Guide to Pay the Aces Video Poker

Playing Cards Graphic
Pay the Aces video poker creates some thrills for video poker players by adding a twist onto basic gameplay. For the most part, the game is played as if you were playing Double Bonus video poker since the two pay tables are pretty similar. But Pay the Aces does just what its name promises by allowing players to get potentially large bonuses if they get aces on the deal.

Those who say that variety is the spice of life should check out the world of video poker. If all you know about video poker is the basic, Jacks or Better-style of play, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. Check out a casino or an online gambling site and you’ll see practically no end of twists on the basic game.

Some of these games fiddle with the basic pay table. They assign higher payouts to certain hands while discounting others. Other video poker varieties add bonus twists depending on what the players are dealt.

Pay the Aces video poker checks of both of those boxes. First of all, the pay table is structured in a way where four of a kind hands are rewarded handsomely. Since you have a decent chance of getting such a hand now and again during a long session, you’ll have a better chance at a big score in one hand than if you were playing Jacks or Better.

Reasons to Play Pay the Aces Video Poker

Pay the Aces video poker gives you the chance to benefit whenever you receive aces on the deal. No questions asked, you will receive a bonus if you get one ace on the deal. The more aces you receive, the higher your bonus will be.

There’s a catch to this twist, however. You only get the bonus payouts if you get at least one ace in the deal but also don’t get any other face cards. For those who are unaware, the face cards in a deck of 52 are the jacks, queens, and kings.

This little quirk can prove a bit frustrating. Imagine receiving one ace or even more on the deal and having the bonus nullified by the presence of a face card. Normally, a face card is a good thing in video poker, but in Pay the Aces video poker, it can work against you.

A bigger drawback is that the pay table for Pay the Aces video poker is discounted from full-pay Double Bonus poker pretty severely. The bonuses that you get from the aces will help you compensate somewhat, especially if you find the most beneficial pay table. But you will still have a hard time reaching the kind of payback level that will give you a chance at a positive return in the long haul.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to play and understand Pay the Aces video poker. We’ll show you how to play video poker at the most basic level, then go into how the bonuses on the aces somewhat change the game. And we’ll also go through the best ways to learn strategy while also talking about pay tables and payback percentages.

The Pros of Video Poker

If you’ve never played video poker before, you might think it’s too far a leap to jump right in and play a game like Pay the Aces video poker. The good news is that this variation is simple enough that you can easily get started once you have the basics of video poker down pat.

The other good news, if you’ve never played video poker of any kind before, is that you’re about to embark upon one of the best games that gamblers can play. While other casino games have their benefits, it’s hard to think of any other that combines the best of slot machines and table games the way that video poker does.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why video poker is the ideal gambling entertainment for those in casinos or visiting gambling websites:

  • It’s easy to play. If you have a little bit of a poker background, you shouldn’t have any problems learning it in a snap. And, even if you don’t, you can probably get the hang of it within a few sample hands.
  • It requires no help from anybody else to play. A lot of novice gamblers get nervous around table games because they require you to know casino protocol and etiquette. Video poker leaves you alone to play at your own pace and leisure.
  • It allows you some control over gameplay. Video poker requires you to employ strategy at a key point in each hand. The better you make those decisions, the better your payback will be in the long run.
  • It takes the guesswork out of play. Thanks to the probability math of playing with a deck of 52 cards, you can estimate how often winning hands will show up. Combining this knowledge with information from the pay table will allow you to judge specific video poker games in terms of payback.
  • It’s perfect for online play. Many table games get a bit lost in translation when it comes too people trying to play them at gambling websites. But playing video poker online and playing it in a casino make for pretty much the same experience.

We also talked above about the variety available to you. You can choose variations of video poker as simple or as complex as you like. And you can pick out a pay table that fits your favored gambling style, whether it’s conservative or aggressive.

