How to Play Kings or Better Poker Video Poker

Kings or Better Poker video poker adds a little bit of a twist to typical Joker Poker video poker action. As the name suggests, you need at least a pair of kings before you can claim a winning hand in this game. The addition of the wild card puts some winning hands into play that wouldn’t normally be possible without the wild cards available to you.

Video poker has proven to be one of the most gambler-friendly of all casino games. By combining many of the best elements of table games and slot machines, the game features many benefits for those playing it.

King CardThe game has also become a formidable force in the world of online gambling. Many of the top gambling websites feature a video poker section as robust as anything you could find in a casino. Simulated variations of many of the top video poker machine variations can easily be found, often offering payback that is just as strong as what you could expect from the casino.

In addition to familiar games, the world of online video poker has also grown to include twists on the game that are unique to the online sphere. These games might resemble something you could find in a casino. But they often do something different to the pay tables and rebrand the games.

As a result, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into. Kings or Better Poker video poker is an online-only version of Joker Poker or Joker’s Wild.

For those who aren’t familiar, they are played with 53 cards in the deck instead of the standard 52. The extra card is a joker, which is designated as a wild card. When you have a joker, it can be changed to the most valuable card possible.

You can imagine how that can transform your hand. With the help of a joker, you can achieve hands like a wild royal flush or five of a kind that you couldn’t possibly pull off without a wild card. It adds a new layer of excitement to typical video poker play and creates some interesting strategic challenges that expert players might enjoy.

As for Kings or Better Poker video poker, the main innovation is the fact that it’s a wild-card game where you need only a pair of kings as a minimum winning hand. Many Joker Poker games force you to achieve at least two pair before you can receive some payback. By lowering the minimum to a pair of kings, it also lowers the volatility level a great deal, which is a plus.

But you always have to remember that a video poker game that gives you a bonus is also going to take something away to compensate. In the case of Kings or Better Poker video poker, you’ll have to deal with lesser payback on hands like a full house than you would receive in games where two pair is the minimum winning hand. As a result, your overall payback might lag behind other types of Joker Poker.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Kings or Better Poker video poker. We’ll explain how basic video poker works and talk about what the inclusion of the joker does to gameplay. In addition, we’ll take a look at what you can expect in terms of payback and strategy from this online-only version of video poker.

Why Video Poker Is Popular

Whether you’re playing a game on a machine in a casino or getting it done on an online gambling site, you’re likely to find video poker to have many more benefits in store for you than other casino games. That’s why many video poker players will only play their favorite game when they decide to gamble. You won’t see them branching out, because they know how good they have it with video poker.

Kings or Better Poker video poker represents one of many twists on the basic format of the game. But as long as it follows the basic format of the game, meaning a five-card deal, a discard and a draw, the benefits will still be in place.

What are those benefits? Take a look at all you’ll get if you’re settling in for a session of video poker.

  • You can play video poker without anybody else in the picture. In other words, it’s just you and the machine or you and the online game, whatever the case may be. That means complete privacy and the freedom to play the game however you want without having to answer to anybody else.
  • You can learn to play video poker in a hurry. Even if you’re someone who has never played poker of any kind, you’ll be able to grasp the basics of the game in no time. And if you do have a little bit of a poker background, you’ll be even better-equipped to hit the ground running playing video poker.
  • You can find the video poker game that’s just right for you. The variety of video games available to you, both in casinos and as a part of gambling sites, is almost overwhelming. If you take the time to look around, you’re likely to find the game that suits your style of gambling just right.
  • You have some control of the action when playing video poker. When you’re playing slot machines, which are also one-person gambling games, you don’t have that kind of control. But with video poker, your decisions will have a direct impact on the outcome of each hand.
  • You can enjoy complete transparency when playing video poker. Nothing is hidden from you. The pay table will tell you how much you’re going to make from winning hands, and basic probability will tell you the likelihood that you’ll achieve those hands.
  • You can expect solid payback from video poker. When you compare it to slot machines, the payback for video poker easily comes out on top. And you can even expect to make more playing certain video poker variations than you would playing some of the top table games.
  • You can play video poker online and not have to worry that you’re missing out on something. Online-only games like Kings or Better Poker video poker have flourished because there is such a demand for online play. And the sights, sounds, and gameplay of video poker at online casinos are pretty much the same as if you were playing in a casino.

