History of the WSOP

 History of World Series of Poker

The WSOP – World Series of Poker – is an annual festival of many tournaments that take place in the summer in Las Vegas.

It is considered the holy grail of poker tournaments by many top players and gives away life-changing sums of money every year.

The WSOP Main Event costs $10,000 to enter, and in 2018 the winner received $8,800,000 – one of the largest prizes in history.

Many online poker sites run satellites to one of the 50+ tournaments available which typically includes flights and accommodation for two as well as entry to at least one tournament.

In this article, we will explain the following. You may click on any of the links below to bring you to that point in the article.



A Poker World Series was first introduced back in 1969. It was a US only event known as the Texas Gambling Reunion.

The first event was by invite only which took place in Reno.

The first open event was the following year, through an idea initially thought up and run by Benny Binion, a poker player, and casino owner.

The first event was just a number of cash games across several formats that included Deuce to Seven Low-ball, Five-card Stud, Seven-card Stud, Razz and Texas Hold’em.

As these were cash games, the winner got voted for by other players and it was Johnny Moss who won a silver cup.

The following year the format as the Main Event became a Texas Hold’em Freezeout tournament, which has remained the same to this day.

Harrah’s Entertainment – which is now known as Caesars Entertainment – purchased Binions Horseshoe back in 2004 and with it the rights to the WSOP.

The location changed to their own Rio hotel & casino just off the main strip in Las Vegas.

They set about making the WSOP what it is today – the first Main Event back in 1970 had seven entrants, in 2018 this was a slightly healthier 7,874. Prize money in 1970 was zero with just a silver cup going to the winner, the following year six entrants gave the winner a prize of $30,000. In 2018, American John Cynn walked away with $8.8m!

WSOP Format

The World Series of Poker has grown in entries and events most years since.

Up until 1975, a cash prize was all the winner got, but in 1976 the iconic bracelet is also given to the winner of each event, and poker players often think a player hasn’t made it until they own at least one of these.

After its launch, the tournament steadily grew through the 1970s with a total of 52 players in 1982.

Then came the introduction of satellites to the main event meaning the Main Event and its $10,000 buy-in became much more accessible to the everyday player.

1987 saw more than 2,100 players take part in the overall event with 152 entering the Main Event itself.

With the advent of online poker came more and more opportunities for players from all over the world to qualify and as a result of this, online satellites were the most significant reason that saw Main Event numbers go from 839 in 2003 to 2,576 in 2004 and 5,619 in 2005.

It peaked at 8,773 in 2006 around the same time a new law passed in the United States making online poker illegal.

The numbers reduced as a result and have swung between 6,000 and 8,000 since although the second highest was in 2018 with 7,874 entries.

In 2012, the introduction of The Big One for One Drop saw the first poker tournament with an entry fee of $1m. 11% of this amount went to charity, and it attracted many true high-rollers.

Winners and Entrants

YearCountryWinnerEntrantsPrize Money
1970United StatesJohnny Moss7N/A
1971United StatesJohnny Moss6$30.000
1972United StatesThomas Preston Jr8$80.000
1973United StatesWalter Pearson13$130.000
1974United StatesJohnny Moss16$160.000
1975United StatesBrian Roberts21$210.000
1976United StatesDoyle Brunson22$220.000
1977United StatesDoyle Brunson34$340.000
1978United StatesBobby Baldwin42$210.000
1979United StatesHal Fowler54$270.000
1980United StatesStu Ungar73$385.000
1981United StatesStu Ungar75$375.000
1982United StatesJack Straus104$520.000
1983United StatesTom McEvoy108$540.000
1984United StatesJack Keller132$660.000
1985United StatesBill Smith140$700.000
1986United StatesBerry Johnston141$570.000
1987United StatesJohnny Chan152$625.000
1988United StatesJohnny Chan167$700.000
1989United StatesPhil Hellmuth178$755.000
1990IranMansour Matloubi194$895.000
1991United StatesBrad Daugherty215$1.000.000
1992IranHamid Dastmalchi201$1.000.000
1993United StatesJim Bechtel220$1.000.000
1994United StatesRuss Hamilton268$1.000.000
1995United StatesDan Harrington273$1.000.000
1996United StatesHuck Seed295$1.000.000
1997United StatesStu Ungar312$1.000.000
1998United StatesScotty Nguyen350$1.000.000
1999Republic of IrelandNoel Furlong393$1.000.000
2000United StatesChris Ferguson512$1.500.000
2001EcuadorJuan Carlos Mortensen613$1.500.000
2002United StatesRobert Varkonyi631$2.000.000
2003United StatesChris Moneymaker839$2.500.000
2004United StatesGreg Raymer2,576$5.000.000
2005AustraliaJoe Hachem5,619$7.500.000
2006United StatesJamie Gold8,773$12.000.000
2007United StatesJerry Yang6,358$8.250.000
2008DenmarkPeter Eastgate6,844$9.152.416
2009United StatesJoe Cada6,494$8.547.042
2010CanadaJonathan Duhamel7,319$8.944.310
2011GermanyPius Heinz6,865$8.715.638
2012United StatesGreg Merson6,598$8.531.853
2013United StatesRyan Riess6,352$8.361.570
2014SwedenMartin Jacobson6,683$10.000.000
2015United StatesJoe McKeehen6,420$7.683.346
2016United StatesQui Nguyen6,737$8.005.310
2017United StatesScott Blumstein7,221$8.150.000
2018United StatesJohn Cynn7,874$8.800.000


Most Bracelets

Although the Main Event is the tournament everyone wants to win, there are many smaller tournaments throughout the WSOP series and each one pays out cash depending on the number of entries as well as a WSOP Bracelet.

