Video Poker Tournaments

See our review of video poker tournaments covering not only the basics of the game but a defined strategy to help you win.

Well Liked in Most Casinos

Video poker is a well-liked game in casinos that merges the thrill of slot machines with the tactics of table games. A lot of players appreciate the solitary element of video poker, allowing them to focus on their game play without any disturbances. Moreover, video poker competitions are accessible both online and in brick-and-mortar casinos, allowing players to play for a pot of money.

The Basics of Video Poker

Before considering playing in a video poker tournament, it helps to understand how video poker works. Video poker is a simulation of Five Card Draw poker, where players receive five cards on the deal. They can improve their hand by discarding and drawing new cards. Players should always bet the maximum amount of five coins to maximize their chances of winning.

Video Poker Hands Ranked by Winning Probability and Payout

It is important to have a clear understanding of the hand rankings and potential payout for each hand in video poker. Below is a list of hands, ranked in order from the most frequently achieved to the rarest, and their corresponding payout:

video poker tournaments

A Pair of Jacks or better:

  • Usually, the easiest hand to achieve.
  • Payout is typically the lowest.

Two Pair:

  • A little harder to achieve than a pair.
  • Pays more than a pair, but less than three of a kind.

Three of a kind:

  • A strong hand, but not too difficult to achieve.
  • Pays more than two pairs, but less than a straight.


  • Consists of five consecutive cards of any suit.
  • More challenging to achieve than three of a kind.
  • Pays more than three of a kind, but less than a flush.


  • Any five cards of the same suit.
  • More challenging to achieve than a straight.
  • Pays more than a straight, but less than a full house.

Full House

  • Three cards of one rank and two of another rank.
  • More challenging to achieve than a flush.
  • Pays more than a flush, but less than four of a kind.

Four of a kind:

  • Four cards of the same rank.
  • Considered a rare hand.
  • Pays more than a full house, but less than a straight flush.

Straight Flush:

  • Five consecutive cards of the same suit.
  • Very rare and difficult to achieve.
  • Pays more than four of a kind, but less than a royal flush.

Royal Flush:

  • The highest-ranking hand in video poker.
  • Consists of a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit.
  • Extremely rare and challenging to achieve.
  • Pays the most out of all the hands in video poker.

The Deal

The simulated deck used in video poker comprises 52 cards, just like a standard deck of cards. A random number generator determines the outcome of each deal, and the deck is shuffled continuously until the player initiates the deal by pressing the “deal” button. The objective is to achieve a winning hand based on the game’s paytable.

The Draw

After the deal, players have one opportunity to draw new cards to improve their hands. They must discard the card or cards they believe are inessential.

Types of Video Poker Tournaments

For tournament participation, there are three payment models. The first is “Straight Buy-In”, where you pay a set fee to enter and stand to win a substantial prize.

The second model, “Buy-In with Fee”, mandates an additional payment, typically a modest percentage of the entry fee, which goes to the tournament organizer. Finally, “Free” tournaments exist where no upfront payment is required, and anyone can participate without financial risk.

Prizes for Video Poker Tournaments

A lot of video poker competitions provide a fixed prize fund that hinges on the number of participants. The share of the pool decides the amount of each reward.

Occasionally, additional prizes are up for grabs for multiple victors, while others abide by a sole champion setup. Furthermore, the number of competitors in the contest can influence the prize pool.

Strategy for Video Poker Tournaments

The tactics you employ in video poker competitions are contingent on the type of tournament you partake in. For tournaments with a fixed time limit, your objective is to accumulate as many credits as possible within a brief time frame.

In contrast, tournaments that depend on individual hands allow for more decision-making time, allowing you to concentrate on playing astutely to gather the highest number of credits.

In case you’d like to participate in a video poker tournament, there are particular techniques that you can implement to enhance your prospects of winning.

Consider the Number of Participants

The more participants there are, the harder it will be for you to finish in the money. If there are many players involved, consider going for a reckless, go-for-broke style of play.

Pay Attention to the Payout Structure

If the prize distribution favors those at the top, indicating that the main share of the prize pool goes to the highest-ranked competitors. In that case, you should strive to obtain higher-ranking hands to optimize your odds of securing a significant victory.

Take Note of Time or Hand Limits

The larger the sample size of hands or time you have in a tournament, the more conservative you can afford to be. However, if time or hand limits are limited, you’ll have to be more aggressive.

Royals Rule

One of the most common methods of strategic adjustment in video poker tournaments is to go for the royal flush at all costs. The payout for the royal flush dwarfs all other winning hands, making it a top target in tournament play.

Know Your Game

Different video poker variations have varying pay tables, which can affect the strategy you should use. Prepare yourself with an exact strategy for the version of the game you’ll be playing to improve your chances of winning.

Go Big or Go Home

The straight flush and four-of-a-kind hands are two other high-value hands to target in video poker tournaments. Don’t be afraid to take risks and aim for these big hands to maximise your winnings.


Participating in a video poker tournament allows players to play against one another for a share of the prize fund. It is important to have a good grasp of video poker’s fundamentals and choose a tournament that aligns with your gameplay approach before enrolling.


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