Split Card Video Poker Guide

Split Card video poker is a video poker variation with a split personality in the best possible way. By doubling their bet, players enable the split card feature where they can receive a card that splits into two different ones, both of which can be used in the hand. That gives you an extra card with which you can make some of the highest-paying hands in the game, hands that would be much harder to achieve without the extra feature.

Video poker is known to many people as one of the best games that you can play in a casino. After all, you can play it by yourself as though you were playing a slot machine. But you also get the strategic elements and competitive payback percentages of top table games.

Most people know video poker in its most basic form, also called Jacks or Better, named after the lowest-paying hand in the game. But video poker manufacturers have made a lot of effort to spice up gameplay by adding extra twists to the game. They can do that by messing with the pay tables, which show how much each winning hand pays, or by adding special twists on basic gameplay.

In many ways, Split Card video poker takes both of those approaches. On the one hand, it is a kind of umbrella video poker game, in that it gives you the chance to play from several different pay tables. You can play conservative pay tables that allow you to play for a long time on a small bankroll, or you can go for more aggressive pay tables that increase your chance for quick, significant payoffs.

On top of that, you can enable a special feature in Split Card video poker that adds an interesting and potentially lucrative twist on the basic video poker format. This twist isn’t cheap, as you have to double your maximum bet for a total of 10 coins per hand to activate it. Considering that this game is available in multiple-play mode, where you’ll be playing three, five, or 10 hands at once, those big bets can get awfully expensive in a hurry.

But the rewards that you reap can certainly be worth it. With the Split Card video poker extra feature, you have the opportunity to receive a card that is split into two different cards. For example, you might receive the eight and nine of hearts in a single position.

You get to use both of those cards to make your hand, meaning that instead of five cards in the hand, you get six. As a result, you will have a much better chance of making rare, high-paying hands like four of a kind, a straight flush, or even a royal flush. That makes the potential payouts worth the extra bet that you’ll be making to enact the special feature.

In the following article, we’ll give you all the tools you need to play hands of Split Card video poker, either at a casino or at an online gambling website. We’ll explain how to play basic video poker, how to play multiple hands at once, and finally, how to play with the Split Card twist to the game. And we’ll also look at the pay tables for the game and how you might come up with the right strategy to play the game so that you can maximize your winnings.

Playing Basic Video Poker

Basic Video PokerAs we briefly mentioned above, video poker in many ways combines many of the best elements of slot machines and table games. Like slot machines, you get to play the game on your own and at your own pace. You won’t be interrupted by employees or other casino patrons and you can simply concentrate on playing the game to the very best of your ability.

Like table games, video poker includes the ability to incorporate strategy into the game. You don’t just sit back helplessly without any say in the outcome. Instead, you get to decide which cards to keep and which to discard in an attempt to make the best possible winning hand.

Video poker also resembles card-based table games in that you can estimate your chances of winning. When you play blackjack, for example, you go in knowing your chances of beating the dealer, because each of your outcomes are limited by what is contained in a deck (or decks) of cards. With video poker, those outcomes are even easier to figure out, because you are always only dealing with a single deck of 52 cards that can possibly be in your hand at any time.

The other good way that video poker resembles table games is in payback percentage. Slot machine payback pales in comparison to video poker. You can actually estimate your payback on a specific video poker machine like Split Card video poker by combining the probabilities or making winning hands with the actual pay for those hands.

Those payback percentages, even for low-paying pay tables, outdo what you can expect from the average slot machine. And they hang right in the ballpark with the best table games. As you can see, there is a lot to love about video poker, which is why many people insist on making it the only game that they will play at a casino or online.

More good news about video poker is that it’s easy to play. If you’ve ever played a variation of five card draw poker at home or out with friends, you’ll probably recognize how it works. Even if you never have heard of five card draw, however, video poker takes only a few hands before you can really get the hang of it.

And once you understand basic video poker, it’s really only a short leap to learn how to play Split Card video poker. So, let’s get to it, then. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough of video poker, from the moment that you put your money into the machine to the moment you decide to cash it out.