Those players with the most Bracelets are:

CountryPlayerMain Event WinsBracelets
United StatesPhil Hellmuth115
United StatesDoyle Brunson210
United StatesJohnny Chan210
United StatesPhil Ivey010
United StatesJohnny Moss39
United StatesErik Seidel08
United StatesBilly Baxter07
United StatesMen Nguyen07


WSOP Player of the Year

In 2004, a new award for player of the year was introduced. This takes into account how players fare across all events from a WSOP including wins, final tables and cashes.

YearCountryPlayerWinningsBraceletsCashesFinal Tables
2004CanadaDaniel Negreanu$346,280165
2005United StatesAllen Cunningham$1,007,115154
2006United StatesJeff Madsen$1,467,852244
2007United StatesTom Schneider$416,829233
2008United StatesErick Lindgren$1,348,528153
2009ItalyJeff Lisandro$807,521364
2010United StatesFrank Kassela$1,255,314263
2011United StatesBen Lamb$5,352,970154
2012United StatesGreg Merson$9,785,354252
2013CanadaDaniel Negreanu$1,954,0542104
2014GermanyGeorge Danzer$878,9333105
2015RussiaMike Gorodinsky$1,766,487183
2016United StatesJason Mercier[$960,4242114
2017United StatesChris Ferguson$428,4231233
2018United StatesShaun Deeb$2,545,6232204



The following are some of the records currently held in the WSOP:

Most Final Tables
53 – Phil Hellmuth

Most Cashes
109 – Phil Hellmuth

Highest Career Earnings
$21,835,100 – Antonio Esfandiari

Highest Earnings from One Event
$18,346,673 – Antonio Esfandiari

Youngest Bracelet Winner
18 years, 364 days – Annette Obrestad

Oldest Bracelet Winner
81 years, 0 days – Johnny Moss

Most Bracelets in 1 Year
3 –
Ted Forrest
Puggy Pearson
Jeff Lisandro
Phil Hellmuth
Phil Ivey
George Danzer

Most Final Tables in 1 Year
6 – An Tran

Most Cashes in 1 Year
23 – Chris Ferguson

Oldest Participant
97 years – Jack Ury

WSOP Main Event Records
Most Main Event Wins

3 –
Stu Ungar
Johnny Moss

Highest Main Event Winnings
$12,000,000 – Jamie Gold

Most Main Event Final Tables
5 each –
Jesse Alto
Doyle Brunson

Most Main Event Cashes
10 – Berry Johnston

Youngest Main Event Winner
21 years, 357 days – Joe Cada

Oldest Main Event Winner
66 years, 358 days – Johnny Moss

WSOP Most Memorable Moments

World series of poker memorable moments

The first World Series of Poker tournament took place way back in 1970 and has been played every year since, albeit in a much different format from the first event.

From tears of joy, millionaires made and lives changed, to tragedy and depths of despair, there have been plenty of talking points down the years.

Here we look at some of the more memorable ones which will make you laugh, cry and in some cases, wince.

They are in chronological order from earliest to most recent.

1977: The old 10-2 strikes again
We all have a favorite starting hand in Texas Hold’em Poker and for many, it isn’t one of the premium ones.

It may be one that won us our first tournament, or largest pot, even one that has some kind of sentimental value.

For Doyle Brunson, it was 10-2.

In the 1976 World Series of Poker Main Event, he got down to heads-up against Jesse Alto.

The final hand saw Brunson’s 10-2 up against the A-J of Alto, and with a board of A-J-102, things didn’t look good.

However, a 10 on the river gave him his first WSOP Main Event win.

Fast forward a year and Brunson found himself heads-up again, this time against Gary Berland.

The final hand saw Berland all-in with 8-5 on a board of 10-8-5-2.

Brunson once again held 10-2 and incredibly for a second successive year it was a 10 on the river that saw him crowned champion.

1979: Who needs to be a professional?
Up until the 1979 edition of the WSOP, most players were professionals who made a living out of the game – after all, back then the $10,000 buy-in was on paper a lot more expensive than it is today, and believe me, it is still a lot of money today.

But, in 1979, an amateur by the name of Hal Fowler decided to go along and take part against 53 other players, nearly all pros.

He didn’t do too great to start, going down to 2,000 chips at one point, but he hung in there and slowly the cards started to turn.

In the end, he got down to heads-up play with pro-Bobby Hoff, cracking Hoff’s Aces with his own 76o with a Straight to become the first amateur winner of the Main Event and walking away with a cool $270K.

