Each Video Poker variation has its own quirks when it comes to the odds and optimum player strategy. In this section we’ll give you a rough guide to the most popular games, but detailed strategy guides would take pages.
Some playing strategies:
- Never keep a kicker with any pair. Holding a kicker to any pair reduces your return by 5%.
- Never draw four cards if you can draw three to a royal flush.
- Always keep five-card winning pat hands with on exception: if you can, draw one card to a royal.
- Don’t break a flush even if you can draw one to a straight flush, but
- Always break a flush to draw to a royal.
- Never break a straight to draw to a straight flush.
- Never draw five if you have a jack or better, and
- Don’t keep a ten for a four card draw.
The Video Poker Odds
The odds on a given hand vary from game to game, of course, but generally speaking the house edge on Video Poker games is pretty small, even 0% in some cases. Where the Video Poker games get an edge is with players who do not follow an optimum strategy. In other words, winging any given game based on a loose understanding of Poker is going to lose you money.
Jacks or Better Strategy
Jacks Or Better strategy can get a little complicated. For a full analysis check our references below, or follow this rough strategy guide:
Keep any hand that already pays. Possible exceptions, by potential value, are:
- Hold four card Royal Flushes to make Straights or Flushes.
- Four card straight flushes, inside or outside.
- High card Pairs rank here.
- Three card Royal Flushes.
- Four card Flushes.
- Low Pairs rank here, trying to build Three Of A Kind.
- Four card Flushes.
- Four card Straights. Hold inside Straights only if you’ve got three or more high cards (J, Q, K, A).
If you’ve got nothing worth money, here’s a general strategy, in order of preference:
- Keep any two suited high cards. Discard unsuited high cards.
- Four mixed-suit high cards: -keep any three suited, toss the unsuited; -otherwise, keep them all.
- Three unsuited high cards: -keep all three of K-Q-J; -with A-K-J or A-Q-J, discard the A.
- Keep any two unsuited high cards.
- Keep any single high card.
Tens or Better Strategy
Same strategy as Jacks Or Better where 10 is now a high card.
Deuces Wild Strategy
General strategy includes, best options first:
- Hold any 5 Of A Kind or Royal Flush.
- Else, if you’ve got four 2’s: keep ’em!.
- Else, if you’ve got three 2’s: -hold any made 5 Of A Kind or Royal Flush; -otherwise, keep the 2’s and discard the rest.
- Else, if you’ve got two 2’s: -hold any made Straight, Five Of A Kind or Royal Flush; -hold any 4 of a Kind; -hold any 4 of a Royal Flush; -otherwise, keep the 2’s and discard the rest.
- Else, if you’ve got a single 2, keep any made hand EXCEPT: -hold four card Royal Flushes over made Straights, Flushes and Straight Flushes; -keep four card Straight Flushes of all types; -hold three card Royal Flushes; -pairs: with two pair, keep one, but not both; -hold four card Flushes. -hold four card Straights; -hold three card Straight Flushes, including gaps; -hold four card inside Straights; -hang on to two card Q or J high Straight Flushes; -discard two card Royal Flushes; -if you’ve come this low in the list, discard everything and try again.
Jokers Wild Strategy
Remember that only K and A are high cards: this is a Kings or Better game.
- Keep a Joker if you get it. You’ll only see in once in ten hands, on average.
- Don’t keep an inside Straight.
- Straight Flushes are a good payer and they occur considerably more frequently than in a game like Jacks or Better
All American Strategy
Straights and Flushes pay well here so it tips the usual strategy in their favour:
- Prefer inside Straights over one or two high cards.
- Prefer 4 card outside Straights and 4 card flushes over pairs, even high ones.
- Hold any three cards to a Flush.