Sneak Peek Video Poker

Sneak Peek video poker stands as an ideal game for video poker players who want a little help with their decision-making process. Often, in video poker, you might have a hard time deciding which hand to pursue on the draw. But this game lets you see the first card that will be coming on the draw so you’ll have a much better idea of which direction to take.

Video poker has become one of the most beloved casino games for gamblers who understand what makes a game advantageous to them. Most video poker games follow the same format based on the game known as Five-Card Draw. It’s a pattern of deal, discard, and draw to make the best possible hand. Make a winning hand, and you’ll end up with some payback on your original wager.

The hard part of video poker, if you want to call it that, is figuring out which cards you should hold and which you should discard out of your original deal. But Sneak Peek video poker helps you in that regard. The game lends a hand by giving you an assist in your decision-making process.

It does this by showing you the card that will be coming first on the draw. This card will show up above your five-card deal. You’ll know which card will be coming in return for the first card you discard.

You won’t be able to see any of the other cards, but you’ll still have a great advantage. In essence, it’s like getting a six-card deal and getting to choose the best of those cards going into the rest of the draw.

When you’re playing Sneak Peek video poker, you’ll have a much better chance of making winning hands than someone not getting a look at that first card coming. But no video poker game is going to give you an advantage like that without taking something away.

In the case of Sneak Peek video poker, it features a pay table based roughly on Bonus Poker. But it discounts some of the payback on certain winning hands that come up often during gameplay.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the game known as Sneak Peek video poker. We’ll explain how basic video poker works, then we’ll take a look at how the Sneak Peek feature changes that format around. Finally, we’ll look at the pay table and payback percentage for this game as well as discuss how to learn perfect strategy.

Video Poker Benefits

Mobile Video Poker Machine With Several Chips and Cards Behind It

Sneak Peek video poker is just one of many interesting variations on the basic format of video poker. That variety is one reason why video poker is so beloved. You never have get bored, since there’s always another machine with some twists and turns to keep it interesting.

Video poker uniquely combines some of the best assets of the two main categories of casino games: table games and slot machines. What emerges from that mashup is a game that’s easy to play, challenging, and lucrative, all at once. Let’s take a look at some of the chief advantages that video poker has on some of its competitors, from the perspective of the gambler.

  • You won’t have a hard time learning how to play video poker. If you have a background in poker of some kind, you should be up and running immediately. But even complete novices should take to the game after just a few hands.
  • You can play video poker by yourself. This eliminates some of the hassles that come from dealing with other casino patrons or employees. It also allows you to play at your own pace with the strategy of your choosing without any commentary from others.
  • You get to control video poker play to some extent. Luck is still involved, but you can actually help your chances of winning with decisions you make about what to hold and what to discard. Think of how this contrasts with slot machines, where you have no control over whether you get a winning spin or not.
  • You have some knowledge of what’s coming with video poker thanks to playing card probabilities. For instance, you’ll be able to estimate the likelihood of making any of the winning hand on the pay table. Probabilities also lead to knowledge of how much each game pays back to players on average, so you can choose the most lucrative games.
  • You can expect higher payback from video poker than you would playing slot machines. And there are many video poker games, including Sneak Peek video poker, which give you a chance to earn more winnings than table games. If you consider gambling to be an investment, this is good information to know.
  • You can play online video poker and not miss out on any part of the experience. If you play video poker on a top gambling website, what you see on the screen will almost identically resemble the screen of a video poker machine. That makes it extremely convenient for those who can’t make it, or don’t want to make it, to the casino.

These are just a few of the benefits waiting for you when you prepare to play a video poker game. Sneak Peek video poker adds a twist or two to the game. For that reason, let’s look at basic video poker gameplay before we move on to what this specific game has to offer.

Playing Basic Video Poker

Step 1: Create a Bankroll

A bankroll is a necessity in video poker so that you can make wagers. It also serves the purpose of being the place where your winnings are collected until they can be redeemed. You can put money into a machine to create a bankroll or, if playing online, your bankroll can come from a gambling account.

When your bankroll shows up on a video poker screen, you’ll see it rendered in units known as credits, or coins. The value of these units is tied into the denomination of the machine you’re playing.

For example, imagine playing a machine with a 25-cent denomination. If you were to win 10 coins at this machine, you would essentially be winning $2.50. (10 times .25 equals $2.50).

Step 2: Make a Bet

Sneak Peek video poker follows the standard format of video poker in that it allows you to wager between one and five credits per hand. You can bet a different amount every hand if you choose to do so. But the best thing you can do for long-term payback is to bet the maximum of five coins per hand.

When you wager the max, you give yourself a chance at the biggest payout in the entire game for a single hand. That comes when you achieve a royal flush, which is the rarest hand in all of video poker.