We hope that you now have a pretty good idea of what to expect from video poker in terms of the advantages it brings. As we look at Kings or Better Poker video poker, we first have to show you how to play a basic hand of video poker in case you’re completely new to the action. Then, we can move to on to how wild card play works.

How to Play Basic Video Poker

Step 1: The Bankroll

Your bankroll in online video poker games like Kings or Better Poker video poker will come from the gambling account that you create at the website you’re using. You can usually fund this account with credit cards, although some sites will also allow alternative funding methods like cryptocurrency. With your bankroll in place, you’ll be able to make wagers and collect your video poker winnings as you play.

Video poker bankrolls usually show up on the screen in units known as credits or coins, although that depends on the website you use. These units, however they’re labelled, will be based on the denomination you’re playing. For example, if you’re playing a denomination of 25 cents, one credit would be worth 25 cents, two would be 50 cents, and so on.

Step 2: The Bet

You might find different websites that allow you to bet in different increments when playing Kings or Better Poker video poker than what the standard format allows. But for the most part, you’ll be allowed to bet between one and five credits per hand. If you choose, you can switch up the amount you bet for each hand that you play.

In actuality, the best thing you can do when playing Kings or Better Poker video poker is to bet five credits, also known as the max bet, on every single hand. The reason for this is that the size of the bet greatly affects the payback for the royal flush. And the royal flush is the highest-paying hand in the entire game if you make the correct wager.

At one through four coins bet, a royal flush pays off 250 coins for every one that you bet. While that’s excellent return for sure, it’s nothing compared to the 800 to 1 you get for a royal flush on a five-coin bet. In other words, you’d win 4,000 coins in one fell swoop.

While you might think you’re saving your bankroll by betting less, you’re really hurting your potential payback by betting less than the max bet on every hand of Kings or Better Poker video poker that you play. If you are worried about your budget, you’re better off playing the max bet a lower denomination that simply lowering your bet at your current denomination.

Step 3: The Hand

Video poker essentially replicates the rhythm of play found in the card game known as Five-Card Draw. In both instances, you start with a five-card deal and then decide which cards to hold for your final hand and which to discard. The discarded cards are replaced by others from the deck to complete the hand.

If you play Five-Card Draw, however, you usually have to deal with several betting rounds that are a big part of the strategy. In addition, you have to beat everybody at the table. That might require either a great hand or some top-notch bluffing.

But in the case of video poker, you’re the only one at the table. That means that you don’t have to beat a bunch of people at the table. You just have to form a combination of cards that is listed as a winning one on the pay table of the game you’re playing.

In the case of Kings or Better Poker video poker, these are the combinations you’ll be trying to make:

  • Pair of kings or better
  • 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)
  • Wild royal flush (royal flush with wild card involved)
  • Five of a kind
  • Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit)

As you look at this list, keep in mind that the combinations at the top of the list will show up relatively often during gameplay. Meanwhile, the ones at the bottom will be quite rare as you play Kings or Better Poker video poker. The more you move down the list, the higher the payback becomes.

The Deal

You’ll see five cards appear on your screen when you click on the “deal” icon. These five cards will come from a simulated deck of 53 within the game’s software.

Standard decks of card contain 52 cards. But in the case of Kings or Better Poker video poker, a joker is added to the mix to make it 53. The joker is a wild card, which we’ll talk about below.

It’s important to understand the mechanics behind the deal and the draw. There is a random number generator working behind the scenes of any video poker game, shuffling the cards being used. At the moment you activate the deal, the five cards at the top of the simulated deck will appear.

The remaining 48 cards then go back into that shuffle mode until you activate the draw. At that point, the top cards will once again go into your hand. How many will depend on how many cards you discarded, if any.

