Video poker has become one of the most popular forms of gambling because unlike typical slot machines, video poker adds an element of skill.
Players have decisions to make that affect the outcome and because poker itself has become a widely recognized card game, the rank of poker hands and combinations can now be calculated, and an optimal playing strategy can be devised.
This degree of skill can give the player an advantage over the house compared to slot machines.
There are also many forms of video poker, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Double Double, Triple Deuces, etc. This explanation will introduce the most basic of video poker, Jacks or Better.
Let’s begin with a crash-course on the winning hands of poker.
|Royal Flush||Ace-king-queen-jack-10 all the same suit||[10dJdQdKdAd]|
|Straight Flush||Five consecutive cards up to king high of the same suit||[5s6s7s8s9s]|
|Four of a Kind||Four cards of the same value||[QdQcQs5hQh]|
|Full House||Three of a kind and one pair||[7dAs7hAd7s]|
|Flush||Any five cards non consecutive cards of the same suit||[8cAc7c2c6c]|
|Straight||Five consecutive cards of any mixed suits||[8c9d10cJsQh]|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards of the same value||[10h10d10c5sAd]|
|Two Pair||Two sets of two cards of the same value||JdJs7c7d9s]|
|Jacks or Better||Any single pair that is jacks or higher||QdQh8s5hKs]|
How to Play
Video Poker is based on the game of draw poker and has virtually the same rules except that you are not playing against any other players. The objective of video poker is to receive the highest ranked five-card poker hand possible.
Once you have placed your bet, click on the DEAL button and you will receive your first five cards. You have the option to HOLD any or all of your cards that you want to keep. You will then discard the cards that you do not want and they will be replaced with new cards to try and improve your video poker hand.
Once you've selected which cards you want to hold, click on the DEAL/DRAW button in order to receive the new cards to replace the ones you do not want. When the new cards are dealt you will have your final poker hand, and if your hand qualifies then you will be paid out according to the payout table for that machine.
Payoffs begin with a pair of jacks Full pay Jacks or Better is also known as 9/6 Jacks or Better since the payoff for a full house is 9 credits and the payoff for a flush is 6 credits.
|Hand||1 credit||2 credits||3 credits||4 credits||5 credits|
|Four of a Kind||25||50||75||100||125|
|Three of a Kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
When playing maximum coins, the optimal video poker strategy varies depending on the rules of the game and the pay table. Sometimes, optimal strategies can become very complex. The video poker strategy presented in this section is adjusted for one of the most popular video poker games – jacks or better. However, any change in game variation or pay table might also require a change in strategy for true optimum play.
Here is how the video poker strategy table works – match your hand to the highest in the list and follow the instructions on how many cards to hold and how many to discard.
|Initial Hand||Cards to Hold||Cards to Discard|
|4 Twos, Threes, or Fours||4||1|
|4 Fives Through Kings||4||1|
|4 Card Royal Flush||4||1|
|3 Twos, Threes, or Fours||3||2|
|3 Fives Through Kings||3||2|
|4 Card Straight Flush||4||1|
|3 Card Royal Flush||3||2|
|4 Card Flush||4||1|
|Pair of Jacks, Queens, or Kings||2||3|
|4 Card Straight||4||1|
|3 Card Straight Flush||3||2|
|2 Card Royal Flush||2||3|
|3 Card Flush||3||2|
|3 High Cards||3||2|
|3 Card Straight||3||2|
|2 High Cards||2||3|
|1 High Card||1||4|
If you have four cards to a Flush and four cards to a Straight, always draw for the Flush.
Don’t throw away a low pair even if you have 3 high cards. You get great expected value for that of a low pair than three unsuited high cards.
Always play max coins. The Bonus for a Royal Flush with max coins played adds almost 2% to the total payout.
Never hold a kicker. (Ex: Holding onto an Ace in addition to a Low Pair).