If you hit a royal flush and bet only one through four coins, the payoff will be 250 coins for every one wagered. But if you do the same on a five-coin bet, your payoff will be 800 to 1, or 4,000 coins total.

Some people might be reluctant to wager five coins per hand because of the cost. But if you play enough video poker, a royal flush may show up. And you’ll regret if it does and you haven’t earned the maximum amount from it.

Step 3: Play a Hand

As we said above, video poker greatly resembles the card game known as Five-Card Draw. But there are differences between the two, besides the obvious fact that you won’t be holding actual cards in your hand when you’re playing video poker.

For example, if you play Five-Card Draw, you have to beat multiple people at a table. That means you need to either form a great hand or bluff everyone else at the table.

But when it comes to video poker, you just have to make one of the winning hands on the pay table. No need to bluff or try to beat out multiple players. In that respect, the threshold for winning at video poker is a bit lower than it is in Five-Card Draw.

Here are the winning hands that you’ll be trying to make when playing Sneak Peek video poker:

  • 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)

These hands are listed from easiest to make on the top to hardest to make on the bottom, based on the probabilities involved in a 52-card deck. As you move down the list, the hands pay more and more. In other words, the more difficult it is to achieve a hand, the more it will pay.

The first thing that will happen after making your wager and pressing the “Deal” button is that five cards will appear on your screen. Your chances of getting any one of the 52 cards would be the same as if you were playing with a freshly shuffled deck at home. There’s a random number generator within the software of video poker to do the shuffling.

It’s important to realize that video poker machines are never “hot” or “due” or anything like that. On each deal, you’ll have the exact chances of making the different winning hands. And that’s the truth whether you’ve played 10 hands or a million hands on the same machine.

When you see the five cards on the screen, you’ll start looking for connections to the hands listed above. You might be lucky and get a winning combination right off the bat. Or you could also have five cards with little connection to each other.

The good news is that you will get to discard the cards from your hand that you don’t think are helping. They’ll be replaced on the draw by cards from the deck which provided the deal. This deck will have only 47 cards remaining (the original 52 minus the 5 you were dealt).

How do you make the decision about what to hold and what to discard? You’ll use the knowledge of what’s left in the deck to figure out your chances of making winning hands. But you also have to consider how much each of these winnings pay out to decide if they’re worth pursuing.

Let’s take a look at how this process works. Here is a sample five-card deal:

Five of Clubs, Five of Spades, Six of Spades, Seven of Spades, Eight of Diamonds

There are no winning combinations in this five-card deal. But there are several combinations which are very close to be winners. You just have to decide which one is best for you to pursue.

For example, you could go with the pair of fives as your base hand. That would mean dropping the other three cards from the deal and drawing three new ones. On the draw, you could end up with winning hands like two pair, three of a kind, a full house, or even four of a kind.

You might also notice that there is a run of cards with consecutive ranks with the five through the eight. If you dropped one of the fives and drew a four or nine, you’d end up with a straight. Since there are eight fours and nines in the deck with 47 cards remaining, you know your chances of making a straight is 8 in 47, or just a shade higher than 1 in 6.

Finally, you have the five, six, and seven of spades. If you were to hold only those three cards, you would have an outside shot at drawing to a straight or a flush. And, if you came up with a really great draw, you could end up with a straight flush.

This decision illustrates the tension between risk and reward in video poker. Not all video poker decisions will be this tricky, as many deals will make it quite obvious which cards you should hold and discard. In any case, you can see where your strategy enters the picture.

Once you do make your decision, push the buttons corresponding to the cards you want to hold and hit the “draw” button. That will set off the draw, and the cards you discarded will be replaced. Your hand is over at that point, and any winnings will be added to your bankroll.

You can play in this manner by simply repeating steps two and three over and over. If you choose, you can also redeem your credits for cash at any point. Should you lose all of your coins, you’ll have to replenish your bankroll to keep playing.

Video poker is as simple as that. You’ll see when you start playing that it really is a simple process.

Sneak Peek video poker jumps off from that basic format. And the twist it adds changes the game in such a way that it gives you a much better chance of making a winning hand.

Getting a Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek video poker is not the only game that involves the opportunity for players to get a look ahead to the draw. But it differs in that it doesn’t require you to make an extra bet to get that look. Those other games that give you a sneak peek make you pay for that privilege.

You’ll make your bet in Sneak Peek video poker in the same way as if you were playing video poker. And you’ll see the five cards on the deal in the same way. But on top of those five cards, you’ll see a sixth card appearing.

This sixth card is the first card that will show up on your draw. In other words, you’ll receive this card in the position furthest to the left where a card was discarded. Any other cards that come to you on the draw won’t be known to you until they’re actually revealed on the draw.

