Video Poker Terms

The earliest models of video poker appeared in the 1970s, and the game has since become quite popular with savvy gamblers. That’s because playing video poker with perfect strategy can almost eliminate the house edge, something which should appeal to anyone who takes their gaming seriously. Beginning players will have lots of terminology to wade through, though, which is why I’ve put together this video poker glossary to make your life easier.

Action – The sum of money wagered by a player during a game of video poker.

All American – A version of video poker that pays more for flushes, straights, and straight flushes, but offers less for pairs and full houses.

Bank – A term referring to a row of video poker machines. The same term can also be used for slot machines.

Bankroll – The amount of cash a player has allotted for gambling purposes. Determining the size of your bankroll and not exceeding that amount is one of the key strategies for serious players.

Bonus Poker – Based on Jacks or Better video poker, this version offers a bigger payout for getting four of a kind. Payouts usually vary depending on the rankings of the hand.

Carousel – Multiple banks of video poker machines that are linked together to offer a progressive jackpot. This term can also apply to slot machines.

Comps – Free items given to players in appreciation of frequent play. This can include free meals or drinks, tickets to shows, spa visits, free hotel rooms, and many other perks.

Deuces Wild – This version of video poker turns all twos into wild cards. When played with perfect strategy, this game can offer a payback slightly above 100%.

Double Bonus – A variation of Jacks or Better that features an additional payout for getting four aces. A difficult game that offers a greater than 100% payback when played with perfect strategy.

Double Double Bonus – A variation of Jacks or Better that offers bonus payouts for different four of a kind hands.

Drawing Hand – A video poker hand that requires a specific card to be drawn in order to improve.

Expert Play – Using perfect strategy to play video poker. While it does not guarantee that a player will win each hand, expert play will deliver the most wins over an extended period of time.

Face Card – A playing card depicting a person. This is limited to the jack, king, and queen.

Hopper – This is the slot underneath a video poker machine that holds coins. Some modern machines no longer offer feature winnings falling into a hopper. Instead, you receive a ticket which is then redeemed at the cashier’s window.

House Edge – The overall advantage a casino holds over the player on a specific game.

Inside Straight – In order to make this straight, a card must be hit that’s within the sequence. For example, if your cards were a six, seven, nine, and ten, you would need to get an eight to make the inside straight.

Jacks or Better – The most common type of video poker, this game only pays out if the player gets a pair of jacks or better. Also referred to as “draw poker.”

Joker Poker – Played with a 53-card deck, this variation of Jacks or Better contains a wild joker card.

Kicker – A card in a video poker hand that isn’t part of a pair or any other winning combination. These can mean the difference between winning and losing in traditional poker, but video poker pros often get rid of them.

Low Play – Video poker machines that offer lower payouts.

Outside Straight – When a straight can be achieved by getting a card on either end of a five-card hand. For example, getting either a four or nine would make a straight if the hand already had a five, six, seven, and eight.

Payback Percentage – The amount of money that a video poker machine will pay back. If a machine has a 98% payback percentage, it will pay back 98 cents for every dollar wagered. This is a long-term expectation, however, so players should not expect to achieve these results over the course of a few sessions.

Payoff – The amount a video slot machine pays when the player achieves a certain hand.

Pay Table – A list of the payouts for each hand in video poker. This pay table is sometimes affixed to the front of the machine via a sticker, or a button can be pressed to view the possible winning combinations.

Progressive Jackpot – When a player inserts their money, a certain percentage is added to the size of the progressive jackpot. Until this jackpot is won, it continues to increase in size. It’s not uncommon to see multiple machines tied to one jackpot, sometimes even across multiple casinos. When the jackpot is finally won, it returns to a preset minimum and begins to build again.

Push – The player doesn’t lose money, but they also don’t win. This is the equivalent of a tie in the gaming world.

Random Number Generator – A computer algorithm that ensures each hand of video poker is entirely random.

Rank – The value of each card in video poker.

Tens or Better – A version of video poker where the player must get a pair of tens or better in order to receive a payout.

Wild Cards – A card that can be substituted for any other card in a hand of video poker.

While video poker may not seem as exciting as slot machines, it does offer better odds when combined with strong play. There are a wide range of games to choose from, as well as terminology to learn, but referring to a video poker glossary can make the experience more pleasant. One of the other advantages of video poker is that it’s a solitary game, so you can refer to a crib sheet without feeling self-conscious.