American Poker V Video Poker

American Poker V video poker creates a different look for those who are used to playing basic video poker. The big difference in this game comes from the way hands are bet. You basically have to make a separate bet to see the draw in this variation, although other bonuses available to you will help compensate.

American Poker V

Most casual gamblers know video poker in the standard format known as Jacks or Better. This is the game based primarily on the card game known as Five-Card Draw. The rhythm of play is the same for both, as is the ranking of poker hands.

Video poker players created a demand for other types of action. And the boom in online casinos also led to more variety.

American Poker V video poker is a variant. The name, ironically enough, comes from a type of video poker that’s popular in Europe. And the most unique characteristic is the way that you bet.

In standard video poker, you make a bet to start the hand and that’s the end of your betting requirement. You get five cards, decide on what you want to hold and discard from your deal, and draw new cards to complete your hand. Winnings are totaled and you do it all over again.

In American Poker V video poker, you still make an initial bet to see the deal. But you have to wager the same amount then move on to the draw. If you choose, you can quit after the deal and not incur the extra bet.

What this does is double your betting burden on potentially good hands. That can cut into your payback. Luckily, American Poker V video poker offers some perks to help make up for this.

First of all, the pay table for American Poker V video poker offers much more aggressive payback on several winning hands. These extra wins can help atone for the extra bets.

In addition, you get access to a joker as the 53rd card in the deck. This joker is wild and can be changed into whatever card suits your hand best. It gives you a way to achieve hands that otherwise might not be in play, such as five of a kind.

Finally, American Poker V video poker includes a bonus payback element. If you attain a pair of jacks or higher on 10 hands, you’re in line for the bonus. The next time you attain a high pair, you get the bonus.

In the following article, we’ll tell you all you need to know to play American Poker V video poker. We’ll show you how to play basic video poker and show the ways American Poker V resembles and differs from the basics. Finally, we’ll talk about payback percentage and learning proper strategy for the game.

The Advantages of Video Poker

What is it about video poker that makes it such a popular game both in casinos and at top real money online casinos? Why do games like American Poker V video poker garner such a following to the point that many gamblers won’t play anything else?

It comes down to the advantages that video poker possesses over other casino games. While video poker combines many of the best elements of slot machines and table games, it merges those games and only keeps the good stuff. As such, it’s a case of the sum being better than the parts.

Let’s run down just a few of those advantages.

  • Video poker is no trouble in terms of learning how to play. Even complete newcomers are likely to get the hang of it. If you have a background in poker of any kind, you’ll get it even sooner.
  • Video poker can be played all alone. If you’re the type that doesn’t like hassle, this is a great advantage. You can play at whatever pace you prefer and not have to worry about pressures applied by others.
  • Video poker comes in many different formats. We’ve already talked a little bit about how American Poker V video poker differs from the basic Jacks or Better. There are literally hundreds of different video poker games available to you in casinos and online.
  • Video poker rewards those who play well. In other words, strategy comes into play, which means you have some say over whether you win or lose. The outcome isn’t strictly based on luck, as is the case with slot machines.
  • Video poker stands apart in the transparency department. Payback amounts are right in front of you on the pay table, and playing card probability will let you know how often winning hands can be expected to show up. There isn’t anything you have to guess about when playing video poker.
  • Video poker offers some of the best payback percentage of any casino game. You can find some versions of the game that actually remove the house edge. Even average-paying video poker games outdo slot machines by a pretty good margin.

These examples should give you an idea of what video poker brings to the table. Now, it’s just a matter of making sure you understand how to play.

With that in mind, we’re going to walk you through the process of playing a basic video poker hand. From there, we’ll go into how American Poker V video poker separates itself in a few areas.

How to Play Basic Video Poker

Step 1: Your Bankroll

The bankroll has to be in place before you can begin to play hands of video poker. It will allow you to make bets so that you can win money in return.

Online video poker requires you to sign up for a gambling website. You’ll then fund your account with a credit card or alternative methods so that you can allot some money for your bankroll. Casino video poker players simply put money into a machine to create a bankroll.

Often, you’ll see your bankroll rendered in units known as credits or coins. These will be the units you use to bet, and you’ll be paid in these units when you win. Each of these units will be tied into the denomination that you choose to play.