From then on, a lot more amateur players chanced their luck once a year having seen how well Fowler fared.

1982: A Chip and a Chair
My personal favorite fairy-tale from this list relates to the 1982 tournament and Jack Strauss. You may have heard the poker term ‘Chip and a Chair’ before, and it was the 1982 Main Event where it was coined.

Strauss had all his chips in during the tournament – or so he thought – and when he lost the hand, he got up to leave.

However, as he did so, he found another $50 chip hiding under a napkin. He never put the chip into the middle or declared himself ‘all-in’ during that hand and therefore he was allowed to keep it.

He doubled up from it and then did so again, getting himself a nice little chip stack a short while after thinking he had been eliminated.

His ‘nice little chip stack’ grew so much, that by the end of the World Series of Poker tournament, all the other chips had joined his stack giving him the win, bracelet and $520,000 in prize money.

It just shows, if your chips are down, never give up hope…

1989: So close to a hattrick…
I’m not sure about you, but I get fed up of seeing the same sports team win year in, year out. We don’t get that in poker due to the high number of players in the Main Event, but one player who came closer than any other to dominating was Johnny Chan.

In 1987, he became the first non-US born player to win the Main Event beating Frank Henderson into 2nd out of a field of 152 to win $625,000.

In 1988, he was at it again, outlasting a field of 167 this time and walking away with $700,000.

Going for the hattrick, he was promised an NBA Championship Ring if he made it by the owner of the LA Lakers, Jerry Buss.

He very nearly did it as well, getting down to heads-up with the relatively unknown – at the time anyway – Phil Hellmuth.

To this day, he is still the last player to win back-to-back Main Events.

1995: The only female Final Tabler
It is a sad state of affairs in this day and age that even now there has only been one lady to reach the final table of the WSOP Main Event.

That happened back in 1995 and was thanks to a lady by the name of Barbara Enright.
She finished 5th in the end and also has 3 WSOP bracelets to her name (2 were in female-only tournaments, 1 in an open event).

Only Annie Duke has got close to joining her since, finishing 10th in the 2000 edition.

Her feat did lead to an increase in female players though so there is plenty of hope that one day we will see a female Main Event winner.

1997: The Comeback Kid
One of the saddest stories on our list involves poker pro, Stu Ungar.

He burst onto the scene in the early 1980s as a baby-faced assassin and won 2 WSOP Main Events, in 1980 and 1981.

The winnings allowed him to do other things, some of which led to some addiction issues – his first 2 wins occurred before he was 25.

Although many players and fans had written him off, 1997 saw him hit the headlines again as a stunning run in the Main Event which gave him his 3rd title and $1m in prize money. He played 30 $10K buy-in tournaments during his lifetime and won 10 of them- an amazing record.

Tragically, whereas his win should have changed things for the better, the wealth he received simply allowed him to slip back into his old ways and just a year after his 3rd triumph, he was found dead in an LA hotel with just a few hundred dollars to his name.

2003: Moneymaker by name, Moneymaker by nature
The 2003 tournament saw the first players qualify by online satellites.

One of these was Chris Moneymaker, an online qualifier himself for just $39.

It coincided with extra ESPN coverage of the Main Event and the introduction of the Hole-Card camera gave viewers a new level of feeling involved.

Moneymaker went on to win the Main Event and with it a $2.5m payday. He also booked his place in WSOP folklore even though if he was a music act, he would be known as a one-hit wonder.

2012: The first ever $1m buy-in event
There is only a very small percentage of people on this planet who can afford to pay $10K to enter a poker tournament.

When poker nut and philanthropist Guy Laliberté proposed the world’s first $1M buy-in event during the 2012 WSOP, it was a sign that the world had officially gone mad.

However, 48 players didn’t agree and found the funds to buy-in, raising over $5.3m for charity in the process.

The last man standing and the first one to run to his bank was Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari.

It provided the largest ever WSOP payout of $18,346,673, and also the 3rd largest in history for runner-up Sam Trickett.

Aces and Faces Video Poker

Aces and Faces Video Poker
There are many different types of Video Poker now available online and in land-based casinos, although most versions are very similar.

In our Aces and Faces Video Poker article, we will explain the following. You may click on any of the links below to bring you to that point within the article.


Like most other versions, Aces and Faces Video Poker uses a standard 52 card deck and pays out depending on the best 5 card poker hand you have. The good thing about this version is that if you get 4 of a kind Aces or Faces – Kings, Queens or Jacks – you will get an enhanced payout than other versions.

It is important to know what makes up each poker hand before you start playing Aces and Faces Video Poker – and any other version of Video Poker for that matter – these hand values can be found elsewhere on the site.

Aces and Faces Rules

First of all, you need to decide how much you wish to bet per game.

Aces and Faces Video Poker uses the Coin system, whereby you choose the value of the coin you wish to use and then how many of those coins you wish to bet.

We always recommend when playing any version of Video Poker that you use the maximum of 5 coins whenever possible. If necessary, you can move down a coin size so you don’t bet too much in total.

