How to Play a Few Tricky Hands in Video Poker

Everygame Online Casino offers several variations of video poker.  When you curl up to play video poker, you need to realize a few things:

  1. Jacks or Better is the most popular video poker variation and the return to player rate is 99.54%!
  2. This assumes that the player uses the optimal strategy on every hand!
  3. There are many variations of video poker and the best strategy often is different because the pay scales are different.

Strategy in Video Poker is Often Counter-intuitive, let Everygame explain.

Why are the Pay Scales Different?

There is deuces wild video poker.  It is obvious that it will be a lot easier to get very high hands with four wild cards in the deck!  So the pay scale has to be changed to reflect this.  Deuces Wild is a good example since the return to player rate with top strategy and the best pay scale is about 100.4%

There is an optimal pay scale for every variation but it is beyond the scope of this short article to go over each one.  Here, we will discuss some refinements in Jacks or Better strategy that we hope will make the strategy more understandable.

Always Play with the Best Pay Scale

In Jacks or Better, the best pay scale is called 9-6 since it pays 9 credits for a full house and six credits for a flush.  Many land-based casinos have reduced the pay scale for Jacks or Better to 8-6, 8-5, 7-5, and so on.

Every time the casino reduces the pay scale the gamer loses 1.14% on the return to player rate.  Thus, if 9-6 Jacks or Better returns 99.54% assuming best strategy, 8-5 Jacks or Better will return 2.28% less or 97.26%.

It gets worse as the casinos reduce the pay scale even more.  They do this because they have very high overhead and need the extra percentages to be able to pay their bills.

Always Bet the Maximum

There is a big extra payout for a Royal Flush and gamers qualify for it only by betting the maximum on every hand.  Top video poker strategy also assumes that you have bet the max and will go for a Royal Flush when the opportunity arises.


The Complexities of Video Poker Strategy

There are two basic ways to look at strategy in this game: Which cards should I hold and which cards should I discard?  Some players learn video poker strategy using one approach and others learn better from the second approach.  Here we will talk about which cards to hold and why.

Play Slowly to Avoid Mistakes

It is very important to play slowly.  It is easy to make a mistake that might cost you a payout.  So play slowly!

In the same vein, we urge all gamers to wait until the session is over to have an alcoholic drink.  Even one beer can cause a player to lose concentration and make a costly mistake.

Finally, we also urge all players to eat after the session.  Land-based casinos urge players to go to the buffet where they eat too much and get drowsy.  Drowsiness at video poker is a perfect prescription for mistakes.

There are also two things that some players fall into at land-based casinos that can never happen at Everygame Casino.  The first is giving a tip to the clerk who processes a jackpot win.  There is no reason to do so but employees at land-based casinos are notoriously poorly paid so the custom has developed to give the clerk a tip.

It should be a reasonable tip from the player’s point of view.  15-20% is fair at restaurants but that high a percentage at a casino is wildly excessive.

Finally, it is possible to leave credits in the machine at a land-based casino but not at Everygame Casino!

Now Let’s Look at a Few Tricky Hands

We would like to arrange the hands in terms of the goal that is available on the hand.  A very good goal is a Royal Flush.  A straight flush is also a good goal.

On the vast majority of hands, you will not have a reasonable chance to get either one but top strategy demands that you know what to do if you do have a chance to go for a very high hand.

  1. Four to a Royal Flush.  Always go for the Royal Flush even if you have a winning pair.  This is a recurring theme in video poker strategy.  There are many cards that can give you a win even if the Royal Flush does not come up.
  2. If you have a dealt flush and four to a Royal Flush go for the Royal Flush!
  3. If you are dealt a straight with four to a Royal, go for the Royal!
  4. If you are dealt a flush or a straight with four to a straight flush hold the dealt hand.  This seems counter-intuitive but it is based on analyses of millions of hands!
  5. Straights and flushes cause some mistakes.  If you have a low pair and four to an open-ended straight, you should hold the low pair.  This is because with the low pair, you get three cards while with the straight draw, you get only one card.
  6. However, if the open-ended straight has three high cards, go for the straight since you might pair a high card and win.
  7. If you have a low pair with four to a flush, go for the flush.  There are more outs when you go for a flush than when you go for a straight.
  8. It is often good to keep high cards because you can pair them but if you already have a winning pair and no other high hand possibilities, discard all other high cards.
  9. If you have a pair of tens and three to a Royal Flush, go for the Royal.  A pair of tens is not a winner and a Royal Flush, even with only three cards to it, is too valuable to pass up.  And you could pair one of the high cards.  Obviously, if one of the tens is the same suit as the potential Royal, you keep that ten!
  10. If you have only three to a Royal Flush and you have a winning pair, keep the pair.

The Joy of Video Poker

Some gamers play video poker almost exclusively.  Naturally, we urge gamers to try out all of our games but we realize that video poker is a very exciting and attractive game!  Also keep in mind that the top strategy will change if you play a different variation of video poker!

Always look for and follow the statistically best strategy.

And, if you haven’t done so yet, JOIN EVERYGAME CASINO!