What is Multi-Hand Video Poker and How to Play it?

Multihand video poker
What is Multi-Hand Video Poker and How to Play it?

Multi-hand video poker works like single-hand video poker. The standard hand rankings are utilized in multi-hand games as well. The biggest difference here is that the starting five-card hands players receive on the initial deal is duplicated on a given number of hands; often between five and a hundred. Whatever cards players have chosen to hold on their starting hand; will automatically appear and be held in all the duplicate hands.

One of the biggest peculiarities of multi-hand video poker is – each duplicate hand requires a separate bet, similarly to the individual paylines on multi-line video slots. Because of this; bankroll management should be a major priority of players who are interested in betting on multi-hand video poker variants.

Another thing that will draw players’ attention is the fact – sometimes they will be dealt cards of the same rank and suit in two, three, or more hands. The reason for this is simple. In multi-hand video poker, the cards for each hand players have bet on are dealt from individual decks. In other words; if you opt for 50-hand video poker; as many as 50 decks will be in play on each wager you place.

The same amount is wagered on all hands you play at once. However, it is possible to come across multi-hand variations. Where it is allowed to make one bet on the initial hand and different bets on the duplicates. Such is the case with some multi-hand variants of the popular Jacks or Better. Where players can bet one credit in the original hand and up to five credits on every duplicate hand.

How to Play Multi-Hand Video Poker?


You can play this game on any online casino of your choice. The gameplay on multi-hand video poker variants largely coincides with that on single-handed games. Once your preferred multi-hand video poker game loads; you will be asked to select the number of hands you wish to play simultaneously. Games with 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 hands are among the most widespread options to choose from. In this game, you can bet anywhere between one and five credits per hand.

Bet a Single or maximum number of credits

Bet a Single or maximum number of credits
Bet a Single or maximum number of credits

If you want to bet a single credit on each hand; you need to click on the button that reads Bet One. Then again, if you intend to wager three credits per round, you hit the same button three times. It is also possible to adjust the value of the virtual coins/credits you bet with; with the most common denominations being 0.02, 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, 0.50, and 1.00. Players can also conveniently bet the maximum number of credits per hand; with a single click of the Bet Max button.

Now Deal the Cards

Now after you have adjusted the size of your wagers; you simply need to hit the Deal button to get the five random cards your original hand will consist of. So suppose if your original hand contains [K][4][10][J][9] and you wish to keep the King and the Jack. You simply need to click on the cards you wish to hold. Once you do that the King and the Jack will automatically be dealt in all duplicate hands you play. Then, you hit the Deal button again to replace the three discards. Also if you have successfully formed qualifying hands on your duplicates as well as on the original hand; you get the payment according to the game’s paytable; depending on the hands’ ranking and the number of credits you have wagered.

Change Hands

The Multi-hand video poker comes from various top-notch. Like in the Betsoft Multi-hand video poker game variant you can change the number of hands you play at once. Without having to exit the main game and load it again. This is possible by clicking on the Change Hands button. It will take you back to the starting menu; where you can again choose from 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 hands. The Playtech variations of this poker game are the 50-line Jacks or Better; where the number of hands remains fixed at 50; and there is no way to modify it and you either play all hands simultaneously or you play none.

The Double Up Feature

The Double Up Feature
The Double Up Feature

Almost all multi-hand and single-hand variants of video poker have an additional feature, called either Double Up or Gamble. Do have in mind this functionality activates only after you manage to form qualifying winning hands, though. For example, you play ten hands simultaneously and win with all of them. You will leave the base game and go to a separate screen where you see the amount you win – you will get the double it up. Five cards will appear on the screen face-down – the first one is the virtual “dealer’s” card.


You can choose to either settle for the amount you have initially won or try to double it. If you opt for the latter; the dealer will flip over the card; your goal is to pick one of the four remaining cards, and if it is of a higher rank than the dealer’s; you will collect double the amount you have generated on all winning hands. If not, you lose everything. Also, if you draw a card that is equal in rank to that of the dealer’s; it will be a draw but you double your winnings. It is possible to try and repeat this stunt and triple your initial profits. In some online variations of multi-hand video poker; players can risk only half of the amount they have won. Thanks to the Double Half functionality.

Even though doubling or even tripling your winnings may sound fun, keep in mind that this is a risky bet. If you double your win but decide to continue with another round of gamble, you might end up losing all of your winnings.