An example would be if you wish to bet €1 per game.

You can choose to use a coin size of €1 and play with 1 coin, a coin size of €0.50 and play with 2 coins or a coin size of €0.20 and play with 5 coins.

Each of this would give a total bet of €1, but as you will see from the screenshot below, using 5 coins gives a much-enhanced payout for getting a Royal Flush.

Therefore, if you wish to bet €1 a spin, we suggest you use a coin valued at €0.20 and the maximum of 5 coins.

Aces and Faces

The screenshot above shows a typical layout for an online game of Aces and Faces Video Poker.

The payout table is pretty standard across all sites we have seen, but it is worth ensuring the site you play at has the same payouts like the one you can see here to ensure you do not get paid a lower amount should you get a nice win.


As mentioned previously, the advantage of playing Aces and Faces Video Poker as opposed to other versions is the increased payouts you get from getting 4 of a kind Aces, Kings, Queens and Jacks.

4 Aces pay out better than a Straight Flush whilst 4 Kings, Queens or Jacks pays around 60% more than 4 of a kind 10’s or lower.

A standard payout table is shown below, remember to double check that the casino you choose to play at isn’t lower than this:

Best Hand1 Coin2 Coins3 Coins4 Coin5 Coin
Royal Flush2505007501,0004,000
Straight Flush50100150200250
4 of a Kind Aces80160240320400
4 of a Kind J/Q/K4080120160200
4 of a Kind 2-10255075100125
Full House816243240
3 of a Kind3691215
2 Pair246810
Jacks or Better12345

Like a lot of other versions of Video Poker, Aces and Faces pays out on any hand that contains a pair of Jacks or better.

The main aim of any version of poker is to get the holy grail of card hands – the Royal Flush – and you can see from the above table the jump from getting one playing 4 coins to getting one with a bet totaling 5 coins.

Although we are sure you will be happy getting a Royal Flush when using between 1 and 4 coins as it is still a nice payout, the feeling you would get from hitting a Royal Flush using 5 coins with be considerably nicer!

Aces and Faces Strategy

The Strategy for Aces and Faces Video Poker is very similar to other versions including Jacks or Better.

There are a few minor tweaks however to try and optimize your chances of winning when faced with the opportunity to get 4 of a Kind Aces, Kings, Queens or Jacks to make the most of the increased payouts available.

The table below shows the hands that you could be dealt. Simply start from the top and work your way down, when you come upon one that represents the hand you have, follow the instructions.

There is no sure-fire way of winning at any casino game, that is why you never see a casino going bust, but by following this strategy you will give yourself the best possible chance of finishing a session ahead.

Royal FlushHold everything!
Straight FlushHold everything!
4 of a KindHold All or Discard 1 card not involved
4 cards to a Royal FlushReplace 1 card not involved
Full HouseHold Everything!
FlushHold Everything!
StraightHold Everything!
3 of a KindReplace 2 cards not involved
4 cards to a Straight FlushReplace 1 card not involved
2 PairReplace 1 card not involved
High Pair – Jacks to AcesReplace 3 cards not involved
3 cards to a Royal FlushReplace 2 cards not involved
4 cards to a FlushReplace 1 card not involved
10JQKReplace 1 card not involved
1 PairReplace 3 cards not involved
4 cards to a Straight with 3 High CardsReplace 1 card not involved
3 cards to a Straight FlushReplace 2 cards not involved
3 cards to a Straight with 3 High CardsReplace 2 cards not involved
2 Suited High CardsReplace 3 cards not involved
4 cards to an Open Ended StraightReplace 1 card not involved
JQKReplace 2 cards not involved
KQ, KJReplace 3 cards not involved
2 cards to a Royal FlushReplace 3 cards not involved
Suited 10J, 10QReplace 3 cards not involved
2 High CardsReplace 3 cards not involved
1 High CardReplace the other 4 cards
Anything elseReplace all 5 cards

For Aces and Faces Video Poker, a High Card is a Jack, Queen, King or Ace.

Multi-Deck Blackjack Vs Single-Deck Blackjack

Differences between Multi Deck and Single Deck Blackjack


Differences Between Multi-Deck & Single-Deck

Blackjack is one of the easiest casino table games to learn and relies on skill a lot more than some games such as Roulette or Slots.

Many online Casinos now offer a full range of Blackjack options, from Single-Deck right up to those that use 8 Decks – or Shoes.

Although the rules are the same for both Single-Deck and Multi-Deck Blackjack, there are a few minor differences that you should be aware of in order to maximize your chances of winning.

How to play

Back when Blackjack was first launched, it was only played with one deck of cards. The aim of the game – as it is now – is to get closer to 21 than the Dealer without going over this total and ‘Busting’.

It quickly became obvious in land-based Casinos that you could get an advantage over the House by ‘Card Counting’. This is where you make a mental note of how many cards with the value of 10 – to 10, Jack, Queen and King – have come out of the deck.

The more that comes out, the less chance there is of getting Blackjack or a 10 when you ‘Hit’ – request an extra card from the Dealer.

