The wrong time to think about strategy is just after depositing your money in the Video Poker machine. You need to be extremely clear about your strategy even before you start. This is the proven way to increase your chances in the game, even if it’s by the tiniest bit. You need to keep in mind that poker is a game in which most of the action is not under your control and a game in which “the house” is the opponent to beat.
Remember that Video Poker isn’t just one game; there are many different types of the game. So, it’s important for you to do your research well and understand the rules and payout schedule of the particular type of video poker that you choose to play.
After the research is done and you are clear about the games that are available, the next step is to choose a machine. Sitting down at the first machine that you see which happens to be empty is not a good idea. It is important to consider which machine has a good payout schedule and choose to play on that one, even if it means that you have to wait. Luckily for you, Video Poker returns are usually far better than that of similar slot game machines which gives you a slightly increased chance of manipulating the house edge.
An important part of the strategy is to understand the game being played; so, players usually find it easier to play only one form at each sitting. This will make sure you don’t get confused and can concentrate on the game you are playing. Jacks or Better gives good payouts and is a good choice and a five card draw is very simple to play, especially for beginners.
Part of your strategy will be to decide how much to wager. Keep in mind that your payout is related to both your bet and your hand. Therefore you need to spend some time thinking this out clearly and completely. To win the biggest jackpot, your wagers will need to be higher. At the same time, as the odds of you winning that jackpot are quite low, you risk losing much more money. So, the final choice belongs to you; it also depends on the amount you can wager, your own confidence in your skills and just that little bit of intuition. If we could offer you any tip at all, it would be this; if the giant jackpot isn’t your aim then its best to stay a couple of steps shy of the minimum. Not only will you conserve your cash, you also won’t miss out on the giant jackpot if it hits.
After choosing a game to play and a machine to play it on, it’s time to wait for your cards. The next part of your strategy will involve deciding which cards to keep and which ones to discard. For a newbie, casinos provide strategy cards which will advise you on which cards it’s usually best to discard for a typical hand. With time, you’ll begin to veer away from the card’s advice, but this is a good starting point. What’s important is to understand and decide upon the 2 cards that will create the highest-value combination, and then get rid of all the other cards that don’t correspond to or help that combination. If you are able to grasp that, you have accomplished quite a lot. Some players like to discard all five cards if the hand is extremely bad, but it is a good strategy to retain one or two of these cards, because most probably with practice, you can end up building something good off them.
This basic strategy of holding the highest value combination and discarding the rest will work fine for all types of Video Poker. We will go into more detail on the popular strategies used in two popular forms of Video Poker; the first one is known as Jacks or Better and the second goes by the name Deuces Wild; we will also look at a variation of the game known as Joker’s Wild. These tips might seem obvious for the expert player. But, beginners can learn a lot from them and hopefully improve their chances of winning some money.
Jacks or Better
- It is pretty obvious advice that you stay on hands such as Full House, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind and Royal Flush.
- For high cards, draw four cards.
- For a 4-card Royal Flush, draw a single card.
- If you are dealt Two Pairs, it’s good to draw 2 or 3 cards for a Flush to improve the hand.
- If it’s a 4-card Straight Flush, draw a single card.
- If it is a Three Card Royal Flush or Three of a Kind or Three Card Straight Flush or Three Card Royal Flush, try to draw 2 cards.
- If you get a Pair, draw 3 cards to improve the hand.
- • If you are dealt 2 high cards (that aren’t a pair) such as Jack, King, Queen or Ace, its best to draw 3 cards.
- Again, you should certainly stay if it’s a Full House, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind or a Royal Flush.
- If 3 cards to suited 10-J, Q-K or Q-J, draw 3 cards.
- If it’s a 4-Card Royal Flush or a 4-Card Straight, draw a single card to try and complete the hand.
- If you are drawn a 4-card Flush or a 4-card Straight, draw one card.
- If a three-card Royal Flush, draw two cards.
- If you get 2 Pairs, take 3 cards after discarding one pair.
- If you get a 3-card Straight Flush, it’s best to draw 2 cards.
- If it’s a 4-card Deuce Royal, a single card can help complete it.
- For all other winning cards with Deuces: try to split Three-of-a-Kind, Flush or Straight for any Royal Flush or 4-card Straight.
- If it’s a 4-card double-Deuce Royal or a four-of-a-Kind, take a single card.
- If a 4-card Deuce Straight, its best to draw one card.
- If you are dealt 3 Deuces plus two other cards, draw 2 cards.
- If all you get is Deuces and nothing else of much value, stick to the Deuces.
When you try your hand at Joker’s Wild, it is important to remember that Kings are a high card and so are Aces. It’s essentially a Kings or Better variation. Useful stuff to keep in mind when you try Joker’s Wild are to never get rid the Joker (you get one Joker per 10 hands); never hold what’s called an Inside Straight; In Joker’s Wild, Straight Flushes happen much more frequently than in other forms of poker and they have high payouts too.