How to Play Multi Hand Video Poker

Multi Hand video poker delivers fast-paced action you don’t see while playing one hand of video poker at a time. When you play multiple hands at once, you have to make a bet for each hand. You can then make your decisions on a single deal, which are played out over however many hands you’ve chosen to bet.

Multi Hand Video PokerVideo poker creates the kind of easy and lucrative gameplay all gamblers have to appreciate. You can learn how to play in minutes, play without the distractions of table games, and use strategy that never comes into play during slot machine play. It also offers payback that can compete with just about any game you can find in a casino or online gambling website.

Perhaps the only legitimate complaint about video poker is that gameplay can become a bit stale. You might get so locked into the rhythm of playing a hand at a time that you could start to zone out.

In addition, it can be hard to win a lot of money this way. That can make earning a profit somewhat of a tedious grind.

But what if you had the opportunity to play more than one hand at a time? And what if you could do this without making the game any more complicated? The good news is that Multi Hand video poker affords you this opportunity.

In essence, Multi Hand video poker gives you the chance to play several hands at once.

The number that you can play might differ depending on the machine or gambling website you’ve chosen. But for the most part, Multi Hand games settle at three, five, or 10 hands at a time.

That means you have to make bets on every one of the hands you play. When you’re talking about making the maximum wager for each hand, that can get somewhat expensive. For casual players, Multi Hand video poker might represent too much of a financial commitment.

But Multi Hand video poker really does the trick if you want your video poker action to move along at a faster pace. It will also benefit you if you’re the type who likes the idea of winning a lot of money in a short span of time. You don’t have to sit at a machine forever if you’re taking on several hands at once.

The key to understanding Multi Hand video poker is knowing you will only receive one deal. You will make decisions on this deal just as if you were playing a single hand. Those decisions will then govern all of the hands you’re playing.

Multi Hand video poker definitely holds several advantages, a few of which we’ve already mentioned. It really comes in handy when you get a great deal. Having access to those cards over several hands can really maximize your winnings.

But Multi Hand video poker also works the other way. If you get a lousy deal, you could lose all of your hands at once. If that happens several times in a row, your bankroll could plummet pretty quickly.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Multi Hand video poker. We’ll start by going over the basics of video poker and explain how you can play more than one hand at once. We’ll also talk about pay tables, payback percentage, and strategy so that you can get a complete feel for this exciting style of play.

Why Do Gamblers Love Video Poker?

For many discerning gamblers, video poker is the only game they will even consider playing in a casino. You will find many casual players of video poker who like to dip in because of the low-pressure nature of the game. Whether in casinos or as part of gambling websites, video poker exerts a strong hold on the gambling world.

Why is that the case? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.

  • Video poker allows even beginners to learn how to play in a matter of minutes. This process is much faster if you have a basic handle on how to make winning poker hands. But even if you don’t, you should be up and running in no time.
  • Video poker doesn’t apply any pressure like table games do. When you’re playing table games, you’re expected by other gamblers and casino employees to know what you’re doing in terms of the rules and protocol. With video poker, all you need to do is put your money in the machine and you can play without any hassles.
  • Video poker gives you the chance to play with strategy. That means you’ll have some impact on whether or not you will win hands. Slot machines don’t give you that chance, since all you can do is spin the reels and hope.
  • Video poker clues you in to how often you can expect to make winning hands during gameplay. With only 52 cards in the deck, there are only so many outcomes that can occur. Probabilities will dictate your success rate. Slot machines don’t give you any indication of when winning spins might pop up.
  • Video poker doesn’t keep you guessing about how much machines pay compared to others. When you look up information about a video poker pay table online, you’ll be able to find the payback percentage in most cases. Again, slot machines come up short in this department.
  • Video poker payback percentages generally sit at a much higher level than the average slot machine. And the payback for video poker hangs with the payback of the best table games. You’ll have an excellent chance of returning a profit if you choose the right games.
  • Video poker stands as the casino game which translates into online play the best. When you look at the screen of a video poker machine and an online version of the game, you won’t see much of a difference.

As you can see, video poker really can be considered one of the most gambler-friendly games around. Now, all you have to do is learn how to play.

Luckily, it’s an easy process. First, we need to talk about playing one hand at a time, since you have to know that to form a foundation of knowledge. From there, it won’t be too hard to learn gameplay for Multi Hand video poker.

