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Pick ‘em Poker Guide: Rules, Strategies & Tips

Pickem poker

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

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

Pick ‘em Poker RulesLike 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 in 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 Hand 1 Coin 2 Coin 3 Coin 4 Coin 5 Coin
Royal Flush 1,000 coins 2,000 coins 3,000 coins 4,000 coins 6,000 coins
Straight Flush 200 coins 400 coins 600 coins 800 coins 1,199 coins
4-of-a-kind 100 coins 200 coins 300 coins 400 coins 600 coins
Full House 18 coins 36 coins 54 coins 72 coins 90 coins
Flush 15 coins 30 coins 45 coins 60 coins 75 coins
Straight 11 coins 22 coins 33 coins 44 coins 55 coins
3-of-a-kind 5 coins 10 coins 15 coins 20 coins 25 coins
2 pair 3 coins 6 coins 9 coins 12 coins 15 coins
Pair of 9’s or better 2 coins 4 coins 6 coins 8 coins 10 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.

Hand EV-Value of expected payouts
3-of-a-kind 10.59
Q J 10 Suited 3.17
3 to a Royal Flush – King high 2.83
High Pair – 9’s to A’s 2.63
3 to a Royal Flush – Ace high 2.44
3 to Straight Flush – no gap 2.00
3 to Straight Flush – 1 gap 1.54
3 to Straight Flush – 2 gaps 1.39
3 to Flush – no gaps, 3 High cards 1.36
3 to Straight – no gaps, 3 High cards 1.23
3 to Straight Flush – 2 gaps, 1 High card 1.20
3 to Flush – 2 High cards 1.16
Low pair – 2’s to 8’s 1.14
3 to Straight Flush – 2 gaps, 0 High cards 1.09
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 3 High cards 1.04
3 to Straight – 0 gap, 2 High cards 0.99
3 to Flush – 1 High card 0.97
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 3 High cards 0.92
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 2 High cards 0.88
3 to Straight – 0 gap, 1 High card 0.84
3 to Flush – 0 High cards 0.77
3 High cards 0.76
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 2 High cards 0.72
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 1 High card 0.68
3 to Straight – 0 gaps, 5 to 8 high 0.60
2 High cards 0.57
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 1 High card 0.52
3 to Straight – 1 gap, 0 High cards 0.48
1 High card 0.37
3 to Straight – 2 gaps, 0 High cards 0.33
Anything else 0.18

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


Pick’em Poker Tips

Pick 'em Poker tips

  • Pick’em Poker is different to other versions of Video Poker so it is more important than ever to stay close to the strategy in this article in order to maximise your chances of winning.

  • Like other versions of Video Poker, the payout for a Royal Flush when playing with 5 coins is significantly more than when playing with 4 coins or less. Therefore, ensure you play with 5 coins whenever it is possible even if it means dropping down a coin size – the total bet amount may be the same but if the payout is significantly higher, use it to your advantage.

  • Pick’em Poker can be found at many online casinos, whilst most have the same payouts, it is worth checking a few places before you start playing to ensure you are getting the best payouts possible, just a few extra coins can make the difference between winning big or not winning at all.

  • Some versions have the chance to gamble any winnings on a random turn of a card. Whilst you can sometimes add extra winnings to your bankroll by doing this, we strongly advise against it as the odds are stacked in the favour of the casino.

  • Lastly, like any form of gambling, it is important to stay within your budget and not gamble more than you can afford to lose. Playing games at a casino should be an enjoyable experience, if the fun goes out of the game, stop and walk away.

Video Poker Related Articles:
Aces & Faces Tips
Aces and Eights Video Poker
Tens or Better Rules

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About the author

Richard Grant
Richard has from an early age been interested in casinos and the thrill of playing casino games. After finishing his degree in Law and business he started this platform in 2007 as a complete resource to online gaming with the primary objective of reducing the house edge for players. Specializing in game guides, reviews, and strategic insights, Richard is devoted to helping you hit the jackpot.



How to play Pick 'em Poker?

It's a very easy to learn and play Pick 'em Poker. Also, it's considered less complicated in comparison with other variants as you only need to make two choices. The real difference, as you'll notice, is how the cards are dealt. After you have clicked 'Deal' on the screen, eight cards will appear; two cards on the left side will be revealed, while on the right side, there will be two stacks, each stack consisting of three cards. You will be able to see the top cards of each stack on the right side. Then you will have to choose which stack to keep, but only from the right side. After you've chosen which stack to keep, the remaining hidden cards from the selected stack will be revealed, and you will be left with a complete hand. It is worth noting that no card replacements on the left screen side are allowed.


What is the lowest rank of winning hand in Pick 'em Poker?

The lowest rank of the winning hand is a pair of Nines.


What is the house edge of Pick 'em Poker?

On average, Pick 'em Poker has a house edge of 0.05%, which makes it the lowest house edge Video Poker game. But make sure to check out the RTP and any additional information on the specific website you want to play Pick 'em Poker on.


Can I play Pick 'em Poker online for real money?

Yes, absolutely; there are plenty of licensed and reputable online casinos where you can play Pick 'em Poker for real money. However, you first need to find a casino that has a valid license; then, you have to take a look at its gaming selection to make sure it offers to Pick 'em Poker. This version isn't a widely popular game such as slots, for example. But this doesn't mean that you won't have plenty of options when it comes to playing Pick 'em Poker at online casinos.


How many decks are used in Pick 'em Poker?

It is used as a single, regular 52-card deck.


What are important hands in Pick 'em Poker?

Even though you have only two choices, make sure to watch out for the Royal Flush, Straight flush, and Four-of-a-Kind.


Can you replace the cards on the left side in Pick 'em Poker?

No, you cannot. This is actually why some casino players, especially beginners, like to play Pick 'em Poker. After you've been dealt with the two cards on the left side of the screen, it could be more difficult to achieve a higher-ranked winning hand. But, again, this largely depends on your luck, not just on your knowledge and skills as a Poker player.


Is Pick 'em Poker difficult to learn?

No, actually, this is a simplified version of Video Poker, and it's perfect for anyone that doesn't have a lot of experience with Video Poker variations or Poker in general. It's very easy to learn. You can find plenty of resources online, and if you choose to play on an online casino, there are some developers that have created a demo version available for free. It allows you to play the game without wagering your own money, so you'll be able to practice and learn how to play it without any additional risks.


Is Pick 'em Poker rigged?

No, it's not. However, you need to pay attention to the reliability of the online casino. Online casinos that hold a proper gambling license have to ensure, by law, that every game is based on RNG technology and is tested for fairness. The RNG component is a crucial part that affects the outcome of the game. Furthermore, they have to protect the personal details of the casino players, which is why it's really important to only play at trustworthy online casinos.

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