Casino Strategy: Basic Video Poker Strategy

Unlike most other casino games, video poker is a game where your decisions can genuinely affect the outcome of the game. Good video poker strategy can improve your expectations from the game and it’s even possible for a smart player to achieve a positive overall expectation from a game.

The single best thing you can do to improve your expectation from online video poker games (or those in casinos) is to be merciless when you discard your cards. You need to keep only the ones that will give your hand the highest possible return. Each game’s rules and payout table affect how many cards you can dispose of and how much you can expect as a payout when you win. I’ve found, though, that there’s usually only one optimal strategy for any particular hand.

That said, there are some things you can keep in mind when you’re playing in Deuces Wild games:

• There is no such thing as a high card in Deuces Wild. You never hold a single card unless it’s a deuce.

• That means you should never discard a deuce, even if you have a draw to a natural royal flush.

• Always keep a pair over a flush or a straight draw.

• If you get two pair, discard the lower one.

• Four of a kind hands account for almost 1/3 of the payback percentage on a Deuces Wild game. Look for machines that offer at least a 5 for 1 payoff on a four of a kind and you’ll really profit when you hit them.

• If you don’t get a four of a kind every 15 hands or so, then you’re probably running cold and should get away from the game for a while.

If you’re instead playing Jacks or Better video poker, these tips can keep you afloat and can reduce the house edge by a considerable amount.

• Never keep a kicker in Jacks or Better. If you get a pair, draw all three other cards. This increases your chances of getting a three of a kind or a four of a kind.

• Never draw to an inside straight.

• Never keep three cards to a straight or three cards to a flush.

• That said: you might keep three cards to a straight flush if a there’s a potential royal flush or if you don’t have anything better to draw to.

• Unlike deuces wild games, you’ll generally want to keep two pair instead of trying to draw to four of a kind.

• Don’t break a full house to try to get four of a kind.

• If the machine has dealt you a winning hand, keep it, play it, and take the easy money instead of trying to improve on it.

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These basic tips, when applied correctly, should help you get more out of your video poker games and reduce the amount of money you lose while playing. Any time a casino player gets a chance to even out the odds a bit is one they should definitely take.