Knowing all that, you should really think about trying video poker out if you haven’t already. We’re going to get to the specifics of Pay the Aces video poker. But, for now, let’s walk you through the process of playing hands of video poker.

Video Poker Step By Step

Step One: Create a Bankroll

By bankroll, we mean the money you’ll be using to make your bets on your hands of video poker. This will also be where all your winnings are collected.

You can create a bankroll at a video poker machine by putting money into the slot at the bottom of the machine. Or you can put in a redemption ticket that has monetary credit on it. If you’re playing online, you’ll need to fund a gambling account at the online website that hosts your game.

Your bankroll will be rendered in units known as credits or coins. Each of these units will be based upon the denomination you’re playing. For example, a five-credit wager at a 25-cent machine equals $1.25 (5 multiplied by .25).

Step 2: Make a Bet

Many novice players don’t realize it, but your strategy in video poker actually begins with the bet that you make. It’s pretty simply strategy to understand, as well. To play the game at the optimum level, giving yourself the chance at the highest possible payout, you have to bet the maximum amount of coins per hand.

Most video poker games (and Pay the Aces video poker is one of them) allow you the opportunity to bet between one and five coins per hand. Some players will bet less than five coins because they’re trying to make their bankroll last longer.

Or they might be trying to “time” the machine. By that, we mean they’re betting a lot when they think they’re due to win a hand or a little when they might lose one.

As for the latter idea, that’s a common misconception about video poker. Video poker machines are never “due.” Every hand is completely random and independent of any hands that have been played on the machine previously.

The reason you should always bet five coins comes down to the royal flush, which is the highest-paying hand in the game. If you bet one through four coins and hit a royal flush, you’ll win at odds of 250 to 1. But if you do so with a five-coin wager, you’ll end up with a payoff of 4,000 coins, which is 800 coins for every coin you bet.

As for those who are trying to keep your bankroll afloat by betting less than five coins, you should perhaps consider playing a machine with a lower denomination. Doing so will help preserve your bankroll. But it will also keep those 800 to 1 odds for the royal flush in play if you can afford the five-coin bet.

Step 3: Play a Hand

Video poker closely resembles the table game known as Five-Card Draw Poker in terms of the mechanics of play. Both games give players five cards on the deal. And both allow them one chance to improve their hand on the draw.

But there are differences. For one, Five-Card Draw Poker requires you to have the best hand at a table with multiple players. Video poker simply requires you to make a winning hand as determined by the pay table for you to win some money back.

And Five-Card Draw also allows you to trick other players by bluffing your way through the hand. There is usually only one bet made in video poker (and that is indeed the case with Pay the Aces video poker). No bluffing is needed.

As far as the winning hands that you’ll be trying to make, they look like this:

  • 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)

In terms of these hands, the easiest ones to achieve are at the top of the list. As you move down, these hands will be harder and harder to achieve. And, as you move down, the hands will pay more as well.

Once you make your bet, you will see five cards appear on your screen for your deal. These five cards will be sourced from a simulated deck of 52, just like the kind you would use at home. Each deal is random, since that simulated deck is always being “shuffled” right up until the moment you hit the “deal” button.

The five cards that show up will be the basis for your hand, but not the end of it. You’ll get a chance to assess it and see which cards might be useful going forward, keeping in mind the winning hands we listed above.

You might be fortunate enough to have a winning hand right off the bat. If that’s the case, and you don’t think you can improve it, you can hold all five. The draw won’t be necessary and you can collect your winnings.

But that won’t happen often. For most hands, you’ll have some cards that won’t be able to help you too much with the hand is. And there will be probably be some cards which could be useful in that they might form a “seed” of a winning hand.

Meanwhile, the cards that you discard will be replaced by others from the deck. This is the same deck which dealt you the five cards. As a result, it will have only 47 cards remaining.