With that in mind, let’s look at the steps you’ll need to take to play video poker one hand at a time.

Step 1: The Bankroll

When you put money into a video poker machine, you’re building your bankroll. Your bankroll allows you to make wagers and get money back in return when you win your bets. If you’re playing online, you form your bankroll by funding an account at the gambling website of your choice.

You won’t see any dollars and cents (or any other currency for that matter) on your video poker screen. Instead, the money you enter into machine will show up as credits or coins. A single credit or coin will be equal to the denomination of the machine (or line game) you’ve chosen.

Denominations can run from small amounts like a penny to bigger amounts like a dollar. To determine how many credits or coins you’ll have, divide the amount of money you’ve entered by the denomination you’re playing. For instance, if you put $10 in a 25-cent machine, you’ll have 40 credits (which is 10 divided by .25).

Step 2: The Bet

We will tell you a little bit more in-depth about betting several hands at once in Multi Hand video poker in a minute. Most variations of video poker require you to bet between one and five credits to play a hand. You can switch the betting amount each hand, or you can bet the same amount every single time.

We highly recommend that you bet five coins for each and every hand you play. While you might think you’re saving money by betting less than five coins, you are actually short-changing yourself if you do.

To understand why, look to the payback for the royal flush, the most lucrative hand you can make while playing video poker. When you bet one through four coins, the royal flush pays back at 250 to 1. That ratio jumps to 800 to 1, however, when you are betting five coins and hit the royal flush.

Many novice video poker players also make the mistake of betting less than five coins because they are trying to guess what’s going to happen on the hand. For example, they might think that, because they’ve won a few hands in a row, they might be due for a loss on the next hand they play.

In reality, your chances of making any winning hand remain the same for every hand you play in Multi Hand video poker. That’s true regardless of how many hands you’ve won or lost on that machine. Every video poker deal or draw is random and completely independent of whatever else has transpired on the machine.

If you find that betting five coins per hand is too much, move to a machine with a smaller denomination. Then, bet the maximum five coins per hand. That will allow you to spend less while keeping the most lucrative odds for the royal flush intact.

Many other video poker variations, including Multi Hand video poker, possess extra features when you bet more than five coins per hand. While it isn’t a hard and fast rule, you can generally assume that the extra features bring back the highest payback percentage.

The bottom line is that the max bet, whatever it might be, is usually your best play. Try to maintain it wherever possible.

Step 3: The Hand

Video poker pretty much mimics the card game known as Five-Card Draw Poker. You get five cards on the deal and draw cards from the deck to replace the ones you don’t want to keep.

The goal in Five-Card Draw Poker is to make the best possible hand. You either win by having the best hand at the table or forcing everyone else to fold.

With video poker, including Multi Hand video poker, you don’t need to worry about other players at the table. You just have to worry about the machine, specifically the pay table, and what constitutes a winning combination of cards.

For the most part, you’ll be trying to make certain winning hands no matter what the pay table might be. In some cases (notably wild card games), the standard for a winning hand changes. But the most common winning hands on video poker pay tables are these:

  • 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)

When you look at this list, it’s important to realize the hands run from the easiest to achieve on the top to the most difficult to achieve on the bottom. These difficulty levels come from the probabilities inherent in a 52-card deck.

You also need to know that, for the most part, the hands on the top pay the least. As you move down the list, you’ll see the payback rise. When you get to the pay tables below, you’ll start to see this phenomenon play out.

When you make your bet, you’ll see five cards appear on your screen. These five cards represent your deal, which is the starting point in video poker. You’ll be assessing these cards and looking for the winning combinations listed above.

Of course, you might not have any of those winning combinations right off the bat. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. You can still improve your hand on the draw, which takes place after you decide which cards you want to keep and which you don’t. Keep the cards that give you the best chance of forming a winning hand.

But it comes down to more than just probabilities in Multi Hand video poker. You’ll also make decisions based on how much each winning hand pays.

It’s all about judging risk versus reward. Once you make your decision, you will press the buttons below the cards that you want to hold (if any).

Remember that any cards you draw will be taken from the same deck that provided you with your deal, meaning that it will have 47 cards remaining. That’s 52 minus the 5 you received on the deal.