Points to remember when playing Multi-Hand Video Poker

Points to remember when playing Multi-Hand Video Poker
Points to remember when playing Multi-Hand Video Poker
  • You need a proper strategy to play poker games.
  • Less experienced players need to consider before they start playing video poker in multiple-hand mode. The first thing to remember is the number of hands you play simultaneously does not affect the odds of turning a profit in any way. The probability of winning does not change regardless of whether you play a single hand or one hundred hands.
  • Some players switch betting strategies whenever they transition from single to multi-hand video poker variants. This is not necessarily always a good idea, especially if there are no differences in the paytables of the two-game variations. Many experts share the opinion that the odds of winning do not improve by changing the amount of the wager or the number of hands one plays.
  • Knowing which cards to hold and which ones to discard and replace from the original hand you deal is of the importance, regardless of whether you are playing one hand or a hundred.
  • It does not matter how many hands you have selected to play and what the size of your bet per hand is. The two most important things you need to factor in are the rules of the individual video poker variations you play and their paytables.
  • The paytables sometimes vary between single and multi-hand versions of the same game. Like in a pair of Kings or Better is normally the lowest ranking hand in many multi-hand variants of Joker Poker but on occasion, this threshold may increase so that players would need to form a hand of Aces or Better in order to collect a payout.
  • If there are no deviations in the paytables and the payouts of the single and multi-hand versions coincide, you can use the standard strategy for the game.
  • The probability of winning on duplicate hands is the same as this for players’ initial hand. The only difference in multi-hand video poker is in volatility.
  • Switching to multi-hand games requires some adjustments to make to a number of your bets. Staking ten credits on a hand is not the same as betting ten credits on your original hand and nine duplicates. Expert poker players have established that the overall variance on the initial deal and the draw increases proportionally to the number of hands one plays at a time.
  • The number of hands you play simultaneously has an impact on standard deviation or how swingy a given video poker variation is. In other words, the SD serves as an indicator of how big a shift you will see in your win rate per 100 hands played. The higher a game’s standard deviation is, the higher its variance will be.
  • The standard deviation of a single-hand in a full-pay game of Deuces Wild is around 5.10 but when you play 100 hands simultaneously, this number increases to 18.35, which is a rather significant discrepancy.
  • Multi-hand video poker players should make smaller bets per hand than they would normally do on single-hand games because this would help them to preserve their bankrolls for a longer period of time. The smarter thing to do would be to decrease your wagers from $1 on single hands to $0.10 or $0.25 when playing ten and five hands, respectively.

Variance in Multi-Hand Video Poker Games

Joker Poker Multihand poker

To fully understand how the variance changes with the addition of hands, you can take a look at the different variants of some of the most popular video poker games.

If you have come across a 9/6 version of Jacks or Better with a single hand to bet on, the variance will be 19.5. In the same game, if you bet on 3 hands, the variance will increase to 23.4. The variance for 9/6 Jacks or Better with 5 hands is 27.4, and for 10 hands – 37.2. As the hands increase to 50, the variance becomes 115.8, and 100 hands will have a variance of 214, which is an increase of nearly 10 times the variance of the single-hand variant.

In an 8/5 variation of Bonus Poker, a single-hand version has a variance of 20.9. Increase the hands to 3 and the variance will gain to 25.1. A 5-hand version will have a variance of 29.4 and a 10-hand option – 40.0. A 50-hand play will mean the variance will be 124.8, while 100 hands will increase the level of variance to 230.8.

The last example is 10/7 Double Bonus Poker, which has a variance of 28.3 when you play in with one hand. When you decide to bet on 3 hands, the variance will increase to 35.0 and 5 hands will bring the variance up to 41.8. A 10-hand version will have a variance of 58.8, while a 50-hand option will raise the variance to 194.4. Lastly, a 100-hand version of 10/7 Double Bonus Poker will have a variance of 364.0.

Multihand video poker- The choice to play

Multihand video poker- The choice to play
Multihand video poker- The choice to play

Multi-hand video poker variations are mostly fun for certain types of players. To decide whether it is a good idea to resort to betting on several hands or to stick to the single-hand version of your favorite game, you can compare the advantages and disadvantages of the multiplay versions.

If you have made up your mind about playing a multi-hand video poker game, you will have no issue finding a few options. Many software developers offer their video poker games in both variants and you can easily come across a suitable version.

In most cases, multi-hand variants have the same paytables as their single-hand counterparts. This allows players to utilize the same type of strategy when they play with 1, 5, 50, or 100 hands. If you have already mastered the right strategy, you will be able to tilt the scales in your favor, no matter how many hands you bet on.

Can bet more on your initial hands

While you are increasing your bet only according to the number of hands you bet on, some video poker variations will allow you to bet more on your initial hands. If you have a sufficient balance, you can dive into a different video poker adventure and bet on several hands at once.

Also, you should play multi-hand variants of your favorite video poker game only if you are enjoying making risky moves. While the way of gaming remains the same, adding more hands will increase the variance of the video poker option. This would mean that you might end up losing bigger amounts until you hit significant wins. As such games would require hefty amounts in your bankroll, which is not something that every player can afford. If you are willing to make bigger bets, however, you can give multi-hand games a try and stack up winnings much faster. (source casino guardian)

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Kamal Kaur