Understanding this process should make you realize that every deal and draw in video poker is random. There really is no such thing as “hot” or “cold” when playing the game, even though it might seem that way at times. And you shouldn’t ever try to guess which cards are coming based on the hands that you’ve already played.

Every deal and draw is random. As a result, you should make any decisions pertaining to the hand based on probability, rather than looking for trends or patterns.

The Decision

Once you have your five-card deal in front of you, you can begin the decision-making process that will be a part of every hand. You’ll have to decide which cards to hold and which to discard.

The cards that you hold will be a part of your final hand. Sometimes, you’ll have a winning combination right off the bat, which make you want to hold the cards involved. Or you might hold cards based on what cards might come to help you on the draw.

The cards that you discard will be replaced by others from the deck. Keep in mind that you can hold your entire hand if you have a five-card combination that you don’t think can be improved. You also have the opportunity to discard all five cards if you don’t think you have anything worthwhile.

Your decision will be based on what you have in your hand and what’s left in the deck to be drawn. You’ll have to work out the probabilities you have of achieving a winning combination.

But you also have to consider the payback involved. There will be times when it makes sense to take a long shot chance at achieving a high-paying hand, even if it means more of a chance that you’ll come up empty. The risk and reward must be weighed on every hand.

The Draw

Once you’ve made your decision about what to hold and what to discard, you have to indicate which cards you intend to hold. If you don’t touch a card, you’re essentially telling the game that you want to drop it. You can then activate the “draw” icon.

The draw will replace the cards that you’ve discarded, completing the hand. At that point, the game will recognize if you’ve formed a winning combination and add any winnings accordingly. Any winnings you receive will also include your original bet, since that will have been deducted at the start of the hand.

And that’s pretty much how video poker works. Simply repeat the bet-and-play rhythm for as long as you wish to continue. If you wish to cash out and you’re playing online, you’ll have to follow the procedures of the gambling website you’re using.

We’ve explained how to play basic video poker. Now, it’s time to walk you through what happens with wild cards, since you’ll have access to a joker playing Kings or Better Poker video poker.

Wild Card Play

Wild cards really amp up the excitement of a typical video poker hand. In the case of Kings or Better Poker video poker, the joker is the lone wild card in the deck of 53.

This means that Kings or Better Poker video poker is a relatively conservative wild card game. After all, a game like Deuces Wild features four wild cards in a deck of 52.

With Kings or Better Poker video poker, you won’t see the wild card all that often. But the pay table reflects this by seeming much more similar to basic video poker than the one for Deuces Wild does.

When you receive a joker in your hand, either via the deal or the draw, while playing Kings or Better Poker video poker, it can be changed into whatever card helps your hand the most. Once you come to the end of the hand, this will happen automatically. The game will recognize the card that the joker can become to make the highest-paying winning hand possible (if it indeed can form a winning hand).

But when you receive the joker on the deal in Kings or Better Poker video poker, it’s up to you to try and speculate how it might eventually be used. This can be tricky, because you obviously don’t know what’s coming on the draw.

You’ll be holding the joker when you get it on the deal because of its value. But the difficult part is figuring out which other cards you’ll hold from your deal, if any. Let’s take a look at a sample hand to see how it works when you get a joker in Kings or Better Poker video poker.

Sample Joker Hand

Imagine that you receive the following deal when playing Kings or Better Poker video poker:

Joker, Four of Spades, Five of Spades, Six of Spades, King of Hearts

This is a case where you have a tough decision to make. Taking a look at the cards you have, you should be able to tell that you have a winning combination already in place, thanks to the presence of the joker.

You can imagine the joker being changed into a king, which would give you a pair of kings. As the name of the game suggests, a pair of kings is indeed a paying hand in Kings or Better Poker video poker. You’d be getting even-money payback (meaning the return of your original bet) if you don’t improve on the pair.

But if you decide that you want to go in that direction, you’d be dropping the other three cards. And that means the chance to improve the hand into three of a kind, a full house, four of a kind, or even five of a kind. It’s not like you would be settling for a simple pair if you decided to play the hand in this fashion.

There is another way you can go with this hand, however. If you were to hold onto the joker in addition to the four, five, and six of spades, there would be all kinds of winning possibilities open to you on the draw.