But this one card gives you a big advantage in terms of your decision-making process. Let’s take a look at how this might work. Remember our sample deal that we showed you above:

Five of Clubs, Five of Spades, Six of Spades, Seven of Spades, Eight of Diamonds

We talked above about the different directions you can go with this hand. Once you learn strategy, which we’ll talk about below, you’ll know which of the combinations above provides you with the highest expected value. And that combination is what you would pursue if you were playing normal video poker.

But Sneak Peek video poker can change all of that with the card that’s revealed. Let’s take a look at three different “sneak peeks” to see how they affect your decisions.

  • Sneak Peek Card Example 1: Five of Diamonds
  • Sneak Peek Card Example 2: Nine of Hearts
  • Sneak Peek Card Example 3: Four of Spades

In Example 1, you know that another five is on the way. By holding the pair of fives, you are assured of at least three of a kind. Your best play then is to hold the pair.

In Example 2, the nine of hearts lets you know you’re going to get the card to complete the straight. You should drop one of the fives so you can have that happen. Again, the choice becomes obvious.

Finally, in Example 3, you have the nine of hearts waiting for you. This is the only one of the three examples where the Sneak Peek card doesn’t assure you of a winning hand.

But it does put you one step closer to the straight flush. It also makes both the flush and straight possible if you were to discard the five of clubs and eight of diamonds. There is no doubt, with that card coming on the draw, that is the way you should go.

You can see that the strategy is made much easier with the advantage granted to the player by the Sneak Peek video poker format. And you can also see that, by knowing what card is coming, your chances of making a winning hand go up dramatically.

Let’s take a look at one more interesting example to show how the sneak peek card can really change things. Take a look at the following deal:

Four of Hearts, Five of Hearts, Seven of Hearts, Eight of Hearts, Ace of Hearts

If you were playing normal video poker, you wouldn’t even bother with a draw here. The smart play would be to hold all five cards, take the flush you’ve been dealt and collect your winnings.
But imagine you were playing Sneak Peek video poker and you saw that this was your Sneak Peek card:

Six of Hearts

Obviously, you know this card will give you the straight flush if you were to drop the ace of hearts. As you can see, the Sneak Peek card not only shows you which hand to pursue, but it also shows you what specific cards should be discarded to get to those hands.

You might think from these examples that Sneak Peek video poker is all positive. But, as we check out the pay tables, you’ll begin to see how the game takes away some of your payback to make up for the advantage of being able to look at the card that’s coming.

Pay Table for Sneak Peek Video Poker

The pay table is a crucial piece of information for any video poker game that you might be playing. It shows you what kind of strategy you should be pursuing, since you want to focus on the hands that provide the best value. And it combines with the probabilities to show you how much you can expect from the particular video poker game.

In the case of Sneak Peek video poker, you might find it hard to locate different pay tables than the one listed below. It makes it easy in one respect because you won’t have to worry about finding the full-pay table among many options. But it also limits you.

For the most part, the pay table for Sneak Peek video poker is based on the game known as Bonus Poker. A Bonus Poker pay table offers higher payback for four of a kind hands than Jacks or Better pay tables do. To balance that out, it offers less payout for mid-priced hands like a full house.

You’ll see that the Sneak Peek pay table follows the basic pattern of Bonus Poker in how it awards separate payouts for four of a kind based on rank. And you’ll also see that certain four of a kind hands pay more than the straight flush, even though the straight flush is harder to achieve.

But you’ll see, as we explore the pay tables, that there are key differences as well. Let’s take a look first at the pay table for Sneak Peek video poker:

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 30 60 90 120 150
Four of a kind (aces) 80 160 240 320 400
Four of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s) 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind (any other) 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
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

How do you read a pay table? Simply follow the row with the winning hand over to the column with the amount bet.

For example, if you were to make a full house on a Sneak Peek video poker pay table with five coins wagered, you’ll see that the number 35 is listed where those two collide on the table. It means you will win 35 coins for that hand with that amount wagered. That number includes the return of your five-coin bet, which means your profit is 30 coins.

Now, let’s take a look at a common 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) 40 80 120 160 200
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

Looking at the some of the highest-paying hands, you’ll see some minor discrepancies between the two. The Bonus pay table pays more for the straight flush. But four of a kind with twos, threes, and fours will pay more on the Sneak Peek video poker pay table.

It’s when you move down the pay table that you’ll see how the Bonus Poker pay table pulls in front, so to speak. This table demonstrates it:

Hand/Game Sneak Peek video poker Bonus Poker video poker
Full House 7 to 1 8 to 1
Straight 3 to 1 4 to 1
Three of a Kind 2 to 1 3 to 1
Two Pair 1 to 1 2 to 1

All of these hands will appear quite often during a common video poker session of a few hours or so. In fact, the two pair hand will come up about once in every 10 hands or so.