Casinos soon cottoned onto this and started to look at ways of keeping their House Edge as high as possible. One of the main ways they did this was to introduce extra decks to the game, thus making it harder for some counting cards to keep track of the number of 10’s that had been dealt.

In both versions of Blackjack, winners get paid even money unless they get Blackjack – An Ace and card worth 10 in their first 2 cards – in which case they win their bet at 3 to 2 – although in some versions of Single-Deck Blackjack, you get paid only 6 to 5 so keep an eye out for that and avoid when you can.

Multi-Deck VS Single-Deck Blackjack Strategies

The key difference when playing Single-Deck Blackjack as opposed to Multi-Deck Blackjack is when to Hit, when to Stand and when to Double.

Like all versions of the game, we recommend that you avoid Insurance whenever it is offered (this only applies when the Dealer’s upturned card is an Ace) as this is a worse bet than many side-games and has a much better House-Edge than the game itself. You may win in the short-term but the more they play the more likely it is that you will lose. See our separate article on Insurance for more details.

There are plenty of times when the optimal move is the same for both Single-Deck and Multi-Deck variations.

For example, if you have 11 or less then you cannot Bust so at no time would the correct move be to Stand – the only choice is when to Double when the Dealer has a poor card and you have 8 or above.

In both variations, if you have 17 or above, it is always advisable to Stand as the risk of Busting is too high, irrespective of what the Dealer may have.

Single DeckPlayer Up Card
Player Below2345678910A


Multi DeckPlayer Up Card
Player Below2345678910A

H = Hit
D = Double
S = Stand

As there are more cards available in Multi-Deck Blackjack, it is harder to determine your odds when Doubling. Therefore, the main difference that you will see between the charts above is that there are more instances where you should Double in Single-Deck Blackjack.

As there are fewer cards with the value of 10, it is harder for you to go Bust in Single-Deck. It follows that in Multi-deck Blackjack you have more cards to hit and therefore a bigger chance of hitting a 10-value card.

We recommend that you Double on an 8 when the Dealer has a 5 or 6 in the Single-Deck variation, again due to the lower number of cards available the chances are less than the Dealer will make a winning hand and is more likely to Bust.


It is clearly easier to keep track of the cards that come out the deck in Single-Deck Blackjack, even when playing online.

However, you will find that the House Edge is higher on Insurance at around 5.9 as there are fewer 10’s in the deck. As mentioned above though, we do recommend avoiding Insurance at all costs.

You will find it easier to play Multi-Hand Blackjack online as there are far more variations and the House-Edge is better when following the above strategy in Multi-Deck Blackjack than the Single-Deck variation.

Aces and Eights Video Poker

Aces and Eights Video Poker

Video Poker is now available in so many more varieties than it used to be, this article takes you through the rules and strategy for Aces and Eights.

In this article, we will explain the following. You may click on any of the links below to bring you to that point in the article.


Aces and Eights Rules

There may be many variations of Video Poker, but the basics are pretty much the same in each version including Aces and Eights.

When playing Aces and Eights Video Poker you need to choose your stake – this is normally done by selecting the value of a coin and then how many coins (up to 5) you bet with.

After this, there will be a Deal button which will give you 5 cards from a standard 52 card deck. Some variations give you less to start and some use more than one deck or extra cards, not Aces and Eights though.

There is one standard 52-card deck in play and you receive 5 cards.

You then need to choose how many to discard – this can be 0 if you have a great hand or all 5 if you don’t.

Once the cards you have discarded have been replaced, your hand is paid out according to the pay table.

For Ace and Eights, the minimum need for a payout is a Pair of Jacks or better (it is a very similar game to the Jacks or Better version of Video Poker).

You need to know the basic poker hand ranks before you start – these will be the same for all versions of Video Poker and can be found elsewhere on this site.

Aces and Eights Video Poker
The above is an example of a standard online Aces and Eights Video Poker game.

You will see the look and feel is very similar to many other versions.

The main difference, which we go over below, is the increased payouts for 4 of a Kind Aces and 8’s – hence the name – and to a slightly lesser extent, 4 of a Kind 7’s.

Like many versions of Video Poker, there are also enhanced payouts when playing with 5 coins.

We would always recommend playing with 5 coins whenever your budget allows if necessary drop down the value of the coin to compensate.

As an example, if you wish to play €1 a game, you can do so by choosing the coin value as €1.00 and playing one coin. However, a much better option would be to play with the coin value as €0.20 and playing with five coins.


This is the main area where variations of Video Poker can differ, it is important to check this before you choose which version is the one for you.

Paytables can differ from casino to casino as well, even for the same version of Video Poker. For that reason we suggest you shop around just in case the Royal Flush comes in – there is nothing worse than winning it then realizing you could have won 20% more elsewhere. Well, except for not winning it at all that is…

Winning Hand1 Coin2 Coins3 Coins4 Coins5 Coins
Royal Flush2505007501,0004,000
Straight Flush50100150200250
4 of a Kind A or 880160240320400
4 of a Kind 750100150200250
4 of a Kind others255075100125
Full House816243240
3 of a Kind3691215
2 Pair246810
Jacks or Better12345

The payouts above are shown in coins, to get the monetary value depending on your stake, simply multiply the number of coins by the value of the coin you are playing with.

