White Hot Aces video poker is a relatively obscure variation of Bonus Poker
where you get bigger payoffs for a 4 of a kind consisting of aces. Various pay
tables are available. It’s not a hard game to play, especially if you’re already
familiar with Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and/or Double Bonus Poker.
This page presents the basics for how to play White Hot Aces, how the payback
tables work, where you can still find this game, and strategies for improving
your odds of winning.
The Basics of Playing White Hot Aces Video Poker
White Hot Aces is easy because it closely resembles Jacks or Better.
But if you’re unfamiliar with video poker in general, here’s a quick overview
of the basics for playing:
Video poker games like White Hot Aces look like slot machines. And they do,
in fact, have many similarities. Both games use a computer programs called a
random number generator (RNG) to generate results. Both games present symbols
along a pay line. Both games pay off based on preselected combinations of
symbols as presented in the pay table for the game.
But the games have major differences, too. One is the element of skill
involved. When you play a slot machine, you input your money, it’s converted
into credits, and you pull a lever (or push a button). The game assigns symbols
to the payline at random. It looks like reels are spinning, but those are just
for show. The random number generator assigns a result the instant you push
play. You then collect your winnings and move on to the next spin.
In video poker games like White Hot aces, you also input money, it’s also
converted into credits, and you also push a button which triggers the game. But
video poker offers an extra round where you can choose to keep or discard the
symbols along the payline.
Also, the symbols on a slot machine game are arbitrary, as are the
probabilities of getting each symbol. The symbols on a video poker game
correspond to the 52 cards in a deck of playing cards. The probability of
getting each card corresponds to a real deck of cards, too.
The pay tables for slot machines are arbitrary, too. The pay tables for video poker games, though, are based on poker hands.
You can make good decisions or bad decisions about which cards to keep or
throw away. This adds an element of skill to games like White Hot Aces that
isn’t present in slot machine games.
Also, since we know the probability of getting any card or combination of
cards in a deck of playing cards, we can calculate the theoretical return for a
video poker game. This is impossible with a slot machine game, because you’re
unable to ascertain the probability of getting a specific symbol on a slot
In fact, the slots are the only games in the casino where the house edge
can’t be calculated by the knowledgeable player. All other games provide all the
information you need to calculate the house edge-the probability of winning and
the payoff if you win.
When talking about gambling machines, writers and experts refer to the games’
payback percentage. We’ll cover that in more detail in the next section.
But first, let’s cover the specifics of gameplay at a White Hot Aces video
All video poker games, including White Hot Aces, come in a denomination. For
example, it might be a quarter game, a dollar game, or a $5 game. When you input
your money, the game converts your cash into credits per the denomination of the
Here’s an Example:
You insert $100 into a quarter machine. The game awards you 400 credits.
If you inserted that same $100 into a $5 machine, you’d only get 20 credits.
You’re then given the option of betting between 1 and 5 coins per hand. One
thing is true of all video poker games, including White Hot Aces:
Always bet max coins (5 coins).
The reason for this is because the games’ top jackpots are always reserved
for a royal flush. The payoff for a royal flush is 200 for 1 or 250 for 1,
UNLESS you bet 5 coins. When you bet 5 coins, the payoff for a royal flush is
800 for 1.
Even though you only see this hand once in every 40,000 hands, the difference
in the size of the jackpot is huge. In fact, if you ignored this rule of thumb,
you’d be giving up 1% or 2% to the house. (We’ll get into more details about
what those percentages mean in the next section.)
Once you’ve input your money and chosen your bet size, the game deals you a
hand. You can press the hold button underneath each card to keep it. Or you can
just touch the screen.
Then you hit the “DRAW” button, which is usually the same as the “DEAL”
button, and the game deals replacement cards for the cards you discarded.
Based on the poker hand ranking of your final hand and the pay table, you’re
awarded credits based on your final hand.
Paybacks, Pay Tables, and the House Edge in White Hot Aces Video Poker
When you’re dealing with machine games, you talk in terms of “payback
percentage” rather than “house edge”. They’re both opposite sides of the same
A game’s payback percentage is the expected mathematical return on each bet.
In games like White Hot Aces, the payback percentage assumes you’re making the
right strategic decisions on each hand. If you’re an average, unsophisticated
gambler, you’ll give up between 1% and 4% to mistakes.
An expected mathematical return is always a long-term expectation. In the
short run, winning streaks and losing streaks are common. In fact, if you have a
low enough sample size, it’s impossible to mimic a game’s theoretical
expectation in real life.
Here’s an Example:
Jacks or Better has a payback percentage of 99.54%. This means for every
$1.00 you gamble, the game is expected to eventually pay you 99.54 cents in
But of course, you can’t get paid off in tenths of a percentage. The lowest
amount you can win on a hand is a single unit. And more than half the time,
you’ll win nothing at all.
As you start getting into the thousands and tens of thousands of repetitions
though, the average win per hand starts to mirror the expectation. That’s why
the casinos are profitable. It’s also why gamblers sometimes come home winners
on individual trips. But if a gambler plays a negative expectation game long
enough, she’ll eventually lose all her money.
The house edge is the amount the casino expects to win from every bet. If you
add the house edge to the payback percentage, you always get 100%. With that
Jacks or Better example, the house edge is 0.46%. Add that to 99.54% and you get
100%. It also means that over time, the casino expects to win close to half a
penny for every dollar you put through the machine.
