Casino Poker Odds – Poker Hand Probabilities

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Poker is an endlessly fascinating game, where a little knowledge and skill can make the difference between a winning player and a losing one. That’s why it’s important to understand how to calculate poker odds.

But don’t worry: you don’t need to be a math whiz to improve your knowledge of poker hand probabilities, especially when it comes to casino poker odds. We’ll show you how to quickly figure out poker hand odds when playing casino poker, as well as give you useful cheat sheets that will help you beat the dealer and blunt the poker house edge.

Caribbean poker

The Hierarchy of Poker Hands

First of all, what do we mean when we talk about ‘poker odds’? In general, we are discussing how likely you are to make – or improve to – a certain poker hand. In casino poker the strength of your hand very often relates directly to the poker payout you will receive, so knowing the hierarchy and probability of poker hands is key.

Here’s a quick guide to the different hands you can make in a casino poker game, from strongest to weakest.

Poker Hand Example
Five-of-a-Kind 5-5-5-5-5 (using a wild card)
Royal Flush T-J-Q-K-A suited
Straight Flush 4-5-6-7-8 suited
Four-of-a-Kind 3-3-3-3-X*
Full House 2-2-2-K-K
Flush 2-6-8-J-A suited
Straight 6-7-8-9-T
Three-of-a-Kind J-J-J-X-X
Two Pair Q-Q-8-8-X
One Pair A-A-X-X-X
High Card J-9-6-5-4

*’X’ = any non-related card.

Note that Five-of-a-Kind is only possible in casino poker games that use wild cards, such as Deuces Wild video poker.

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Your Casino Poker Odds Depend on What Game You’re Playing

It’s important to note the difference between casino poker table games, and traditional poker such as Texas Hold’em.

In the latter, you’re facing off against other players in a battle of wits. With the house taking a small cut of every pot, there’s no poker house edge to consider: you just need to beat the other players at your table. This is the kind of poker game you’ll find at the top online casinos.

With casino poker table games, however, all you need to do is beat the dealer. Every hand is a new opportunity and can be played for the stakes you choose, much like a single hand of blackjack or a spin of the roulette wheel. These are the types of games you will find online, and are the games we’ll be examining in this article.

If you’re looking to learn more about poker hand odds in traditional poker play, check out our guide on how to play poker. But for now, let’s take a closer look at the different casino poker games. These can be split into two broad categories: video poker, and table games.

Video Poker

Video poker games are closely related to online slots, with the same instant action, solo gameplay and variable choice of stakes. In fact, in many casinos you’re more likely to find video poker machines situated with slots games than in the poker room.

There are many varieties of video poker games, but all follow the same principle:

  1. You select a stake to play for, eg how much each ‘unit’ or ‘coin’ is worth.
  2. You choose how many units to wager on the hand.
  3. Hit ‘Deal’ to receive a poker hand – usually five cards.
  4. Select the cards you wish to keep, then hit ‘Deal’ or ‘Draw’ to redraw any cards you are not keeping.
  5. The resulting five-card poker hand determines your video poker payout, per the ‘coins’ or units you have wagered.

The example below shows a classic Jacks or Better video poker game, as available at DraftKings. As the unit being wagered is $0.50, the highlighted column on the left shows the potential poker payouts available. If we were betting more, we would see one of the other columns highlighted and be eligible for bigger payouts.

After hitting ‘Deal’ we have hit Three-of-a-Kind, and so have selected the three 4s to hold, before we hit ‘Draw’ to complete the game (hoping that we hit another 4 for Four-of-a-Kind, or a pair for a Full House). We can see that Three-of-a-Kind pays out $1.50 on a $0.50 bet.

Jacks or better video poker

Video poker can take many forms, but you’ll usually find that Jacks or Better is one of the most common. Its name derives from the fact that a pair of ‘Jacks or Better’ is needed to be eligible for a payout.

Here’s an example of a different variety of video poker, also available at DraftKings under the name Five Play Draw Poker. In this game, you receive five cards just as you do in a Jacks or Better game, but any cards you keep – such as the two Queens, for example – will be ‘copied’ over to all five poker hands you’re playing. Each of the five hands then receives any additional cards from its own deck.

With so many varieties of video poker, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to video poker strategy, but that doesn’t matter. Below we’ll teach you how to work out any poker hands probability so you’ll always know the right move, whether you’re playing a variant of video poker or a casino poker table game.