On the draw, the cards you discarded will be replaced. The hand is then complete. Any winnings you have amassed will be added to your total. That’s basically it. You can continue to play in this manner if you have the credits to do so. Or you can also cash out your winnings at any time.

Single-hand video poker will operate in this manner. Multi Hand video poker works in the same way, only you’ll be making decisions for several hands at once. Let’s take a look at how that works.

Betting in Multi Hand Video Poker

You have to bet on every hand you play in Multi Hand video poker. That can be somewhat costly, depending on how many hands you’re playing.

As we mentioned above, the most common formats for Multi Hand video poker allow you to play three, five, or 10 hands at a time. Let’s imagine that you want to bet the maximum five coins for your hands. That would require bets of:

  • 3 hands: 15 coins
  • 5 hands: 25 coins
  • 10 hands: 50 coins

Imagine if you were playing a 25-cent machine. That would mean your bets would cost you the following:

  • 3 hands: 15 coins: $3.75
  • 5 hands: 25 coins: $6.25
  • 10 hands: 50 coins: $12.50

As you can tell, that can get pricey. But you have to remember that you’ll have a chance to win these hands as well, meaning you can offset the bets. Your payback percentage, on the whole, won’t really change at all when you play several hands at once in Multi Hand video poker.

What will change is the volatility level of the game. Volatility measures how gameplay progresses in terms of winning or losing. The more drastic the swings between winning and losing that can be expected, the higher the volatility.

The less hands you play in Multi Hand video poker, the lower the volatility will be. Obviously, single-hand video poker represents the lowest volatility of all. You have the best chance of staying afloat on a small bankroll for a long period of time in a low-volatility game.

As you play more hands at once, the volatility will start to spike. That means you’re improving your opportunity for quick, significant payouts. But it also means your risk of blowing through your bankroll quickly also will rise.

You will make these decisions based on your budget, your tolerance for risk, and your desired reward. Let’s take a look at how gameplay works for Multi Hand video poker so you can make these choices clearly.

Multi Hand Video Poker Gameplay

When playing Multi Hand video poker, you will receive only one deal. That is the most important characteristic you have to understand.

Think about it: If you were playing several hands at once and received several different deals all at once, you would still have to go through and make decisions for every one of those deals. It would take the same amount of time as if the deals came at you one at a time. That would defeat the whole purpose of Multi Hand video poker.

Instead, you’ll get just one deal, no matter if you’re playing three, five, 10, or some other number of hands at once. That deal will be the base for all of those hands and the draws that come after them.

When you make those decisions, you should make them as if you were playing one deal from one deck. Even though you will be getting several draws, they will all come from separate decks that contain the same 47 cards remaining after the deal.

Let’s take a look at an example. Imagine you are playing Multi Hand video poker three hands at a time on a Jacks or Better pay table with a 25-cent denomination. You decide to make the maximum bet of 15 coins for a betting investment of $3.75.

Let’s imagine you receive the following deal for this round of Multi Hand video poker.

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

This deal gives you a pretty obvious choice in terms of what to hold and what to discard. The pair of jacks already represent a winning hand for you. Meanwhile, the four, seven, and nine don’t help much at all, so they can be discarded.

That pair of jacks will now be carried forward into your draws. Imagine that they work out like this:

  • Hand 1: Three of Clubs, Three of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Clubs, Jack of Spades
  • Hand 2: Four of Clubs, Five of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Clubs, Jack of Spades
  • Hand 3: Two of Hearts, King of Spades, Ace of Hearts, Jack of Clubs, Jack of Spades

On the first hand, you managed a full house. Hand 2 gave you three of a kind. And Hand 3, even though it didn’t improve on the draw, still leaves you with the pair of jacks.
The pay for those hands on a Jacks or Better pay table with five coins goes as follows:

  • Hand 1: Full House: 45 coins
  • Hand 2: Three of a Kind: 15 coins
  • Hand 3: Pair of Jacks: 5 coins

Total that up, and you’ve won 65 coins on a single round of Multi Hand video poker. That means you’ve earned $16.25 just like that. Minus your original wager of $3.75, you still come away with a profit of $12.50.

What that example shows is how Multi Hand video poker can really reward you for a good deal. Think about what your winnings for that deal might be if you were playing five or 10 hands at a time. You can see how the game gives you more chances for quick winnings.

Of course, the flipside comes when you get a poor deal. You might lose all three hands at once (or all five or all 10). And that can put a quick and significant dent in your bankroll.

