Thunderbar Poker Video Poker

Thunderbar Poker video poker adds just enough of a twist to the typical wild card play of video poker to be quite intriguing. For most of the time, you’ll play with a single joker in the deck as a wild card that can be changed into any other card in the deck. But you can also earn a bonus round in this game during which you’ll have access to two wild cards in every hand.

Thunderbar PokerWild card action is one of the many ways to spice up common video poker play. It’s an excellent way for players to increase their chances to achieve winning combinations that would normally be hard to achieve. That’s because a wild card can be transformed to whatever card helps your hand the most.

In terms of wild card play, Joker Poker variations (also known as Joker Wild) are a good way to get exposure to wild cards without going too deep. Joker Poker games let you play with a deck of 53 cards. You get the standard 52 plus a joker, which is the wild card in the deck.

Thunderbar Poker video poker is set up that way for the large majority of the hands you play. It features a basic pay table that is very similar to what you could expect from Joker Poker and does indeed feature a single joker in the deck to start. If all that’s the case, you might be wondering what separates it.

If you end up with a winning hand of a full house or higher (in terms of hand rankings) while playing Thunderbar Poker video poker, you’ll find the difference. If you manage that, you’ll enter a bonus round. This bonus round lasts for 10 hands and must be played at the same betting level where you were.

During these 10 hands, there will be two jokers in the deck. That gives you an even greater opportunity to rack up winning hands in that stretch. Meanwhile, the pay table will remain at its normal level during the bonus round, which means that you’re getting a big advantage as long as the second joker is in play.

This little twist in the game actually creates excellent opportunities for you to boost your winnings. As a matter of fact, overall payback for Thunderbar Poker video poker is solid when you compare it to other video poker games. It’s the kind of game that both serious and casual players can enjoy.

Of course, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. On those hands where you don’t get a wild card, you’ll have a little bit harder time forming a winning combination. And the pay table is a bit sterner than what you could expect if you were playing Jacks or Better or other games where a wild card isn’t involved.

In the following article, we’ll tell you all the details on the game known as Thunderbar Poker video poker. We’ll show you how basic video poker is played, how wild cards work, and what the extra twist of Thunderbar Poker means. Finally, we’ll take a look at the pay tables involved while also giving you information on how to develop a winning strategy.

Why People Love Video Poker

Thunderbar Poker video poker represents one of many different types of video poker available to you. If you’re a beginning player, the aspects of the game that are bit different from what you might know about how poker is played can be confusing. Luckily, learning basic video poker will give you the foundation to understand the way that this and other variations are played.

If you are new to video poker, you might not understand why it’s so popular and why some gamblers will play nothing else when they’re in a casino or at an online gambling site. In actuality, video poker is one of the friendliest of all games when it comes to the different benefits it yields to gamblers. It takes many of the best characteristics of table games and slot machines and combines them into an enticing and lucrative package.

Here are just some of the advantages that await you, the gambler, when you settle in to play a video poker game like Thunderbar Poker video poker.

  • You control the action. By that, we mean that video poker is a self-contained game that needs no casino employees and doesn’t require more than a single player. As a result, you get to play at your own pace and can play with complete privacy.
  • You never have to play video poker the same way twice. As we said, Thunderbar Poker video poker is one of many different types of video poker games that you can play. Each brings its own little twist or quirk to keep things fresh, so that you never have to get bored with the action.
  • You can learn to play in a hurry. Video poker is one of the easiest of all casino games to understand, even if you’re not a poker expert. No matter your gambling experience level, you can get started playing and have a good understanding of what’s going on in minutes.
  • You get to play the game with strategy. Many people are under the false assumption that video poker is just another type of slot machine, since they’re often located in the same section of the casino. But slot machines are all luck, while video poker lets better players enjoy better results.
  • You know everything that you need to play video poker well. The pay tables will show you how much you can earn from each winning hand. And learning probabilities of making winning hands will show you often you can expect to receive for those payback amounts.
  • You can expect payback to be pretty strong, especially when compared to other casino games. Many video poker games, including Thunderbar Poker video poker, come in with a payback percentage of over 99%. As we’ll explain later, that’s the kind of payback that will help you make a profit when playing the game.
  • You can play the game online and not worry about missing anything. Because of the way video poker is set up, the game play translates perfectly to an online setting. And you can play most of the top varieties at real money online casino sites.