Step 2: Your Bet

There are several ways in which the betting process is different in American Poker V video poker when compared to standard video poker. We’ll talk about the way that you have to bet on the draw when we get to the specifics below.

But another difference comes in the range of bets allowed. Most video poker games, both online and in casinos, limit the bets to one through five credits per hand. If they allow higher bets than that, it’s usually because you’ll get access to special features with the higher wager.

In the case of American Poker V video poker, the range of bets can be much higher. It all depends upon the online casino that houses the game. But all of the game’s features are available whether you’re betting the lowest possible amount or the highest.

One other big difference is that the payback for winning hands in American Poker V video poker is directly proportional to the size of the bet. When playing most video poker games, you’re better off maximizing your wager, because that also maximizes your payback.

This isn’t the case with American Poker V. As a result, you have a little more freedom in adjusting the size of your wager.

Step 3: Your Hand

Video poker basically plays out as a computerized simulation of Five-Card Draw. There just aren’t multiple players at the table. And you don’t have to worry about bluffing anybody.

Your only concern is making the best possible five-card poker hand from your deal and draw. And if you make one of the combinations on the pay table, you’re a winner. Here are the hands you’ll be trying to make when playing American Poker V video poker:

  • Two pair
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight (five cards of consecutive rank, like 3-4-5-6-7)
  • Flush (five cards of same suit)
  • Full house (three of a kind and two pair in the same hand)
  • Four of a kind
  • Straight flush (straight with five cards of same suit)
  • Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit)
  • Five of a kind

When you’re playing video poker, you have to keep in mind that the hands that are the hardest to achieve are the ones that pay the most. In the case of this list, the hands at the top are the most common and pay the least. As you move down, the hands get harder and harder to make but pay more and more.

That’s an important factor to keep in mind when it comes to your decision-making. You should always consider how much each potential winning hand pays when it comes to which cards you want to keep from your deal. Sometimes, it will be worth taking a chance on attaining a rare hand, even if that chance is slim, because the potential reward is so great.

Deal and Draw

Once you’ve made your wager and hit the button on the screen to kick off the deal, five cards will appear on your screen. This is your deal.

The cards come from a deck of 53, which includes the standard 52 and a joker as a wild card. Your chances of receiving any one of these specific cards is completely random thanks to the software of the game. After every deal and draw, the deck is reshuffled by the game’s software to ensure this is the case.

Out of those five cards, you have to decide which, if any, you’d like to hold. The ones that you hold will be part of your final hand.

Meanwhile, the cards you discard will be replaced on the draw. The draw takes place from the remaining cards in the deck after the deal. In other words, you’ll be drawing from a deck of 48.

If you choose, you can hold all five cards from your deal and skip the draw. This would be a smart option if you get an excellent five-card winning hand, like a straight or flush, on the deal. Trying to improve that could only lead to blowing the winning hand you already have in place.

Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll press the buttons corresponding to the cards you want to hold. When you hit the button signaling the draw, your discarded cards will be replaced and the hand will be complete. Your bankroll will be credited if you came up with a winning combination.

That’s how it works, at least in terms of basic video poker. If you want to keep playing, just keep repeating the steps for as long as you have credits. You can also cash out your winnings at any time.

As we said, American Poker V video poker shares a lot in common with basic video poker. Let’s see how it differs.

Playing American Poker V Video Poker

For the most part, American Poker V video poker plays just like your standard video poker game that you can find in most casinos or online. But there is one major difference that alters the action.

When you play a hand of American Poker V video poker, you have to make a wager to start up the hand. That’s the case in basic video poker as well.

But in basic video poker, you move into the draw round without any extra bet. To make it to the draw in American Poker V video poker, you have a choice to make.

You can do one of two things:

  • Give up on the hand and move on to the next one
  • Make a bet equal to your original bet so that you can move on to the draw

This is a major difference and will obviously affect your payback in a negative way. Think about the math of it.

If you were playing basic video poker and betting five coins a hand and made a hand that pays off 15 coins, your profit would be 10 coins. That’s calculated by subtracting the five-coin bet from the 15 coin bet.

