Tens or Better video poker was introduced because of the popularity of Jacks or Better. Players noticed getting a pair of tens in Jacks or Better, and often thought they just missed a payout.

The pay tables were tweaked and tens or better was born. The problem is that the tens or better machines available have a higher house edge than most of the Jacks or Better machines, even though you get paid for a pair of tens.

Over the years, players have realized this and switched back to playing Jacks or Better. Tens or Better isn’t one of the most popular video poker games, but you can still find machines in some casinos and online.

Playing Sequence

Here’s how to play Tens or Better video poker:

  1. Find a machine with a pay table you like, either online or in a land based casino.
  2. Put money in the machine. Online you need to make a deposit and in a land based casino you insert money into the slot designed to accept bills.
  3. Choose how many coins to bet per hand. Always choose five.
  4. Hit or click the deal button. You receive a five card poker hand.
  5. Decide which cards you want to hold and which ones you want to discard.
  6. Hit or click the button for each card you want to keep or hold.
  7. Hit or click the deal button again.
  8. Your final hand is displayed. If you have a winning hand the machine adds the winning amount to your balance.

Tens or Better Pay Tables

Unlike most video poker games which have many different pay tables, Tens or Better video poker only has a few. The two most common ones are listed in the table below. Notice that the only difference between the two tables is the payout for a four of a kind hand is 25 on the first one and 20 on the second.

Next, look at the house edge in the bottom row and see how much it changes from one small change. If you play Tens or Better video poker make sure you play on a machine with the first pay table.

When looking for a machine to play and comparing pay tables, the numbers listed for Tens or Better in the table below should match the listing on the machine under the one coin wager column. The only exception is the royal flush payout.

The machine shows 250 for a royal flush in the first column, 500 in the second column, 750 in the third column and 1,000 in the fourth column. But the royal flush is listed as 4,000 in the five coin column. This is the same as 800 per coin when you wager five coins.

If you ever find a Tens or Better machine that pays less than 4,000 for a royal flush you shouldn’t play. We’ve never seen one, but it’s possible. You always bet five coins to get the bonus payout when you a hit a royal flush. This helps keep the house edge low.

If you happen to run across a machine with a progressive jackpot, make sure the jackpot is worth 4,000 coins or more before you play for the same reason.

Tens or Better Paytable & House Edge

Tens of Better Video Poker Paytable
Game 25 for Four of a Kind 20 for Four of a Kind
Royal Flush 800 800
Straight Flush 50 50
Four of a Kind 25 20
Full House 6 6
Flush 5 5
Straight 4 4
Three of a Kind 3 3
Two Pair 2 2
Pair Jacks or Better 1 1
House Edge .87% 2.05%

How to Use a Tens or Better Strategy Chart

We’ve listed a Tens or Better strategy chart below that you can use when you play. When you play for real money online you can open this page in a new window or tab or you can print it on your printer. The other option is to write it out on a piece of paper.

Writing it out can help you remember it. This is a good idea if you want to eventually memorize the best plays. You can quickly learn almost the entire strategy chart by simply using it every time you play.

The first thing to do as far as strategy is to always bet five coins. This is the only way you’re eligible for the royal flush bonus and if you gamble less than five coins on a hand it makes the house edge go up a great deal.

The strategy charts listed on Bestonlinecasinos.com, including the one for Tens or Better video poker listed below, are designed to be read from top to bottom. You start at the top and go down until you find the first hand that matches up with your cards.

Once you find your hand, keep the listed cards and draw new ones for all of your other cards.

Here’s an example:

You have three jacks, an ace, and a ten. You look down the chart and the first hand you see that matches yours is three of a kind. So you keep you three jacks and throw away the ace and the ten.

  • Royal flush
  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Any four card draw to a royal flush
  • Full house
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a kind
  • Any four cards to a straight flush including gut shot draws and open end straight draws
  • Two pairs
  • Pair of tens or higher
  • Any three cards to a royal flush
  • Four cards to a flush
  • Any pair of nines or lower
  • Four cards to an open ended straight draw
  • Any two suited cards ten and higher
  • Any three cards to a straight flush
  • Any two cards ten and higher
  • One card ten or higher
  • Draw five new cards

The strategy and game play are basically the same for Tens or Better and Jacks or Better. But if you can play on a 9 / 6 Jacks or Better video poker machine, the house edge is lower. We recommend skipping Tens or Better and sticking with 9 / 6 Jacks or Better whenever possible.