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Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker

Stack ’Em Bonus Poker video poker is a 5 coin, 5 play game that is based on standard 5 card draw poker. The normal game play allows you to win by making hands in the horizontal rows. When the bonus feature is activated, winning hands are also awarded by vertical columns.

In addition to the vertical hand feature, a random multiplier can appear on any round where the maximum bet is placed. The multiplier can be 2, 3, 4, or 5 times vertical pay table bonus.

Created and distributed by International Game Technology PLC (IGT) and Action Gaming, Stack’ Em Bonus Poker can be found online and in brick and mortar casinos in the Nevada and New Mexico.

How to Play Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker Video Poker

The game starts out as a 5 card draw game. The game deals you 5 cards, and you choose which to keep and which to discard. You can choose to keep any or all of the cards, or discard any or all of the 5 cards.

The goal of the game is to build a hand that matches one of the winning hands on the pay table. In most variations of the game, a minimum winning hand is a pair of jacks.

The difference in play comes from the bonus feature. The bonus is only activated by placing a maximum bet of 50 coins (5 for each of the 5 hands and 25 for the bonus feature). The bonus allows for winning hands to be awarded horizontality and allows for vertical hands to be counted as well.

The vertical hands are paid out according to a special pay table and are eligible for random multipliers of 2, 3, 4, or 5 times the bonus pay table.

Here’s how a maximum bet in game play works:

You place your bet of 50 coins. Your initial 5 cards are dealt. You choose which to keep and which to discard. After you click on the cards you want to keep, they appear in the 4 hands above your initial hand. You then press the deal button.

When the deal button is clicked, it activates the random multiplier. You’ll see the multiplier the game has chosen on the right side of the game. Each of the 5 hands is dealt replacement cards for the cards you discarded from the initial hand (creating 5 unique hands). The game compares your horizontal hands to the pay table and awards any winnings.

The game then evaluates your hands vertically. The game doesn’t award a winning hand vertically for cards you kept as they would all be 5 of a kinds. But for the columns that were drawn, you are awarded based on the vertical pay table and any applicable multipliers.

Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker has 8 variations. All of the games are 5 play games, which means you have the option of playing 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 hands simultaneously.

The available options are:

  • Stack ’Em Jacks or Better
  • Stack ’Em Bonus Poker
  • Stack ’Em Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Stack ’Em Double Bonus
  • Stack ’Em Double Double Bonus
  • Stack ’Em Triple Double Bonus
  • Stack ’Em Deuces Wild
  • Stack ’Em Deuces Wild Bonus

The ranking of the winning hands differ from the royal flush, straight flush, 4 of a kind, full house, flush, straight, 3 of a kind, 2 pair, and 1 pair matrix in standard 5 card draw poker. Each variant has its own lists. The Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker variant of the game ranks hand in the following way:

  • Royal Flush – A royal flush is when a player has a 10, jack, queen, king and aces all of the same suit.
  • 4 of a Kind (Aces) – 4 aces is the highest ranking 4 of a kind hand you can have.
  • Straight Flush – A straight flush is 5 cards in ranked in consecutive order. All 5 cards must be of the same suit.
  • 4 of a Kind (2s, 3s, 4s) – 4 matching deuces, 3s or 4s.
  • 4 of a Kind (5s through Kings) – any 4 matching cards of the same rank containing 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, jacks, queens or kings.
  • Full House – A full house contains 3 cards of matching rank and 2 cards of another matching rank. It’s a combination of 3 of a kind and a pair.
  • Flush – Any 5 cards of the same suit.
  • Straight – A straight contains 5 cards in order, but have different suits.
  • 3 of a Kind – A 3 of a kind contains 3 cards of the same rank.
  • 2 Pair – 2 cards of 1 rank and 2 cards of another rank.
  • 1 pair (Jacks or Better) – Any 2 matching jacks, queens, kings or aces.

Other variations of the game (such as the Deuces Wild versions) do not have any winning hands below the rank of 3 of a kind. Winning hand ranks in Deuces Wild versions also include rankings for hands with wild cards.

Another aspect of the hand rankings come from the vertical hands.

