Video Poker Strategy

Video poker is a type of poker which is a sort of hybrid of a slot machine and Five Card Draw poker, so it is expected that poker strategy is far from the strategies required in the usual poker games. Video poker strategy requires only that you know what you are holding and you know your math. You don't have to worry about opponents staring you down or bluffing others off a pot. You just have to concentrate on what you are holding, make the right decisions, and beat a poker machine in the long run.

In video poker, you bet a specified number of coins according to the how the machine works. You are then dealt five cards. Then you can discard none, some, or all of those cards to get a better hand. Note that you have the opportunity to discard only once. Then you are paid out depending on the machine's payout specifications. Here is a sample payout sheet for apoker machine:

Video Poker Machine Payouts

250 - Royal Flush

50 - Straight Flush

25 - Four of a Kind

9 - Full House

6 - Flush

4 - Straight

3 - Three of a Kind

2 - Two Pair

1 - Pair of Jacks or Better

These numbers determine your payout if you hit any of these hands. For example, if you bet a coin and you hit a Full House, you get 9 coins in return. If you bet a coin and you hit a Royal Flush, you get 250 coins in return. For Pairs, you need to get a pair of Jacks or better so that you win anything.

One of the pillars of poker strategy is for you to choose the best machines. Typically, the best machines are those that give a 9-to-1 payout if you get a full house and a 6-to-1 payout if you get a Flush. (These machines are called 9/6 Jacks or better machines; there are also other machines with lesser payouts, such as 8/5 Jacks or better or 7/6 Jacks or better. Avoid them; look for the 9/6 machines from where you can profit in the long run.) Find those machines, and play patiently on them. If your math skills and decision-making skills are all good, you can make plenty of money in the long run.

Video poker strategy also mandates that you are making every hand that you make profitable. Typically, you should stick to your Pair of Jacks or higher, your Two-Pair, or your Three-of-a-Kind if you have them already. You can draw to improve, but make sure that you have nothing to lose when you draw. For example, if you have J-J-10-9-8 already, you don't discard a Jack and try to hit a Straight. That's unprofitable. Just discard the 10-9-8 and hope to hit one more Jack. Draw to speculative hands like Straights and Flushes only if you need one card to come and you have no hand yet. If all of your cards are bad, good poker strategy requires you to throw away all of your cards and draw five new cards.