Learning How to Play Five Aces Video Poker

Five Aces video poker lives up to its name by including a special fifth ace in the deck to create potential winning hands that are different from many other video poker games. If you like the idea of possibly getting a hand with a five of a kind made up entirely of aces, this game is certainly for you. In addition, it plays very similarly to other video poker variations, meaning that it won’t be a hard game to learn.

New variations of video poker are always popping up, both online and in casinos. The reason for this is that many players want something different than the basic Jacks or Better game that has become the standard for video poker. By switching up the way the game is played or how certain hands are played, gamblers can enjoy a new and exciting experience.

5 Aces

Pay tables are often adjusted to achieve this effect. In some cases, wild cards are introduced into the mix so that players have the opportunity to make hands that they might have little chance to make if they were playing a normal game. And there are even variations of video poker which allow players to get bonus spins or even multipliers for their potential winnings.

Five Aces video poker achieves a bit of novelty by doing just what its name implies. Instead of having four aces in a 52-card deck, as is normally the case, this game is played with a simulated 53-card deck, with the extra card being a fifth ace. This fifth ace, when it shows up on the screen, has its own special suit: a star, which separates it from the hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds in the deck.

Keep in mind that this fifth ace is not a wild card, as would be the case in Joker Poker, another video poker game with 53 cards in the mix. But Five Aces video poker does put the possibility of five aces in a single hand in play, while also increasing your chances for two, three, or even four aces. For those who get excited about the possibility of seeing a lot of aces in their hand, this is a real bonus.

Five Aces video poker does not significantly alter your odds of winning compared to other video poker games. In addition, while the game is popular online, you might have a hard time finding the most advantageous pay tables in brick-and-mortar casinos. As a result, you might end up playing a version that doesn’t quite match up to other, more commonly-found video poker games.

In the following article, we’ll examine Five Aces video poker and compare it to other forms of video poker. Along those lines, we’ll take a close look at the pay tables and payback percentages to show how the game stacks up to others of its kind. And we’ll examine how you can learn strategy so that you can maximize your winnings while playing this game.

Playing Video Poker

The basic gameplay for Five Aces video poker is no different than most other forms of video poker, including Jacks or Better, which is the most common version of the game. You’re basically playing a simulated version of Five-Card Draw, which is often played by people recreationally at home with a standard 52-card deck. Video poker takes this game and translates it into the casino, or website experience.

Let’s walk you through how you might play Five Aces video poker if you came upon it online or in an actual casino. That way we can then start to show how it separates itself from other games like it. Here is the step-by-step process:

Step 1: Creating Your Bankroll

If you want to win money playing Five Aces video poker, you’ll have to risk some money as well. This money is known as your bankroll. To create your bankroll, simply insert money into the machine or, if playing at a website, fund your account.

Keep in mind that most machines will only allow you to play at a certain denomination, such as a dollar or a quarter. Each unit of denomination is equal to one credit, or coin, in the machine. For example, if you put in a $10 bill to play a $1 machine, you will have ten credits with which to play.

You should try to judge your bankroll by how long you want to play and whether or not the game is volatile or not (more on that when we get to pay tables).

Step 2: Making a Bet

When playing Five Aces video poker, you’ll have the chance to bet between one and five credits. In most cases, we would recommend that you bet the maximum amount per hand. That is because the payoff for a royal flush at five coins is at a much higher proportion than it is for one through coins played.

That is not the case, however, with Five Aces video poker. As a matter of fact, there is even a hand that outdoes the royal flush on the pay table for this game, as you’ll see.

Still, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of playing the max bet per hand, or else you might make the mistake of betting less on a machine where that practice could hurt your chances of winning.

Step 3: Playing the Hand

Poker Hand
As we said above, Five Aces video poker mimics other video poker in terms of its gameplay. And video poker, in turn, mimics Five-Card Draw Poker. If you know that game, the actual gameplay of Five Aces video poker will be a snap for you.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s how it works. Five cards will be dealt to you and will appear on the machine or computer screen.

