Video Poker Hand Guide Article

So you want to play video poker. First, you're going to need to know what makes a hand. Sure, the video poker machines have paying hands on the display, but it's almost always the names of the hands. You're expected to know what constitutes the hand itself.

What follows is your basic rundown of poker hands. I'm also listing them in order of worst to best, so you'll know what hands beat other hands. Without further ado, let's jump right into it.

Nothing
Yes, these are the hands that you just throw down the toilet. They don't pay on any machine.

Jacks or Better
This hand consists of two Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces.

Two Pair
Just as the name implies, this hand has two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. An example would be a hand with two Kings and two Queens.

Three Pair
When you have three cards of one rank, you have a three of a kind. An example would be a hand consisting of three Jacks.

Straight
Get five cards in sequential order and you have a straight. An Ace can be played as a one -- just before the two -- or as the final card after a King. Two examples would be A-2-3-4-5 and 10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace.

Flush
A flush hand has five cards of the same suit. For instance, five diamonds.

Full House
This hand is also called a boat -- and a million other slang terms. A full house hand has three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. For instance, having three Kings and two Queens would give you a full house.

Four of a Kind
These hands don't come often enough. Most video poker players get consumed by the desire to get four of a kind hands. It's almost like a rite of passage for the machine. If it doesn't give at least one, the machine isn't worth a lick. As the name implies, having four cards of one rank, which is all the cards of that type in the deck, gives you a four of a kind. When you get one, be sure to do a happy dance. An example would be getting a hand consisting of four Kings. Some machines pay more for certain kinds of these hands and for kickers. Make sure you read the payout chart before playing just in case. There are also progressive video poker machines that pay out when you hit this hand.

Straight Flush
It's like a flush, but your hand must consist of cards in sequential order. For instance, a 4,5,6,7 and 8 of clubs would be a straight flush. These are even harder to get than the four of a kinds.

Royal Flush
Ah, the granddaddy of them all. This is the supreme hand in video poker. If you are playing max coins and get a royal flush, you'll unlock all the riches the machine has to offer. A Royal Flush consists of a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit.

You're now up to speed with video poker hands and ready to hit machines. Remember to always play max coins!

Jordan Walters
Jordan Walters started covering sports 15 years ago for a small newspaper at Indiana, worked as a football analyst for several major online sports magazines and has continued covering major sports for the last five years as a freelance writer.

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