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Poker Odds and Payouts in Video Poker

As video poker comes in so many different varieties, there are no set payouts to be aware of. Rather, the payouts you receive will depend on the odds offered in each variant.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at a payout table for a Jacks or Better video poker game. Here you can see that making Three-of-a-Kind will pay 3 to 1, a Straight will pay 4 to 1, a Full House 9 to 1, and so on.

Jacks or Better video poker paytable.

Now let’s compare that to a paytable for a Deuces Wild video poker game. In this variant, all deuces are considered wild cards so making stronger hands is much easier. As a result of this change in poker odds, the payouts are adjusted to be smaller for most hands. Three-of-a-Kind now only pays 1 to 1, a Straight pays 2 to 1 and a Full House pays 3 to 1.

Deuces Wild video poker paytable.

Variables such as wild cards will have a big impact on the poker odds and payouts being offered by video poker games, so make sure to study the paytable of any game before you start to play.

Casino Poker Odds and Payouts in Table Games

Casino poker table games are shortened, quick rounds of poker action that only require you to beat the dealer. So don’t worry about bluffing or being able to hold a poker face – it’s much more important to understand the probability of poker hands you can make.

These are the most common casino poker table games you’ll find at the best online poker sites.

Casino Hold’em

  1. Players place an ‘ante bet’ and may also make an additional, optional side bet.
  2. The player and dealer each receive two cards, face-down, with a further three communal cards dealt face-up.
  3. At this point, the player can fold, ending the hand and losing their bet, or make a ‘call bet’ of double the original ante bet.
  4. If the player has not folded, two more communal cards are dealt followed by a showdown.
  5. If the dealer has not made a pair of 4s or better (to ‘qualify’), the ante bet is an automatic win and the call bet is a push. Poker payouts for the ante bet are according to a paytable (see below), with bigger payouts for stronger hands.
  6. If the dealer qualifies but is beaten by the player, the ante bet is paid according to the paytable, and the call bet is paid at even money (1 to 1).
  7. If the dealer qualifies and beats the player’s hand, all player bets are lost.
  8. If the dealer qualifies and ties with the player, it is a push.

Side bets are paid out if the player’s two cards and the first three communal cards make a hand of a certain strength – usually a pair of aces or better – with bigger payouts for stronger hands.

Variations of Casino Hold’em include Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Casino Heads Up Hold’em.

Live Dealer Casino Hold'em table.

Paytables can vary, but this table shows common poker payouts for Casino Hold’em.

Poker Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100 to 1
Straight Flush 20 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind 10 to 1
Full House 3 to 1
Flush 2 to 1
Straight or Less 1 to 1

Side bets in Casino Hold’em will pay out at higher poker odds, with the following as a guide.

Poker Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100 to 1
Straight Flush 50 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind 40 to 1
Full House 30 to 1
Flush 20 to 1
Pair of Aces / Three-of-a-Kind / Straight 7 to 1

Caribbean Stud/Casino Stud

  1. Players place an ‘ante bet’ – some games may offer an additional, optional jackpot bet.
  2. The player and dealer each receive five cards, face-down. The dealer reveals one card.
  3. The player can fold, ending the hand and losing their bet, or make a ‘raise bet’ of double the ante bet.
  4. If the player has not folded, the dealer reveals their cards for a showdown.
  5. If the dealer has not made an Ace-King or better they do not ‘qualify’. Ante bets are paid even money and raise bets are a push.
  6. If the dealer qualifies but is beaten by the player, ante bets are paid out at even money with raise bets paid according to the paytable (see below).
  7. If the dealer qualifies and beats the player’s hand, all player bets are lost.
  8. If the dealer qualifies and ties with the player, it is a push.

If jackpot bets are available, they will typically pay out if the player makes a Flush or higher, with payouts usually dependent on the size of the jackpot at the time.

Live Dealer Caribbean Stud table.

Winning raise bets in Caribbean Stud will be paid out according to the casino’s paytable, which will typically look something like this.

Poker Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100 to 1
Straight Flush 50 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind 20 to 1
Full House 7 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
Straight 4 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind 3 to 1
Two Pair 2 to 1
One Pair or less 1 to 1

Three Card Poker

  1. Players place an ‘ante bet’ – some games may feature the chance to place an optional ‘6 Card bonus’ and/or ‘Pair Plus’ bet.
  2. The player receives three cards face-down, as does the dealer.
  3. The player can decide whether to fold, ending the hand and losing their ante bet, or place a ‘play bet’ equal to their ante bet.
  4. If the player does not fold, each hand is revealed for a showdown.
  5. The dealer must have at least a Queen-high to qualify. If they do not qualify, play bets are returned and ante bets are paid at even money.
  6. If the dealer qualifies and the player beats their hand, both ante and play bets are paid out at even money.
  7. If the dealer qualifies and beats the player, all bets are lost. Ties are a push.