You (and the casino) can use this information to estimate the cost of playing
the game. If you know the average number of bets you’re playing per hour, the
size of the bets, and the house edge, you can just multiply the 3 numbers to get
the expected loss per hour.
In the example we’ve been using, we’ll assume an average VP player gets in
600 hands per hour. (It’s a fast game.) Let’s also assume the player is at a
quarter machine and is betting 5 coins per hand. That’s $1.25 per hand, or $750
The casino expects to pay out $750 X 99.54% = $746.55 in winnings each hour.
They expect to keep $3.45 per hour.
Most video poker games-including White Hot Aces-are based on Jacks or Better.
This is a video poker variation where you get paid off if you get a pair of
jacks or any hand higher than that. The pay table details the sizes of the
prizes. Here’s an example of a White Hot Aces pay table:
4 of a kind (aces)
4 of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s)
4 of a kind (any other)
3 of a kind
Pair of jacks+
If you’re familiar with the pay table for Jacks or Better, you’ll see a lot
of similarities here. The main difference is the payoff for a 4 of a kind
consisting of aces. This is, in fact, where White Hot Aces gets its name. No
other video poker game offers such a generous payoff for a 4 of a kind
consisting of aces.
In fact, almost all Jacks or Better games have a flat payout for a 4 of a
kind: 25 for 1.
A payoff of 240 for 1, or even 120 for 1, seems huge by comparison. Even the
50 for 1 payoff for the lower ranked 4 of a kinds is generous.
But to offer the increased payoff on that hand, the game pays off less for 2
pairs. This hand usually pays off at 2 for 1, but on White Hot Aces, it only
pays off at even money-just like a pair of jacks.
This doesn’t seem like much of a trade-off, but consider this:
You’ll see a hand with 2 pairs in it about once out of every 8 hands. Cutting
the payoff for a hand you see that often in half makes a huge difference behind
the math in the game.
You’ll only see a 4 of a kind once every 500 hands or so. And you’ll only see
a 4 of a kind consisting of aces once every 6000 hands or so.
This change in the payouts increases the volatility of the game. Volatility
is the measure of how much the game swings in one direction or another before
coming close to the expected return.
Since a lot of White Hot Aces’ payback comes from that 4 of a kind hand,
you’ll be losing for a longer percentage of the time (on average) before seeing
the expected return. Some people enjoy playing for bigger jackpots, but
others-usually low rollers-prefer steadier winnings and payoffs.
The payback table we listed above is called a 9/5 White Hot Aces pay table.
That’s because games which are based on Jacks or Better usually loosen or
tighten their payback percentages based on adjusting the payoffs for 2 hands:
The full house
The full house pays off at 9 for 1 in this example, and the flush pays off at
5 for 1.
The overall payback percentage (or expected return) for this game-assuming
you play with perfect strategy)-is 99.57%. This makes the game ever-so-slightly
superior to full pay Jacks or Better.
But keep in mind what we said about volatility, too.
Here’s another, more common, pay table for White Hot Aces:
4 of a kind (aces)
4 of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s)
4 of a kind (any other)
3 of a kind
Pair of jacks+
Notice that the payouts are almost identical, but the payoff for a full house
been reduced from 9 for 1 to 8 for 1. This changes the overall payback
percentage for the game to 98.5%.
That might sound like an insignificant difference, but let’s look at what
that does to your expected hourly losses.
At $750 per hour in action, you’re expected to lose $3.23 per hour with that
9/5 White Hot Aces pay table. With that 2nd pay table, the 8/5 White Hot Aces
pay table, you’re looking at $11.25 per hour in losses.
If you’re playing at the more common dollar denomination, you can multiply
those numbers by 4. You’re looking at losing almost $13 per hour on average on
the 9/5 game, but $45 per hour on the 8/5 game.
You can also find 7/5 and 6/5 White Hot Aces. The payback percentages for
those are 97.44% and 96.39% respectively.
Our recommendation is to stick with games offering a 99% payback percentage
or higher. 9/5 White Hot Aces qualifies, but the other pay tables do not. You
can find better paying video poker games with better payouts than 9/5 White Hot
Aces or worse.
Where to Find White Hot Aces Video Poker
White Hot Aces is relatively obscure these days. You can still find it in
casinos in Las Vegas, but usually not free-standing White Hot Aces. Instead, you
should seek out Game King machines which offer several video poker games to
choose from. White Hot Aces is often an option on those games.
White Hot Aces isn’t common at online casinos for free or for real money. The
closest thing you’ll usually find is one of the variations of Bonus Poker.
White Hot Aces Strategy
The playing strategy for White Hot Aces resembles the strategy for Bonus
Poker closely. Both games offer extra high payoffs for 4 of a kind. The major
difference is that you’ll want to be more aggressive when drawing to 4 aces than
you would be in other games.
This makes a pair of aces a much better draw than it would be in other games.
White Hot Aces is an obscure variation of Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better. If
you can find a game with a 9/5 pay table, it offers a competitive payback
But you still need to be able to play with perfect strategy to achieve that
payback percentage. We recommend avoiding any White Hot Aces video poker game
with a pay table inferior to that.
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