How to play Joker Poker

Joker Poker is one of the ‘big three’ online video poker variants alongside Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. This complete guide will detail the rules, payouts and house edge as well as the optimal strategy for playing real money Joker Poker games at our top-ranked online casino sites.

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What is Joker Poker?

Joker Poker is a common variant of online video poker found at real money gambling sites and land-based casinos all over the globe. Its defining feature is a 53-card deck that includes a single Joker, which acts as a wild that can substitute for any other card in order to create or improve a paying hand.

Joker Poker video pokerFor example, let’s say we are dealt a five-card hand that features a 10, a Jack, a King, an Ace and the Joker. Because the Joker is wild, in this case it acts as a Queen in order to complete an Ace-high straight (10, J, Q, K, A).

Besides the presence of the Joker, the gameplay and betting rules are much the same as those for standard Jacks or Better poker (which you can read here). The only difference is the pay chart, which features a few significant alterations to account for the increased likelihood of forming a winning hand when there is a wild card in play.

Where to play Joker Poker games online

We at Real Money Casinos only feature internet video poker sites that pass the strictest industry standards for game quality, player security and customer service. If we recommend an online casino, you can be sure it is fully licensed and regulated, protected by certified SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital protocols. Follow the links in our geo-targeted table above (which automatically lists the best casino sites legally catering to players from your region) to play Joker Poker online for free or real money play.

Joker Poker payouts

Whereas Jacks or Better requires you to hold at least a pair of Jacks in order to win a payout, the minimum qualifying hand in Joker Poker is a pair of Kings. This is because the Joker wild improves the odds of drawing a strong poker hand. This balancing act continues throughout the pay schedule, with reduced returns on everything from a two pair up to a four of a kind.

At the ritzy end of the scale, however, things swing the other way. There are two winning hands not found in Jacks or Better: the Joker royal flush and the five of a kind, neither of which are possible without at least one wild card in the deck. The jackpot on the natural royal flush is also bigger than in Jacks or Better, rising from 4000 up to 5000 coins.

Compare the standard pay charts below. All payouts are written as per-coin returns for a maximum bet of five coins (e.g. 800 for 1 = 4000 for 5). If a video poker game offers improved odds on the royal flush when you play the maximum coin bet, as these two do, you should always bet five coins per hand.

Joker Poker pay chart

Natural royal flush = 1000
Five of a kind = 200
Joker royal flush = 100
Straight flush = 50
Four of a kind = 17
Full house = 7
Flush = 5
Straight = 3
Three of a kind = 2
Two pair = 1
Kings or better = 1

Jacks or Better pay chart

Royal flush = 800
Straight flush = 50
Four of a kind = 25
Full house = 9
Flush = 6
Straight = 4
Three of a kind = 3
Two pair = 2
Jacks or better = 1

House edge in Joker Wild video poker

Most real money video poker games give the house only a slight advantage compared to other online casino games, and Joker Poker is no different in that regard. Optimal play with a standard payout schedule produces an expected return of around 98.60 per cent, or a house edge of 1.40 per cent. While that is not quite as generous as most Jacks or Better games (99.54 per cent), Joker Wild poker offers more opportunities for big payouts while remaining far better value than casino games such as American roulette (5.26 per cent), European roulette (2.70 per cent), Caribbean stud poker (~2.46 per cent), online keno (~15 per cent) and the slots.

Best strategy for online Joker Poker

As not all software developers use the exact same pay chart, the perfect strategy for Joker Wild online video poker can vary slightly from game to game and from casino to casino. The basic Kings or Better Joker Poker strategy below covers all the variants found at our top real money casinos, including both the Microgaming and Net Entertainment pay charts.

No Joker

  1. Royal flush or straight flush
  2. Four cards to a royal flush
  3. Four of a kind, full house, or flush
  4. Four cards to a straight flush
  5. Three of a kind, straight, or two pair
  6. Three cards to a royal flush
  7. Pair of Kings or Aces
  8. Four cards to a flush
  9. Three cards to a straight flush (no gaps)
  10. Pair of Queens or lower
  11. King-Queen-Jack-10
  12. Three cards to a straight flush (one gap, or two gaps with high card)
  13. Suited Ace-King
  14. Four cards to a straight (no gaps)
  15. Any other three cards to a straight flush
  16. Suited King-Queen, King-Jack, or King-10
  17. Suited Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, or Ace-10
  18. An Ace or a King
  19. Suited Queen-Jack, Queen-10, or Jack-10
  20. Discard all

With a Joker

  1. Five of a kind
  2. Joker royal flush or straight flush
  3. Four of a kind or full house
  4. Four cards to a Joker royal flush
  5. Four cards to a straight flush (no gaps)
  6. Flush
  7. Any other four cards to a straight flush
  8. Three of a kind or straight
  9. Four cards to a flush (with a high card)
  10. Three cards to a straight flush (no gaps or high cards)
  11. Three cards to a straight flush (one gap)
  12. Ace-Joker or King-Joker
  13. Any other four cards to a flush
  14. Three cards to a straight flush (two gaps)
  15. Four cards to a straight (no gaps)
  16. Six-Seven-Eight-Joker
  17. Five-Nine-10-Joker
  18. Jack-Joker
  19. Discard all

Real money Joker Poker games at online casinos

The Joker Wild video poker games at our trusted casino sites are all safe, fair and regularly tested by independent iGaming auditors to ensure proper random number generator (RNG) performance. These are the most popular titles available at the best video poker sites.

Microgaming Joker Power PokerMicrogaming Joker Poker – This is a staple title found at all the best Microgaming casinos for video poker players. It features a classic payout scheme with a 1000-coin bonus on the natural royal and an expected return of 98.60 per cent.

Joker Poker Power Poker – The Microgaming Power Poker series ramps things up a notch by taking the popular single-play version and transforming it into a multi-play beast with four hands running per deal. A $100 maximum bet and a gamble feature make this a tempting option for high rollers.

NetEnt Joker Wild Double Up – Net Entertainment’s multi-hand video poker games offer huge betting range with the option to play one, five, 10, or 25 hands at a time. It uses a slightly different pay chart to the Microgaming versions, paying less for a natural royal (800 for 1) but more for a full house (8 for 1).

Looking for other video poker variants to try? Give these games a go:

Refer to our casino table at the top of this page for our full list of recommended online casino sites hosting video poker games, or head straight to which is our top-rated casino site for players from United States.