Take a look at this sample deal to see what we mean:

Poker Hand - Four of Diamonds, Five of Diamonds, Six of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Hearts

As it’s constructed, you already have a winning hand here. The pair of queens would return you even money, meaning that you would get your original bet back. That can be useful in video poker, since it keeps your bankroll stable and allows you more chances to get a high-paying hand.

Of course, the pair of queens could also be improved on the draw. If you were to discard the other three, you might get fortunate on the draw to receive two pair, three of a kind, a full house, or even four of a kind. As you’ll see when we get to the pay table for Pay the Aces video poker, four of a kind is a very valuable hand indeed.

But there are other options with the sample deal that you can pursue. For instance, you have four diamonds out of the five cards you’ve been dealt, leaving you one shy of a flush. You can discard the queen of hearts and hope to receive one of the nine remaining diamonds in the deck on the draw.

Another intriguing option—you have three diamonds of consecutive rank with the four, five, and six. If you can put together five diamonds consecutive in rank, that’s a straight flush. And that’s one of the highest-paying hands in the game.

This deal gives a good example of the risk vs. reward scenario that is such a big part of gambling and often comes up during video poker play. For example, holding the pair of queens is the safest play, but, if you don’t improve the hand, it won’t pay back much.

Meanwhile, going for the royal flush means that you’ll need to get extremely lucky on the draw. But, if you do, you could walk away with the kind of payout rarely seen during an average session of video poker.

When we get to strategy, we’ll explain the methods you can use to make decisions like this. For now, just know that you’ll press the buttons on the machine corresponding to the cards you want to hold. The machine will replace the discarded cards and the hand will be complete.

Any winnings you manage will be added to your bankroll. You can keep playing by repeating the steps as long as you still have money in your bankroll. Or you can quit at any time and take a redemption ticket that can be used at other games in the casino or traded in for cash.

That’s basically how most video poker games work. And Pay the Aces video poker is one of those games. But it does have an interesting twist, which we’ll discuss now.

Pay the Aces Video Poker Bonuses

As we said above, you’ll play Pay the Aces video poker pretty much the same as you would any basic video poker machine. You’ll make your bets and your decisions about what to hold and discard in the same manner. You won’t have to learn anything new in terms of the rhythm of play.

But you will be able to enjoy the game’s extra feature. And you’ll be able to do so at no extra cost. Many video poker games require an extra bet to enjoy a special feature, so Pay the Aces video poker is beneficial to your bankroll in that regard.

That extra feature comes into play on the deal. Whenever you get at least one ace on the deal in Pay the Aces video poker while also ending up with no face cards, you’ll receive a bonus payout. This will be added to any winnings that you receive on the hand after the draw.

The bonuses are as follows:

  • Four aces: 1,500 coins
  • Three aces: 50 coins
  • Two aces: 2 coins
  • One ace: 1 coin

Again, you have to understand that these bonuses are added on to the winnings that you derive from the actual hand. For example, let’s look at the following deal:

Poker Hand - Ace of Hearts, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Diamonds, Four of Clubs, Seven of Hearts

Because you were dealt three aces with no face cards, you’re entitled to 50 coins right off the bat. Now, you get to play out your hand. The right play here, obviously, is to keep the three Aces and discard the four and the seven.

Let’s say the draw takes place and this happens:

Poker Hand - Ace of Hearts, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Diamonds, Nine of Diamonds, Nine of Spades

You have made a full house. Assuming you’ve made the maximum bet of five coins as we advised, you are entitled to a payout of 40 coins. That means that your total winnings for the hand are:

50 coins plus 40 coins = 90 coins

If you were dealt four aces without a face, you would be entitled to the 1,500-coin bonus. Then, assuming you wisely held the four aces, you would also get the 800 coins for making that hand. That’s a quick 2,300-coin score.

You can start to see why this game is called Pay the Aces video poker. There’s also a bonus of 1,000 coins that goes with a dealt royal flush. That means you’d be looking at a 5,000-coin payout total, since the royal flush with five coins wagered on the draw yields 4,000 coins.

