Video Poker Strategy

Advanced video poker strategy guides to help you lower the house edge.

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Video Poker Top Tips

  • A good pay table is crucial to whether or not a game is playable.
  • You can potentially work out the chances of your desired card appearing by knowing the number of decks used.
  • Play the maximum coins, as this will sometimes enable an extra payout when a royal flush is revealed.

Advanced online video poker strategy varies from one variation to another, as the payouts and card rules change from game to game. However, a basic count of the cards can help you get an idea of what cards you should usually hold. The deck that cards are drawn from is almost always a 52-card deck (some variations use 53 including a joker). Armed with this knowledge, the odds of making a hand in relation to the payout is the key factor.

For our strategy example, we'll use the 9/6 Jacks or Better pay table.

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 250
Straight Flush 50
Four of a Kind 25
Full House 9
Flush 6
Straight 4
Three of a Kind 3
Two Pair 2
Jacks or Better 1
Theoretical Return 98.4%
Example: If a player has a flush draw by being given a starting hand of:

A♣ K♥ 10♣ 4♣ 7♣

The correct move is to hold the clubs and discard the king in the hope of drawing another club. Referring to the pay table, you can see that a flush pays 6-to-1.

The player has five cards, so the 52-card deck now has just 47 cards (provided the software doesn’t put the discarded card back into the deck before the draw, in which case it'd be 48), nine of which are clubs. This means that when the player draws for a new card, there's a 19% chance, or just under a 1-in-5 chance, that the player will draw a club to make a flush. This means that the player is getting 6-to-1 money, for a 1-in-5 chance, making it a good bet. However, the added factor of winning even money on drawing an ace (3 out of 47 cards are aces giving a 6.3% chance) makes it a sure thing!

Example 2: This time a player has a royal flush draw with a starting hand of:

A♦ J♦ 3♠ 10♦ Q♦

There's one card out of the remaining 47 cards in the deck that makes a royal flush, the king of diamonds. In accordance with the pay table a royal flush pays 250-to-1, so discarding the three of spades means the player’s odds of getting a royal flush 1-in-47, with a payout of 250-to-1.

The player also has all the odds of a four-carded flush draw (minus the king that makes a royal flush) along with three tens (one of the four tens make the royal flush) that make a straight, which pays 4-to-1 and the chances of making a pair of aces jacks or queens winning even money.