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Joker Poker: Strategy & How To Play

joker poker guideJoker Poker (which is also known as Jokers Wild) is a widely played video poker variant that can be found on many of the best video poker mobile apps, and online casinos.

It’s kind of half way between the popular Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. This makes it an easy game to learn if you’ve played either of these video poker variations before.

Today, I’ll walk you through how to play Joker Poker, and explain how it differs from other video poker games.

You’ll also get an easy to follow Joker Poker strategy which you can use to increase your RTP and improve your chances of winning when playing this game.

How To Play Joker Poker

If this is your first time playing video poker, it’s worth learning the basics first. These apply to all variations of the game, and serve as a good introduction or refresher for new players. I recommend you check out our beginner’s guide to video poker before going any further.

Terminology Used

  • Joker – This card acts as a wildcard in Joker Poker
  • Sequential Royal – A Royal Flush displayed in order: 10 J Q K A
  • Full Pay 7/5 – A Joker Poker machine that pays 7 coins for a Full House and 5 for a Flush

Rules of the Game

As I mentioned at the start, Joker Poker is known as Jokers Wild at some online casinos, but both names refer to the same basic game and they have the same rules. Joker Poker uses a single deck of cards. That’s the standard 52 suited cards, plus a joker, making a total of 53 cards in the deck.

The joker is a wildcard, meaning it can be substituted for any other card value or suit.

The general rules and game sequence are the same as in any other version of Video Poker, and many casinos offer the bonus gamble to give you the chance to double or quadruple the payout from a winning hand.

The one thing you need to bear in mind is the 52 card deck and the presence of that extra wildcard. This effectively doubles your chances of success if you’re drawing on a 4 card hold (assuming you don’t have the joker already). But we’ll talk more about that in the strategy later on.

Hand Ranks & Pay Table

joker poker pay table

The Joker Poker pay table may vary depending on which online casino you’re playing at, and which software provider they use. It is important to be aware of the variations if you are considering using the strategy I’ll show you below.

Some games pay out for pairs of Kings or Better, others only pay out on 2 Pair or above. However, the payout values may be adjusted to compensate for this.

For example, the pay table above includes KoB which at first glance would make it seem better. That’s until you look closer and see that it pays 6/5 for Full House/Flush. Other tables which start at 2 Pair might offer 9/6 which is obviously a much better return for the middle ranking hands.

You might also see some games offering the Sequential Royal. This is the Holy Grail of Joker Poker hands, which returns a whopping 10,000 coins when played at the Max Bet of 5 coins. This is a bigger jackpot that you’d get on many video slots, so well worth looking out for.

Joker Poker Strategy

Joker Poker strategyUsing a Joker Poker strategy can significantly improve your chances of winning at this game.

In fact, if you can find a full pay game which includes Kings or Better, using the correct strategy can give you a positive expectancy on the game, with a RTP of 100.64%. This improves yet further with the addition of the Sequential Royal.

The return obviously reduces on lower paying machines, although the strategy can still be used to improve your returns.

Any strategy for Joker Poker is built around the presence of the Joker in the pack. If you already have the Joker in your initial deal, then your chances of success on the draw are still higher than they would be in Jacks or Better, because you still have the chance of getting the actual card you need, and therefore subbing the Joker for something else.

But if you don’t have the Joker, then your chances are significantly increased.

Which Cards To Hold Without Joker

  • Any complete winning hand (Pair of Kings or better) and discard the rest (if any)
  • 4 to a Royal Flush, Straight Flush or Flush
  • 3 to a Royal Flush or Straight Flush
  • 2 to a Royal Flush, sequential only (eg AK, KQ etc)
  • Any Ace or King

Which Cards To Hold If You Have The Joker

As above, with the addition of:

  • 3 to a Straight Flush, only if sequential
  • 4 to Outside Straight
  • Joker + Unsuited TJK, TQK, JQK
  • Joker + Ace or King
  • Joker Only

Remember that these rules apply to a Full Pay table: one that includes the high pairs. If you’re playing a video poker machine that only pays 2 Pair or above, then you would need to modify the strategy accordingly. For example, in this case it would not make sense to hold a single Ace or King, or A/K + Joker.

I’ve condensed these rules as much as possible, to try and make sure that this is a fairly simple strategy to remember.

It should become second nature after a couple of hours practice playing online. You can then employ it whenever you play Joker Poker at any mobile casino site or app, or at land based casinos too.

The strategy is completely legal and is not even “frowned upon” by real world casinos, like card counting. Indeed, they’d never even know you were using it, because the nature of video poker means it’s played on a screen, not a table, so there’s nobody to watch you play anyway. But even so, it’s not a great idea to whip out a cheat sheet in the middle of a Vegas casino, so you should try and commit the rules to memory first.

So I’d recommend practicing online / on mobile as much as possible. This way you can refer back to the rules above as often as you like. Then when you’ve memorised the rules, go try them out in a brick and mortar casino. You’ll get a few free drinks thrown in that way as well!

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021