In the Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker game, the vertical hands are ranked like this:

  • Royal Flush
  • Suited 5 of a Kind
  • 5 of a Kind
  • Suited 4 of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • 4 of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • 3 of a Kind
  • 2 Pair
  • 1 Pair (Jacks or Better)
  • 1 Pair (6s or Better)

The vertical hand rankings differ normal play hand rankings. This is because each vertical hand draws from 5 different decks of cards. Here are the explanations of the ranks that differ from the horizontal hands:

  • Suited 5 of a Kind – 5 cards that match in both rank and suit.
  • 5 of a Kind – 5 matching rank cards of any suit.
  • Suited 4 of a Kind – 4 cards that match in both rank and suit.
  • 4 of a Kind – 4 match cards of any suit
  • 1 Pair (6s or Better) – Any 2 cards of matching rank that are higher than 6 but less than a jack.

The cards you hold from the initial deal aren’t eligible as winning hands vertically. This is because every hand would be suited 5 of a kind automatically. As a result, only cards that are acquired from the draw are eligible to win vertical hands.

Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker Odds and Pay Tables

In video poker, expected return refers to what you can expect back from your bets after a long period of playing. If you play perfect strategy every time, Stack ’Em Bonus Poker has an expected return of between 96.1% and 98.9%. These percentages are provided by IGT on their website.

Much like the hand ranks values, the 8 different variations of Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker each have different pay tables. In fact, when we list the hand rankings we base it on the pay tables. Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker actually has 2 pay tables, one for regular play and one for the vertical hands.

The regular pay table for the Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker variant is:

1 Coin Play 2 Coin Play3 Coin Play 4 Coin Play5 Coin Play
Royal Flush25050075010004000
4 of a Kind (Aces)80160240320400
Straight Flush50100150200250
4 of a Kind (2s, 3s, 4s)4080120160200
4 of a Kind (5s through Kings)255075100125
Full House714212835
3 of a Kind3691215
2 Pair246810
1 Pair (Jacks or Better)12345

When a maximum bet of 50 coins is played, the bonus options are activated. The bonus options include both a unique pay table and a multiplier. The bonus vertical pay table for Stack ‘Em Bonus poker variation is:

Royal Flush4000
Suited 5 of a Kind4000
5 of a Kind4000
Suited 4 of a Kind2000
4 of a Kind (Aces)800
4 of a Kind (2s, 3s, 4s)400
Straight Flush250
4 of a Kind (5s through Kings)200
Full House55
3 of a Kind25
2 Pair10
1 Pair (Jacks or Better)5
1 Pair (6s or Better)5

These amounts increase based on the amount of the multiplier. No additional multiplier is added if you hold all 5 of your cards or discard all five of your cards.

Stack ‘Em Bonus Poker Strategies and Tactics

Stack ’Em Bonus Poker strategies vary based on which of the 8 variants of the game you choose to play.

We have put together a basic strategy you can use on Stack ’Em Bonus that can help you use to get started.

If you are initially dealt any of the following hands, keep them all. You don’t have to draw anything:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight

In the case of a straight however, we have one caveat for you: if you are dealt suited 9, 10, jack, queen, king, you should discard the 9. The opportunity of getting the suited ace is worth the risk to try and make the royal flush.

Other recommendations:

  • Hold and draw 1 card if you have 4 to a straight flush
  • Hold and draw 1 card if you have 2 pair
  • If you have a pair of aces, kings, queens or jacks, hold the pair and draw 3 new cards
  • Hold and draw 2 cards if you have 3 to a royal flush
  • Hold and draw one cards if you have 4 to a flush
  • If you have a pair that ranks between 2 and 10, hold the pair and draw 3 new cards.
  • Hold and draw one card if you have 4 to an open-ended straight
  • If you have 2 unmatched suited high cards, keep them and draw 3 new cards.
  • If you have 3 to a straight flush, keep them and draw 2 new cards.
  • Hold the lowest 2 cards if 3 unsuited high cards and draw 3 new cards.
  • For a hand containing 2 unsuited high cards, hold them and draw 3 new cards.
  • If you are dealt a suited 10 and jack, 10 and queen or 10 and king, keep them and draw 3 new cards.
  • If all you have is a high card, hold it and draw 4 new cards.
  • If you don’t have any of the above, discard everything.

Remember by either keeping your entire hand or discarding it, you become ineligible for the multiplier when playing at maximum bet. Any vertical winning hands will be paid at the base pay out on the vertical pay table in this case.

This is just a starting point. This strategy is best applied to games that have jacks or better.


When we reviewed IGTs website to get information about the game, they identified that this game would best attract “video poker players who love high volatility games”. This is directly related to the bonus. When you maximize your bet, the multiplier kicks in and the possibility of hitting a 20,000 coin jackpot, however small, exists. But it also means that your losing streaks will last longer, and you’ll make up for them with the occasional huge win.

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