You will see that the order of hands in the table above is ranked normally from Royal Flush down to Jacks or Better. This is for ease of use as we are sure most of our readers will be used to viewing it this way.

However, you may also notice that 4 of a Kind 8’s or Aces payout more than a Straight Flush, and that 4 of a Kind 7’s paying out the same as a Straight Flush.

That is the main difference between Aces and Eights Video Poker and Jacks and Better Video Poker.

It does mean that the optimal strategy is slightly different though, so check the table below for details especially if you are used to playing Jacks or Better.

You will also notice the huge jump in winnings for a Royal Flush with 5 coins and one with 4 coins.

As we mentioned above and will continue to mention, this is the reason it is better to play with 5 coins whenever possible.

Aces and Eights Strategy

The aim of any strategy is to decrease the house edge the casino has over the player to give you the best possible chance of walking away from a session ahead.

When you are dealt your cards, take a look at the table below from top to bottom.

When you find the hand that applies to yours, take the action shown.

Remember, the extra payout for 4 of a Kind Aces or 8’s change the strategy significantly, especially when you have a Straight Flush draw but also 2 or more Aces.

Royal FlushHold all
Straight FlushHold All
Full HouseHold All
FlushHold All
StraightHold All
4 cards to a Royal FlushDiscard other 1 card
4 of a KindHold All or Discard other 1 card
4 cards to a Straight FlushDiscard other 1 card
2 PairDiscard other 1 card
4 cards to a FlushDiscard other 1 card
4 cards to a Straight with 3 High CardsDiscard other 1 card
4 cards to an Open Ended StraightDiscard other 1 card
3 of a KindDiscard other 2 cards
3 cards to a Royal FlushDiscard other 2 cards
3 cards to a Straight FlushDiscard other 2 cards
3 cards to a Straight with 3 high cardsDiscard other 2 cards
1 PairDiscard other 3 cards
2 cards to a Royal FlushDiscard other 3 cards
2 high cardsDiscard other 3 cards
1 high cardDiscard other 4 cards
Anything elseDiscard all 5 cards



High Card – Jack, Queen, King or Ace
Open Ended Straight – Consecutive cards to a Straight with no gaps


The rise of the internet have seen many changes over the years, one of the main ones is the effect it has had on the gambling industry.

There are now literally thousands of places to play casino games – including many variations of Video Poker – all from the comfort of your own home. Or someone else’s home. Or your car, or the beach or the Dr’s office for that matter.

Wherever you happen to be, if you have a device with an internet connection, you can bet on games such as Aces and Eights Video Poker.

Video Poker Related Articles:
Video Poker Advanced Tutorial
Play Video Poker Free
Deuces Wild Strategy
Video Poker Rules

Pick ‘em Poker

Pikem Poker
A type of video poker, Pick ‘em Poker – sometimes called ‘Pick a Pair Poker’ – is a version different to the rest.

It is one of the simplest games to learn as there are just 2 choices a player can make as opposed to many in a regular version of video poker.

In this article, we will explain the following. You may click on any of the links below to bring you to that point in the article.


Pick ‘em Poker is based on the Nines or Better version of video poker. The major difference is the way the cards are dealt which you will see below.

Pick ‘em Poker Rules

Like other variations of video poker, with Pick ‘em Poker you need to place a bet. You can normally change the value of a coin and then decide how many coins to bet with.

As with other versions, we would always recommend playing with the maximum number of coins possible, even if it means switching to a lower denomination of the coin. You will tend to find that payouts are better if you play with max coins.

So, for example, if you wish to bet €1 per spin, we would suggest changing the value of the coin to €0.20 and playing with 5 coins as opposed to playing with the coin value of €1 and using 1 coin.

Another similarity to other versions of video poker is the hand rankings. Aces can be high or low and the minimum hand needed for a payout is usually a pair of 9’s.

The difference between Pick ‘em Poker and other forms of video poker come when you are ready to play.

Once you click the Draw or Deal button, you get dealt 2 cards to the left of the screen, and 2 to the right.

The cards on the left, you need to keep.

The only choice you get in Pick ‘em Poker is which of the 2 cards on the right to keep. You need to choose 1 and discard the other.

Once this is done and you, therefore, have 3 cards – the 2 dealt on the left and 1 of the 2 on the right – 2 further cards are dealt which complete your 5-card poker hand.

Take a look at the screenshot below
Pick ‘em Poker

You will see that we have been dealt with the 6 of clubs and the 3 of clubs which we need to keep.

We then have a choice of keeping the 6 of hearts or 6 of diamonds – not ideal, although we can hold a low pair, there is only 1 further 6 in the deck which would improve our hand to 3 of a kind.

Once we have held one of the 6’s, a further 2 cards would be dealt to complete our 5 card poker hand.

