Video poker may just look just like a slot machine, but its appearance is not entirely what meets the eye. They may have a lot in common, such as it’s user friendly nature and it’s lack of interaction with players or even a dealer. But video poker or ‘poker slots’ actually requires skill.
Played skillfully, video poker machines offer odds that are better than any other game. If you can be part of the minority that know how to play video poker properly, you will make a profit. Casinos make money off those who casually play, who rely on luck rather than skill.
So how do you play perfect video poker? Despite luck being a key part in winning or losing hands in video poker, playing perfect video poker still requires strategy - like most games. Playing with some level of system increases your chances and minimises the house edge that exists in all casino games. There is a basic strategy and a more advanced strategy, that both simply involve which cards you should throw away after being dealt your first hand.
Low cards are virtually pointless in video poker, unless they look as if they are going to result in a three of a kind, straight or flush. Any low card in any hand that doesn’t fit into any of these can be discarded. Because of the jacks or better nature of the game, a pair of anything under a jack is also pointless if they cannot be turned into something better.
In saying that, low pairs can be important, as they could result in a three of a kind or even a four of a kind.
Cards above a jack should be kept even if they have no pair, or look like they have any connection to any other cards. High unsuited cards are valuable to you, so try to keep them in most cases, while discarding any low card that does not connect to any other cards in some way.
However, the potential of a low straight is worth more to you than high cards. If you have three or four low cards that have the chance of resulting in a straight or flush, and two high cards that aren’t giving you much, keep the low cards and go for the straight.
- Sounds simple, but high unsuited cards are worth more to you than low unsuited cards
- Low pairs can be important, but you need to decide if they are worth more than high unsuited cards such as aces and kings
- Low straights are important. Discard higher cards if you need to, in order to get a low straight or flush.
Prioritising cards and making decisions on what cards to get rid of is also extremely important to advanced video poker players. They tend to play the percentages a little bit more. For example; if you have been dealt two high cards and three cards that straight flush, you should get rid of the three cards. This is because you have a better chance of making something with your two higher cards than actually completing your straight flush. Mathematics and percentages agree with this.
However, when dealing with low cards and the chance for a straight, the straight is of high importance. More experienced poker players tend to prioritise winning small amounts regularly, higher than big amounts every so often.
Another example of this involves when players have four cards to a straight. The most important cards, and the ones that are more vital to the player, are the cards on the ends; not cards that could be used to fill a gap.
Advanced players also value the chance of getting a straight flush rather than a royal flush, if the cards dealt lean more towards a straight flush - even though the payouts are substantially different. If you have three cards of a straight flush and two of a royal flush, bank on getting a straight flush as you have a higher percentage of this than getting a royal flush - it’s quite simple.
If you have a low pair but are two or three cards to a straight/flush - keep the lower pair. However, if you have four cards to one of these, keep them.
If you have a flush but are just two cards away from a royal flush, your flush is still going to be a winner. Keep it and don’t be greedy.
Prioritising cards and making decisions on what cards to get rid of is also extremely important to advanced video poker players.
- Play the percentages
- Keep cards that have a higher percentage of getting you something - don’t rely on luck
- A low three of a kind or a high pair is better than missing out on a royal flush by one card
If you need more help, check out The Wizard of Odds - Video Poker Hand Analyser to ensure you're keeping the right cards at all times!
Whether you’re a beginner or you are experienced, these strategies require time and thinking. This is a pro of playing video poker in comparison to real poker. There is less pressure and time restraint on you. Take your time and think about the percentages in play. Ultimately, video poker players should keep cards which give them a higher chance of winning, rather than keeping hands that could win them more money. Video Poker is one of the games available on the biggest Bitcoin site on the internet, Stake.com.
Edited by Jarrod