These positives should give you an idea of the reasons why video poker is so popular. But first you have to learn the basics. We’re here to help you with this basic step-by-step.

How to Play Video Poker

Step 1: The Bankroll

Before you get started with playing the game, you have to put a bankroll into place. This will allow you to make wagers and win real money in return.

In terms of online video poker, this requires signing up for a gambling account at the website you’ve chosen. If you’re playing the game in a casino, you have to put cash in to get started.

Many video poker machines change over your money to units known as credits or coins. These units will correspond to the size of the denomination you’re playing. However, Thunderbar Poker video poker can often be found in formats where you will be able to simply bet in the currency that you entered into the game, without any changeover needed.

Step 2: The Bet

Many video poker games allow you the chance to bet between one and five credits per hand. With these games, it’s recommended that you wager five credits on every hand that you play. This allows you to maximize the amount that you win when you hit a royal flush, the highest-paying hand in the game.

Thunderbar Poker video poker changes up that formula a bit. You will have a much wider range of betting options available to you, which are usually based directly on the currency you’re using. That gives you a little more flexibility than the standard video poker game.

On top of that, you don’t have to worry about making the maximum bet. Payback for each winning hand, even the royal flush, rises in direct proportion to the amount that you bet. As a result, you can expect the same average payback whether you’re betting a large or small amount on every single hand.

Once you make your bet and start the hand, the amount that you bet will be deducted from your bankroll. At the end of the hand, any winnings that you achieve for a winning combination will include the amount of your original bet.

Step 3: The Hand

Once you have the preliminaries out of the way, your video poker experience will be reminiscent of the card game known as Five-Card Draw. You’ll get five cards, have the chance to hold some of those cards and discard others, and will then receive new cards for the ones that you’ve discarded. At the end of the process, the goal is to create the best five-card poker hand.

But video poker doesn’t require you to beat multiple people at a table, which is what you need to do to win at Five-Card Draw. Nor does it require you to go through multiple betting rounds. All you have to do to win at video poker is form one of the combinations that is winner according to the pay table.

Because wild cards are involved, the winning hands on a Thunderbar Poker video poker might look a little different than what you could expect from basic video poker. Here are the hands you’ll be trying to make:

  • 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)
  • Five of a kind
  • Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit)

This list features the hands that are easiest to make on the top and hardest to make on bottom. As you move down the list, your payback increases. We’ll talk more about this when we get to pay tables, but it’s the principle that will be behind your decision-making.

The Deal

You’ll receive a five-card deal, which will appear left to right across the screen. These cards, in the case of Thunderbar Poker video poker, will come (for most hands) from a simulation of 53-card deck that is found in the game’s software, which will include the standard 52 cards from a regulation deck and a joker. The software essentially keeps the cards shuffling at all times.

This is an important to concept to understand. Your chances of receiving a given card are the same for every hand you play. What has happened in past hands will have no bearing on your current hand, so don’t go expecting certain cards just because you haven’t seen them during play for a while.

The Decision

This is the point where you’ll get to exercise some strategy during your video poker hand. You have to decide which cards from your original deal you want to hold, and which you want to discard. There are no limits to how many you can hold or discard. Meaning, if you wanted, you could hold all five (if you had a great deal) or discard all five (if you had a lousy one).

The cards that you hold will be part of your final hand so they should be valuable in terms of possibly making a winning combination. And the cards you discard will be replaced by new ones from the same deck that gave you the deal. As a result, you’ll be drawing from 47 cards, since the five you were dealt will have been used already.

Your decision must be based on the probabilities of your making a winning combination based on what you have in your deal and what you might get on the draw. But you also have to factor in the potential payback. In other words, you might be wise to risk losing the hand entirely at times if it means you could get a draw to a high-paying combination.

The Draw

Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll hit the buttons (or touch the screen) to indicate the cards you want to hold, if any. Any card that you leave alone will be discarded. Always try to take a quick double-check before you hit the “draw” button to make sure you’re holding and discarding the cards that you intend.

You’ll then hit the “draw” button. Any cards that you’ve discarded will be replaced and the hand will be complete. If you did form a winning combination, the appropriate winnings will be added to your bankroll.

This is the process for playing a hand of basic video poker. Now that you understand that, you can move on to the special features of Thunderbar Poker video poker.

