Joker Wild/Joker Poker Guide
Joker Wild (also known as Joker Poker) is the simplest wild card version of Video Poker. Joker Wild is basically the same as Jacks or Better, but the addition of a Joker card that can be substituted for any card in the deck makes it easier to make stronger hands. Because of this, the game has much different payouts than a normal Jacks or Better game. This article will discuss the rules of Joker Poker, various pay tables that are used, and a few strategy tips.
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Joker Wild Rules
Joker Wild is a very simple video poker game. To get started you have to insert your player card if you're at a live casino, or click the virtual chips on the bottom right of the screen if you're at an online casino.
Next, you have to select how many coins you'd like to bet per hand. "Coins" are just a multiplier against the machine's bet, so if you're at a $1 machine playing five coins per hand, you're actually betting $5 per hand. We always recommend betting five coins because there is a big bonus for making a royal flush while betting five coins.
The next step is to click "Deal." You'll receive five cards. You now have the option of discarding some or all of the cards for new ones to improve your hand. To hang on to a good card click "Hold" under the card. Then, click "Draw" to receive your new cards. If your final hand is a pair of Kings or better you'll receive a payout.
Joker Poker machines use various pay tables depending on the casino you're playing at. We'll review of few of the more common pay tables and discuss the payout percentages of each.
Full Pay Joker Poker
Full pay Joker Poker is one of the few casino games that actually has a payout percentage over 100% when played with perfect strategy. The exact payout percentage is 100.64% for the below payout table with expert strategy:
|Hand:||1 Coin:||2 Coins:||3 Coins:||4 Coins:||5 Coins:|
|Natural Royal Flush||250||500||750||1000||4000|
|Five of a Kind||200||400||600||800||1000|
|Wild Royal Flush||100||200||300||400||500|
|Four of a Kind||20||40||60||80||100|
|Three of a Kind||2||4||6||8||10|
|Pair (Kings or Better)||1||2||3||4||5|
The reason Joker Wild only pays out for Kings or better is because the addition of the Joker card makes it much easier for players to make better hands. If Joker Wild used the normal Jacks or Better pay table players would be at a big advantage. Learn about all Joker Wild pay tables.
Unfortunately, the pay table above is rarely offered at online casinos. Most online casinos choose to use a lower pay table to increase the house edge. The best pay table we've found for Joker Poker is at the Win Palace Casino. We recommend them for the best possible odds.
Not so Ugly Joker Poker
Not so Ugly is a more common version of Joker Poker that offers slightly worse odds. The only difference between full pay Joker Wild and not so ugly Joker Wild is the four of a kind payout. In full pay the machine pays out 20x for four of a kind, but in not so ugly the machine pays out 18x for four of a kind. The payout percentage for not so ugly Joker Poker falls to 98.94% with perfect strategy.
Ugly Joker Poker
A third pay table that is often used for Joker Wild is the "ugly" pay table. This pay table has the worst odds with a maximum payout percentage of only 95.46%. The straight flush, full house, and flush payouts are all lower.
- Straight flush pays out 40x instead of 50x.
- Full house pays out 5x instead of 7x.
- Flush pays out 4x instead of 5x.
We suggest avoiding this pay table as it offers extremely poor payouts for video poker. Another thing to look into is sequential royal flush machines, as Joker Poker often offers sequential payouts on top.
Joker Wild Strategy
To achieve the payout percentages listed above, you have to play with absolutely perfect strategy. That means making the right move every single time you play a hand of Joker Wild. Joker Wild strategy is a topic of its own (we have a full article here » Joker Wild Strategy), so for now we'll give you a few quick tips to get started.
- Find games with solid payouts for the middle range hands. Almost every pay table will pay out big for the premium hands like Royal Flushes and small for the low hands like two pair, but the differences come in the middle hands like Flushes and Four of a Kind. You need to find games with fair payouts for the mid range hands to get decent odds.
- If the game you're playing pays out for Kings or better, make sure to hang on to a King or Ace when you have complete garbage. It's better to try to pair the King or Ace than to draw five new cards.
- Four to a natural royal flush is an extremely strong hand. In fact, you should discard made straights or made flushes in pursuit of the big payoff.
Online Joker Wild
If you're interested in playing Joker Wild at an online casino, we recommend checking out Win Palace Casino. They offer Joker Wild games with decent pay tables, and that's about as good as you're going to find at an online casino. If you're set on playing full pay Joker Wild we recommend going to Las Vegas.
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