And that’s it – once those cards have been dealt, if we have a pair of 9’s or better we will get paid out according to the paytable above.

Pick ‘em Poker is a very simple version of video poker to get used to and is ideal for beginners just starting out.

Even for seasoned players, it offers something different and a chance to win a nice amount although there is less skill involved in this version than standard video poker games.


The payouts can vary slightly from casino to casino, but the table below shows the most common payouts.

You will not find any casinos with payouts that vary wildly from the below table, although it is worth shopping around if Pick ‘em Poker is your casino game of choice to ensure that you get the best deal.

As you will see, betting 5 coins gives a better payout ratio for a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, and 4-of-a-kind, so as we mentioned previously, we recommend you use maximum coins whenever possible.

Final Hand1 Coin2 Coin3 Coin4 Coin5 Coin
Royal Flush1,000 coins2,000 coins3,000 coins4,000 coins6,000 coins
Straight Flush200 coins400 coins600 coins800 coins1,199 coins
4-of-a-kind100 coins200 coins300 coins400 coins600 coins
Full House18 coins36 coins54 coins72 coins90 coins
Flush15 coins30 coins45 coins60 coins75 coins
Straight11 coins22 coins33 coins44 coins55 coins
3-of-a-kind5 coins10 coins15 coins20 coins25 coins
2 pair3 coins6 coins9 coins12 coins15 coins
Pair of 9’s or better2 coins4 coins6 coins8 coins10 coins


Pick ‘em Poker Strategy

The strategy for Pick ‘em Poker is pretty basic as there are only 2 choices you can make – holding card A or card B.

In a standard version of Video Poker, as you can hold between 0 and 5 of 5 cards, there are a lot more options.

Having said that, there are some basic rules that you can follow to try and maximize your chances of getting a payout.

Check the table below and go from top to bottom, when you find an option that suits your own choice, that is the one to go for.

If you get to the bottom but haven’t found one, hold either card as there is no increased chance of winning with either card.

HandEV-Value of expected payouts
Q J 10 Suited3.17
3 to a Royal Flush – King high2.83
High Pair – 9’s to A’s2.63
3 to a Royal Flush – Ace high2.44
3 to Straight Flush – no gap2.00
3 to Straight Flush – 1 gap1.54
3 to Straight Flush – 2 gaps1.39
3 to Flush – no gaps, 3 High cards1.36
3 to Straight – no gaps, 3 High cards1.23
3 to Straight Flush – 2 gaps, 1 High card1.20
3 to Flush – 2 High cards1.16
Low pair – 2’s to 8’s1.14
3 to Straight Flush – 2 gaps, 0 High cards1.09
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 3 High cards1.04
3 to Straight – 0 gap, 2 High cards0.99
3 to Flush – 1 High card0.97
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 3 High cards0.92
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 2 High cards0.88
3 to Straight – 0 gap, 1 High card0.84
3 to Flush – 0 High cards0.77
3 High cards0.76
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 2 High cards0.72
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 1 High card0.68
3 to Straight – 0 gaps, 5 to 8 high0.60
2 High cards0.57
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 1 High card0.52
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 0 High cards0.48
1 High card0.37
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 0 High cards0.33
Anything else0.18

The above Pick ‘em Poker strategy when played perfectly gives returns of 99.95%, one of the best rates of any casino game.

Casino War

Casino War

Casino War is a very simple to learn casino game.

Played directly against the dealer, there can be several players sat at the same table. As you are playing against the dealer directly, however, what other players get doesn’t affect you.

The game was created and patented back in 1993. It was originally offered to land-based casinos in Nevada but you will now find it in many online casinos.

In this article, we will explain the following. You may click on any of the links below to bring you to that point in the article.


Casino War Game

Above is a standard layout for Casino War online.

Casino War Rules

A standard game of Casino War is played with 6 decks of cards.

Each player at the table places a bet for each hand depending on table limits.

The dealer then gives one card face up to all players followed by one face up to themselves.

All cards are ranked the same as Poker with the exception that Aces are always high. Unlike in games such as Blackjack, picture cards are treated differently, so a King is higher than a Queen, a Queen higher than a Jack and all picture cards beat a 10.

Once everyone has a card, the Dealer compares the card of each player to their own.

If the player’s card is higher, they win the bet at even money.

If the dealer’s card is higher than the players, the player loses the bet.

Should both the dealer and players card be of the same value, the player has a choice to make.

They can Surrender their hand or ‘Go to War’.

Should the player decide to Surrender, they will forfeit half of their bet and get half back. The hand for that player then ends.

Should the player decide to Go to War, they need to make a further bet equal to their initial bet.

The dealer then burns 3 cards and deals the player and then themselves one further card face up.

Should the card of the player be higher or equal to the dealer, the player wins even money on the increased bet and the original bet pushes – they effectively win 3 times the initial bet.

It is worth pointing out that on the 2nd bet, should the cards be the same value again, the player would win as opposed to going to war for the 2nd time.

Should the 2nd card of the dealer be higher than the players, the player loses all their bets.