Because these hands are so common, you will feel the impact of them being discounted on a Sneak Peek video poker pay table. This is the way that the game keeps from tilting too far in the favor of the player. You’ll be able to make these hands more often because of the Sneak Peek, but you won’t get paid as much for them.

Payback Percentage for Sneak Peek Video Poker

If you’re going to be a serious video poker player, one who tries to earn a profit on the game over a long period of time, it’s important to understand the concept of payback percentage. Payback percentage is essentially the average payback that a particular style of video poker game will return to the player.

A payback percentage of 100% would mean you broke even while playing the game. Any percentage that goes above 100% actually gives the edge to the player. You won’t see that very often, because casino games generally maintain a house edge so that casinos and online gambling websites don’t go out of business.

It’s important to realize your play won’t always produce results in line with the payback percentage. This is especially true when you only play video poker occasionally for very short sessions. Luck will have more to do with the results than anything else in those cases.

But long-term video poker players, ones who play thousands of hands, will see results that are in line with the payback percentage. It’s why such players should always be looking out for these figures.

In terms of Sneak Peek video poker, the payback percentage sits at around 99.2%. That takes into account the probabilities of making winning hands with the Sneak Peek edge factored into the figures. It takes the payback for winning hands into account as well.

99.2% is a pretty solid payback percentage for video poker. It comes above the 99% line, which is generally where the cutoff is between games where you could hope to make a profit and ones where profit is unlikely.

Even though you are expected to lose about .8% of your bankroll playing Sneak Peek video poker over time, you can compensate for those losses. You can do that through the rewards offered by casinos or gambling websites for steady play.

Strategy for Sneak Peek Video Poker

The Word Strategy Surrounded by Playing Cards

Learning strategy for video poker is important if you want to reach the payback percentage listed for each game. If you make wrong selections, your results will likely fail to reach the maximum payback you could receive over time.

The key is to understand what we mean by a “wrong” decision. Each deal in video poker comes with a mathematical figure known as expected value. Expected value is basically what the deal will return on average when certain card combinations are held or discarded.

Only one of these combinations of holds and discards produces the highest expected value. Selecting any other cards will thus lower your payback percentage. It might not happen in the short haul where luck is heavily involved, but it will happen if you play the game for a long time and keep making mathematically incorrect choices.

In one way, Sneak Peek video poker helps you with strategy. As we showed you above, the Sneak Peek card will generally push you in the correct direction since it takes some of the guesswork out of the equation. After all, you’re getting more information than the average video poker player.

But Sneak Peek video poker also confuses the matter. That’s because it’s unusual enough that the usual methods for learning video poker strategy might not be effective.

For example, video poker training software might not work with this game. It’s just unlikely that you’ll find software that will allow you to sneak a peek at the next card so that it can factor that into its instruction.

Strategy charts are another way to learn proper strategy for normal video poker. And they might have some usefulness in learning Sneak Peek video poker, albeit maybe not flawlessly.

If you find a strategy chart for video poker online, you’ll see a list of card combinations you might receive on the deal. These combinations are ranked in terms of their expected value. You just have to memorize the chart and take that information in your head to your video poker session.

Once you have the chart memorized, you’ll know the best combination you have upon seeing your deal. You’ll keep those cards and discard the others to get the highest expected value from the hand.

In the case of Sneak Peek video poker, you just have to include the Sneak Peek card in your deliberations. Just think of it, in a way, as a six-card hand. The Sneak Peek card will be added to the others from the deal when you think of the combinations on the chart.

You should find a strategy chart that caters to Bonus Poker, since you might not find specifically Sneak Peek video poker. But you might have to adjust that because of the different payback amounts on the Sneak Peek table. Video poker calculators can help you make these adjustments.

In any case, you should work hard to learn the proper strategy when playing Sneak Peek video poker. It could ultimately make the difference between profit and loss.

Advantages of Sneak Peek Video Poker

  • Being able to see the first card on the draw makes decisions about what hand to pursue much clearer
  • The twist is simple enough for even novice video poker players to understand
  • You don’t have to pay for the chance to see the Sneak Peek card by making a higher wager than normal

Disadvantages of Sneak Peek Video Poker

  • The pay tables are depressed on common hands to take away some of the Sneak Peek advantage
  • Usual methods for learning perfect strategy might not be as effective with this game
  • You are limited in terms of the pay tables available to you


Sneak Peek video poker legally gives you something like a cheater’s edge by showing the first card coming on the draw. It will sometimes feel ridiculously easy to make the right selections about what to hold and discard because of this edge. Just keep in mind that the game’s pay table is specifically constructed to limit the benefits you get from taking that Sneak Peek.