Step 1: Getting Started

Simply insert money into a video poker machine to begin play. Or, if you have a redemption ticket from the same casino with credits on it, you can use that to start as well. If you are playing online, you’ll need to fund your account to start your gameplay.

However you choose to do it, the money that you use to bet on video poker hands will be rendered in credits or coins. Each of these units will be equal to the amount of the denomination that you’re playing. For example, you might be playing a quarter machine or a dollar machine, or you might be at a machine that allows you to choose your denomination.

To figure out how many credits you’ll have to play, just do a little quick math. Divide the amount that you inserted by the amount of the denomination. For example, $10 at a quarter machine will result in 40 credits, which is what you get when you divide 10 by .25.

Step 2: Deciding on What to Bet

Video poker is a game of strategy, but many people don’t realize that deciding on the amount that you want to bet is part of that strategy. If you bet incorrectly, you will actually be harming your expected payback. In the case of Split Card video poker, it gets more complicated because of the extra feature and the potential of playing multiple hands.

In most basic video poker games, you can bet between one and five credits per hand. The five-credit bet, also known as the max bet, is recommended for these games. That’s because the max bet allows you the highest-proportioned payout on a royal flush, which is the rarest and highest-paying hand in the entire game.

When playing Split Card video poker, you can double the maximum bet to activate the extra feature. By doubling your bet, you are increasing the volatility level. What that means is that you’re increasing your potential for big payoffs but you are also increasing the chance that you will lose your bankroll in a hurry.

What we would suggest in terms of betting with Split Card video poker is to consider your budget and what you want out of gameplay. If you aren’t worried so much about the possibility of blowing through your bankroll quickly but want the chance for a quick, big score, bet the 10 coins per hand. But if you still want to get close to the maximum payback while still keeping your budget somewhat under control, play five coins per hand and go without the extra feature.

Step 3: Playing a Video Poker Hand

As we mentioned, video poker is essentially a simulation of five card draw poker. You are trying to make the best possible hand out of a five-card deal and a draw round where you to get to replace cards from your deal with others from the deck. The big difference is that, with video poker, you aren’t trying to beat other players. You are simply trying to make one of the winning hands that is listed on the pay table.

What constitutes a winning hand depends on which pay table you play. But most of the pay tables will be similar in terms of certain core hands that will usually pay out no matter which version of the game that you’re playing. These hands are:

  • 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)

The hand begins once you have made your bet, as five cards will appear on your screen. With some good luck, they might already form one of the winning combinations listed above. But even if they don’t, you’ll have a chance to improve the hand with the draw.

On the draw, you get to discard cards from the deal that you don’t think are helping you. They will be replaced with other cards using the same deck from which you were dealt, now containing just 47 cards since it already dealt you five. You can discard anywhere from zero through five.

Let’s look at a simple deal to see how that works. Imagine that you receive the following five cards on the deal:

Seven of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, Nine of Spades, Ten of Diamonds

Unfortunately, this hand doesn’t give you any winning combinations right off the bat. But there are certain combinations that aren’t that far from making one. For example, you have a pair of eights, which can be improved into two pair, three of a kind, a full house, or maybe even four of a kind on the draw.

You might also notice that you have a seven, eight, nine, and ten in your hand. That is known as an open-ended straight draw, since it can be completed in a couple of ways on either hand. If you drop one of the eights, you can make a straight if you draw a six or a jack.

There is also the possibility of three cards to a straight flush (seven, eight, and 10 of diamonds). With a lot of luck on the draw (you would definitely need the nine of diamonds along with either the six of diamonds or the jack or diamonds), you would achieve it. The payoff for the straight flush falls only short of the royal flush.

You have to make this decision by balancing out the probability of getting certain hands with the payout for those winning hands. In the above example, you can see how the probability of making the higher-paying hands is lower. It’s up to you to decide if you want to put yourself at more risk of losing the hand completely to get them.

In each hand of video poker, you will be faced with a similar decision. Most times, it won’t be as tricky as this example. Once you decide, you have to press the buttons underneath the cards that you want to hold.

