

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