Now, think about the process for American Poker V video poker. To get to that 15-coin win, you’d have to bet the five coins to start the hand then the five coins to get access to the draw. That means a 10-coin bet, which reduces your profit to 5 coins (15 minus 10).

One other note: There’s no way for you to discard all five cards in American Poker V video poker and move on to the draw. If you don’t think any of your cards from your deal are worth holding, you just have to give up the hand. You wouldn’t pay for the extra bet, so you’d only be losing the original bet.

Example American Poker V Video Poker Hands

Let’s see how this process works for American Poker V video poker, both in terms of giving up on a hand and continuing through the draw. Imagine that you’ve made a five-coin wager and you receive the following five cards on the deal:

Four of Diamonds, Five of Hearts, Nine of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, Ace of Spades

Looking at this hand, you’ll see that there are no easy paths to one of the winning combinations listed above. Remember that, in American Poker V video poker, you don’t get paid for a pair of high cards as you would playing Jacks or Better. That means you have less of an incentive to hold one of the high cards.

As a result, this is an example of a hand where it might make sense to fold. If you continued to the draw, you’d have to bet another five coins.

You would also have to choose a card to hold, since you can’t discard all five and bet on the draw. Any card you choose to hold would be a poor strategic play, which is another reason why giving up and cutting your losses is the best strategic play here. The loss would be five coins only.

Now, let’s move on to a different scenario. Let’s assume another five-coin wager. Only this time here is the deal you receive the following:

Six of Diamonds, Six of Clubs, Seven of Clubs, Eight of Clubs, King of Clubs

Once again, you don’t have a winning combination on the deal. But you do have several card combinations that aren’t too far from a winner. And some of those winning possibilities are quite lucrative.

For example, you have a pair of sixes. If you were to drop all other cards beside the pair, you’d have a chance at hands like two pair, three of a kind, a full house, four of a kind, or five of a kind.

You also have four clubs out of the five cards on the deal. If you were to discard the six of diamonds, you could draw one of the nine remaining clubs in the deck (or the joker) to complete the flush.

Finally, you have the six, seven, and eight of clubs in the deal. By dropping the six of diamonds and king of clubs, you’d still have the flush in play. But you’d also have several other winning possibilities, including the high-paying straight flush.

Tough choices, for sure. But the bottom line is that they all have excellent potential. As a result, you probably are going to want to bet five more coins and see what happens on the draw.

Let’s say you do that and decide to hold the pair of sixes. The draw takes place and you receive the following:

Six of Diamonds, Six of Clubs, Six of Hearts, Eight of Clubs, Queen of Spades

You made three of a kind. On a five-coin bet in American Poker V video poker, that earns you payback of 25 coins.

Minus the 10-coin bet you made, you earned a 15-coin profit. That’s opposed to the five-coin loss you would have swallowed had you decided not to make the extra bet.

Of course, had the draw turned out differently and you hadn’t made a winning combination, you would have lost 10 coins instead of five. That illustrates the strategic risks and rewards that come to the fore in American Poker V video poker, issues that don’t occur in regular video poker.

Playing With a Joker

One of the ways that American Poker V video poker compensates for the tougher betting requirements is with the use of a wild card. In this case, the wild card is a 53rd card in the deck—a joker. When the joker appears in your hand, it will be transformed into whatever card improves your hand the most.

How does it work? Let’s take a look at the following deal:

Joker, Two of Diamonds, Eight of Clubs, Nine of Diamonds, Ten of Diamonds

If it weren’t for the joker, this might not be the most appealing of hands. But with the joker, you can envision a few different scenarios.

Depending on how you picture the joker transforming, there are ways to draw to all kinds of winning hands from this deal. You just have to decide how you want to go forward.

This is definitely a deal where you’d want to make the extra bet to see the draw, because the joker is so valuable. But what cards will you keep with it?

Making the Decision With a Joker

Holding the three other diamonds puts you in range of a flush. Meanwhile, holding just the nine and 10 of diamonds opens up a potential straight flush draw. And keeping the eight, nine, and 10 would give you a good chance at a straight.

