Video Poker Strategies & Information
Video Poker Strategy – Starting out right
If you want to get into playing video poker, and dedicating some time to it, it’s essential that you have a working strategy. It’s fine to go and play to learn how things work, but if you want to win, a good video poker strategy is in order, and all of them work off of the same basic principle: make the best decisions for every opportunity.
To get the most out of a video poker machine, you need to be able to do three simple things. These are: read the pay table to choose a machine that offers the highest payback – know the best strategies for the specific machine you’re playing – understand the volatility of a machine, so you can have an idea of how much your bankroll will fluctuate.
Playing video poker is extremely simple; playing it well is slightly more complex. Like blackjack, Video poker is a game where the house edge is a variable affected by the skill level of the player. One main skill is proper machine selection; the other is knowing the proper strategy for the machine your playing. Since there are a million varieties of Video Poker, there are a million strategies, and people quickly become overwhelmed at what they seem to need to know. Don’t fret though, you can start with a single machine, and what you need to know for a single machine isn’t overwhelming at all.
In the broadest terms, there are non-wild card video poker games like Jacks or Better, and there are wild card games like Deuces wild. In these two categories there are many different varieties, some good, some bad. Payout schedule return rates vary from under 90% to over 100%.
One of the most common varieties of non-wild games is the Jacks or Better game. Jacks or better is very popular classic game and considered the ‘standard’ video poker box by many patrons. It also acts as a great place to start, as it’s easy to understand the strategy you use. Of course, Fat Tony wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t also a decent bet. The best version of Jacks or Better has a 99.5% payback percentage when you get the strategy perfect. This means that over the long run you’re only expected to lose half a dollar on every hundred dollars spent in the machine.
JACKS OR BETTER STRATEGY
To use this strategy you simply look at the hand you’ve been dealt, then compare it the list. The highest hand on the list that it matches are the cards you should keep. So start at the top of the jacks or better strategy card list and work down until you’ve found a match. Keep the combination of cards that matches the listing and discard the rest.
If you’re a poker player you may have to alter your lingo a bit. What poker players call an ‘inside straight’, video poker players often call a straight with a ‘gap’. So if you have four cards of a five card straight, and the missing card is in the middle of the run (meaning the straight can only be completed with one card, as opposed to on either side of a straight) the straight is said to have one gap. If you have the makings of a straight with two missing cards, it’s called a straight with two gaps.
Jacks or Better Strategy Card
Four of a kind
Four-card royal flush
Three of a kind
Four-card straight flush
Pair of jacks or better (high pair)
Three-card royal flush
Pair of 10s or less (low pair)
Four-card straight, open, no high cards
Three-card straight flush, two gaps, two high cards
Three-card straight flush, one gap, one high card
Three-card straight flush, open, no high cards
Two-card royal flush, two high cards
Four-card straight, one gap, three high cards
Three-card straight flush, two gaps, one high card
Three-card straight flush, one gap, no high cards
Two high cards: unsuited (when you have three don’t keep the ace)
Two-card royal flush with 10 and no ace
One high card
Three-card straight flush, two gaps, no high cards
Nothing (draw five cards)
The Payout Table:
No pair is worthy of a payout, neither are any two pairs. The payouts begin with 3-of-a-kind and better. A straight and a flush both pay double the bet, and a full house wins 3 times the bet.
The paytable reflects the wild cards in the deck, and pays for 5-of-a-kind. It also pays differently for 4 Wild cards (7’s in this case), and all other 4-of-a-kinds.
The Payout Table:
Joker Poker’s paytable begins at Kings or better, which returns the bet. Two pair also returns the bet. Three-of-a-kind pays twice the bet.
The full house/flush ratio on the machine is 6/5.
Four-of-a-kind pays 20-to-1.
Because of the wild card in the deck, the paytable addresses 5-of-a-kind hands, and pays differently for Royals that make use of wild cards, and those that occur naturally.
The Payout Table:
The payout table begins at a pair of Jacks or better. One or two pair returns your bet. Three-of-a-kind triples it.
A straight pays well, 8 times the bet. The full house/flush ratio is 8/8. A straight flush pays well also, returning an amazing 200-to-1.
The Payout Table:
The payout table does not reward the player for any one pair. Two pairs returns the bet. Three-of-a-kind doubles the bet, and a straight returns triple.
The full house/flush ration on the machine is 5/4. Four-of-a kind pays 8-to-1. Because the machine has wild cards, you can hit a five-of-a-kind. There is also a different set of payouts for hitting a natural Royal Flush, or a Royal Flush with the aid of a wild card in the hand.