Complete Bonus Video Poker Guide

Bonus Video Poker represents an interesting twist on basic video poker that can be found as a part of online gaming sites. Instead of discarded cards being eliminated, they return to the draw deck in this game. If you should draw one of your discarded cards, you receive a slight bonus.

The world of video poker is filled with great variety. Walk into any casino and you’re likely to find dozens of video poker games in a particular section. You’ll notice that there are slight differences in each, whether it’s the pay tables or special features added to the game.

Bonus PokerWhen it comes to online video poker, that variety is amplified. There are video poker variations that are unique to the online realm. Bonus Video Poker is one of those games.

It’s important to understand that Bonus Video Poker is not the same as the common variation of the game called Bonus Poker. Bonus Poker is a specific pay table played the same way as most video poker games. This pay table is characterized by higher than normal payoffs for four of a kind hands when compared to Jacks or Better, which is the most common video poker pay table.

Instead, Bonus Video Poker, the online-only game that is available in multiple play mode, distinguishes itself by a small quirk in gameplay. When you play most video poker games, you get a choice to hold cards or discard them from your five-card hand. Normally, the cards you discard are out of play and you can’t get them back into your hand when you draw new cards to fill out our hand.

But Bonus Video Poker changes that. When you discard cards in this format, they go back into the draw deck where they’re randomly shuffled with the other 47 cards still in there. And when you draw new cards, you have the chance of getting those cards back in your hand.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a good thing. After all, you discarded them for a reason. You won’t form a winning hand by getting these cards back, since the cards you held probably don’t connect with them very well.

Bonus Video Poker softens the blow by adding a bonus payback if you do receive one of these cards in your hand once again. And if you get more than one of them back, you’ll receive a bonus for each. It can take some of the sting away from the lost hand.

Because of this feature, Bonus Video Poker minimizes the volatility somewhat, since you’d be losing the full bet less than you would if you were playing normally. The game also offers a nice variety of pay tables, including wild cards. You can even find a form of the game with a progressive jackpot.

The downside of this game is that you won’t form winning hands quite as often because the discarded cards will be a hindrance. Also, having those cards as part of the deck means you’ll have less of a chance of drawing the cards you need to win. You’ll have to decide if these trade-offs are worth it when you decide whether or not to play Bonus Video Poker.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Bonus Video Poker. We’ll explain how to play a hand, how multiple play works, and how the twist in play affects the game. Finally, we’ll talk about the pay tables and strategy associated with this unique online variation on video poker.

The Lure of Video Poker

Video poker is a game that is loved by millions around the world who seek the game out in casinos or as part of gambling websites. As we said above, Bonus Video Poker is one of a new breed of online-only games. It’s a fascinating new twist on the esteemed game.

It’s likely that some of the people who are reading this page are only vaguely associated with video poker. You might not even be aware of the what the game has to offer, perhaps thinking that it’s just like every other casino game. And most casino games seem to be stacked against you, so you might think video poker is similar.

In actuality, video poker is extremely friendly to gamblers, especially when compared to other casino games. You’ll realize when you start to play that the game possesses similarities to both table games and slot machines. It takes most of the best aspects of those games and leaves out the negative stuff.

Let’s take a look at a list of all the advantages you’ll derive from playing video poker:

  • You can play video poker at a machine or online by yourself. There’s no need for interaction with other players or casino employees. It’s a hassle-free experience that ensures your privacy while gambling.
  • You can learn to play in a very short time. Even complete newcomers should be able to handle the rhythm of play after a few sample hands. Those with poker experience will pick it up immediately.
  • You can play video poker in many different ways. Even within a single game like Bonus Video Poker you get to choose the pay table you like best and how many hands at a time you wish to play. As a result, you can find the way to play that fits what you’re seeking.
  • You can use strategy to help you win at video poker. Don’t confuse video poker with slot machines, where there is no strategy involved. The better you are at making the right decisions when playing video poker, the more likely it is that you’ll do well.
  • You can find out everything you need to know about video poker from the pay table. It will tell you how much each winning hand pays. Combine that information with the probabilities of making those winning hands and you’ll be able to tell how much a given video poker game pays back in an average session.
  • You can make a profit playing video poker. While you can say that about any casino game if you get lucky, video poker is one of the few games where you can actually expect a profit if you do the right things. Very few casino games can make that claim.
  • You can play online and not miss out on anything. Bonus Video Poker is an online-only version of the game. When you play it at one of the top gambling websites, you’ll have pretty much the same experience you would when playing a video poker game in a casino.

