Match Card Video Poker

Match Card video poker provides thrill-seeking video poker players with a new way to earn big winnings. Those big winnings can come in the form of multipliers, which can go as high as 11 times what you would normally earn on a hand. All you need to do is have one or more of the cards in your hand match up with three predetermined match cards that are shown on the screen after the draw.

Poker Chips and Cards

Some people like to play video poker without any extra bells and whistles, concentrating on the most basic version of the game that resembles the table game known as five card draw. Others might dread the fact that the basic Jacks or Better form of video poker does not really afford too many opportunities for large payouts beyond the royal flush hand, which is extremely rare. They might instead prefer to try out different pay tables that award more for hands like four of a kind so that big, jackpot-style payoffs aren’t out of the question.

Games that add an extra feature like Match Card video poker are exciting for a number of reasons. On the one hand, you can choose among many of the most common pay tables in the game to use as your base mode of play. In a way, it allows you to experience many different types of machines in a single session at the casino, and it does so in Triple Play mode for fast-paced play.

On top of that, Match Card video poker gives you a chance to earn significant amounts of money on just one or two hands by adding an extra twist on the game. Three so-called match cards show up on the side of the screen after you make your draw. If any of the cards in your three hands are the same as the match cards, you will receive multipliers on any winning hands that you have in that round.

The problem is that this extra feature is not free. You have to make an extra five-coin bet on top of the usual max bet of five coins for each hand that you’re playing. Since Match Card video poker is played three hands at a time, that means that you’ll be betting 30 coins on every single deal, which can be very expensive if you can’t come up with many winning hands to balance it out.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to play and enjoy Match Card video poker, whether you find it at a casino or at a gambling website. We’ll teach you basic video poker and then show how Match Card video poker can be easily learned from there. We’ll also talk about pay tables, payback percentages, and strategy for this exciting brand of real money video poker.

Learning How to Play Basic Video Poker

When you encounter a game like Match Card video poker that has a bit of a twist to it, you might be a little bit confused. But once you learn how to play basic video poker, such a game will fall into place pretty quickly. As a matter of fact, most video poker games in casinos or on online websites can be easily figured out when you understand the building blocks of video poker.

At its simplest level, video poker is a simulation of the card game known as five card draw. You get five cards on a deal, and then have a chance to improve your hand by discarding cards you don’t need and drawing new cards from the deck to replace them. When playing that game with others, the goal is to make a hand better than everybody else.

Video poker simply asks you to make one of the winning hands, as determined by the game you’re playing, to return some profit on your bet. In that way, it is a lot like slot machines in that it is you versus the machine. Many people like the idea of playing a game in a casino without being hassled by other players employees.

But if you’ve ever played video poker, however, you know that you don’t really have any control over whether you win or lose. You simply have to spin and hope. And even then, you don’t have any idea about your actual chances of getting a winning spin at any given time.

Video poker improves upon that experience in a number of ways. First of all, you can actually make an impact on whether you win or lose with the decisions that you make. This comes when you decide which cards you want to hold and which you want to discard from your original deal.

On top of that, there are actual probabilities which can be mathematically deduced. After all, there are generally only 52 specific cards that can possibly show up in your hand. That limits the possibilities and reveals your actual chances of receiving certain winning hands.

All of that is nice, but the bottom line when you’re gambling is how much you can expect to win or lose from the game. And the good news is that the average payback from a video poker machine is significantly higher than that of slot machines. It even is in range with some of the best-paying table games like blackjack or roulette.

When you add all of that up, you can see how video poker really combines the best of both worlds when you compare it to slot machines and table games. And exciting versions of it like Match Card video poker mean that gameplay will never get stale. All you have to do is learn how to play, which you can do with this step-by-step breakdown.

Step 1: Establish Your Bankroll

When you are talking about a bankroll in a video poker machine, you are simply referring to the amount of money that you put in to start playing. That amount will rise and fall as you win and lose hands. In terms of online video poker, you will create a bankroll by funding an account at a gambling website.

You should take note of the denomination of the game that you choose to play. Each unit of denomination, which could be anything from a nickel, a quarter, or a dollar, will be equal to one credit, or coin in the machine. As a result, the cash that you enter into the machine will be registered as coins or credits and that is what you will be betting every hand.

