What Is A Video Poker Tournament?


The majority of patrons in casinos will know exactly what poker is but may blink at you in confusion when you bring up video poker and video poker tournaments.

What Is A Video Poker Tournament?

Alternatively, they may be just as good at video poker as they are at the real-life game, but may have never considered entering a tournament before and wouldn’t know where to begin if they did. 

So, we are here to help! In this article, we will detail all you need to know about video poker tournaments. If you’ve never heard of video poker before or wouldn’t know when or how to enter a tournament, read on for more! 

What Is A Video Poker Tournament?

Video poker is a five-card draw casino game. Patrons will play it on computerized consoles, similar to slot machines. Video poker will combine the best parts of slots and table games (see also “Slots Vs Tables: Which One Should You Choose?“).

Just like with other slot machines, players will not have any pressure from an outside force. All you need to do is find a seat at a machine and play alone. However, video poker also resembles many table games at casinos because it involves a lot of strategic thinking. 

Video poker tournaments are where video poker players compete in the same games to win money, much like a poker game played in person.

There are typically two types of video poker tournaments: hand-limited and time-limited. Typically, players will be able to exchange the credits they play with for prize money depending on the size of the pool or any other factors determined by the casino. 

Every video poker tournament looks a little different from another, so they can be difficult to define. However, you can check out the rules in more detail below! 

How Does A Video Poker Tournament Work?

Let’s check out what a typical video poker game looks like in more detail!

Video Poker Tournaments: Betting

In video poker tournaments, your bankroll is already established at a random, predetermined level, which makes betting the first step.

Although, it is important to note that in many video poker tournaments (see also “Best Payout Video Poker Machines“) you don’t even need to bet because many only permit you to have the maximum wager. Generally, the maximum wager is five credits for every hand you play. 

However, some video poker tournaments still permit you to bet, and in this case, it is best to bet five coins regardless.

This is because the payoff you receive for a royal flush will provide much better odds for any five coins played than it does for four coins played. 

And, many video poker tournaments require their players to have a high credit number at the end of the game, so there becomes a great need to max out on any possible royal flush hands. 

Video Poker Tournaments: Dealing

Video poker is a five-card draw game. During the deal, you will receive five cards and these cards form your hand base. Like always, you have the chance to improve your hand. 

The cards will be dealt from a 52-card deck, and a random number generator will determine the deal. Players must hit the “deal” button to receive their hand.

Just like in real-life games of poker, some hands will be better than others. The rank of winning hands goes as follows:

  • A pair of jacks, queens, or kings
  • Two pair 
  • Three of a kind 
  • A straight 
  • A flush 
  • A full house 
  • Four of a kind 
  • Straight flush 
  • Royal flush

Video Poker Tournaments: Drawing 

When you have received your hand, video poker tournaments permit you to draw new cards to see if you can make your hand better. To do so, you need to remove one card from your hand.

This is where strategic thinking comes into play, as players must decide which cards in their hand are most likely to give them a win and which are expendable. 

Once you have made your choices, you will need to hit the “hold” button underneath your chosen cards. Then, press “draw” for any new cards you would like. From here, the hand is finished and if you received any winnings, they will be added to your total. 

What Is The Difference Between Time Limit And Hand Limit?

In video poker, there are two types of tournaments: time limit and hand limit. In hand-limited video poker tournaments, the game is limited by the total number of hands players are allowed to have.

For example, players could be permitted 200 hands on a machine, and whoever has the most credits out of those 200 hands wins the game. 

However, for time-limit video poker tournaments, players will be limited based on the total time left on the machine from the moment they start playing.

Both of these tournaments require different strategies if you want to succeed. For example, in hand-limited games, it is wise to take your time to make mathematically-based decisions.

However, for time-limited games, then it may be best to play as many hands as you can because every hand is a chance to get a royal flush. 

How To Sign Up For Video Poker Tournaments 

There are three different ways to sign up for a video poker tournament, whether you choose to do so in a casino or on a gambling site. 

They are as follows:


Free tournaments are open to all. There is no need to pay up-front. 

Buy-In With Fee

In these tournaments, you will often pay a small amount of the buy-in. This is typically to pay the house hosting the tournament.

Straight Buy-In

Here, players will need to pay a predetermined fee to partake in the video poker tournament. 

Final Thoughts 

Video poker tournaments are poker games played on slot machines that still involve the strategic thinking of table games (see also “What Is A Slot Tournament?“).

In these tournaments, you will bet, deal, and draw cards just like in a normal poker game, only in video tournaments, you play with credits that you can exchange for money. 

There are two types of video poker tournaments. Hand-limited tournaments only permit players to use a certain amount of hands, so a mathematical strategy is better.

However, time-limited tournaments only permit players to use the allocated time to play, so it is best to play quickly and get through as many hands as possible to achieve a royal flush.

Richie Thames

Hi, my name is Richie Thames and I have been a software developer for 12 years. I have worked on some of the most popular online slot machine games, including ones you still see in online casinos today. While there is no simple trick to win the jackpot, there is power in learning about your game before playing. With several decades of experience under my belt, I created this website in the hopes of helping newbies on their journey. Please, enjoy my website, and I hope you learn something valuable about the art of gambling. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next jackpot winner?

Richie Thames Profile Picture