Knowing all of this, you can start to understand why video poker is so possible. Let’s start to break down how Bonus Video Poker is played.

Playing Bonus Video Poker

Step 1: Creating a Bankroll

When you’re playing online, as you will be with Bonus Video Poker, you’ll have to create a bankroll by signing up for an account at the website of your choice. You’ll then fund that account via a credit card or perhaps alternative methods, depending on the website. Once you’ve done that, you’ll allot a certain amount for the session of video poker you plan to play.

This will allow you to make wagers and collect your winnings, all in units known as credits, or coins. These units will be tied into the denomination that you’re playing. For example, one credit in a 25-cent game is worth 25 cents, two credits are worth 50 cents, and so on.

Step 2: Make Your Bet

You can bet between one and five credits per hand on any of the pay tables available to you on a Bonus Video Poker machine. But keep in mind that it is a game offered in Triple Play, Five Play, or Ten Play. And you’ll have to make wagers for each hand that you choose to play.

The ideal way to play the game is to bet five credits per hand, also known as the max bet. Using max bet will bring about the highest payback percentage, which is what you should be striving for when playing Bonus Video Poker. This is due to the payback for the royal flush, which goes up a great deal from one through four coins bet to five coins bet.

Here’s what it would take to make the max bet for each of the multiple play modes available on Bonus Video Poker.

  • Three hands = 15 coins
  • Five hands = 25 coins
  • Ten hands = 50 coins

Betting less than the maximum amount will actually hurt your payback percentage. And, when playing the Super Jackpot pay table on Bonus Video Poker, it takes you out of the running for the progressive jackpot. It’s better to adjust the denomination and still use the max bet.

Step 3: Play a Hand

As we said earlier, Bonus Video Poker comes in multiple play mode only. We’ll explain that in the next section. First, it’s a good idea to learn how to play a basic hand, since that will be the foundation for multiple play anyway.

The rhythm of play for Bonus Video Poker, where you get a five-card deal, hold the cards you want to keep, discard the ones that you don’t want, and then draw new cards to replace the discarded ones, mimics the card game known as Five-Card Draw Poker. Video poker as a whole is played that way.

As we’ll show you, there is one major difference in Bonus Video Poker, which comes on the discard. But first, we’ll tell you how winning hands are formed. Although some pay tables are a bit different, for the most part, these are the winning hands you’ll be trying to achieve:

  • 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)

This list goes from least-paying hands on the top to highest-paying on the bottom. As you move down the list, your chances of achieving the winning combinations get smaller and smaller. In other words, the less chance you have of achieving a hand, the more it pays.

When you make your wager and hit the “deal” button, you’ll receive five cards on the screen. These cards will come from a simulated version of a standard deck of 52 cards. Your chances of receiving any of these cards are completely random from hand to hand.

You have to take a look at the cards you have and see what they look like compared to the winning combinations above. The next step is to decide which cards, if any, are worth holding onto for your final hand, knowing you’re trying to make a winning combination. Other cards in the deal can be discarded.

This is where Bonus Video Poker starts to differ from other video poker games. In most video poker games, the discarded cards are out of play. You’d be drawing new cards from a deck of 47, which is the original 52 minus the five you were dealt, to replace the discarded ones, hoping to make the best five-card hand.

