On a typical video poker machine, payouts start with a minimum hand of a pair of jacks. Payscales increase steadily, until the fairly rare four-of-a-kind, straight flush, and royal flush. These machines will typically employ progressive jackpots for the royal flush, thereby spurring players to both play more coins and more frequently.
Contrary to popular belief, these machines truly create random card sequences. There is a series of ten cards generated for each play; five dealt straight to the hand, the other five dealt in order if requested by player. This is due to a Nevada regulation, adopted by every other state with a gaming authority, that if dice or cards are used for an electronic game, the electronic versions must be as random as the real thing. A computer generated deck of cards must be as random as a real one. This leads to the potential of a video poker machine with a greater than 100% payback, with advantageous pay tables and a sufficiently high royal flush jackpot.
Newer video poker machines may employ variants of the basic five-card draw. Typical variations include Deuces Wild, where two's can serve as a true joker and jackpot is paid on four deuces or a natural royal; payscale modification, where four aces with a five or smaller kicker pays an enhanced amount; and multi-line poker, where one starts with a base hand of five cards, and each additional played line receives a different set of cards.
Deuces Wild is especially interesting because with a perfect stategy (which is fairly simple to remember and use) it always has positive expected value of about $1.076 for $1 bet (unlike other kinds of video poker, which might have positive expected value only when the jackpot is high enough). Because of this, Deuces Wild machines are rare and the bet size is very small.