This is your hand. Ideally, your hand will be something that either is close to or actually makes one of the following winning hands:

  • Pair
  • Two pair
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight (five consecutive cards)
  • Flush (five cards of the same suit)
  • Full house (three of a kind of one card and a pair of another)
  • Straight flush (five consecutive cards of the same suit)
  • Royal flush (ten through ace of the same suit)
  • Five aces

If your hand is already a winner, you might want to keep it as is. But, more than likely, it will either fall short of a winning hand, or it might be able to be improved. That’s where the draw round comes into play.

Let’s take a look at how this might work. Imagine that you received the following five cards on the deal.

Three of Spades, Four of Hearts, Six of Hearts, Six of Diamonds, Seven of Hearts

There are a number of possible winning hands here, even though the deal, as it is, does not provide you with a winning hand. There are a pair of sixes, four cards to a straight, and three cards to a flush. It’s your task to decide how to proceed.

This is one of the reasons that people prefer video poker to slot machines. Real money slot machines don’t give you any chance to employ any strategy. But video poker actually gives you the opportunity to influence whether or not you win by the choices you make.

On top of that, you have probabilities to lean on when you make these choices. Playing a slot machine, you have no idea what your chances are of getting a winning spin. You just have to hope that you get a little bit of luck at your machine.

But with Five Aces video poker and other forms of video poker, probabilities come into play. For example, you know that you have a one in 24 chance of drawing another six with your next card. After all, there are two remaining in the deck, which still has 48 cards in it after the deal (remember it had 53 to start with the extra ace).

If you’re thinking about making the straight flush, you know that you’ll need to draw either the two and five of hearts or the five and seven of hearts. The draw for the straight requires you to hit one of the four fives in the deck, which gives you a one in twelve chance.

You then have to measure those probabilities against how much you would make for each of those potential winning hands. That is how you make the decision about which cards to discard and which to hold. The cards that you discard will be replaced with cards from the remainder of the deck.

Let’s assume you decide to keep the pair of sixes. That means that you’ll be discarding the three of spades, four of hearts, and seven of hearts. You would then hit the “Hold” button below the sixes and wait to see what the draw brings you.

Here is an example of what might come up:

Two of Diamonds, Two of Clubs, Six of Hearts, Six of Diamonds, Six of Clubs

You really lucked out on the draw, making a full house. Of course, on another draw, you might come up empty and end up a loser. The best you can do is to measure all of your possibilities and make the best mathematical play (more on that when we get to strategy).

In any case, that’s basically the way that you play a hand of Five Aces video poker. You can keep playing as long as you have the credits remaining. Alternatively, you can cash out and take the redemption ticket if you’re playing in a casino.

The Fifth Ace

The big difference in Five Aces video poker is the presence of a fifth ace in the deck, which includes 53 cards instead of the standard 52. Obviously, the big change is that brings into play the possibility of your coming up with five aces in a single hand. Normally, five of a kind is only a possibility in games that include a wild card.

It’s important to note that the fifth ace here is not a wild card. Instead, it can only act in the role of an ace, either as part of a set, a straight, or as a kicker. And, because it’s its own suit, it can’t be part of any flush, straight flush, or royal flush.

Still, the presence of that fifth ace creates an interesting dynamic in gameplay. Knowing that there is an extra ace out there should also play into your strategy. Having that fifth ace gives Five Aces video poker an extra sense of excitement for players.

Pay Tables for Five Aces Video Poker

A pay table is a crucial piece of information for any video poker player. Those who play slot machines might be familiar with the concept, as there are pay tables attached to the slots as well. But the problem there is that you have no way of knowing the probability of getting a spin that pays off the listed amount.

But probabilities are a part of the deal with Five Aces video poker. There are only 53 cards in the deck, meaning that winning hands will come up in somewhat predictable fashion. That information should be the basis for your strategy for the game.

The pay table, on the surface, shows you how much each winning hand pays compared to how much you bet. Let’s take a look at a pay table for Five Aces video poker.

This is for the version known as Double Double Bonus, and it’s also the highest-paying version of this game. That means that it’s the game that will pay the gambler back at the highest level, on average.