Playing With the Joker

As we said earlier, Thunderbar Poker video poker is played with a 53-card deck, at least for most of the hands that you play (more on that in a moment). The 53rd card in the deck is a joker. This joker is wild, which means that you can use it as any card in the deck.

When you get a joker on the deal, you have to try and speculate how the card might be used once you get to the draw. At the end of the hand, however, whether you’ve carried a joker over from the deal or received one on the draw, the game will automatically change it over for you. It will determine the card that the joker should become to make your hand as lucrative as possible.

As a result, the joker adds another layer of strategy to the proceedings when you’re playing Thunderbar Poker video poker. You know you’ll always hold it, but you have to decide which other cards will go well with it.

Sample Wild Card Hand

Imagine that you receive the following five cards in hand of Thunderbar Poker video poker:

Joker, Six of Spades, Seven of Spades, Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts

There are several different ways to go forward with this hand in terms of holds and discards. Here are three of the most obvious.

  • Hold the pair of jacks and the joker. This would give you a winning combination of three of a kind. Plus, you’d have two chances to improve that combination on the deal, possibly to a full house or four of a kind.
  • Hold the joker and the three spades. This would put you just one card away from a flush. A flush is a higher-paying hand than three of a kind, so it might be tempting to go in this direction.
  • Hold the joker and the six or seven of spades. The reason you might do this would be to try and get a straight flush. Plus, you’d still have the opportunity for many other combinations to come your way.

For the sake of our example, let’s just say that you choose option 3 (even though it isn’t the optimum strategic move). Imagine that the draw then turned out this way:

Joker, Six of Spades, Seven of Spades, Seven of Diamonds, Seven of Hearts

You ended up getting lucky on the draw to get two more sevens. In this example of Thunderbar Poker video poker, the joker would then become a fourth seven. You’d have a high-paying four of a kind.

This example should show you how having a joker can really improve your chances of winning. If you had actually played this hand in this manner, you probably wouldn’t have expected the joker to be turned into a seven. But that is what you needed it to be to maximize your winnings.

Double Wild Card Action

For most of the time that you play Thunderbar Poker video poker, you’ll be playing with the 53-card deck and a single joker. But you have the chance to put a second joker in the deck. This will happen when you manage a full house or better on a hand.

By full house or better, we mean the hands that are ranked higher than that on the Thunderbar Poker video poker pay table. Thus, the qualifying winning hands for the bonus are:

  • Full house
  • Four of a kind
  • Straight flush
  • Five of a kind
  • Royal flush

Any time that you achieve one of these hands, you will enter a bonus round for 10 hands. During these 10 hands, there will be two jokers in the deck. For those hands, you’ll be playing from a 54-card deck.

Your bets for those hands have to be the same as the bet that you made for the winning hand that activated the bonus. If you do change the size of your bet during this stretch, the deck will go back to having one joker. The bonus will go right back into play once you return your bet to its original level.

During the ten hands of the Thunderbar Poker video poker bonus, you won’t be able to re-activate the bonus. That can only happen when you’re playing with a single joker.

The advantage to this bonus round should be obvious. Having two jokers in the deck instead of one gives you a much greater opportunity to have a wild card in a given hand. And, if you should end up with both in a single hand, you are guaranteed a winning hand, potentially a very lucrative one.

You might think that it would be difficult to achieve the bonus. But don’t forget that the wild card in basic play increases your chances for hands like a full house, compared to basic video poker without the wild card. When you play Thunderbar Poker video poker for a decent amount of time, you can expect the bonus to come into play at some point, perhaps on multiple occasions.

The other great thing about the Thunderbar Poker video poker is that it is built into the game. In other words, you won’t have to make a special bet just to have access to it. If you’re a fan of video poker games with special features, you’ll know that this is relatively rare.

Pay Tables for Thunderbar Poker Video Poker

Whenever you sit down to play any type of video poker, you should always check out the pay tables. Pay tables are crucial information in that they’ll show you what you can expect from given winning hands. That will help dictate your strategy.

In the case of Thunderbar Poker video poker, the look of the pay table when you play the game might be a bit different than what you see below. That’s because most pay tables are based on bets of one through five credits. As we said before, Thunderbar Poker offers you more flexibility in terms of the range of your bets.

But to illustrate the characteristics of the Thunderbar Poker video poker pay structure, we’ve put the pay table into the more common form. This will allow comparisons to other pay tables to reveal strengths and weaknesses.