The machine will then hand out your draw, at which point the hand is finished. You’ll know then whether you won or lost the hand. Any winnings will be added to your bankroll.

You can continue playing in this manner as long as you have credits still left in your bankroll. At any point, you can cash out and collect your redemption ticket. Once you run out of credits, you’ll need to put more money in if you want to keep playing.

That’s how you play video poker one hand at a time. But, as we stated above, Split Card video poker takes place in multiple play mode, which we’ll explain now.

Playing Multiple Hands at a Time

Split Card video poker can be played three, five, or 10 hands at once. You have to make a bet to play each hand. The math on that, if you want to activate the extra feature of the game, can add up to significant bets for each round played:

  • Three hands: 30 coins bet (3 x 10)
  • Five hands: 50 coins bet (5 x 10)
  • Ten hands: 100 coins bet (10 x 10)

If you plan on betting less than the 10 coins per hand, simply multiply that amount by the amount of hands that you’re playing to see what you’ll need to bet each round. The other thing that you have to understand about multiple play is that you are receiving just a single deal per round. You will then receive a different draw for each hand that you play.

For example, let’s say that you received the example deal from above while playing three hands at a time:

Seven of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, Nine of Spades, Ten of Diamonds

You would make your decision about what cards to hold and discard as if you were playing a single hand. But that decision will be repeated for each hand. Let’s say you decided to play the pair of eights and discard everything else.

In the subsequent draws, you receive the following:

  1. Eight of Spades, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, Jack of Clubs, Jack of Hearts
  2. Two of Clubs, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, King of Spades, King of Hearts
  3. Four of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, Jack of Clubs, Ace of Spades

In the first hand, you made a full house. The second hand came out with two pair. Alas, on the third hand, you couldn’t improve it and ended with a loss.

You would then add up the winnings from each hand depending on how much you bet. The two winning hands would give you a nice profit, the size of which would depend on the pay table you played. Notice also that you received the jack of clubs on two different draws, which is possible in multiple play mode because you are drawing from different decks containing the 47 cards which you didn’t receive on the deal.

Multiple play video poker accentuates a good deal by repeating it over multiple draws. It gives you the chance to score big winnings in a hurry, much faster than if you were playing a single hand at a time. The downside is that you can also lose a lot in a hurry as well.

The Split Card Video Poker Extra Feature

As we mentioned above, it will take 10 coins per hand to activate the Split Card video poker extra twist. That extra twist is the so-called Split Card, which is essentially two cards jammed into one position. Let’s examine how this works.

First of all, you have to understand that you will not receive a Split Card on every single hand that you play. In contrast, it will only occur about once out of every four hands. You have the potential of seeing the card on the deal or the draw.

When you get a Split Card, you can think of it in terms of a base card and one attached to it. The extra card will be the same suit as the base card, and it will be the same rank as it. As an example, if you get a base card or eight of hearts, the Split Card will be either the seven of hearts, another eight of hearts, or a nine of hearts.

You are then allowed to use both of those cards to form one of the winning combinations. Let’s take a look at some examples at how the Split Card can come into play. Look at the following hand:

Six of Diamonds, Seven of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds/Nine of Diamonds, Ten of Diamonds, King of Clubs

In this case, the Split Card gives you the opportunity to make a straight flush. Let’s take a look at another:

Four of Clubs, Five of Clubs/Five of Clubs, Five of Hearts, Five of Diamonds, Nine of Hearts

Here is the case where the split card is the same as the base card. And it allows you to come up with four of a kind.

One more example:

Three of Clubs, Four of Clubs/Four of Clubs, Four of Hearts, Eight of Clubs, Ten of Clubs

Here, the Split Card actually helps you to form two winning hands, as you have both a flush with clubs and three fours. You will only get paid for the more lucrative winning hand, which in this case, is the flush.

All of these serve as examples of how the extra twist in Split Card video poker can really give you a boost. In all of those examples, you are dealing with hands that you wouldn’t have made if it was just the base card involved. Instead, you came out with lucrative hands.