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Five aces 1200 2400 3600 4800 6000
Royal flush 800 1600 2400 3200 4000
Straight flush 100 200 300 400 500
Four aces w/ 2 to 4 400 800 1200 1600 2000
Four 2 to 4 w/ A to 4 160 320 480 640 800
Four A w/ 5 to K 160 320 480 640 800
Four 2 to 4 w/ 5 to K 80 160 240 320 400
Four 5 to K 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two Pair 1 2 3 4 5
Pair of Aces 1 2 3 4 5

First, you have to learn how to read this pay table. You just have to follow the hand row over to where it meets up with the bet column. Using our example above where you drew a full house, and assuming that you played the maximum bet of five coins, you would end up with a payout of 45 credits, which is a 40-credit profit once you take away your original bet.

You might also notice that there are specific payouts for four of a kind payouts with certain “kicker” cards. A kicker is the fifth card in the hand that is not included in the four of a kind. For example, take the following hand:

Four of Diamonds, Four of Hearts, Four of Clubs, Four of Spades, Seven of Diamonds

In that hand, the seven of diamonds is the kicker. You can see from the pay table above that the most valuable kickers to have are the ace, two, three, or four.

The one thing that veteran video poker players will notice is that Five Aces video poker is one of the few games that has a hand that pays out more than the royal flush. Naturally, that hand is the five aces hand, which is just as hard to achieve during gameplay as the royal flush. Yet the royal flush still pays out at the level to which most are accustomed if they’re familiar with games like Jacks or Better.

What you also might notice is that this game, on the whole, aggressively rewards four of a kind hands. This is common in Bonus-type pay tables. It gives people more chances at high payouts on a single hand, which plays to gamblers who want the chance to walk away with big winnings in a hurry.

Of course, the machine makes up for that by reducing payouts on the low end of the pay table. For example, on a Jacks or Better pay table, a three of a kind pays off 3 to 1, and two pair pays off at 2 to 1. You’ll also note that this pay table only awards even money for a pair of aces, as opposed to most games which allow that payback for a pair of jacks or better.

What all that means is that relatively common hands won’t get you as much in this version of Five Aces video poker. You will have a hard time sustaining your bankroll for a long period of time if you don’t come up with one of the high-paying hands. As a result, you will either have to come with a bigger bankroll or run the risk of losing your entire stake.

That is why this game is known as a volatile one among video poker machines. Volatile machines give you the chance for high payouts but also increase your so-called “risk or ruin.” Your temperament and bankroll will likely help you decide if you can make that trade-off.

Keep in mind that there are other pay tables that you might come upon for this game that dial down the aggressive nature of the pay table. The following are the full-pay versions of Double Bonus and Jacks or Better with the five aces twist added on:

Double Bonus Five Aces Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Five aces 1200 2400 3600 4800 6000
Royal flush 800 1600 2400 3200 4000
Straight flush 100 200 300 400 500
Four aces 160 320 480 640 800
Four 2 to 4 80 160 240 320 400
Four 5 to K 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 8 16 24 32 40
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two Pair 1 2 3 4 5
Pair of Aces 1 2 3 4 5

Jacks or Better Five Aces Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Five aces 1200 2400 3600 4800 6000
Royal flush 800 1600 2400 3200 4000
Straight flush 100 200 300 400 500
Four aces 80 160 240 320 400
Four 2 to 4 40 80 120 160 200
Four 5 to K 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 Pair 1 2 3 4 5
Pair of Aces 1 2 3 4 5

You’ll notice that the bottoms of these pay tables are a little more forgiving than the one for Double Double Bonus. And you can also see that kickers are eliminated and the payouts for four of a kind hands are tempered. Finally, you’ll notice that the Jacks or Better version lives up to its name by paying out starting with a pair of jacks instead of a pair of aces.

Because of these differences, these two games are less volatile than the Double Double Bonus. As a result, they are more preferable for people who like to grind it out. But keep in mind that they are still a bit more volatile than typical Jacks or Better games (without the fifth ace included) that pay out at 2 to 1 for a two pair hand.

Payback Percentages for Five Aces Video Poker

Payback Percentage in a Casino
Whenever the payout for a certain hand is altered on a pay table, that change will also alter the payback percentage. The payback percentage is a measurement for how much a gambler can expect to win (or lose) from a machine over a long period of time. It’s an important measurement for serious gamblers, as it will ultimately say how lucrative a certain game or machine is expected to be.