You can also establish a bankroll by putting a redemption ticket from the casino into the slot as long as there is a cash credit on it. Keep in mind, when establishing your bankroll, that video poker is an extremely fast-paced game. If you want to play for a long time in a single session, you should make sure that your bankroll is sturdy enough to hold up for that amount of time.

Step 2: Make Your Wager

Normal video poker games give you the option of playing between one and five coins per hand. Match Card video poker presents an extra feature which can only be activated if you play ten coins per hand. That can be an expensive prospect, especially since you will be playing three hands at a time, but it is the best way to maximize your winnings on the game.

If you really don’t think you can swing a 10-coin wager for each hand that you play, which will come to 30 coins per round with triple play, you should at least make the five-coin bet per hand that usually represents the maximum bet. The reason for this has to do with payouts for the royal flush hand. That is the rarest hand in the game, and also the most lucrative, but it gets even more lucrative if you play the max bet.

At one through four coins played, royal flush hands usually pay off at 250 to 1. But at five coins played, it comes out to 800 to 1. That is a lot of money that you are leaving on the table if you don’t bet that max bet and get lucky enough to score a royal flush.

Step 3: Play Your Hand

As stated above, video poker essentially mimics five card draw poker. Once you make your bet, you’ll receive a five-card deal on your screen. Your chances of getting any card is the same as if you were playing with a regulation 52-card deck at home.

The idea is to have some combination of cards in your hand that is a winning hand, as determined by the pay table. Some pay tables vary as to what constitutes a winning hand, especially games where wild cards are involved. But for the most part, standard video poker includes the following winning hands, which are listed here in order from most common and least-paying to rarest and highest-paying:

  • Pair of jacks 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)
  • Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit)

You might be fortunate enough to have one or these combinations in your original hand. The good news is that, even if you don’t, your hand isn’t over. There is still a draw round, where you can discard certain cards that you don’t think are useful to you and replace them with others.

The new cards will be drawn from the 47 remaining in the deck (the original 52 minus the 5 that were dealt). You can use the draw round as your opportunity to bring your strategy into the game. Your decisions about what to hold and what to discard will have a direct impact on the outcome of the hand.

This is not always an easy decision. Sometimes, it might be more clear-cut than others. But there might be other times when you have several possibilities.

For example, consider the following deal:

Poker Hand

The most obvious choice here is the pair of fours. They aren’t a winning hand as they are, but by discarding the other three cards, you will have three chances for the hand to improve. And it can improve to things like two pair, three of a kind, a full house, or four of a kind.

You might also have noticed that there are four hearts in the hand. One more on the draw and you would make a flush, which is a solid, medium-paying hand. If you wanted to go that route, you would drop the four of spades and hope that your fifth card also comes up a heart.

Finally, you have the four, six, and eight of hearts. Adding the five and seven of hearts on the draw would give you the straight flush. Considering that is one of the biggest payouts in the game, you might be tempted to go that route, even though you have very little chance of drawing those two specific cards on the draw.

You have to base your decision on the probabilities of drawing the cards that you need and how much each hand will pay off. As you’ll find out when we talk about strategy below, there is a specific way to play the hand that will bring you the highest expected value if you played it over and over again. In any case, once you make your decision, press the buttons underneath the cards that you wish to hold, then see what you get on the draw.

Once you make the draw, your hand will be scored as a winner or a loser and you will move on to the next hand. You can continue to play as long as there are credits left in your bankroll. Or you can cash out and get a redemption ticket showing how much cash you have remaining to either redeem or use elsewhere in the casino.

That pretty much sums how to play single hands of video poker. When it comes to Match Card video poker, however, it is only available in triple play mode in casinos. Let’s talk then about how that works.

Multiple Play Video Poker

When you play Match Card video poker in a casino, you must play three hands at a time. To do this, you have to bet on all three hands. Just decide your bet, from one through five coins to play the game normally or ten coins to play with the extra feature, and multiply that by three. The key to understanding multiple play is that there will be just one deal.

