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Video Poker Strategy

For many casino goers, video poker is one of the more accessible ways to get involved with poker; it’s a fast-moving game which deals you five cards with which to make the strongest poker hand possible according to standard hand rankings. Players have one chance to replace any number of their cards to create a better hand.

It’s that draw opportunity which provides players with the opportunity to use some time-worn strategy to maximise their payout chances. In this article we’ll layout the basic rules which one should follow to make the most of their video poker session. The following table assumes that the version of Video Poker being played is Jacks Or Better in which the lowest winning hand is a pair of Jacks, a lower pair loses.

This is the simplest possible strategy so there will be combinations of cards during gameplay which may not be featured; however it should provide beginners with a sensible starting position.

Initial Hand
Action
Royal FlushAlways hold.
Straight FlushAlways hold.
Four Of A KindAlways hold.
Full HouseAlways hold.
Three Of A KindReplace remaining cards for the chance of a full house/ four of a kind.
Two PairsReplace remaining card for chance of a full house.
FlushHold unless you have four cards to make a royal flush, in which case replace the remaining card.
StraightHold unless you have four cards to make a royal flush, in which case replace the remaining card.
Pair Of JacksHold unless you have four cards to make a royal or straight flush, in which case replace the remaining card.
Low PairAlways hold for the chance of three of a kind.
Inside Straight (inner card missing)Only draw for the missing card if you have three high cards already, otherwise replace all.
Open Straight (either end card missing)Draw only the non-straight card for a chance of receiving either end card.
Three High Cards (Jacks or better)Replace the two non-high cards.
Two High Cards (Jacks or better)Replace the three non-high cards.
High Card (Jacks or better)Replace the four non-high cards.

The following table displays the payouts for all hands playing Jacks Or Better and describes what those hands consist of.

Standard 'High' Poker Rankings
Royal Flush250x10, J, Q, K A of the same suit
Straight Flush40xFive card sequence of the same suit
Four Of A Kind20x
Full House9xThree matching cards + two different matching cards
Flush6xFive cards of the same suit
Straight5xFive card sequence
Three Of A Kind3xThree matching cards
Two Pairs2xTwo matching cards + two different matching cards
Jacks Or Better1xA pair of Jacks or better