Video Poker Strategy

Video poker, just like table-based poker, requires an understanding of key strategies, tips and tricks in order to master the game. These strategies will maximize your chances of winning far more often than you lose. Not only will these strategies help you to gain a winning hand, they will also teach you exactly when to hold and discard cards, which makes all the difference in the world when attempting to obtain a large amount of winnings. Video Poker is a game that plays out across a large amount of hands. What’s important is that you consistently win hands, not just one hand. Each one of these strategy tips are easy to learn and can be utilized by beginners to the game of video poker. The following will detail these strategies and provide you with the essential rules of video poker.

Video Poker Strategies and Related Rules

Video poker is primarily about the cards that you need to hold and the ones that you should discard. There are certain hands that a person should always hold onto when playing video poker. These include two pair, three of a kind, a full house, four of a kind, straight flush and royal flush. However, there are certain situations where discarding can be useful with the two pair and three of a kind hands. If the hand you’ve initially drawn is a two pair, then at least discard the fifth card in the hand for a chance at a full house, which is a better hand and provides you with a higher chance of winning a larger amount of money. With a three of a kind, it’s safe to discard the fourth and fifth cards, as there is a chance that you could come up with a four of a kind. Knowing when to discard and hold is essential to doing the best you can at video poker.

If you are dealt a hand that has four cards that almost complete a straight, but the card that is needed is a middle one, don’t try to discard the fifth card for a chance at the straight, as this very rarely comes to fruition. While four cards to a straight might seem appealing, the only time you should try for the straight when discarding is if the missing card is on either end. For example, do discard 1 card when you have a jack, queen, king, ace or a ten, jack, queen, king. Discard more than one when you get a hand like eight, nine, jack, queen. It’s highly unlikely that the card you would get after discarding is a ten, which is why it’s important to discard multiple cards in an attempt to end up with a better hand. It’s important to note that video poker has some of the best odds of any type of casino game, which means that the old adage of “the house always has the advantage” doesn’t necessarily apply if you have enough patience and follow correct strategies when playing.

When playing video poker, you will often have the opportunity of playing 1 to 5 coins. It’s important to always bet the max when you have the opportunity, as you can win a lot more by doing so than if you play it safe. For instance, if a royal flush gets you winnings of 1,000 at 4 coins, this shoots up to 4,000 at 5 coins. If this isn’t something that you can routinely afford, try switching to a video poker machine that uses a smaller denomination. With video poker, knowing the odds of ending up with a specific winning hand can actually help in deciding whether or not to discard. For instance, the odds of a royal flush are about 1 in 40,000, while the odds of a full house are 1 in 90.

Many new players feel that they should quickly discard all of the cards they are dealt if the only thing they have is a low pair. However, keeping a low pair is almost always the right thing to do and may be enough to obtain even larger hands after the initial discard. The only time in which this shouldn’t be done is when there’s a possibility that you could get a flush or straight flush upon discarding one card. When searching for a standard strategy to follow, the jacks or better simple strategy, as well as the jacks or better optimal strategy, provides a return of well over 99 percent. There’s only so much you can strategize in video poker. However, these strategies will provide you with what you need in order to come out with a winning hand more often than not. Within these strategies, you will find that you should only ever discard two cards when the initial hand is a three of a kind or four cards if you have a high card, such as a jack, queen, king or ace. These simple strategies will keep you from making a mistake that will cost you a lot of money.

In general, the best strategy involves the following:

  • Hold four cards if a straight flush is possible
  • Hold three cards if a royal flush is possible
  • Hold four cards to a flush
  • Hold any low pair you receive
  • Hold four cards if a consecutive straight is possible
  • Hold two high cards if they are of the same suit
  • Hold any three cards to a straight flush
  • Hold a Jack, Queen and King of different suits
  • Hold two high cards of different suits
  • Hold a Jack, Queen or King if you have a ten of the same suit
  • Hold any high card
  • If you haven’t received any of these aforementioned hands, discard all five

Essential Rules of Video Poker

Video poker has a large amount rules associated with it as a means of distancing itself from standard poker. Knowing these rules in tandem with the aforementioned strategies should provide you with all you need in order to be a good video poker player. You’re dealt with five starting cards. It’s at this point that you can decide to hold or discard any amount of cards in your hand. If you want to hold all five cards, this can be done. The same holds true if you want to discard all five cards. All cards that you have discarded will be randomly replaced, at which point you can see if the hand you’ve received is a winning one. If the hand you have received matches up with any of the possible winning hands, you win a certain amount of coins depending on the hand won and how much was bet by you before the hand began. There are many different variants of video poker, the most popular being Jacks or Better. Deuces Wild and Joker’s Wild are two other video poker types that you can play.

Video poker differs from table poker in a number of ways. For one, there is no way to bluff. As you’re not betting against other players, all that matters is the type of hand you receive once the cards are dealt. This gives you the added benefit of not having to figure out the hands of the other players before you decide how much to bet. The only way to win or lose in video poker is by how your hand corresponds to the winning combinations. If you have a higher combination, you win a larger amount of money. If you don’t end up with one of the winning combinations, you simply have to cut your losses and try to maximize your winnings once the next hand rolls around.

It’s important to note that the average advantage for the house is around 3 percent, which is relatively low. If you’re playing a video poker game that includes jokers or wild cards, it’s possible to get a five of a kind as a winning hand. However, the standard highest hand that can be drawn is a royal flush. When playing video poker, it’s important that you utilize the strategies above and not play by intuition, as video poker is not a game of chance and requires a good amount of strategy in order to consistently win.