In fact, you’d have just about every winning combination still in play with the exception of the royal flush. The big opportunity if you play the hand this way would be a potential straight flush. You’d have a one in 12 chance of drawing it, which isn’t bad considering the possible payback.

The problem with holding the four, five, and six with the joker is that you have no guarantee of forming a winning combination. Whereas if you stuck with the king, you’d definitely have a pair in place. As you can see, the wild card opens up a lot of possibilities, but it also makes the decisions you have to make a little more difficult.

For the sake of this example, let’s imagine that you decided to hold onto the four, five, and six of spades with the joker. Imagine that the draw took place and turned out as follows:

Joker, Four of Spades, Five of Spades, Six of Spades, Six of Hearts

You didn’t end up with the straight flush as you hoped. Nor did you get a card that played into any of the straight or flush possibilities that you had. But you did get a second six.

What that means is that the joker would thus become another six, giving you three of a kind. Even though the draw didn’t really turn out in a way you might have expected, it still came out with a winning hand.

That example should give you a little bit of an idea of how valuable a joker can be when playing Kings or Better Poker video poker. With one in your hand, you’re looking at an excellent chance of forming a winning combination. Without it, your chances of a winning hand are less than your average game of Jacks or Better, simply because the threshold for a winning hand is higher than Kings or Better.

Pay Table for Kings or Better Poker Video Poker

When we talked about the transparence of video poker being one of its best characteristics above, we mentioned the pay table as one of the reasons why. Slot machines also have pay tables. But slot machines have no probabilities that you can estimate in terms of your likelihood of getting a winning spin.

Video poker is indeed governed by those probabilities, which is why the pay table can be used to dictate your strategy. It can also be used to come up with an overall payback percentage for the game, which will allow you to compare it to others of its kind.

Let’s take a look at the pay table available online for Kings or Better Poker video poker.

Hand/Coins 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 40 80 120 160 200
Four of a kind 20 40 60 80 100
Full house 5 10 15 20 25
Flush 4 8 12 16 20
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

If you’re wondering how to read the pay table, simply follow the winning hand over to the amount bet and see where they meet. For example, imagine that you achieved a full house playing Kings or Better Poker video poker on a bet of five coins.

You would follow the “full house” row over to where it intersects with the “5 coins” column. The number 25 is there. That means you won 25 coins for that hand, which, when you subtract the five-coin bet, means you earned a profit of 20 coins.

When you look at the Kings or Better Poker video poker pay table, you’ll see there is a distinction between a royal flush and wild royal flush. A wild royal flush is one where a wild card, in this case a joker in Kings or Better Poker video poker, is needed to achieve the hand.

Take a look.

Royal Flush:

Ten of Spades, Jack of Spades, Queen of Spades, King of Spades, Ace of Spades

Wild Royal Flush:

Ten of Spades, Joker, Queen of Spades, King of Spades, Ace of Spades

You can see that the wild royal flush was only made possible by the presence of the joker. Pure royal flushes are much rarer, which is why they pay more.

The main distinguishing characteristic of the Kings or Better Poker video poker is the fact that it pays off at a pair of kings. You’ll run into many Joker Poker video poker variations where pay only begins at two pair.

What does this mean in terms in gameplay? It helps to control the volatility and keep it to a relatively low level for a video poker game with a wild card. Volatility is the measure of how much a bankroll can be expected to rise and fall during a typical session of play.

The fact that a pair of kings is a hand that can be achieved pretty easily should help to keep your bankroll afloat when you’re playing Kings or Better Poker video poker. Compare that to games where the minimum payback is two pair and you’ll notice the difference.

When you’re considering a game like Kings or Better Poker video poker, perhaps the best kind of game to which you can compare it is Jacks or Better. The structure of the pay table is similar, with the exception of the hands that come into play because of the wild card. With that in mind, take a look at the most common pay table for Jacks or Better.

Jacks or Better

Hand/Coins 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 that the payback for the Jacks or Better is uniformly higher throughout the entirety of the pay table. But that’s because you have to achieve the hands in Jacks or Better without the assistance of a wild card.

