Smarter Gambling

Video Poker Best Practices: Reviewing Specialty Games

Super Times Pay turned off
Written by Joshua

I’ve written previously about various ways you can make sure that you are getting the best payout opportunity for your Video Poker money, and a lot of it comes down to reviewing the pay tables that are available on various games.

One aspect I didn’t cover in previous discussions around this are the ways various specialty games can come into play. There’s two broad categories around this: Those with bonus bets, where you wager one or more extra credits to enable a feature; and those with multiple hands, where you can play three, five, 10 or more hands at a time.

In both cases, casinos may make pay table decisions that, if you’re paying close enough attention, could mean an extra bit of payback on your hands. Let’s review each in turn.

Video Poker with Bonus Bets

Super Times Pay 5 credits per hand

There’s a variety of Video Poker games that have effectively an additional bet that allows you to buy an extra feature. Some examples of this include:

  • Super Times Pay/Double Super Times Pay
  • Ultimate X
  • Hot Roll

Many of them work the same way in that you can choose how many hands to bet, and how many credits per hand. The first five credits per hand constitute the normal 1-5 credits a player bets on any video poker machine, with 5 credits getting that maximum Royal Flush payout opportunity.

The additional credit(s) beyond that activate the bonus bet. However, in nearly all instances you aren’t required to activate the bonus bet; in those scenarios the game works as any other single or multi-hand version of video poker out there.

As an example, on my recent cruise, the video poker pays were pretty anemic. 6/5 Jacks or Better is what you’d find at quarters across the board. But you could find 6/5 Bonus Poker on the multi-hand at quarters, which is a bit stronger, even though it’s the same denomination. On single hand Bonus Poker at quarters it was even worse.

Because casinos expect higher bets, on occasion certain games with extra bets may have a slightly better pay table. It’s also possible a mistake has been made along the way and a more favorable pay table is available on a specific game. As such, if you’re not paying attention to bonus bet games, you might be missing out on some other opportunities to get the best pay table.

Multi-Hand Machines

Many of the bonus bet games are multi-hand machines, but also more vanilla Video Poker games exist with multi-hand games. Some go as high as 100 hands. And some of them may too have some opportunities.

Some casinos have 100-hand video poker in high limit with denominations such as quarters. The Pay Tables on these higher limit machines are many times higher than their lower denomination equivalents. But you don’t have to bet 100 hands on these machines.

Just like the specialty games, you have the ability to choose among how many hands, and how many lines, you wish to wager. In many cases you can go to just a few hands, or even one hand, and play with a higher paytable than the same denomination on the main floor.


Casinos may be aware of these tricks and counteract some of the betting options to reduce the chances someone goes through with it. For instance, you might find a 10-hand minimum on the 100-hand video poker in high limit. But that still wouldn’t differ bet-size wise from a 10-hand quarter machine on the regular floor, so if you’re willing to bet that level, be sure to know what your options are.

Similarly, some lower hand machines may not let you reduce your hand count. So this isn’t a foolproof, guaranteed method, but you can easily check to see what’s allowed and what’s not.

Ultimately, this goes back to what I’ve said in previous posts – know your video poker options and be sure to evaluate the machines’ publicly visible pay tables to ensure you’re getting the best value for the money.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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