Many games will also offer an ‘ante bonus’, which awards higher payouts for making strong hands, whether or not they beat the dealer. A variation on Three Card Poker is Four Card Poker.

Three card poker

Ante bonus payouts are typically as follows.

Poker Hand Payout
Three Card Straight Flush 5 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind 4 to 1
Three Card Straight 1 to 1

Pair Plus bets pay out if the player’s hand makes one of the following hands with their three cards. Again, the player does not need to win the hand in order to receive the payout.

Poker Hand Payout
Three Card Royal Flush (Q-K-A) 200 to 1
Three Card Straight Flush 40 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind 30 to 1
Three Card Straight 6 to 1
Three Card Flush 3 to 1
Pair 1 to 1

The 6 Card Bonus rewards players for making strong five-card poker hands using both their own cards and those of the dealer.

Poker Hand Payout
Royal Flush 1,000 to 1
Straight Flush 200 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind 50 to 1
Full House 25 to 1 
Flush 20 to 1
Straight 10 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind 5 to 1

Pai Gow Poker

  1. Players place an ‘ante bet’, as well as an additional ‘Fortune Bonus’ if they opt to do so.
  2. The player and dealer each receive seven cards, face-down.
  3. The player arranges these seven cards into two poker hands, one five-card hand and one two-card hand. The five-card hand must be the stronger of the two.
  4. The dealer arranges their cards into two poker hands, according to a set system known as the ‘House Way’.
  5. If the player wins both hands, they win and receive a payout of 1 to 1 on their ante bet.
  6. If the dealer wins both hands, the player loses all bets.
  7. If the player and dealer each win a hand, it is a push. Any tied hands are deemed to be wins for the dealer.

Pai Gow Poker.

Fortune Bonus payouts are relative to the strength of the player’s hand, using all 7 of the player’s cards, typically as follows.

Poker Hand Payout
Seven-card Straight Flush (no Joker) 8,000 to 1
Royal Flush with Royal Match (K-Q suited) 2,000 to 1
Seven-card Straight Flush (with Joker) 1,000 to 1
Five Aces 400 to 1
Royal Flush 150 to 1
Straight Flush 50 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind 25 to 1
Full House 5 to 1
Flush 4 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind 3 to 1
Straight 2 to 1

How to Calculate Poker Odds

So now we know how the various games play, how do we go about figuring out our casino poker odds?

Video Poker

First off, here’s a handy cheat sheet that explains the rough probabilities of being dealt the following hands in a standard game of Jacks or Better video poker.

Poker Hand Probability (approx.)
Royal Flush 0.002%
Straight Flush 0.01%
Four-of-a-Kind 0.2%
Full House 1.1%
Flush 1.1%
Straight 1.2%
Three-of-a-Kind 7.4%
Two Pair 13%
Jacks or Better 21%
Worse 55%

When it comes to video poker – as well as traditional poker games like Texas Hold’em – the chance to improve your hand is where an understanding of poker hand probabilities is most helpful. When you know the cards you need to hit, you can determine your poker hand probability relatively simply. Here’s how:

  1. Count the cards you need to hit to improve. Let’s call that number ‘X’.
  2. Count the number of cards you haven’t yet seen. We’ll call that number ‘Y’.
  3. Subtract X from Y to arrive at the number ‘Z’.
  4. The ratio of Z to X is your probability of hitting the card you need.

Understanding draws in this way is a key part of learning how to play Texas Hold’em poker, but don’t worry if that seems a little too much like math class. Let’s take a look at a real example from a Jacks or Better video poker game to see it in action.

Poker Probabilities in Action: Jacks or Better

Let’s say you have been dealt 2-3-4-5-9, and aren’t sure whether to redraw all cards in the hopes of making Jacks or Better, or whether to draw one card for the Straight.

Using the table above, we know that the chance of making a winning hand, if you redrew all five cards, is around 45%. So what are the chances of drawing to the Straight? Let’s figure it out using the formula above.