Let’s use our sample deal from above as an example:

Poker Hand

Let’s say that you decide you want to go into the draw with the pair of fours. That decision will then govern all three hands, with those two fours being the starting point for the draw in each case. Imagine that the draws worked out like this:

Poker Hand

Poker Hand

Poker Hand

On the first hand, you were able to nab two pair. The second hand provided you with three of a kind. And the third hand, unfortunately, gave you nothing.

You would then add up the winnings from the first and the second hand. As you can see, triple play poker can really be valuable if you get a good deal. It can also be kind of rough if you end up with multiple bad deals in a row.

One note from the example above: The eight of clubs was drawn in two different hands. That’s because the draws come from three separate simulated decks containing the 47 cards that weren’t in on the deal. You can, therefore, end up with the same card in multiple draws.

Playing With the Match Card Video Poker Extra Feature

As we talked about above, it will take an extra wager of five coins per hand to play Match Card video poker with the extra feature. That means ten coins per hand or thirty per triple play round. But you get a nice bonus from the feature that will help to make it worth it.

When you activate the extra feature in Match Card video poker, you will get your deal as always. You will also make your decision about what to hold and what to discard as you would if playing triple play normally. It is during the draw when you’ll notice something different.

On the right side of the screen, three cards will appear in a vertical line. When any of these cards appear in any of your three hands, a multiplier will be added to all three of your hands. A multiplier does as it sounds and multiplies your winnings.

For example, imagine that you made a hand that earned your 30 coins. With a 5x multiplier, your winnings become 150 coins, or 5 times 30. That kind of thing can beef up a common winning hand into something resembling a jackpot.

The multipliers on Match Card video poker depend on which of the Match Cards appear in your hands. They are as follows:

  • Top Match Card: 3x
  • Middle Match Card: 4x
  • Bottom Match Card: 5x
  • More than One Match Card: 11x

If none of the match cards are found in your hand, you would get no multiplier. And that means that you will be paying ten coins for a five-coin payout. That is what makes Match Card video poker such an expensive and volatile game.

But imagine if you do get lucky on your match cards. Let’s take a look back at our sample three hands from above:

Poker Hand

Poker Hand

Poker Hand

Normally, the payout here would be modest. Two pair on a Jacks or Better pay table usually returns ten coins on a five-coin wager, while three of a kind returns 15 coins. That makes 25 coins on a 15-coin wager for a 10-coin profit.

Now, let’s say that you play the game with the Match Card video poker extra feature. Let’s say that the match cards are as follows:

  • Top: Three of spades
  • Middle: Five of diamonds
  • Bottom: Nine of clubs

You might notice that the bottom match card can also be found in your third hand. That means, based on what we learned above, you will receive a 5x multiplier. And that goes for all three of your hands.

Now let’s look at your payoffs:

  • Hand 1: Two pair equals 50 coins (10 coins times 5)
  • Hand 2: Three pair equals 75 coins (15 coins times 5)
  • Hand 3: Losing hand equals no coins

That comes to 125 coins earned when you add it all up. Minus your original bet of 30 coins, you still walked away with a 95-coin profit from a single round. Compare that to the 10-coin profit if you played it out normally, and you can see how Match Card video poker can really boost your winnings.

One other note about Match Card video poker: The match cards cannot be any of the cards that you discarded. What does that mean for gameplay? Well, imagine that you get a lousy deal that really doesn’t provide you with anything good to start, and so you decide to dump all five cards.

That means that those five cards cannot be match cards. As a result, your chances of matching are increased, because you’ll have up to 15 fresh cards in the three hands and three match cards to possibly match. Suddenly, a poor deal looks a little better because your chances of getting a match are increased.

Obviously, the best result is when you get a great deal and manage a match card, maybe even two. Imagine three winning hands each receiving the 11x multiplier. If you can, you’ll see why Match Card video poker can really bring serious winnings even with common winning hands.

Pay Tables and Payback Percentages for Match Card Video Poker

As we talked about above, Match Card video poker gives you exposure to several different pay tables. You can choose these pay tables based on the style of game you like. Choose Jacks or Better if you like steady play, a Bonus table if you want bigger payouts for four of a kind, or even Deuces Wild if you enjoy wild card action.