The payback percentage is gleaned by taking the probabilities for making each winning hand and multiplying them by the payback. Once you add up all those totals, you will come up with a number close to 100%. Any percentage above 100% means that the player can expect to profit from a machine.

Such machines are rare, or else casinos would go out of business. But if you can find a percentage of over 99%, which means that you’d be losing just a dollar for every 100 put in a machine, you should feel comfortable playing there. That is because even though you’re facing an expected loss over the long haul of playing, you can easily make that up through the rewards offered by casinos for loyalty.

Keep in Mind That

These percentages really can only be trusted as accurate once the game has been played many, many times. In a short session, luck will determine winning and losing more than anything else. But the more you play, the more your results will start to dovetail with the quoted percentage.

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to do the math to figure all this out. You just need to see the pay table and look it up online. There you will find the corresponding payback percentage for that machine.

In the case of the pay tables listed above, here is what you can expect from Five Aces video poker:

  • Double Double Bonus full-pay version: 100%
  • Double Bonus full-pay version: 99%
  • Jacks or Better full-pay version: 98%

In this case, the more volatile the game, the better the expected payout. That isn’t always the case with other video poker games, but it is here.

What you should also know is that you might also come upon versions of Five Aces video poker that offer you less than full-pay. You’ll notice this when you see the payouts for hands like the full house or flush have been lowered from where they are on the full-pay. As a result, you can expect your payback percentage to drop when you encounter those games.

Strategy for Five Aces Video Poker

The only way that you can possibly reach the payback percentages listed above is to either get lucky in the short haul or learn perfect strategy over the long haul. Those players who can play perfectly will increase their chances of winning if they play Five Aces video poker for a long period of time. But it’s important to understand what that means.

Playing perfectly means making the choices about what to hold and what to discard that will bring the highest expected value from that hand. And, just like with payback percentages, this means playing the hand many, many times. When you play it once or twice, luck can become involved.

For example, take the hand that we listed above. If you recall, the deal went like this:

Three of Spades, Four of Hearts, Six of Hearts, Six of Diamonds, Seven of Hearts

For that hand, the correct mathematical play was to hold the pair of sixes. In our hypothetical example, it worked out, and you ended up with a full house.

But what if you held those cards and drew the following:

Three of Hearts, Five of Hearts, Six of Hearts, Six of Diamonds, Nine of Clubs

Those first two cards were the ones that you needed to make the royal flush, which would have been a huge payout. Even though you played the right cards, you got the wrong result. But that’s what luck can do with a small sample size.

If you played this hand over and over into infinity, you would make the most money by holding the pair. And that’s what you need to learn for every possible combination of cards that you can be dealt if you want to achieve perfect play at Five Aces video poker.

How can you do that? Here are two ways:

  • Video Poker Training Software: This software can be purchased and then customized to mimic the play of Five Aces video poker. You would then play out hands as if you were actually playing at a machine. Whenever you make a hold and discard that is less than optimal, the machine will stop and let you know what you should have done.
  • Strategy Charts: By looking online, you can find a strategy chart that corresponds to Five Aces video poker and all the different versions. Memorizing this chart will get you to perfect play since it will show every possible combination of cards you might receive. By ranking these combinations, the chart lets you know what your best play is and which cards you can discard.

Five Aces Video Poker Pros and Cons


  • The fifth ace gives you the opportunity to make a lucrative five of a kind hand
  • Several different pay tables available to conform to your style of play
  • Gameplay is extremely easy to learn since it’s the same as basic video poker

  • No matter the version, the low pay for two pair means it’s a volatile game
  • Strategy can be tough to learn because of the addition of the fifth ace
  • You might get frustrated that the fifth ace can’t help you with flush hands

Conclusion on Five Aces Video Poker

Five Aces video poker, whether you play it at a casino or on the top gambling website of your choice, holds a lot of thrills for folks who like to see those aces come out on the deal and the draw. You’ve even got the chance for a mammoth payout with five aces, higher even than the royal flush. Just be prepared for a somewhat bumpy road due to the game’s volatile nature.