A Poker hand

What are Some of the Main Strategy Elements in Video Poker?

This is the second part in our tutorial of video poker.  Video poker has become so popular that we felt it was necessary to help new and even many experienced video poker players to better understand the game.  One of the major developments in the game is the proliferation of gamers at our mobile jackpot casino.  Players can play a few hands as they are on the go (during that morning train ride), or even temporarily waiting in line somewhere (to buy that train ticket?).

The Pay Table

In video poker, you play against the pay table.  If you get the minimum hand, you win.  If you get a stronger hand, you win more.  That’s the most basic aspect of the game.  Jackpot Capital online casino has many variations of video poker, but the idea that you play only against the pay table is the same for every variation.

The pay table is always five separate tables depending on how much you bet.  You can see that the Royal Flush pays a big extra bonus if you have bet the maximum. The strategy is different if you either bet the maximum or if you bet less than the maximum.

Betting Less than the Maximum

Every independent analyst of video poker recommends that you should always bet the maximum.  If your budget allows only one hand per deal, then play the one hand.  If you can afford it, at Jackpot Capital casino, you can play up to 52 hands! 

Still, some players would rather play many hands and bet less than the maximum.

We are using the pay table for Jacks or Better.  You need at least a pair of jacks to win.  Look at the first column.  You see that for a pair of jacks but less than two pair, you win one coin for every coin you bet.

The pay scale increases slowly until you get to a full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and Royal Flush.  At this point, let us accept that there may be times that you will try for a high paying win and will forego a one coin win in pursuit of the higher paying win. 

This is standard strategy in games where you bet the maximum which we will talk about in depth in the next installment of this tutorial.  When you bet less than the maximum, you can go for a higher win but the difference between a lesser win and a higher win is relatively small. 

We will break down the possibilities starting from the most lucrative hands and also the most uncommon hands.

    • If you have four to a Royal Flush, you discard the fifth card even if it gives you a winning pair.  The reason is that the chance to win 250 coins overwhelms the given that you’ll win one coin or two or three coins for two pair or three of a kind.  Furthermore, you still might pair one of the high cards. 
    • If you have four to a flush but only three of them are high cards that can create a Royal Flush, you go for the simple flush not the Royal Flush.
    • If you have ace, king, queen, and jack, you go for the straight.  This is true even if two of the high cards are of the same suit.  The difference is very small but you will win more going for the straight than going for a flush or Royal Flush.
    • However, if the four cards to a straight include a ten, you should keep two high cards and not try for the straight.  The reason is simply that a ten is not a winning card even if it pairs.  So, give yourself more winning chances by keeping two high cards.
    • If you have two suited high cards and a low card of the same suit, you should go for the simple flush not the Royal Flush.
    • If you have a dealt flush and four to a straight flush, you should discard the outlier card and go for the straight flush.  Here the win differential justifies giving up a win in order to win much more.
    • If you can draw to an inside straight, with a hand such as 2, 3, 5, 6, but also have at least one high card, keep the high card and give up going for the straight.  But if you can draw to an outside straight, with a hand like 3, 4, 5, 6, go for it over keeping the high card.
    • If you have literally nothing at all get rid of all five cards.  In this sense, two to a flush or straight is worthless.  But keep a high card if you have one.

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Multi-hand Video Poker

Many players who can’t afford to play multi-hand video poker for the maximum bet will play multi-hand poker for less than the maximum.  The return to player rate is slightly less when you bet less than the maximum but the fun factor is the same.

Multi-hand video poker gives you many chances to cash in on a really good dealt hand.  Many players prefer playing multi-hand because the thrill of watching the win meter go up is a major part of the excitement.

If you are dealt a winning hand and you don’t break it up to go for a higher paying hand, you will win every one of the hands you are playing!  In some cases, a pair will become two pair or three of a kind.  A pair may also become a full house and rarely four of a kind.  But the multiple wins are the fun of playing multi-hand video poker.

Don’t Make Wild Decisions

For example, two cards to a Royal Flush is not a good hand.  If one of the cards is the ten, the hand is actually quite weak.  Keep one or two high cards and don’t go for the Royal Flush.

The idea is that video poker is close to an even game and only really bad luck or wild chases after ephemeral wins can keep you from breaking even.

In the next article, we’ll talk about the much more counter-intuitive strategy for video poker games when you bet the maximum.

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