As you can see, without having to do anything extra on your end, you can really score big when those aces show up during Pay the Aces video poker. The game compensates for that advantage in other ways, which we’ll show you when we get to the pay tables.

Pay the Aces Video Poker Pay Tables

You should always check out the pay tables before you play any video poker game. Obviously, they’ll show you what you can expect to get paid for each winning hand. But they go beyond that, helping you to choose the right strategy and even figure out how much the machine will pay you back on average.

As mentioned earlier, Pay the Aces video poker features a pay table that is largely based on Double Bonus video poker. Double Bonus rewards four of a kind hands pretty handsomely, and even witches up the payout based on the rank of the cards involved. Four aces pays the best of all, followed by twos through fours, and then fives through kings.

That means Pay the Aces video poker is a great game for those who like having the chance at big, single-hand payouts. This is opposed to Jacks or Better, the most basic form of video poker. Jacks or Better doesn’t pay near as much for its four of a kind hands.

That said, Jacks or Better does pay 2 to 1 odds for two pair. Meanwhile, Pay the Aces video poker, like Double Bonus video poker, pays only even money for that hand. And that discrepancy creates a big impact on gameplay.

On average, two pair is a hand that will pop up in video poker about once in every 10 hands. By receiving only even money instead or 2 to 1 for this hand in Pay the Aces video poker, your bankroll will suffer. You will be more reliant on high-paying hands, which are rare, to make your bones in the game.

In addition, Pay the Aces video poker, because of the bonuses for aces on the deal, can’t pay quite as high for certain hands as full-pay Double Bonus. Take a look at the standard pay table for Pay the Aces.

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind (aces) 160 320 480 640 800
Four of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) 80 160 240 320 400
Four of a kind (any other) 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 8 16 24 32 40
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Now, compare it to full-pay Double Bonus video poker.

Double Bonus Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind (aces) 160 320 480 640 800
Four of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) 80 160 240 320 400
Four of a kind (any other) 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 7 14 21 28 35
Straight 5 10 15 20 25
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

You’ll see that there are two differences. The full house and the flush both pay better in Double Bonus than in Pay the Aces video poker. These medium hands show up during the course of the average video poker session, so you might feel the difference.

Of course, the pay table for Double Bonus listed above is the full-pay game. That means it’s the most beneficial for gamblers. But, depending on where you find the game, you might not be lucky enough to have that pay table.

Pay the Aces video poker isn’t as popular as Double Bonus, so it’s likely you won’t find much difference in pay tables from machine to machine. Pay tables are directly related to payback percentage, which we’ll talk about below.

Payback Percentage for Pay the Aces Video Poker

When we talk about payback percentage, we’re talking about the amount of money that will be returned to you compared to what you bet. This figure is an average amount and can be computed by combining the pay tables with the probabilities for making winning hands.

Percent Sign in Front of Money

Payback percentage is important for those who are going to play video poker often and want to make a profit out of it. But if you’re a casual player, you shouldn’t sweat it so much. For you, luck will be much more of a factor.

If you’re only playing Pay the Aces video poker for a short time and get lucky enough to be dealt four of a kind in one of the hands you play, you’re going to make a huge profit. Or you might be unlucky and lose the first 10 hands you play.

But the more that you keep playing Pay the Aces video poker, the more the probabilities will start to outweigh luck. And that’s when your results will start to look a lot like the payback percentage.

In terms of payback percentage for Pay the Aces video poker, it sits around 98.4%. What does that mean? Well, if you were put $1,000 in the machine and bet it all over the course of your session, you can expect to return $984.

You would be losing $16 during that time. Remember that it’s normal to expect to lose money when playing casino games. There is a built-in house edge to most games.

For the most part, we recommend games with a payback percentage over 99% for serious players. With games like this, the losses will be minimal. And you can overcome them by reaping rewards from casinos and gambling websites for steady play.

