How to Play Aces and Faces Video Poker

Aces and Faces Video Poker Text Over Video Poker Machine

Aces and Faces is a popular video poker variant.

There are important differences between the standard Jacks or Better video poker game and this version which pays out different amounts for the presence of high-value cards in your hand.

This post describes the game Aces and Faces, its payouts, odds, and some strategy tips to help you win more often.

What Is Aces and Faces Video Poker?

Aces and Faces is a variation of the classic video poker game Jacks or Better. The majority of video poker games are just variations on that basic theme.

Like most video poker games, Aces and Faces is a machine game with rules based on traditional five-card draw poker. Video poker is called video poker because the game uses a video screen for a display.

The goal in video poker is to form a five-card poker hand that’s worth money, according to the game’s pay table. Typically, you’re dealt five cards, given the choice to discard any or none of your dealt cards, and your outcome depends on the hand you form after the second deal.

Hands are usually ranked according to poker hand hierarchy, though some video poker variants mix the hand hierarchy up or add new hands based on the rules of the game. In video poker, as in traditional draw poker, the most valuable hand is the Royal Flush, a straight flush made up of a 10, a Jack, a Queen, a King, and an Ace.

Further Info:Video poker game designers create new games by adding new features, such as a wild card or a bonus betting round. Aces & Faces was designed this way, taking the typical Jacks or Better video poker rules as a base, and adding some unique payouts and rules to create a new way to play.

The name “Aces and Faces” refers to the fact that the pay table is set up to reward hands featuring aces and face cards. For more details on the ways the Aces and Faces pay table differs from the norm, see the Aces and Faces Video Poker Pay Table section below.

Aces and Faces Video Poker – How to Play

Aces & Faces plays out identically to Jacks or Better or any of the other common video poker variants.

After choosing a bet size by selecting your denomination and the number of credits to bet per hand, you press the “Deal” button to begin play.

How should you pick how much to play? Good video poker strategy says to always “bet max,” which means betting 5 credits per hand. That means you need to pick a machine that allows bets in the size you’re looking for. A $1.25-per-credit game is going to cost a lot less than a $5-per-credit machine.

Why place max bets? Your odds are better.

That’s because the game’s top prize is significantly higher when you place a max bet. This represents a big chunk of your payback percentage. If you aren’t betting max, you’re playing against longer odds.

Once you press that button, you’ll be dealt a 5-card hand from a virtual 52-card deck. Aces and Faces doesn’t use wild cards or anything like that, so the deal and deck layout are identical to Jacks or Better.

Your second decision as a player is choosing which cards to hold and which to discard. You can discard any number of cards from 1-5, and you can also choose to hold any number of cards from 1-5.

It’s at this second decision point that game strategy kicks in. There’s a section below outlining basic Aces and Faces strategy. These moves are based on the mathematically optimal strategy for these games worked out years ago by mathematicians. Basically, optimal Aces and Faces strategy will tell you what move to make to give yourself the best chance of ending in the money.

Once you’ve discarded your cards, you get replacement cards to try and form a better hand. At this point, the game is over, and you’re either awarded a payout (if you have a qualifying hand), or you win nothing.

Either way, you’ll immediately have the option of playing again.

Aces and Faces Video Poker Pay Table

Game designers have come up with maybe a dozen different pay tables for Aces and Faces. Some of these benefit the player more than others.

When analyzing an Aces and Faces pay table, you’re looking for the payouts for the Flush and Full House hands. Designers use these two specific payouts to alter the game’s payback percentage, making it a little looser or tighter depending on the casino’s order.

The best pay table for Aces and Faces is known as 8/5.

Important:Any Aces and Faces pay table that pays out 8 for a Full House and 5 for a Flush is a good Aces and Faces game, meaning its one of the ones with the best possible odds.

Here’s what a good 8/5 Aces and Faces pay table looks like when you bet max:

  • Royal Flush – 800:1
  • 4-of-a-Kind (Aces) – 80:1
  • Straight Flush – 50:1
  • 4-of-a-Kind (Faces) – 40:1
  • 4-of-a-Kind – 25:1
  • Full House – 8:1
  • Flush – 5:1
  • Straight – 4:1
  • 3-of-a-Kind – 3:1
  • 2 Pair – 2:1
  • Jacks or Better – 1:1

Aces and Faces Video Poker Odds

Video poker games often have some of the best odds on the casino floor, and under the right conditions, Aces and Faces is no different.

Played according to optimal strategy, the casino has just a 0.8% edge. You won’t find many bets in casinos offering odds that low. There’s a couple of bets in craps and roulette that come close. Outside of advantage gambling in blackjack, there’s not much better on offer than 8/5 Aces and Faces.

What does that 0.8% edge look like in real money?

For ExampleLet’s say you’re playing at $1.25 per credit at a max bet.

That means each deal costs you $5, at a payback percentage of 99.2%. So long as you can play perfectly, you’re only losing about $0.04 per hand.

That’s $24 an hour in losses, which is low for a game that plays as fast as video poker, with 600-800 outcomes an hour common.

How much does a slight change to the Full House/Flush ratio affect the game’s odds? You’ll often see 6/5 Aces and Faces in Vegas and Atlantic City, where a Full House only pays out 6 credits. Played according to optimal strategy, the casino’s edge is 3.1%. If you’re betting max at $1.25 per credit, you’re losing more like $0.15 a hand, almost four times worse than the ideal 8/5 pay table.

Remember that Full House is a common result, happening about once every 100 hands. Flush results are about equally as common. All told, about one in every 50 hands will be a Flush or Full House. Adjusting the payout for that somewhat frequent payout has a big impact on player odds.

Strategy for Aces and Faces Video Poker

Good news for video poker players who want to strategize their Aces and Faces play – optimal strategy exists, it’s been decoded by people much smarter than either of us, and it’s relatively easy to play an ideal game against the house.

Below is a simple strategy guide that will help you make ideal playing decisions – but before we get into that, here’s some general thoughts on strategizing Aces and Faces play.

The golden rule with Aces and Faces is to avoid breaking up a Full House or Flush.

Note:As with any general rule, there’s an important exception – if you hold a 4-card Royal, you should always hold and hope for the missing 5th piece. In all other situations, roll with your winning deal if it’s a Flush or Full House.

The strategy chart below is easier to use than it looks. Basically, it shows the hierarchy of the best possible results from top to bottom, where the worst possible outcome for the player is at the very end. How do you use it? If you aren’t one card short of a Royal Flush, you should aim to form the next-best combination, moving down the list as you analyze your hand.

  1. 4-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, or Royal Flush
  2. Four cards towards a Royal
  3. 3-of-a-Kind, Straight, Flush, or Full House
  4. 4 cards towards a Straight Flush
  5. Two pair
  6. High pair (Jacks or better)
  7. Three cards toward a Royal Flush
  8. Four cards toward a Flush
  9. Low pair
  10. Four cards towards an outside Straight
  11. Two suited high cards
  12. Three cards towards a Straight Flush
  13. Two unsuited high cards (use the lowest one)
  14. Suited high cards: 10-J, 10-Q, or 10-K
  15. Jacks or better
  16. Discard all cards


Video poker has a bad reputation because it looks and sounds like a slot machine.

Advantage gamblers ignore video poker at their own peril. If you can follow a basic strategy chart, you can enjoy some of the best odds on the floor.

Aces and Faces video poker adds an enhancement to the pay table of traditional Jacks or Better poker. While the payouts on this game aren’t as big as a typical Jacks or Better video poker machine, most of the game’s pay table layouts are a better odds contest than typical casino Jacks or Better games.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.