How to Play Poker Lotto

How to Play Poker Lotto

Poker Lotto is played across North America and is a great pastime for lottery players and enthusiasts. As the name suggests, the game contains a number of elements from both games, fused into a very simple and fun-to-play experience. 

People playing Poker Lotto are also attracted by great prizes and multiple chances to win money. The game is still land-based and participants cannot play it online but only in official lottery retailer stores. So let’s see how to play Poker Lotto and how the game works.

How to Play Poker Lotto

How to play Poker Lotto?

Poker and lotto – two different worlds

As it was mentioned, lotto poker is a unique combination of the two games. What makes the game truly different is the sharp contrast between poker and the lotto. Namely, the lotto is purely a game of chance, and while there is a certain element of luck in poker as well, poker is far from being a random game where it all comes down to which cards you’re dealt.

In fact, poker is a game of maths, skills, nerves, experience, and risk management. Every poker player will insist on this and they have every right to do that. If it wasn’t like that, you wouldn’t have globally renowned poker players and the World Series of Poker would be a game of chance with different contestants and winners every time – just like in the lotto.

However, Poker Lotto is, in truth, more lotto than poker. The poker element is there only to make a game more interesting and lively. Here’s how you can play it.


How does Poker Lotto work?

First, you’ll need to find the closest lottery retailer and buy a Poker Lotto ticket. You can take up to three different combinations that represent three different poker hands. A hand, just like in poker, consists of 5 cards – so keep in mind that the “numbers” on your ticket are not actually numbers, but cards from a standard 52-card deck. So a combination in Poker Lotto doesn’t look like this: 3, 7, 19, 22, 36, but more like 2, 6, A, A, 6. Most lotto providers charge $2 or 2 CAD per combination. 

Let’s suppose you paid for one hand only. While your ticket is being printed, your hand will be shown on the display in the store where you can see your cards “dealt” one by one. 

These cards will be of course printed on your ticket as well. You’ll also find some other stuff on your ticket – the date and time of printing, the cost of the ticket, as well as the size of your potential instant win. We’ll get to how you can win prizes in Poker Lotto in a second.

So unlike some other lotto games, you don’t get to pick your numbers. And this is where Poker Lotto resembles poker in a way, since you don’t pick your cards in poker as well, but you have to play with whatever you get.

Nevertheless, once you get your cards you can’t bluff your opponents or draw more cards or bet smart in order to take more money from other players. At the end of the day, Poker Lotto is first and foremost a game of chance and once the software generates your 5 cards, there’s not much you can do with those. But you can win money.  How?


How to win money in Poker Lotto?

So you have your 5 cards on display and on your ticket. There are two types of rewards in all Poker Lotto games. Some lotto providers also offer “all-in” jackpots, and we’ll talk about these a bit later.

The first kind of prize you can get is an instant win. It’s very simple – the stronger hand you have based on the standard rules of poker, the more money you’ll win. It’s possible to win anywhere from $2 for a high pair to $10,000 dollars for a royal flush. 

The second prize is different and you’ll have to wait for the nightly draw to find out if you’ve won it. Namely, every night the lottery company will draw a combination of cards. It’s usually a normal raffle drum with balls jumping out of it. The only difference is that the balls also have suit symbols next to numbers so they can represent cards.

In order to win, you’ll have to hope that the drawn cards will match your own combination as closely as possible. At most places, if the draw contains two cards that you also have in your hand, you’ll get $3 – $5. If 3 of your cards match the drawn cards, you’ll get $10 – $25, for 4 you’ll win $100 – $500, while those who happen to hold the exact hand that’s been drawn win a premium prize of $100,000.

You can check the results of the draw at the lottery retailer store, the provider’s website, other specialized websites, and sometimes even on local news web portals. 


Hand rankings in poker

Obviously, to play Poker Lotto you don’t really have to know much about poker. You don’t need to know anything about betting rules, order of play, or different variants of poker. What you should understand, nevertheless, are hand rankings. Your potential instant reward depends on the strength of your automatically generated hand, so let’s see how hands are ranked in poker, from highest to lowest.

Hand rankings in poker

Royal flush: as it was already said, royal flush is the strongest hand, both in poker and in Poker Lotto. In order to connect a royal flush, you need the 5 highest cards of any suit. For example: 10, J, Q, K, A

Straight flush: to get a straight flush, you’ll have to connect any 5 cards of the same suit in sequential order. For example: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Four of a kind: four cards of the same rank make up a four-of-a-kind. For example: Q, Q, Q, Q

Full house: you need three cards of the same rank plus two more cards of another rank in order to complete a full house. For example: J, J, J, 5, 5

Flush: if you get any 5 cards of the same suit, that’s a flush. For example: 2, 5, 6, 9, K

Straight: a straight denotes any 5 cards arranged in sequential order, regardless of their suit. For example: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Three of a kind – this one’s simple. If you get 3 cards of the same rank, that’s a three of a kind. For example: 7, 7, 7

Two pair: two pairs of cards with identical ranks compose a two pair. For example: 4, 4, 9, 9

A pair: a pair represents  two cards of the same rank. Keep in mind that most lotto providers give rewards only for pairs of cards higher than jacks. So for instance, 5, 5 is a pair, but you won’t get anything for it in Poker Lotto. But for K, K, you’ll get the smallest instant prize, which is usually $2.


Prizes for an instant win

The instant prizes for each hand can vary based on the game company, and most of them will offer sums in this range:


High pair (jacks or better): $2 or one free play

Two pair: $2 – $4

Three of a kind: $5 – $10

Straight: $20

Flush: $30 – $50

Full house: $50 – $75

4 of a kind: $100 – $175

Straight flush: $500 – $1000

Royal flush: $5000 – $10000


All-in rules in Poker Lotto

The rules of the game described above are valid for virtually all Poker Lotto providers in USA and Canada. However, some of them, such as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), offer their players an additional perk, the all-in jackpot.

In order to compete for this jackpot, all you need to do is invest an additional $1 for your combination. If you do that, you’re going “all-in”, so if you happen to get a really good hand, you’ll also win a fraction of the special prize pool, or even the entire pool if you’re really lucky.

This prize pool starts at $10,000 and gets larger every day, if nobody manages to take it. Once the jackpot has been awarded to a certain player, it’s reset back to $10,000. 

Players who get a royal flush and have gone all-in will take the entire jackpot. Keep in mind that this prize can get very hefty, with players occasionally taking more than $100,000 this way.

Moreover, those who get a straight flush will get 10% of the prize pool. Finally, those who get a four of a kind, a full house, or a flush will have their winnings doubled.

All-in rules in Poker Lotto

Odds of winning in Poker Lotto

But how likely are you to win the instant prize or one of the nightly prizes? Here are the exact odds for the main prize:


Matching 5 of 5 – 1: 1,598,960 

Matching 4 of 5 – 1: 11,059

Matching 3 of 5 – 1: 240

Matching 2 of 5 – 1: 16


As for the instant rewards, the odds look like this:


Royal flush – 1: 649,740

Straight flush – 1: 72,193

Four of a kind – 1: 4,165

Full house – 1: 694

Flush –  1: 509

Straight – 1: 255

Three of a kind – 1: 47.3

Two pair – 1: 21

A pair (jacks or better) – 1: 7.7


Final thoughts

So there you have it. Now you know everything you need to know about Poker Lotto. It’s a fun and easy-to-play game that connects elements from poker and the lotto and offers players a chance to earn a substantial amount of money.

It’s purely a game of chance, but it can be amusing to anyone who likes a bit of an adrenaline rush. Now that you know the rules, the prizes, and the odds, you can decide if this game is right for you and start playing today.


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