Thus, here is the pay table you can expect from Thunderbar Poker video poker:

Thunderbar Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 1,250
Five of a kind 100 200 300 400 500 Straight flush 30 60 90 120 150 Four of a kind 15 30 45 60 75 Full house 7 14 21 28 35 Flush 4 8 12 16 20 Straight 3 6 9 12 15 Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10 Two pairs 2 4 6 8 10

If you’ve never seen a video poker pay table before, it’s pretty easy to read. To see how much you’ve won, simply see where the winning combination you’ve made intersects with the bet amount. For example, a full house with a five-credit bet pays 35 credits.

Without having any context, the Thunderbar Poker video poker might not mean that much to you. That’s why it’s a good idea to show you how it compares to other relevant pay tables.

First, let’s start with the pay table for Joker Poker, which also uses a 53-card deck with a joker. But it doesn’t include any provision for two jokers, as Thunderbar Poker video poker does. Take a look.

Joker Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 5,000
Five of a kind 100 200 300 400 500 Wild royal flush 50 100 150 200 250 Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250 Four of a kind 20 40 60 80 100 Full house 10 20 30 40 50 Flush 6 12 18 24 30 Straight 5 10 15 20 25 Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10 Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5

There are several important things to note here. First of all, you’ll notice that there is a hand on the joker poker pay table known as a wild royal flush. This is essentially a royal flush that is achieved with the help of a wild card. For example:

Ten of Clubs, Joker, Queen of Clubs, King of Clubs, Ace of Clubs

You’ll see that the joker here replaces the jack of clubs to make the royal flush possible. On the Joker Poker pay table, this is differentiated from the royal flush, which is made without a wild card. The pure royal flush pays much higher than the wild royal flush, because it is harder to achieve.

But on the Thunderbar Poker video poker pay table, there is no differentiation. That means that all royal flushes are paid at 250 to 1, regardless of whether a wild card is involved or not. This is an advantage for the Thunderbar Poker game.

Throughout most of the rest of the pay table, the Joker Poker table has the edge in payback. But the Thunderbar Poker video poker had an edge in one key area. It pays back 2 to 1 for two pair, compared to even-money in Joker Poker.

This little change has a key effect on gameplay. It makes Thunderbar Poker video poker a much less volatile game. In other words, you can expect your bankroll to be much more stable over a long period of time than you could expect from Joker Poker.

Why? Well, two pair is a hand that will come up often during gameplay, much more often than any of the other winning hands on the pay table. With a wild card in play, you can expect to pop once every eight or nine hands or so.

When you get paid 2 to 1 for this hand on Thunderbar Poker video poker, it will keep your bankroll afloat and help balance out any losses. Joker Poker, on the other hand, can’t give you that same kind of boost with the even-money payback.

Let’s take a look at few other pay tables that are relevant to Thunderbar Poker video poker. First up is Double Joker Poker, which allows you to have access to two jokers for the entirety of gameplay. In other words, the entire game is like the Thunderbar Poker bonus round.

Take a look below.

Double Joker Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Natural Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Wild royal flush 100 200 300 400 500
Five of a kind 50 100 150 200 250
Straight flush 25 50 75 100 125
Four of a kind 9 18 27 36 45
Full house 5 10 15 20 25
Flush 4 8 12 16 20
Straight 3 6 9 12 15
Three of a kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two pair 1 2 3 4 5

Again, you can see the separation between the royal flush and the wild royal flush. And again, you can see that the payback for two pair is only even-money. Most of the other paybacks are higher on the Double Joker game.

Finally, let’s take a look at the pay table for Jacks or Better. This is the most common format for all video poker games. It plays the same as Thunderbar Poker video poker, but with only a 52-card deck and no wild cards.

Jacks or Better Pay Table

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

The payback for Jacks or Better is higher at every level than Thunderbar Poker video poker. But that’s to be expected because you won’t have a wild card helping you achieve those hands. You also won’t be able to make five of a kind playing Jacks or Better, as you can with Thunderbar Poker, since there is no wild card to get you the fifth of a certain rank.

Payback Percentage for Thunderbar Poker Video Poker

Percentage Over a Pile of MoneyWhen it comes to measuring different video poker games against one another, payback percentage is the bottom-line way to go about it. Very simple, payback percentage measures the amount you can expect to return from your bankroll after a session of a given video poker game.