But in Bonus Video Poker, the discarded cards go back into the deck for the draw. That will add to the number of cards in the draw deck. Take a look at the possibilities:

  • 0 cards discarded = 47 cards in the deck
  • 1 card discarded = 48 cards in the deck
  • 2 cards discarded = 49 cards in the deck
  • 3 cards discarded = 50 cards in the deck
  • 4 cards discarded = 51 cards in the deck
  • 5 cards discarded = 52 cards in the deck

As you can see, the number of cards that you discard will have an effect on your chances of drawing other cards. For example, imagine that you were hoping for a heart in the draw because you already have four hearts in your hand and want to make a flush.

Normally, in this situation, there would be nine hearts left in the deck out of 47 total. But in Bonus Video Poker, whatever card you discarded that isn’t a heart, would return to the deck. As a result, you’d have nine possible heart draws out of 48 cards, instead of 47.

When you look at it that way, you might think that this twist in Bonus Video Poker is a bad thing. But the game compensates. Any time that you draw one of the cards you discarded, you’ll receive a bonus.

This bonus is a percentage of whatever you bet originally. Here are the percentage amounts based on the pay tables available:

  • Jacks or Better = 16%
  • Double Bonus = 18%
  • Deuces Wild = 19.5%
  • Joker Poker = 18.5%
  • Super Jackpot = 20%
  • Tens or Better = 18%
  • All American = 22%

Let’s imagine how this might work. Imagine that you were playing the Super Jackpot pay table and you bet five coins per hand on a Triple Play game for a 15-coin wager.

When you play out the round of Bonus Video Poker, you end up getting three of your discards back in your hands on the draw. 20% of 15 is 3, which means that you’ll get three coins back on top of any winnings that you may achieve.

This little twist helps to atone for the fact that you’re actually facing less chance of getting a winning hand with the discards going back into the deck. And it also might affect your decision-making somewhat.

There might be times where you throw back more cards in the hopes of possibly getting this small bonus. The special feature of Bonus Video Poker affects the risk and reward balance somewhat.

In any case, when you make your decision about what to hold and what to discard, you’ll press the buttons corresponding to the cards you wish to hold. When you press the draw button, the draw takes place to finish the hand.

Now that we can understand how a single hand works in this unusual format, we can explain the multiple play aspect of Bonus Video Poker.

Playing Multiple Hands of Bonus Video Poker

As we showed you in the wagering section, you have to wager on each of the hands that you choose to play. You can choose three, five, or ten hands of Bonus Video Poker.

The main thing you have to understand about multiple play poker is that you’ll still only get a single deal that will be the basis for the multiple hands. You’ll make decisions on that deal just as you would a single hand.

The draws then take place from multiple decks with the same cards in them. How many cards in those decks will depend on how many cards you choose to discard from the deal, as per the rules of Bonus Video Poker. Each draw from these decks is completely random and unrelated to the other draws.

Let’s take a look at an example hand to see how this works. Imagine that you were playing on a Super Jackpot pay table and were playing three hands of Bonus Video Poker at once. Here is the deal that you receive:

Four of Spades, Four of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, King of Diamonds

There are several ways you can approach this deal. You could hold onto the pair of fours, which would mean three discards. On the draw, you’d have a shot at two pair, three of a kind, a full house, or four of a kind.

You could also go for the flush draw. That would mean dropping only the four of spades, which would go back into the deck. Your chances of drawing the flush would be 9 in 48, or a little worse than 1 in 5.

Finally, you could try for the royal flush by holding on to the jack, queen and king of diamonds. That would also leave you open for just about every other winning combination on the pay table. But you’d need the draw to be just right for it to happen.

Let’s say that you go for the last option and hold onto the jack, queen and king of diamonds. When you press the hold buttons, you’ll see these cards lock into place for all three lines of video poker on the screen. The other spots will remain open to be filled in on the draw.

Take a look at how this might play out:

Hand 1:

Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, King of Diamonds

Hand 2:

Four of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, King of Diamonds

Hand 3:

Four of Spades, Four of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, King of Diamonds

In Hand 1, you ended up with three of a kind. Hand 2 provided you with a flush. Unfortunately, Hand 3 was a bust.

You might also notice that you received three cards that you discarded on the draws. In Hand 2, the four of diamonds return, while in Hand 3, both fours returned. That entitles you to a 20% bonus on the total wager on Hand 2 and 40% bonus on Hand 3 (since you drew two of those discarded cards in that one).