Pay the Aces video poker obviously falls below this threshold. But that doesn’t mean you should disregard it. It all depends on what you’re hoping to achieve with your gambling investment.

If you’re looking at it long-term, Pay the Aces video poker might not be the one for you, as you will most likely dribble out losses. But those who want to win big quick should consider it. The structure of the pay table and the bonuses for dealt aces can really boost your profits in a mighty hurry.

Video Poker Strategy for Pay the Aces Video Poker

There are two parts to video poker strategy. We told you already how you should be betting five coins per hand. From there, your strategy will be displayed every time you have to decide what to hold and what to discard.

You might want to go with your gut when making these decisions. Or you might try to do the probability math in your head on the fly. Both of those methods can lead you down the wrong path.

In reality, there is one correct play for every single deal you can get when playing Pay the Aces video poker. And it’s important to realize the format of the pay table will have a lot to do with those plays.

For example, take a look at the following deal:

Poker Hand - Four of Clubs, Four of Diamonds, Nine of Hearts, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Diamonds

If you were just looking at this hand in terms of making the best possible poker hand based on what you have and your chances of drawing certain cards, the smart play would be keeping the two pair. After all, that’s a decent hand. And, if you draw a four or an ace to replace the nine of hearts, you would end up with a full house.

But the pay table for Pay the Aces video poker actually dictates that you go in a different direction with this hand. First of all, remember that the pay for two pair is just even money. That’s the same as the pay for a pair of jacks or better, which you also have with the aces.

If you kept the two pair, you would only be able to improve it by drawing to the full house. But by only keeping the aces, you would still have your even-money payback in play. And there are many more ways you can improve that hand.

Plus, remember that four aces pays off in a major way on the Pay the Aces video poker. Taking all of that into account, the best play for that hand in Pay the Aces is actually to keep only the pair of aces.

Can you do all of that mathematical figuring on the spot? Maybe you can. But there are easier ways to learn the proper strategy for Pay the Aces video poker.

First of all, you can learn strategy based on Double Bonus Poker. Since Pay the Aces video poker is relatively rare, you might have a hard time finding instructional tools based on it. But you would have no issue finding tutorials for strategy on Double Bonus Poker.

There are two methods of learning strategy for Pay the Aces video poker that we highly recommend.

Video Poker Training Software

Software to teach video poker is a great way to learn if you have a lot of time to practice. By using the software over and over, you will learn the right plays for every single deal. It might take some time, but you’ll eventually get there by repetition.

Training software works by allowing you to play sample hands of video poker as if you were actually playing for real. You make your decisions about what to hold and discard the same way. When your decision is incorrect based on the probability math, the software will alert you and tell you what the right decision is supposed to be.

Strategy Charts

Again, your best bet for learning Pay the Aces video poker through a strategy chart is to find a chart based on Double Bonus poker. Once you do, you need to memorize it. That will allow you to take all of the necessary information with you when you play the game for real.

A strategy chart lists all of the possible combinations of cards you might receive on the deal and ranks them based on their potential profitability. You can look at your own hand then match it up to the combinations until you find the one that has the highest expected value. That will alert you as to which cards need to be discarded.

Pros and Cons of Pay the Aces Video Poker

Pros of Pay the Aces Video Poker

  • Big bonuses for aces and no faces on the deal
  • Gameplay doesn’t differ from basic video poker
  • Extra feature comes without an extra betting fee
Cons of Pay the Aces Video Poker

  • Much of the payback is dependent on aces showing up
  • Pay tables lacks compared to Double Bonus poker
  • Payback percentage is a bit below optimum level

Conclusion on Pay the Aces Video Poker

Pay the Aces video poker puts aces at the top of your must-have list. Get them on the deal and you’ll be looking at major bonuses before you even have to worry about holds or discards. If you get four of them on the draw, the winnings will shoot right through the roof in a way that few other video poker games can match.