Let’s say that you want to hold only the nine and 10 of diamonds. The draw comes and you end up with the following:

Joker, Nine of Hearts, Ten of Spades, Nine of Diamonds, Ten of Diamonds

At this point, the American Poker V video poker game will recognize the best card that the joker can become. Either an eight or a nine gives you a full house, which is the highest-paying hand you can make out of those five cards.

That gives you an example of how valuable the joker can be. Going into the draw, you were likely envisioning it helping you towards a straight flush. But it turned into something else entirely, although still very valuable.

When you find jokers in the normal world of video poker, you’ll often see the pay for certain winning hands slightly depressed from what you would normally expect. After all, the joker increases the chances of reaching any winning hand.

But in American Poker V video poker, the pay tables, as you’ll see shortly, actually raise payback for most winning hands from common levels. That’s one of the ways this game atones for the betting structure.

Special American Poker V Video Poker Bonus

Another way that American Poker V video poker gives you a little something extra is through the use of a little bonus feature. It comes into play whenever you draw a pair of high cards but don’t end up with a winning hand.

As we mentioned above and we’ll show you when we get to the pay tables for American Poker V video poker, you don’t get payback for a pair of jacks or higher. This bonus is a way to make up for this.

In the top right of the American Poker V video poker screen, you’ll see a car with a number next to it. This number rises every time you manage one of the qualifying hands. It rises by whatever amount was the size of your original bet.

For Example:

If you’re betting ten coins per hand, the number will go from 10, to 20, to 30, and so on, each time that you get a qualifying hand. Your goal is to get that number up to ten times whatever the maximum bet might be. In this example, it would be 100 coins.

This gives you a little bit of an incentive for betting more per hand, because you’ll get to the bonus quicker. And once you get that number to its maximum limit, you win that bonus with your next qualifying hand.

Keep in mind that the qualifying hands cannot be winning hands.

Hand 1:

Four of Clubs, Four of Hearts, Ten of Spades, King of Diamonds, King of Clubs

Hand 2:

Nine of Spades, Ace of Diamonds, Two of Clubs, King of Diamonds, King of Clubs

In both of these hands, you have a pair of kings, which meets the American Poker V video poker of a pair of jacks or higher. But Hand 1 does not qualify because it features two pair, which is a winning combination. Hand 2 does qualify and will raise the number on the bonus screen.

Once you hit the coin limit on the bonus screen, the next time you make one of the qualifying hands, you’ll get the bonus. Usually, it comes out to payback that’s a little higher than what you would expect from a flush on an American Poker V video poker game. When you earn the bonus, it resets, and you start the process over again.

This bonus feature gives you incentive to play American Poker V video poker often. As you keep playing, you’ll earn the bonus almost without really trying for it. And it helps to offset the larger betting requirements.

Pay Table and Payback Percentage for American Poker V Video Poker

Throughout this article, we’ve talked about how the extra bet to access the draw can be damaging to your bankroll. But the big way that American Poker V video poker makes up for that is through the use of an aggressive pay table.

The pay table shows how much you’ll win depending on the winning hand you make and the amount you bet. It is a crucial piece of information for any video poker player. Pay tables will push you in the right direction for correct strategy, since you should always be basing your decisions, in part, on your potential winnings.

Let’s see what the main pay table in place for American Poker V video poker looks like:

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Five of a kind 800 1,600 2,400 3,200 4,000
Royal flush 400 800 1,200 1,600 2,000
Straight flush 100 200 300 400 500
Four of a kind 40 80 120 160 200
Full house 12 24 36 48 60
Flush 9 18 27 36 45
Straight 7 14 21 28 35
Three of a kind 5 10 15 20 25
Two pairs 3 6 9 12 15

Now, for the sake of comparison, let’s have a look at the pay table for the full-pay (highest-paying) version of Jacks or Better, the most common format found in the world of video poker.

Jacks or Better Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Comparing the two, you might first notice that there are winning hands on one table that aren’t on the other. In the case of American Poker V video poker, there’s a five of a kind hand that actually pays more than anything else. A five of a kind is impossible in Jacks or Better, because you need a wild card to achieve it.

Meanwhile, the Jacks or Better game pays off for a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces, which is the source of its name. You won’t get paid back for a pair of jacks or higher in American Poker V video poker. But those hands do help your chances of reaching the bonus, so they’re not completely worthless.