In other words, a payback percentage of 100% would mean that you could be expected to break even. Most video poker games (and gambling games of all kinds) come in under 100%. The amount that the percentage is below 100% is known as the house edge.

In the case of Thunderbar Poker video poker, the payback percentage sits at 99.2%. For example, if you started a session with $1,000, your bankroll, after betting that entire amount, would have, on average, $992 remaining in it, if you played the game with ideal strategy. You’d have lost $8.

Why this is important is that a percentage close to 100% means that you can actually come close to breaking even from game play. When you factor in the possible bonuses you can get from casinos or gambling websites for frequent gameplay, that number could go over 100%. And that would mean you could expect to make a profit from the game.

You have to realize that payback percentage will not necessarily dictate the outcome of every session of Thunderbar Poker video poker that you undertake. There will be times when luck will play havoc with a short session. As a result, you could see variance in your results from time to time.

But over the long haul, you can expect to return that 99.2% playing Thunderbar Poker video poker, once you’ve played thousands of hands. By that time, your luck will even out. And you’ll be happy to be playing a game with such excellent return.

Strategy for Thunderbar Poker Video Poker

When you’re playing Thunderbar Poker video poker and want to maximize your winnings to match the payback percentage listed above, you’ll need to play the game with perfect strategy. That means that you’ll need to make the correct mathematical decision for every single hand that you play. If you make the right combination of holds and discards, you’ll maximize the expected value for every single deal.

This, like payback percentage, will only come to fruition after playing the game for a long time. There might be times where you make the right choice and get bad luck on the draw to lose the hand. By the same token, you could make the wrong choice and end up winning the hand thanks to a lucky draw.

But after you’ve played certain deals many times over, your decision-making will indeed have an impact on how much you can expect to return. That’s why you should try to learn perfect strategy, especially if you want to play Thunderbar Poker video poker on a regular basis.

In the case of Thunderbar Poker video poker, strategy is a bit trickier than it would be for a common video poker game. That’s because you have to essentially learn three sets of strategy.

You should know what to do when you receive a deal without a wild card. But you should also know what to do when you get a joker on the deal. And, finally, when you’re playing the bonus round in Thunderbar Poker video poker, you should be prepared to react on the chance that you receive both jokers on the deal.

Since Joker Poker is a popular game, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with strategy for no wild cards and one wild card on the deal. The two wild cards on the deal is a bit trickier. For those occasions, you might just have to use your best educated guess.

To learn ideal strategy for Thunderbar Poker video poker, you should get some help. We suggest the following resources, which you should make sure are set up to give you instruction for a video poker game with a joker as the 53rd card, whatever that might be.

Video Poker Training Software

With training software, you can learn how to play video poker while also learning strategy for a specific game. That’s because you get to play sample hands of the game as you go. Doing that will allow you to learn how to handle your bankroll, make bets, hit “hold” buttons, and get used to the rhythm of play.

In the meantime, you can also learn strategy by practicing. Every time you’re faced with a decision about what to hold or discard, the software will be there to nudge you in the right direction. After playing with the software for a while, you’ll know what the right plays are in every possible situation.

Strategy Charts

If you’re looking to learn strategy but don’t want to take the time to download training software and go through the longer process, strategy charts can work for you. You just have to memorize all the different entries on the chart. Keep in mind that this isn’t easy, especially when you consider Thunderbar Poker video poker has wild cards involved.

To learn how to achieve perfect play with strategy charts, you need to memorize the different combinations of cards and how they’re ranked on the chart. When you see a certain card combination in your deal, you’ll be able to compare it to others. In that way, you’ll know what to hold and discard for every possible deal.

Pros and Cons of Thunderbar Poker Video Poker


  • Wild cards give you chances at rare winning hands
  • Bonus round puts two wild cards into the deck
  • Solid payback for two pair reduces the volatility compared to other games with wild cards

  • Payback for rarer winning hands is a bit lacking
  • No bonus for making a higher bet
  • Without a wild card it’s hard to make a winning combination

Thunderbar Poker Video Poker Conclusion

Thunderbar Poker video poker provides a nice, little spin on a typical Joker Wild setup. Getting a chance at two wild cards is a real draw. On top of that, the overall payback is solid when you compare it to other better-known games.