  1. With four cards to the Straight, you need either an Ace or a 6 to complete your hand. With four of each card in the deck, that makes eight cards you need to hit (or eight ‘outs’). X = 8.
  2. Of the 52-card deck, we have seen five cards, leaving 47 unseen cards. Y = 47.
  3. Subtract 8 from 47 to leave 39. Z = 39.
  4. Z to X = 39 to 8, or very close to 5 to 1 (17%).

Redrawing all five cards would give you a 45% chance of winning, with around half of those payouts being even money.

Drawing one card to hit the Straight would give you a 17% chance of winning, with a payout of 4 to 1.

The former option gives you around a 20% chance of winning 1 to 1. The latter gives you around a 17% chance of winning 4 to 1, and so is the recommended choice.

Looking for an easy poker odds chart to make these calculations even simpler? It’s important to understand outs and poker hand probability. Our handy table below will help:

Poker Odds Chart

Type of Draw Example Outs Probability (approx.)
Three-of-a-Kind to Four-of-a-Kind 5-5-5-X-X 1 2%
Pair to Three-of-a-Kind 9-9-X-X-X 2 4%
Inside Straight Draw 4-5-X-7-8 4 8.5%
Two Pair to Full House K-K-J-J-X 4 8.5%
Open-Ended Straight Draw 5-6-7-8-X 8 17%
Flush Draw Any four suited cards 9 19%
Inside Straight with Flush Draw 3-4-6-7 suited, X 12 25%
Open-Ended Straight Flush Draw 3-4-5-6 suited, X 15 32%

Casino Poker Table Games

For games that do not involve the chance to draw new cards, such as the casino poker table games above, the poker odds are somewhat more straightforward as the player has no opportunity to improve their hand. It’s more helpful to understand your odds of being dealt any hand, in particular in your first five cards.

This poker cheat sheet shows the approximate poker probability of being dealt any five-card hand, so is particularly useful for Caribbean Stud and Casino Hold’em.

The Odds of Being Dealt Any Five-Card Hand

Poker Hand Probability Odds Against
Royal Flush 0.0001% 649,739 to 1
Straight Flush 0.001% 72,192 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind 0.02% 4,165 to 1
Full House 0.1% 693 to 1
Flush 0.2% 509 to 1
Straight 0.4% 254 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind 2.1% 46 to 1
Two Pair 4.7% 20 to 1
One Pair 42.2% 1.3 to 1
High Card Only 50.1% 0.99 to 1

Here are a few more handy poker odds to remember.

  • In Caribbean Stud, the dealer will qualify around 56% of the time.
  • In Three Card Poker, the dealer will qualify around 69% of the time.
  • The dealer will usually win around 55% of hands in Three Card Poker.

The Poker House Edge vs Other Casino Games

As a rule, offshore poker sites make money by employing a ‘house edge’ – a slight discrepancy between the payout odds given to winning players, and the actual mathematical odds of a winning bet.

As a basic example, let’s consider roulette. A bet on red or black will pay even money, or 1 to 1. These are the same mathematical odds as you would get with a coin flip, where there are only two possible outcomes.

However, on a roulette wheel there are not only two possible outcomes: there is also zero, which is neither red nor black.

Similarly, when winning on a single number in roulette, players are paid at odds of 35 to 1. This would be an accurate mathematical payout if there were 36 numbers on the wheel. But there isn’t, because of zero.

Therefore the house edge in roulette exists because of the zero on the wheel. On tables that also have a double-zero, the house edge is even greater. As a player, you should be searching for games with the lowest house edge, and the best odds in the casino.

In certain games, like blackjack, house edge can be negated somewhat by playing an optimal strategy, and can vary depending on payouts and other variables. Let’s take a look at how poker house edge compares with other popular casino games.

Casino Game Minimum House Edge (approx.)
Baccarat 1-1.2%
Blackjack 0.5-2%
Caribbean Stud Poker 5%
Casino Hold’em Poker 2-2.5%
Craps 1.4%
Pai Gow Poker 2.8%
Roulette 2.7-5.3%
Three Card Poker 3.3-5.3%
Video Poker (Jacks or Better) 2-6%

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Adam Hampton
Poker Expert
Adam Hampton
Poker Expert

Adam has been writing about poker and gaming for more than a decade, and playing for much longer than that. Based in London, UK, his work for brands such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, CardsChat, CardPlayer Lifestyle and more has taken him across the world, but his favorite spot is always 'on the button'.