That’s why you have to decide if Multi Hand video poker is the type of game you can afford. If you can, open yourself up to excellent potential winnings.

Multi Hand Video Poker Pay Tables

Multi Hand video poker provides a style of video poker play that is often attached to popular pay tables from all over the video poker landscape. You should always be seeking out the pay table whenever you encounter a video poker machine (or a version of the game online). This information will help you with strategy and will also indicate volatility levels.

Low-volatility games like Jacks or Better pay honestly for common hands but make it hard for you to get jackpot-style payoffs. By contrast, some of the more aggressive Bonus pay tables skimp on the pay for common hands but boost the pay significantly for rarer hands like four of a kind. That kind of pay table raises the volatility.

Keep in mind the pay table will also indicate the payback percentage for the game you’re playing. Payback percentage essentially lets you know how much you can expect to return from your video poker investment on a given session.

Ideally, you should be looking for pay tables that return payback percentages of at least 99%. Even though you would be losing 1% of your bankroll on games like these, you can make up those losses with reward programs offered by casinos and top gambling websites. In that way, you can hope to make a profit.

If you can find pay tables with payback percentages over 100%, that’s even better. You can expect to win money from the machine even before rewards are figured into the equation. These pay tables can be hard to find, but you should always be on the lookout for them.

To find the payback percentage of a pay table, you can go to the individual pages for them on this website. You can also enter the figures into video poker calculators to get the results.
Let’s take a look at a sampling of video poker pay tables that may offer you the chance to play in Multi Hand video poker mode.

Jacks or Better Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
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 pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Bonus Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
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) 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 pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Double Bonus Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 60 120 180 240 300
Four of a kind (aces) 400 800 1200 1600 2000
Four of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) 100 200 300 400 500
Four of a kind (any other) 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 7 14 21 28 35
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pair 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Double Double Bonus Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 55 110 165 220 275
Four aces w/ any 2,3,4 400 800 1200 1600 2000
Four 2s, 3s, or 4s w/ any A,2,3,4 160 320 480 640 800
Four aces 160 320 480 640 800
Four 2s, 3s, 4s 80 160 240 320 400
Four 5s through Ks 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 10 20 30 40 50
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 jacks + 1 2 3 4 5

Deuces Wild Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Four deuces 200 400 600 800 1000
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 5 10 15 20 25
Full house 3 6 9 12 15
Flush 2 4 6 8 10
Straight 2 4 6 8 10
Three of a kind 1 2 3 4 5

Joker’s Wild Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Five of a kind 200 400 600 800 1000
Wild royal flush 100 100 300 400 500
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

Note that the last two of these pay tables are wild-card games. That means there are cards (the twos in the deck for Deuces Wild, the joker in Joker’s Wild), which are designated as wild. As a result, they can be turned into whatever card in the deck improves your hand the most.

Learning Strategy for Multi Hand Video Poker

The good news is that your strategy generally doesn’t have to change from single-hand to Multi Hand video poker. You should make the decisions in Multi Hand as if you were only playing a single hand, even though the deal will be governing several hands at once.

To learn video poker strategy, you should first choose the pay table you want to play. This is important because the right plays are dependent on the pay table. The way you would play a deal in Jacks or Better might be different from how you would play it in, for example, Double Double Bonus.

Once you’ve done this, you should work on learning the right mathematical play for every single deal you might receive in Multi Hand video poker. This means you are maximizing the potential value of the deal based on what you’ve chosen to hold or discard.

How do you do this? We suggest one of the following two methods:

  • Strategy Charts: If you can memorize a strategy chart, you’ll be able to play any deal perfectly. The strategy chart lists all of the combinations of cards you can receive on the deal from best to worst. Once you’ve identified the combinations in your hand, you’ll know which cards can be discarded.
  • Video Poker Training Software: This software can be downloaded and gives you an accurate simulation of video poker for any pay table. When you are playing the software and make an incorrect decision, you will be alerted and told what the right decision is. In this way, you’ll learn the right way to play every single deal.

Multi Hand Video Poker Conclusion

Multi Hand video poker keeps the action fast and furious, especially if you find playing one hand at a time to be a bit tedious. You can also up the ante on your possible winnings in one fell swoop. But it also brings in the possibility that you might lose your entire bankroll before you know what hit you.