Joker Poker, as the name suggests, is a style video poker which adds the Joker to the standard deck of 52 cards. Using simple strategy, most online Joker Poker variants carry a projected return of around 99 per cent; so let’s look at how to play, what options are out there, and where online players can indulge in the best Web-based video poker.
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In Joker Poker, the Joker acts as a wild card, which gives us greater flexibility when compiling poker hands and thus requires a different set of payouts to regular Jacks or Better games.
Our top-rated virtual casinos all offer Joker Poker for online gamblers, along with the option to try it out free or play for real money. Each one of the certified gambling sites listed above boasts several video poker variations, along with hundreds of pokies, progressives, blackjack, roulette and much, much more. If you’re new to video poker, see why it’s a good alternative for slot players.
How to play Joker Poker
Like most video poker variants, Joker Poker is effectively a single-player adaptation of five card draw (see our dedicated video poker article for a detailed how-to guide). The difference between this game and most other versions is that it includes one Joker, which means we play with a deck of 53 cards rather than the standard 52.
The Joker is a wild that can substitute for any other card in the deck, and so it makes it possible to create hands that would normally be very difficult to draw. For example: if we are dealt a pair of Deuces and a Joker, we have a three of a kind; but we also have a better chance than usual at drawing a four of a kind, as there are still two Deuces in the deck. There is also the opportunity for a five of a kind, which is only possible when wild cards are in play.
With regards to payout charts, there are a few common varieties:
Kings or Better – lowest paying hand is a pair of Kings or Aces.
Aces or Better – lowest paying hand is a pair of Aces.
Two Pair or Better – lowest paying hand is any two pairs.
Online, we almost always play with Kings or Better rules (also called Kings and Aces). Nevertheless, there is still room for variation with pay-offs for specific hands from game to game. Below is the pay chart for Microgaming’s hugely popular Joker Poker title, as found at Royal Vegas and many other top casinos.
A Joker royal flush (also called a wild royal flush), as you might have surmised, is a royal flush where one of the usual cards is replaced by a Joker – e.g. A K Q J, all Hearts, and a Joker instead of the 10. Also note the bonus payout of 5,000 credits for a natural royal flush when betting five coins per hand; this is why all experts will tell you to wager the full five coins every time.
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Simple strategy for online Joker Poker
There are a few strategic options we can take when playing Joker Poker, depending the make-up of the payout scale and whether we intend to play for long periods at a time. For most players – especially those new to this form of video poker – the simple strategy outlined below is an easy way to get familiar with Joker Poker while maximising the potential for real cash returns.
This system consists of two charts: one showing the possible plays when dealt a Joker; the other, for when there is no Joker in the initial hand. To use this strategy, simply look at the hand you are dealt, determine the hands or partial hands available, and then hold the highest ranked option according to the list. This strategy works for Microgaming Joker Poker and most other Internet-based games, with a theoretical return of 98.6 per cent (house edge 1.4 per cent) when betting the maximum five coins per hand.
- Five of a kind
- Wild royal flush, straight flush
- Four of a kind, full house
- Four cards to a wild royal flush
- Four consecutive cards to a straight flush
- Any four cards to a straight flush
- Straight, three of a kind
- Four cards to a flush with high card (i.e. King or Ace)
- Three cards to a wild royal flush
- Three cards to a straight flush
- High pair
- Any four cards to a flush
- Four cards to a straight
- Joker only
- Royal flush, straight flush
- Four cards to a royal flush
- Four of a kind, full house, flush
- Four cards to a straight flush
- Straight, three of a kind
- Two pairs
- Three cards to a royal flush
- High pair (Aces or Kings)
- Four cards to a flush
- Three consecutive cards to a straight flush
- Low pair (Queens or less)
- Any three cards to a straight flush
- Four cards to a straight
- Two cards to a royal flush
- Ace and King
- Discard all
Multi-hand Joker Poker online
Each of our recommended Internet casino stocks a multi-hand version of online Joker Poker, some of which allow us to play a whopping 100 hands per turn. Our favourite is the Power Poker release by Microgaming. Four hands at once gives us a greater opportunity to win something even on weak draws, which means the bankroll doesn’t dry up as fast when the cards aren’t quite falling our way.
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