Other than that, the American Poker V video poker comes out on top in just about every area. Only the royal flush pays more on the Jacks or Better pay table than it does on the other. All other hands receive a good deal more payback when you’re playing American Poker V.

But you have to remember that the extra bet you’ll need to get to the winning hand somewhat lessens the impact of the better pay table in American Poker V video poker. In fact, as you’ll see, it significantly damages its payback percentage.

Payback Percentage

Percent Sign in Front of MoneyPayback percentage is an important factor for serious video poker players. It doesn’t matter as much to casual players, since their results will be more affected by luck. But those who play the game often can tell, from the payback percentage, how much they can expect to make from a given video poker variation.

In the case of American Poker V video poker, the payback percentage sits at 95.96%, which puts the house edge at 4.04%. To look at it another way, if you started with a bankroll of $10,000 and bet every cent of it during a session with this game, you could expect to walk away with, on average, $9,596. It would be a loss of $444.

How does that compare to other video poker games? Well in the case of the Jacks or Better pay table listed above, the payback percentage is 99.54%.

We usually recommend only those video poker games that come in at over 99%. With a percentage that high, you can overcome any losses you might incur with loyalty rewards offered by online casinos.

With a percentage under 96%, you likely won’t be able to achieve a long-term profit playing American Poker V video poker. As a result, it’s probably not a good option for serious players.

But if you’re a casual player who is looking for a little something different from an online video poker game, it might be what you’re seeking. This is especially true if you like the idea of high payback in a hurry. After all, you can get that kind of payback from either the five of a kind or the royal flush on the American Poker V video poker pay table.

Strategy for American Poker V Video Poker

Whenever you play video poker, no matter what type of game it might be, you should try to do so with ideal strategy lined up. Doing so will ensure that you maximize your potential payback over the long haul.

In the case of American Poker V video poker, there is an extra level of strategy added to the picture. In most video poker games, you’d just have to worry about deciding which cards you want to hold and discard. But in this game, you have to do that only after first deciding if the hand is worth pursuing.

Each decision needs to be the mathematically correct one. If not, your payback percentage will be negatively affected.

As a result, you have to come up with a way to account for this extra strategic level. Here is one suggestion to do that.

To Draw or Not to Draw

Imagine that you were playing normal video poker and came upon a deal without a lot of promise. In that case, you might be tempted to discard all five cards.

Well, if that scenario comes up in American Poker V video poker, you should probably decline the draw and move on to the next hand. It would make no sense to try and preserve the hand by holding a single card that might or might not help you once the draw comes.

Once you’ve decided on this strategy, you can then move forward with learning the right plays for all deals. If it’s deal where you would normally discard everything, don’t take the draw. But if it’s one where you’d be holding a few cards, you should pay for the draw.

How to you learn which cards to discard and hold? Here are the two best methods.

Video Poker Training Software

By using video poker training software, you can learn the correct plays through practice. Each time you’re faced with a tough decision about what to do with a hand, the software will push you in the right direction. After a while, there won’t be any more tough decisions, because you’ll have learned all the right plays.

Remember to adjust for the special nature of American Poker V video poker. If you come upon a deal where the suggestion is to discard everything, you should make that down as one where you don’t pay for the draw.

Strategy Charts

Strategy charts are great for those who do really well with memorization. Once you memorize the information on a strategy chart, you’ll know the right play in every situation. You just have to be able to summon that information when needed.

On a strategy chart, every possible combination of cards you might receive on the deal will be ranked. These rankings are based on the expected value created by these cards. By knowing the most valuable combination in your hand, you’ll know what to hold.

American Poker V Video Poker Pros and Cons


  • Playing often puts you closer to the bonus
  • The pay table gives excellent odds on most hands
  • With a wild card you can attain rare hands

  • Having to bet on the draw puts stress on your bankroll
  • The strategy gets trickier because of the extra decision you have to make
  • No direct payback for high pair will raise the volatility

American Poker V Video Poker Conclusion

American Poker V video poker delivers enough of a twist on normal video poker play to be intriguing. Betting twice just to see the draw might be annoying to some. But the different look and feel of the game, along with the potential for big payouts in a hurry, can make up for a lot of those concerns.