Here are the choices that you’ll have:

  • Jacks or Better
  • Bonus Poker
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Double Bonus
  • Double Double Bonus
  • Triple Double Bonus
  • Deuces Wild
  • Deuces Wild Bonus

Let’s take a look now at some of the pay tables you can find under the Match Card video poker umbrella:

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 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

Bonus Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 200 400 600 800 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind (aces) 80 160 240 320 400
Four of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) 45 90 135 180 225
Four of a kind (any other) 20 40 60 80 100
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

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 aces without any 2,3,4 400 800 1,200 1,600 2,000
Four 2s, 3s, 4s without any A,2,3,4 160 320 460 640 800
Four aces 160 320 460 640 800
Four aces 160 320 460 640 800
Four 2s, 3s, 4s 80 160 240 320 400
Four 5s through Ks 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
Pair of jacks + 1 2 3 4 5

Triple Double Bonus Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 200 400 600 800 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind – A, 2, 3, or 4 kicker 800 1,600 2,400 3,200 4,000
Four of a kind – 2s, 3s, or 4s with A,2,3, or 4 kicker 400 800 1,200 1,600 2,000
Four of a kind – aces 5s – Ks kicker 160 320 460 640 800
Four of a kind – 2s, 3s, or 4s 5s – Ks kicker 80 160 240 320 400
Four of a kind – any other 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 5 10 15 20 25
Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Pair of jacks + 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 25 50 75 100 125
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

What sharp-eyed video poker players might notice about these pay tables is that they generally fall just shy of the full-pay versions of these games. For example, Jacks or Better’s full-pay version pays 6 to 1 for a flush instead of 5 to 1. That will affect the payout for these games in a negative fashion.

Most of these pay tables fall just short of the 99% payback percentage that we generally recommend for video poker games. Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus barely sneak over that threshold on a Match Card video poker machine. At 99%, you can generally atone for your average 1% of losses by playing the game often and receiving casino rewards.

What you do need to know is that playing with the extra feature does increase your payback percentage on Match Card video poker slightly compared to if you were playing without. The difference is negligible enough that it won’t matter much unless you are going to be playing the game for a long time. If you are playing just a short session, you will likely decide based on how much you’re hoping to win and the size of your bankroll.

Strategy for Match Card Video Poker

We talked a little bit earlier about how strategy comes into play when playing any type of video poker. And strategy gets a little bit trickier with Match Card video poker because there are so many pay tables from which to choose. And your strategy should be based on your pay table.

Because of the different payouts, there are certain deals that might be played a little bit differently if you were playing Jacks or Better compared to, say, Triple Double Bonus. Remember that the right way to play a hand is based on the highest expected value you can get from the cards that you hold and discard. You shouldn’t base your decisions on anything more than that.

Of course, that’s a lot of math involved, which is why people generally get a little bit of help to learn video poker strategy. In terms of Match Card video poker, your first order of business should be to pick one or two pay tables that you plan to play often. This will narrow it down for you and make your job of learning strategy much easier.

Then, you should use one of the following two resources which will ensure that you play every single hand exactly as you should, which will help you max out your potential playing the game:

  • Video Poker Training Software: Using this software often will help drill the right plays for every single possible deal into your head. After downloading it, you can customize the pay table to the game that you want to learn. It will then simulate play and tell you when you are making mistakes in terms of holds and discards so you can learn the correct moves.
  • Strategy Charts: Since the pay tables above are pretty popular, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding strategy charts that go with each one of them online. When you consult the chart, you will compare your deal to the ranked combinations of cards that are on the chart. By doing this, you’ll be able to tell which cards you should hold and which should be discarded.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Match Card Video Poker

Pros of Match Card VP

  • Multipliers can really boost winnings when the match cards come into play
  • You can expect the extra feature to add to your payback percentage
  • There’s a chance for quicker winnings than if you were playing normally
Cons of Match Card VP

  • Very expensive to play ten coins for three hands at a time
  • No access to full-pay pay tables
  • Ten-coin bet doesn’t increase payouts without multipliers

Conclusion on Match Card Video Poker

Match Card video poker, whether you are playing in a casino or have found it at a top gambling website, makes for true excitement when you make that draw and look to see if the cards match up. The multipliers come in handy to boost winnings from what you would normally expect. But you’ll have to pay up handily to get those multipliers to come into play.