There are Joker Poker games available in casinos that do use the Kings or Better format as well. Take a look at a popular one.

Joker Poker

Hand/Coins 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 20 40 60 80 100
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

You can see that the payback for this Joker Poker game is almost identical to what’s found in the Kings or Better Poker video poker game above. But there are a few differences.

The Joker Poker game offers 7 to 1 on a full house and a 5 to 1 on a flush. By contrast, the Kings or Better Poker game offers only 5 to 1 and 4 to 1, respectively, for those hands.

While they won’t show up as often as a hand like a pair of kings, the flush and full house will still generally be a part of most length video poker sessions. As such, the discount on these hands will hurt your payback when playing Kings or Better Poker video poker. This is especially true in terms of long-term play.

As a result, the overall payback for Kings or Better Poker video poker might yield too much of a house edge for serious players. Still, as a short-term game for casual players, the low volatility level might make it quite attractive.

Strategy for Kings or Better Poker Video Poker

In order to maximize your potential payback while playing Kings or Better Poker video poker, you need to learn ideal strategy. That means making the correct choice for each set of holds and discards in every hand that you play. Before you can get to that point, you have to understand what we mean by “correct.”

When you get a five-card deal in video poker, there are 32 different ways you can play the hand in terms of holds and discards. Only one of those plays is the right one. It will be the one that brings the highest possible expected value to the hand.

Think of it in terms of a video poker game where a single deal just kept coming up over and over again. If you tried every combination of holds and discards while playing that machine for thousands upon thousands of hands, one of those combinations would leave your bankroll with more money than any of the others. That is the combination that you have to try to pinpoint.

But you really can’t do that without some help. If you tried to do the math involved in this process for every single deal, it would take you forever to play just a few hands. And you might end up getting the math wrong anyway.

Getting Help With Video Poker Strategy

As we said, trying to determine the strategy for video poker on your own is a mistake. This is especially true when you consider that each pay table and style of game demands its own strategy. In other words, you might play certain hands of Kings or Better Poker video poker differently than if you were playing a game like Jacks or Better.

Luckily, Kings or Better Poker video poker is based on Joker Poker, which is a common game in the world of video poker. As such, the resources that help with video poker strategy can easily be adjusted for this style of pay table.

These resources do all the math involved with video poker strategy so you don’t have to worry about it. The information that they provide can then be used so that you can make the right choice on every deal and come away with perfect play.

Here are the two resources that we recommend.

Strategy Charts

A strategy chart ranks every possible combination of cards that you might receive on the deal in terms of their earning potential heading into the draw. Once you have this information in your brain, you can spot the right combination in your own hand. That will be the combination that you should hold.

The best way to utilize a strategy chart is to memorize it. Technically, you could consult it on every hand when playing Kings or Better Poker video poker, since there wouldn’t be any casino employees to watch you and try to stop it. But memorizing will allow you to play much quicker.

Video Poker Training Software

With training software, you’ll be playing sample hands of Kings or Better Poker video poker. As you play, you’ll make decisions about what to hold and what to discard under the watchful eye of the software. When you make a mistake, you’ll be alerted and told what the correct play should be.

The more that you play with video poker training software, the less mistakes you’ll make. At a certain point, you won’t need it anymore because every correct play will be ingrained. When you reach that point, you should be able to play Kings or Better Poker video poker for real and play it perfectly.

Kings or Better Poker Video Poker Pros and Cons


  • Wild cards give you a chance for rare high-paying hands
  • You can get payback for a pair of kings, which not all wild-card games allow
  • The volatility level is low for a wild-card game

  • Payback amounts for full house and flush are somewhat low
  • You’ll struggle to win hands without the wild card showing up
  • Expected return is a bit weak for expert players

Conclusion on Kings or Better Poker Video Poker

Kings or Better Poker video poker car give you the wild-card action you crave in an online format. It might not be ideal in terms of how much you can expect to make back in the long haul. But it is a thrilling game whenever a joker shows up unexpectedly in your hand.