As video poker is a game of skill and not luck, you need to have a proper strategy worked out before you start to play. You simply cannot afford to rely on luck as it is impossible to make it work in your favor. If you are a beginner, it is probably better to ‘borrow’ someone else’s successful strategy so that you can get going and start gaining some experience. Then you will be able to work out your own personal strategy as you become more familiar with the terminology and the way the game is organized. Try and find the most liberal tables and play on those. In addition, play properly to gain more than the house edge. In any form of gambling, it is generally assumed that ‘the house has the advantage’. Video poker is the one game that is the exception to that rule.
Whatever variation of video poker you play, there is one very important tactic that is crucial to get right – and that is deciding which cards to get rid of. You can of course discard all five of them, but usually there is no reason to do that. Getting rid of two or three is usually enough. The only time you will never have to discard any cards is when you are dealt the perfect hand – for example, a royal flush – and surprisingly, that does actually happen sometimes! In the exciting game of video poker, remember that there are at least 32 different ways to play one hand, but only one way to get you that elusive win. In any basic strategy for this game, it is prudent to take your time when deciding which cards to keep and which to discard. After all, this decision can make or break the game for you.
First off, there are certain cards or combinations of cards that you should always try and keep. Naturally this refers to winning cards – something like, a pair of Jacks for example, or even a lower pair is worth keeping. If you know the game well enough, you can be a tad adventurous and discard a pair hoping to receive cards of a better value. An occasion when this might work for you is if you have 3 or 4 cards that could form part of a Royal Flush. If this happens, then, yes, take the risk to go for the flush. And yes again, you will more than likely lose, but it won’t have cost you very much. You have a 1 in 52 chance of winning 800 to 4 00 coins depending on the stakes of the game.
If you are dealt a hand of cards with no winning combinations of pairs or straights, then it is always a good idea to keep the cards of high value and discard the cards of low value. A high value card is considered to be anything over a Jack or what is known as a ‘face’ card. Always hold on to a high card because it gives you a 1 in 13 chance of receiving a matching card, and in turn a better opportunity of getting a winning hand. Discarding all 5 of your cards should only be a last resort. Be aware that 3 or more cards can sometimes lead to you getting a straight or maybe 5 face cards will win you the game if you discarded two and then got the other half of a pair in the 2 new cards you receive. Be absolutely sure that the cards you have will lead to nothing. Don’t be too quick to throw away your hand.
Knowing a basic strategy in video poker, will eliminate any confusion over what is known as a straight (five sequential cards of any suit). If you have any sequential cards in your hand, keep those and get rid of the others. The payout for a straight is very high so it’s worth taking the risk to try and get one. At the same time, the odds of actually getting a straight are not very good. You should maybe also keep a pair as then at least you have a base from which to build something. Trying to judge what is better between a pair and a few cards in numerical order is difficult, but once you have the experience of numerous games behind you, you will be able to make an informed decision. In addition, understanding the difference between an outside straight and an inside straight is essential when playing a tight game of video poker. An ‘outside’ straight is when you have 4 sequential cards which can be added to at either end (an open ended straight), and an ‘inside’ straight is 4 cards that need a card in the middle to make them flow in numerical order. An inside straight is obviously far more difficult to get that an outside straight.
And, finally, always try and carry out a little research before you start playing your game. Become familiar with as many video poker games as possible so that you have a good clear picture of exactly how the game is played and how the different hands are figured out. Don’t try and jump in on the deep end as you will not win on a whim. Video poker is a game firmly based on statistics and anyone with reasonable ability can work out a strategy. It is not enough to simply know the rules of the game; it is wise to invest a little time in learning how to play correctly and how to take advantage of every possible opportunity. Video poker is ultimately a game where you can have fun and amuse yourself with some entertainment.
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