Some casinos may allow you to place an initial bet on the Tie as a side-bet, this kind of bet normally pays out 10 to 1. This only pays out on the initial 2 cards and not on the 2nd bet as well if the player Goes to War.

Casino War Strategy

At first glance, it isn’t always clear to see where the house edge for this game is.

The bet pays even money on a win and the player has an equal chance of getting a higher card than the dealer.

On closer inspection, when a player and dealer tie and the player Goes to War, they either get to win one unit or lose two. This is where the house edge comes from.

As an example, a €10 bet which is tied would mean a further €10 bet is needed giving a total outlay of €20. If the player wins after Going to War, their 2nd bet will pay at even money whilst the original bet pushes, therefore you would get a return of €30 from a €20 bet – equal to 1 unit.

Should the player Go to War and then lose, 2 bets – in the above example €20 in total – would be lost.

In terms of strategy, as the only decision to make is whether to Go to War or Surrender in the rare instances that both the dealer and player have the same value card, there is no real strategy to learn.

There is a slightly higher house edge when a player Surrenders rather than Go to War, so wherever the funds allow, Go to War would be the best course of action.

As the player wins with a tie after Going to War, it makes the extra bet worth the risk in the long run.

However, like any casino game, the casino always has an edge over the player.

Blackjack Insurance

Blackjack Insurance
What is Blackjack Insurance?
In most variations of Blackjack, if the Dealer has an Ace as their face-up card, the Players all have the choice to take ‘Insurance’.

This is essentially a bet that the Dealer will have a 10 as their face-down card, giving them Blackjack.

You can take Insurance on all hands you are playing, some or none and the amount is half your initial stake. If the Dealer has Blackjack, you win the Insurance bet at odds of 2 to 1. If they have anything other than Blackjack, the Insurance bet is lost.

Insurance is effectively a side-bet which can only be taken when the Dealer shows an Ace, and like most side-bets, we strongly advise against you taking here.

Blackjack Insurance

Irrespective of the hand you hold, if the Dealer shows an Ace as their face-up card, most variations will give the option of taking Insurance.

Here, we look at why it is pretty much the worst bet you can take.

Why is Insurance a bad bet?
Let’s start by assuming there is just 1 deck of cards in play and you aren’t dealt a card with a value of 10 in your hand.

16 of the unseen cards in the pack – 4 10’s, 4 J’s, 4 Q’s and 4 K’s – have the value of 10.

There are 49 unseen cards in total, 52 less the Dealers Ace, less your 2 which we have said don’t have a value of 10.

If you placed an initial bet of €2, your Insurance bet would be half of this so €1.

Every time the Dealer turns over a 10, you win €3 – €1 at 2 to 1. 16 times out of 49, that would be the case, so 16 wins at €3 a time is €48. Each of those bets cost you €1 so your profit for those 16 bets would be €32.

There are 33 occasions out of the 49 that you would lose, giving you a total loss for those bets of €33.

Over the course of the 49 bets, your total win would be €32 but total loss €33 giving you a net loss of €1 from 49 hands.

In other words, for each hand you bet on Insurance on single deck Blackjack when you don’t have a 10 in your cards, you are making a loss of just over 2% on average.

This is the best-case scenario, as if you have one of the 16 10’s in your hand, the odds would be even worse for you.

Let’s now take a look at Blackjack that is played with 6 decks of cards and look at the odds of winning an Insurance bet here.

Assuming the only card we know is the Dealers Ace, there are 311 other cards available – 6 decks times 52 cards less the Ace. We clearly know what 2 cards we are dealt at the time, but not for the purpose of this article.

There are 96 cards in the 6 decks valued at 10 out of the 311 available – so 96 that will win us the bet but 215 that will lose it.

This gives a House Edge of 7.4% which is far greater than most casino games and therefore is always going to be a losing bet over the long run.

There are variables, of course, one of which would be card counting.

However, this is not possible when playing online due to the random number generator not playing the same way as a land-based casino. Even if you are playing live and have an idea of how many 10’s are left in the shoe, the changes to the House Odds are unlikely to be much different and are still likely to be stacked against you.

What about if you have Blackjack yourself?
In this instance, if the Dealer gets Blackjack as well, the main bet will be a push so you will win nothing from this. The Insurance bet – if you take it – will win 1 unit, which is half your initial bet at odds of 2 to 1.

If the Dealer does not get Blackjack, your main bet will win at 3 to 2, but by taking the Insurance bet and losing, you will lose half.

Whichever way you look at it, you will pretty much break even though you had Blackjack.

By avoiding the Insurance bet, you are still most likely to win at 3 to 2 for Blackjack if the Dealer doesn’t have a 10, and simply push the overall bet if they do.


Blackjack is a game primarily of mathematics where there are a good move and a bad move for every possible eventuality.

Taking Insurance definitely comes under the bad move section due to the higher than normal house-edge involved, and we strongly advise that it is avoided at all costs.

Blackjack References:
Play European Blackjack for Practice
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Tips
Blackjack Strategy Card
Spanish 21 Blackjack

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