How to Understand and Learn Video Poker Strategy

Video poker is one of the most popular games here at Everygame Casino Red. As popular as it is, we are sure that many if not most video poker garners could use a tutorial on video poker strategy.

Play Video Poker at Everygame Casino Red

Keeping a Complex Matter Simple

There are two charts for video poker strategy—the basic table and the advanced strategy table.  Most relatively inexperienced gamers benefit from using the shorter, more compact strategy table.  The difference is a very small percentage of extra odds in the gamer’s favor when thy use the more advanced strategy.

Here is a very simple way of looking at video poker strategy: on every hand and for every card, there are only two possible decisions: to hold the card or to discard it.  The decision you make regarding any single card in your hand is determined by the other four cards and the pay table.

In other words, the player makes all of the decisions in video poker.  The dealer has one job and one job only: to deal the cards!

Is it Important to be Good at Poker?


In fact, video poker helps regular poker players by allowing them to experience thousands of dealt hands and to develop a sense of the potential value of those hands.

But general skill at poker has no impact on success at video poker since there are NO opponents, and NO bluffing.  However, interestingly enough, there is a pot of sorts and there is also an expected value (EV) of sorts as we will soon see.

Why is the Pay Table Important?

Well, there are some casinos that have reduced the pay table to the extent that the game becomes overwhelmingly in the house’s favor!  This happens more often at land-based casinos which need all the profit they can get to pay their sky high operating expenses.

A standard or classic pay table for video poker pays 9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush.  A non-standard pay table will pay less for both a full house and a flush.  There are casinos that pay 8-5 and even less!

This makes it virtually impossible to play video poker and end up ahead!

At Everygame Casino, we pay 9-6!  That is just one of hundreds of good reasons to play the casino games at Everygame Casino Online!

Is Video Poker Complicated?

It can be!

First, we need to understand that the best strategy in video poker is based on complex math that few garners can understand.  So, we have to rely on the strategy conclusions of experts to help us make the best play on every hand.

There are video poker strategy charts available online.  One is for “basic” strategy and the other is for “advanced” strategy.  The basic strategy chart is excellent for most video poker players.  The advanced chart is very slightly better for gamers and gamers can learn the advanced chart after they have mastered the basic chart.


Video Poker Players Concentrate on Every Hand

This is yet another good reason to play video poker at Everygame Casino!  It is infinitely easier to concentrate online than at a land-based casino with all those bells, whistles, bright lights, bothersome players, and many other distractions.

It is also a lot easier to play slowly online and playing slowly is very important in video poker especially for gamers who are new to the game.

Are All Video Poker Strategies Etched in Stone?

No, indeed not!

This means that there is a very good way to learn the basic video poker chart: there are some basic strategy “rules” but most come with a caveat: “except”!

Here are Two Good Examples

Basic strategy says don’t go for and inside straight and don’t hold there cards to a flush or straight.

Except if the inside straight is also a straight flush draw, a Royal Flush draw, or a simple straight draw with high cards!  Don’t hold three to a flush or straight if the cards are low and getting a pair is a losing hand.  If the cards are for a straight flush, a Royal Flush, or a hand with high cards holding three to the flush or straight is a good strategy.

There are Two Ways to Read the Strategy Charts

This applies to both the basic chart and the advanced chart.

Gamers can read the charts from top to bottom or from the bottom to the top!

This creates a very great difference in the way a gamer visualizes the potential of his or her dealt hand.

Another way to look at this is that if you want to know which cards to HOLD you will look from the top down and if you want to know which cards to DISCARD you will look at the chart from the bottom up!

Since most tutorials look at the chart from the top down, we will look at the basic chart from the bottom up.

The Most Common Dealt Hand is Worth Nothing

This means that you don’t have any high cards that might be paired on the draw.  It means that you have a total mix of suits and card values so there is no hope for a straight or a flush.  You discard all five cards and try over!

The next two hands are a single high card with four worthless cards and two high cards.  Keep the high cards.

Next we have two cards to a Royal Flush. Even if one of the cards is a ten, you should keep both of these cards since you could get a flush, a straight, a Royal Flush, a pair, three of a kind or two pair.  In other words, while two to a Royal Flush is not as good hand, it is also not complete junk.

Now the Hands Have More Potential

As you read up the chart, each hand is slightly better than the one below it.  It is interesting to note that a low pair is stronger than four to a straight or three to a straight flush.

At some point, you reach a made hand; a hand that is a winner in itself.  The first such hand is a high pair.  You keep that high pair unless you also have a chance to have an even better hand namely four to a straight flush or four to a Royal Flush.

The rule here is to go for a big hand as much as possible.

Here we have to get into the idea of expected value or EV.  Say that you have a pair of aces and four to a Royal Flush.  There are more ways to improve the pair of aces over the four to a Royal Flush hand but the EV for holding onto the four to a Royal Flush is so much higher than the EV for keeping he pair of aces that the correct play is to break up the pair of aces!

There are many dealt hands with low EV.  The key is to for the potential hands with much higher EV whenever possible.

One of the general strategies that come from this entire discussion is: Don’t hold kickers.  Holding kickers is a basic aspect of regular poker and it has almost no place in video poker!

Five Basic Rules of Thumb for Gaming at Everygame Online casino

The following are good practices rather than pure strategy elements.  You should take these to heart and follow them carefully.  They point to the existential benefit of gaming at an online casino such as Everygame Casino.

Stop if:

  1. You are tired.
  2. You are hungry.
  3. You are distracted.
  4. You need the bathroom.
  5. You are not feeling good.

It is easy to follow these precepts at home at an online casino and much more difficult to follow at a land-based casino.

They are one of many reasons why we encourage garners to JOIN EVERYGAME CASINO NOW!