What are Video Poker Pay Tables?

If you’re a fan of casino games and love the excitement of strategic game play, then video poker is definitely your cup of tea. But before you jump into playing, it’s important to understand one vital aspect that can greatly impact your chances of winning – pay tables.

Pay tables may seem like an insignificant detail at first glance, but they hold the key to unlocking higher payouts and maximizing your potential earnings.

In this section, we’ll delve deep into understanding video poker pay tables and how they affect the theoretical payback percentage of a machine.

So grab a seat, get ready for some card-shuffling action, and let’s dive right in!

Understanding Video Poker Pay Tables

Pay tables, my fellow gaming enthusiasts, are essentially the blueprints of a video poker machine. They outline the different winning hands and their corresponding payouts. Consider them as your roadmap to riches (or at least some hefty winnings).

Every video poker game has its own unique pay table, which can vary from machine to machine and even from casino to casino. These tables display the payout amounts for various hand rankings such as a pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight flushes, and elusive royal flushes.

But here’s where it gets interesting – not all pay tables are created equal! Oh no! Some machines offer more favorable payouts for certain hands compared to others. And this is where understanding pay tables becomes crucial in maximizing your chances of walking away with pockets full of coins.

The beauty of video poker lies in this strategic element. By carefully analyzing the pay table before playing, you can determine the theoretical payback percentage or return-to-player (RTP) rate for that particular machine. This percentage indicates how much money you can expect to win back over time based on optimal game play.

So before hitting that “Deal” button like there’s no tomorrow, take a moment to study and understand the intricacies of each video poker game’s unique pay table – it could be your ticket towards bigger wins!

Click below for detailed information on the most common pay tables for various video poker games…


To the uninitiated, pay tables might appear as a mere list of numbers, but seasoned players recognize them as the key to unlocking optimal strategies and maximizing potential returns. Let’s take a closer look:

Components of a Video Poker Pay Table:

A standard video poker pay table comprises columns and rows, each representing a specific hand and its corresponding payout. Let’s dissect the essential components:


Hand Ranking: Rows are dedicated to various poker hands, from the lowly pair to the coveted Royal Flush. The arrangement typically follows the conventional poker hand hierarchy.

Coins/Coins Bet: Often presented in columns, this indicates the number of coins wagered on each hand. Pay tables frequently display payouts based on a one-coin bet, making it imperative for players to adjust their strategy according to their chosen coin denomination and the number of coins they decide to wager.

Payouts: The meat of the pay table lies in the payout column, showcasing the amount awarded for each winning hand based on the coins bet. Payouts increase proportionally with the number of coins wagered, with the Royal Flush boasting the most substantial reward.

How Pay Tables Impact Payback Percentages:

Now that we’ve dissected the anatomy of a video poker pay table, let’s explore the symbiotic relationship between pay tables and payback percentages.

Payback Percentage Defined: At its core, the payback percentage represents the long-term theoretical return to players over an extended period of play. It is expressed as a percentage, with 100% indicating a game that theoretically returns every wagered dollar over time. Video poker, known for its relatively high payback percentages compared to other casino games, owes much of this reputation to the influence of pay tables.

The Role of Strategy: Video poker is not solely a game of chance; strategy plays a pivotal role. The interplay between the inherent odds of drawing specific hands and the payouts listed on the pay table demands strategic decision-making. A well-versed player can make informed choices to increase the likelihood of landing high-paying hands, influencing the overall payback percentage. Always try to have a video poker strategy chart with you in case you are dealt a hand that you don’t know how to play correctly.

Variance and Risk: Pay tables also contribute to the variance of a video poker game. Variance reflects the degree of risk associated with a particular game, with higher variance games offering the potential for larger wins but also increased swings in bankroll. The structure of the pay table, particularly the distribution of payouts for rare hands, directly influences the game’s variance.

Identifying Favorable Pay Tables: Savvy players keen on maximizing their returns actively seek out video poker machines with favorable pay tables. Casinos may offer variations of the same video poker game with slight differences in the pay table, giving players the opportunity to choose the version with the highest potential payback percentage. This keen attention to detail can significantly impact the overall profitability of one’s gaming experience.

Where Pay Table Changes are Made to Raise or Lower The Payback Percentages:

In video poker, the pay table outlines the payouts for different winning hands, and variations in these values directly influence the overall payback percentage. Two critical hands that are often adjusted are the full house and flush.

  1. Full House Payouts:
    • An increase in the payout for a full house results in a higher payback percentage. This adjustment rewards players more generously for achieving a full house, contributing positively to their overall winnings.
    • Conversely, a reduction in the full house payout lowers the payback percentage, making the game less favorable for players.
  2. Flush Payouts:
    • Elevating the payout for a flush increases the overall payback percentage. This adjustment provides additional value for players who land flush hands during gameplay.
    • Conversely, decreasing the payout for a flush has the opposite effect, diminishing the payback percentage and making the game less lucrative for players.

Casinos may strategically tweak these payouts to optimize their profit margins while still offering an appealing gaming experience.

Players should carefully examine the pay tables before engaging in video poker to understand how changes to these critical hands can influence their potential returns. Choosing machines with favorable pay tables, especially for the full house and flush, is a key strategy for those seeking a higher payback percentage and a more rewarding gaming experience.

Optimizing Strategy for Different Pay Tables:

Understanding how pay tables affect payback percentages empowers players to tailor their strategies accordingly. Let’s explore how adjustments can be made based on variations in pay tables:

Selecting the Right Game: Before even placing the first bet, players should scrutinize the available video poker games and opt for those with the most favorable pay tables. This may involve comparing the payouts for specific hands, particularly the Royal Flush, as it often holds the key to unlocking the highest payback percentages.

Coin Denomination and Bet Size: Pay tables accommodate different coin denominations and bet sizes. Players should align their chosen coin denomination and the number of coins they wager with the pay table, ensuring that the potential returns are optimized. It’s essential to strike a balance between risk and reward, especially when considering the impact on the payback percentage.

Understanding the Royal Flush Bonus: The Royal Flush, the pinnacle of video poker hands, is a focal point in pay table analysis. All variations offer a bonus for hitting a Royal Flush with the maximum number of coins wagered. Players must be aware of and take advantage of these bonuses, as they can significantly boost the overall payback percentage.


In the realm of video poker, pay tables emerge as the linchpin that unites strategy and chance. As players unravel the complexities of these tables, they gain insight into the intricate dance between risk and reward.

Armed with this knowledge, players can navigate the vast landscape of video poker machines, strategically selecting games with optimal pay tables and fine-tuning their approach to maximize payback percentages. In the ever-evolving world of casino gaming, mastering the nuances of video poker pay tables is the gateway to enhancing the thrill and potential profitability of this captivating pursuit.