Adding it all up, with payback amounts based on the Super Jackpot pay table:

  • Hand 1: Three of a kind = 15 coins
  • Hand 2: Flush = 25 coins
  • Hand 3: Nothing = 0 coins
  • Hand 2 Bonus: 20% of 5 coins = 1 coin
  • Hand 3 Bonus: 40% of 5 coins = 2 coins

Your total winnings for this round of Bonus Video Poker are 43 coins. Minus the 15-coin bet, you came away with a profit of 28 coins.

What you’ll find with a good deal in multiple play poker is that you have a good chance of seeing your winnings take a big jump. By contrast, a bad deal will hurt your payroll much more than if you were playing a single hand at a time. In other words, multiple play ups the volatility of the game.

The more hands you play per round, the higher the volatility of Bonus Video Poker will be. To fight against the volatility, you should try to boost your beginning bankroll. This will help combat the chances of you losing your entire bankroll during a particularly rough slump.

Pay Tables and Payback Percentages for Bonus Video Poker

The pay tables of a particular video poker game should dictate your strategy. You’ll base your decisions about what to hold and discard on how much each winning hand pays.

In addition, pay tables will also help to indicate how lucrative a particular variation might be. The payback percentage, which can be derived from the pay tables, demonstrates what a certain game will pay back to a gambler on average. The higher the percentage, the more valuable the game is for serious video poker players.

In terms of Bonus Video Poker, you have several different pay tables from which to choose. They include common games like Jacks or Better or more obscure versions of the game like All American Poker. You can also find games with wild cards, such as Deuces Wild and Joker Poker, with the Bonus Video Poker twist added to them.

What you might find when you see the Bonus Video Poker pay tables is that some of the winning hands are discounted a bit. This is to help balance out payback when the bonus for drawing cards you already discarded is factored into the equation.

For example, take a look at the Jacks or Better pay table available on Bonus Video Poker games:

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 40 80 120 160 200
Four of a kind 20 40 60 80 100
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

Now compare it to the “full-pay” version of Jacks or Better that you can find in casinos:

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

You can see how the full-pay table awards more for the straight flush and four of a kind hands than does the Bonus Video Poker version of it. It’s something to consider as you think of the strategy that you’ll have to employ playing the game.

The payback percentage for the Jacks or Better pay table found on Bonus Video Poker games sits at around 98.5%. That’s a little less than the preferred threshold of 99% that we recommend for video poker games.

At a payback percentage higher than 99%, you would only be losing less than 1% of your bankroll during an average session. Such losses could be overcome by adding in the loyalty bonuses often handed out by online casinos for loyal play. You could actually hope to make a profit.

With that in mind, the best games to play under the Bonus Video Poker banner are Joker Poker and Super Jackpot. Joker Poker brings in 99.4% for the player. And Super Jackpot brings in just over 100% payback, making it the rare gambling option that removes the house edge even before loyalty rewards are factored into it.

One note about the Super Jackpot game, however, is that it features a progressive jackpot that’s tied to the royal flush. An online casino will keep raising the jackpot when people play the game and don’t hit it. Once it is hit, the player wins whatever the jackpot specifies at that point and the jackpot is then reset.

The 100% payback for that game is based on a hypothetical average jackpot payoff. If you play the game shortly after the jackpot has been hit and it hasn’t risen much from its original level, it will lower your payback percentage below that 100% level. For that reason, try to time your play at this specific Bonus Video Poker pay table for when the progressive jackpot is at a solid level.

