Category: Video Poker

How To Play Video Poker Hands Profitably?

by Mark Bass

In studying the universe of video poker, the reader cannot do without considering all kinds of situations that take place in this game. Of course, when playing video poker, it makes sense to simply follow the basic strategy (or even Auto Hold) - this is quite often done by people who play only for pleasure and do not seek to earn something from it. But for players who are categorically not satisfied with this kind of approach, this article was created.

So, the overwhelming number of cards received by video poker players from the deal does not force them to think about the gameplay, since it is often obvious which specific cards are better to keep and which cards should be discarded and discarded. At the same time, situations often arise that are far from easy to deal with, and this happens, first of all, if there is a choice between 2 different combinations.

A bit of specifics

Let's consider this situation. Suppose the player preferred the Jacks-or-Better game and received such cards - 3,4,5,6,4 (offsuit). So we got 4 consecutive cards on a straight.

At the same time, 2 fours can be kept - perhaps later they will be reinforced with 1 or 2 more fours, as well as tris or any other pair. Thus, the player has chances of getting a quare or a full house.

In this situation, it is important to study the mathematical expectation in each specific case. It is very simple to calculate it, there are a huge number of all kinds of computer programs that will help with this. The indicator in the example we are analyzing reaches 82 cents from a bet of 1 dollar (provided that a pair of triples is kept). The indicator drops to 68 cents if there are 4 cards left on the straight. Thus, it is easier to keep a low pair than 4 cards per straight.

For a better understanding of the topic of the question, we will give one more example. So, the video poker machine gave out such cards - 8,9,10, J, J (offsuit). Based on the above, there is no way to fold a pair of jacks, which is paid on the paytable, even if you are hoping for a straight. The increase is caused, first of all, by the fact that the cards have a jack, therefore, you can win not only when a straight comes, but even getting 1 more jack.

What does it mean?

An important point is that if you have higher rank cards in your hand, then the mathematical expectation will be increased. Let's say you get 10,10, J, Q, K (offsuit). Which way should you go - trying to get a straight on big cards or keep tens? In this hand, the mathematical expectation reaches 82 cents per dollar on a pair and 87 cents on 4 cards for a straight at a dollar rate. And here, it turns out that catching a straight will be much more profitable.

This implies the following - it would be preferable to leave a small pair and discard cards to a straight. But, at the same time, if the cards on the street are able to form a paid pair - in this case, this option is easier to keep. If out of 4 cards on a straight, only 2 can form a paid pair, then the mathematical expectation is approximately the same.

What can be done if 4 cards come to a straight, placed out of order (with a so-called "hole"), as well as an unpaid pair? Example - 8,9,9,10, Q, K offsuit? Collect these straights only if at least 3 of these cards are able to make a paid pair. Otherwise, keep small pairs.

Speaking about flushes, it makes sense to catch them on almost any 4 cards, regardless of whether they are in order or not in order. The risk is justified, first of all, by the high payment for the combination and if you have 4 cards on a straight flush, give up the paid pairs (including a pair of small cards).