Imagine also if you happen to get the Split Card on the deal. Remember that you are playing multiple hands at once. That means that the Split Card will come into play for all of them, which can really add up to huge winnings in a hurry.

But you have to remember that the Split Card will only show up once every four hands on average. That means that, on the three out of four hands when you don’t get it, you will be betting 10 coins for a five-coin pay table. That can really take a chunk out of your winnings extremely fast.

Again, you have to judge what you’re looking for out of the game when playing Split Card video poker. Since you are in multiple play mode anyway, which is volatile to start, it’s probably best to just lean into it and go for the big earnings possibilities with the Split Card. Just be prepared for a bit of a bumpy road if you have a stretch of hands without one.

Pay Tables for Split Card Video Poker

As we mentioned earlier, Split Card video poker gives you the opportunity to choose between many different pay tables. The ones included in the game are:

  • Jacks or Better
  • Bonus Poker
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Double Bonus
  • Double Double Bonus
  • Super Double Bonus
  • Triple Double Bonus
  • Super Aces Bonus
  • Deuces Wild
  • Deuces Wild Bonus
  • Joker Poker

For those who are unfamiliar with them, Deuces Wild and Joker Poker are wild card games. That means that the twos in Deuces Wild and the joker (the 53rd card in the deck) in Joker Poker are designated as wild cards. That means that you can substitute whatever card helps your hand the best for these cards when they show up.

All of these pay tables have payouts that are slightly different. You can decide which pay table suits what you’re looking for from your gameplay. The Split Card video poker can then be included no matter which pay table that you choose.

Here is a sampling of some of the pay tables that are available under the Split Card video poker umbrella:

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 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

Bonus Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 200 400 600 800 1000
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 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 50 100 150 200 250
Four aces w/ any 2,3,4 400 800 1200 1600 2000
Four 2s, 4s, 5s w/ any A,2,3,4 160 320 480 640 800
Four aces 160 320 480 640 800
Four 2s, 3s, or 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 pair 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Triple Double Bonus Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 200 400 600 800 4000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind – aces 2, 3, or 4 kicker 800 1600 2400 3200 4000
Four of a kind – 2s, 3s, or 4s A, 2, 3, or 4 kicker 400 800 1200 1600 2000
Four of a kind – aces 5s – Ks kicker 160 320 480 640 800
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 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 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

Strategy for Split Card Video Poker

Because Split Card video poker is such a unique twist on the game, it can be difficult to learn perfect strategy for it. You can learn strategy for any one of the variations listed above by using video poker training software or by memorizing strategy charts. These options are readily available for Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild, etc.

But when it comes to Split Card video poker, specifically the special feature, it can be hard to find any guidance. Your best bet is to learn perfect strategy for the pay table that you prefer without the twist. Then, it’s just a matter of using common sense.

For example, on the deal, you will probably be holding the Split Card a large percentage of the time, except in some odd example like having four to a straight flush and then a Split Card that is unrelated. From there, you just have to imagine your training but with the sixth card coming into play as well. It can get a little tricky, but the more that you play the game, the more you’ll get the hand of incorporating the extra twist into your strategic decisions until you feel comfortable.

Split Card Video Poker Pros and Cons


  • You get six cards to make your best hand with the extra feature
  • Access to many different pay tables
  • Potential for huge payoffs especially if Split Card comes on the deal

  • Very expensive to play with extra twist
  • Bankroll will dwindle quickly if you have a stretch without seeing Split Cards
  • Strategy can be difficult to figure out concerning the extra feature

Conclusion on Split Card Video Poker

Split Card video poker might not appeal to you too much if you’re worried about spending a lot of coins to play each round, especially knowing that the extra twist might not actually come into play on every hand that you play with the doubled coins bet. But, if you’re willing to take the risk, the rewards can be very great when you do get what amounts to six cards to make the best winning hand. When that happens, the winnings for this game, whether you’re playing online or at a top gambling website, can really be off the charts.