Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Video Poker – Tips and Strategy

Staff Writer in Casino Strategies 29 Aug 2017


No matter how inexperienced you are, Video Poker is one of those games that you can actually beat using no more than the basic strategy and some common sense. As fun as this game can be (strategy-wise), some monetary incentive every now and then can’t hurt, which is why it is always recommendable to learn a few tricks of the trade before you start playing with the big boys. Fortunately, you will not be required a face of steel and a master in psychology to play the video variant of the game. With video poker, you are your own biggest opponent and the machine is just a reflection of your skills and, most of all, the game choice you made. Since there are different Video Poker variants, most seasoned players would start by recommending a full-pay or 9/6 payout machine, where the payout ratio for a full house is 9 to 1 and 6 to 1 for a flush.

The Importance and Implementation of the Perfect Strategy

The typical representative of Video Poker 9/6 machine would be Jacks or Better. It is also the most common variation that you will find online, which is great, as the odds of winning in Jacks are usually far better than with any other variant. The strategy itself can be adjusted to the player’s level and as one progresses from the beginner to the advanced level, the strategy will evolve to completely eliminate the house edge. The strategy for video poker is represented by the strategy chart that lists the hands from the highest to the lowest return rate, containing all the information about the player’s next move – whether they should hold or draw:

Video Poker Chart

Jacks or Better (99.54% RTP) – Full Pay
Four of a Kind / Better
Four Cards of Royal Flush
Three of a Kind / Better
Four Cards of Open Straight Flush

How to Use the Strategy Chart?

The chart represented above is actually just the reduced version used for demonstration purposes and it is devised to serve as a reference point while you are playing Video Poker. Using the chart is much easier than it initially looks – all you need to do is compare the hand you are currently holding to the strategy chart and you are pretty much set. The steps of how to use the chart are as follows:

  • Compare the dealt hand with the chart – result: your hand is not equivalent to 4 of a kind or better
  • Proceed to the next line, Royal Flush – result: your hand is not equivalent to the second line in the chart
  • Proceed to the following line, three of a kind / better – result: your hand is a straight, which means that it matches the chart example and pays better than three of a kind (4 to 1 as oppose to 3 to 1 paid for three of a kind).
  • Considering the above, the next move should be saving the existing hand and hitting Draw

This is basically as complicated as it gets, as far as the strategy is concerned. As you can see, there is nothing difficult about it, although it does require time, focus and consistency – rushing through it can easily kick you out of the saddle and in order for the strategy to work, it will have to be applied perfectly.

As you gain experience and evolve as a player, you strategy chart will become more complex and you will be able to increase the RTP in no time – all you need is a little bit of patience and implementing a method to your gameplay.

Bonus Tips

Even if you are confident in your poker skills and feel ready to hit the machine and play for real money, a few advices may be in order.

#1 Go All The Way

Since you are already investing your time and funds in Video Poker, you may as well make it worth while. Most experts will strongly recommend maximising your stakes, as this is the best way to get the most out of the Video Poker sessions. Obviously, the more you invest, the more you will get out of your gambling time, therefore you should not be afraid to turn on the heat. The highest paying hand can turn up any second and when it does, you will want to welcome it with the highest possible stake.

#2 Practise Makes It Perfect

Brush up on some Poker theory prior to placing real money bets and start with lower amounts before you can fully follow the above-mentioned rule about maximizing the wagers. The more you practice the more polished your gameplay will become, until you reduce the house edge to zero with no more than your strategic skills.


Staff Writer



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