Many online video poker variants are complex. With Bonus Poker, Game King created a solid and enjoyable variant which is closer to what you’d find on a bar-top console. You can play this at online casinos if you live in a regulated state. You’ll also find Bonus Poker as one of the options on Game King video poker machines in live casinos and in bars around the country.
There are two things that make Bonus Poker different to a regular Jacks or Better video poker game. First, the number of coins you can bet goes up to 10. Most video poker games let you bet between 1 and 5 (with the best pay table available for 5). Second, there are some extra entries on the pay table covering 4 of a kind hands. Hit the right combination, and some big prizes are headed your way.
This page has you covered for Bonus Poker. You’ll find detailed step-by-step instructions for playing a hand below. After this the pay table and strategy are covered, along with the house edge. If you prefer some livelier video poker variations, you can check out some of the suggestions towards the end of this page.
Bonus Poker: Playing a Hand Step-by-Step
Before you play you need to set your coin size, and then decide how many coins to play per hand. Most games have 5 coins (some variant with bonus games make that 6). Bonus Poker lets you play up to 10 coins. Playing quarters, you’d need to bet $2,50 to get the best house edge.
Checking the pay table, the jump for a royal flush between 9 and 10 coins means that playing for anything less than 10 is handing money to the casino.
You can also control the speed of the deal. 3 arrows show how quickly the animations will occur.
Next you hit the ‘Deal’ button. You’ll get 5 cards. You can click (or tap) them to hold any you wish. There is no option to have the game do this for you. The card has ‘held’ on it, and you can click again to remove this if you change your mind.
Once you complete this, hit the draw button to replace any non-held cards. You need a pair of jacks or better to win.
The game then assesses your hand. If you won, it will show this in text across the cards. You are now ready to play again. With no wilds, bonus games or other fancy game play, Bonus Poker is quick, clean and simple.
Pay Table for Game King Bonus Poker
Splitting the prizes for 4 of a kind hand is what makes Bonus Poker different from a regular jacks or better game. This is a good pay table in terms of the return to player number. With perfect strategy, this is 99.16% over the long run.
Here are the Bonus Poker payouts for different hands:
- Royal Flush: 800x
- Straight Flush: 50x
- 4 Aces: 80x
- 4 of 2’s, 3’s or 4’s: 40x
- 4 of 5’s through Kings: 25x
- Full House: 8x
- Flush: 5x
- Straight: 4x
- 3 of a Kind: 3x
- Two Pair: 2x
- Jacks or Better: 1x
You lose with any poker hand worse than jack-jack after the draw. Note that the prizes for Flushes and straights are lower than on many Video Poker pay tables. Those extra big prizes for 4 aces and 4x small cards balance this out – allowing Bonus Poker to keep that healthy 99.16% house edge.
Strategy for Bonus Poker
There are no special strategy considerations compared to a standard Jacks or Better video poker game. Setting the right number of coins (always the maximum) is key to getting the best returns. Many players will lower their denomination (coin size) to make sure that they can bet 10 coins.
It is rare that you will discard a pair. Discarding a pair of jacks or better will only ever happen when you have 4 to a royal or straight flush. It is worth drawing to outside straights and flushes where you have 4 suited cards. Flushes with 3 cards on the initial deal are not worth drawing to.
If you don’t get dealt a pair, you can hold high cards (jacks and above), suited ones always get priority here.
Other Video Poker Games You Can Play Online
Bonus Poker is one of many variants now available at online casinos. If you live in New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania or West Virginia – then casinos are already legal within your state lines. Regulation is moving across the country, with more states expected to join this list soon.
Here are some alternatives to Bonus Poker:
- Jester Poker: Here you have a joker, which acts as a wild card, making the bigger hands easier to hit.
- Deuces Wild: With every 2 a wild card, 5 of a kind hands become possible in this variation
- DJ Wild Stud Poker: Here you pay an extra coin, and access second chance draws for flushes
- Five Play Draw Poker: You bet on 5 hands, with the draw being different for each one in this entertaining variation
Summing Up: How Does Bonus Poker Compare?
For all the entertaining variations of video poker now available, Jacks or Better is enduringly popular. This is a solid game for those who like to keep the house edge low, and the strategy clear and simple.
What Game King did with Bonus Poker is to keep the solid base, and switch around the pay table. With lower prizes for flushes and straights you might be tempted to find a better deal. When you see that this is balanced by the occasional windfall for 4 of a kind (aces and small cards especially), then the appeal of Bonus Poker becomes clear.