Here are the pay tables available to you on a Bonus Video Poker game, in addition to the Jacks or Better table listed above:

Double Bonus Poker 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 (aces) 160 320 480 640 800
Four of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) 80 160 240 320 400
Four of a kind (any other) 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 7 14 21 28 35
Straight 5 10 15 20 25
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Deuces Wild Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Four deuces 200 400 600 800 1,000
Wild royal flush 20 40 60 80 100
Five of a kind 15 30 45 60 75
Straight flush 9 18 27 36 45
Four of a kind 4 8 12 16 20
Full house 4 8 12 16 20
Flush 3 6 9 12 15
Straight 2 4 6 8 10
Three of a kind 1 2 3 4 5

Joker Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Five of a kind 200 400 600 800 1,000
Wild royal flush 100 200 300 400 500
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind 18 36 54 72 90
Full house 7 14 21 28 35
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 3 6 9 12 15
Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Kings or better 1 2 3 4 5

Super Jackpot Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 Jackpot
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 8 16 24 32 40
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
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

Tens or Better Full-Pay 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 20 40 60 80 100
Full house 6 12 18 24 30
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Tens or better 1 2 3 4 5

All American 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 90 180 270 360 450
Four of a kind 35 70 105 140 175
Full house 8 16 24 32 40
Flush 8 16 24 32 40
Straight 8 16 24 32 40
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Strategy for Bonus Video Poker

The idea behind video poker strategy is to make the right mathematical choice about each possible hold and discard for every single hand that you play. Each hand will present you with 32 different combination of holds and discards. There is a single one of those 32 that maximizes the value of that particular deal.

Figuring that out even in a basic video poker game isn’t easy. But Bonus Video Poker makes it even trickier. And that’s because of the twist to the game.

First of all, the discards returned to the deck will slightly alter the percentages of drawing winning hands, which thus alters the strategy. You also have to factor in the slight bonuses that you might receive from getting a discard back on the draw.

On top of that, you have to realize that each specific pay table brings its own unique strategy set to the table. For example, a deal on a Jacks or Better table might require a much different set of holds and discards than the same exact deal on a Double Bonus pay table.

In the case of the Super Jackpot pay table, you also have to take into account the size of the progressive jackpot. As it rises, it becomes wiser and wiser to go for the royal flush on deals where you would normally go in another direction.

All of that might make learning strategy for Bonus Video Poker seem daunting. But you have to realize that playing the game with imperfect strategy will harm your expected payback percentage in the long run. You have to make the effort if you plan on playing at a high level.

Trying to do this on your own is probably more you can handle. Especially when you consider the possibilities that come up and the difficult math involved. Luckily, there are resources where the math is already done for you.

First of all, decide on which pay table you’re going to play with the most regularity. That will save you from having to learn information on so many different pay tables.

Once you’ve done that, we suggest the following methods for learning expert strategy for Bonus Video Poker.

Video Poker Training Software

If you buy the right software, you can tailor the instruction to the game you’re playing. You can also program in the twist to the game that Bonus Video Poker provides. Make sure to look for software that can do all of this, or else you could end up wasting your money.

Once you have all this in place, you can play sample hands just as if you were playing for real. You’ll be faced with decisions about what to hold and discard, and the software will point you in right direction. After you’ve practiced like this for a while, you should be able to play or real and not make any mistakes.

Strategy Charts

A strategy chart ranks all of the combinations of cards you can possibly receive on the deal in terms of their potential value on the draw. By identifying the combination in your deal that’s most valuable, you’ll know what to hold. And you’ll be able to repeat this process for every single deal.

The key to using a strategy chart is making sure that you’ve found one online specifically made for Bonus Video Poker. You then have to memorize it so that you can process all the information. That would allow you to achieve perfect play.

Bonus Video Poker Pros and Cons


  • You can salvage some losing hands with the bonus for drawing a discarded card
  • Several pay tables offer excellent payback percentages
  • Many different pay tables can be played with the Bonus Video Poker twist

  • Harder to make winning hands because of the twist
  • Winning hands are discounted often to account for the bonus on discarded cards
  • Strategy can be extremely difficult to learn

Conclusion on Bonus Video Poker

Bonus Video Poker makes for an online video poker diversion with a nice little twist to it. It might be difficult to get a grasp on getting discarded cards back in your hand, especially if you’re used to playing video poker the old-fashioned way. But you can make excellent payback if you strategize with this in mind and choose one of the more lucrative pay tables available to you.