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Video Poker Strategy

The odds on a given hand vary from game to game, of course, but generally speaking the house edge on Video Poker games is pretty small, even 0% in some cases. Where the Video Poker games get an edge is with players who do not follow an optimum strategy. In other words, winging any given game based on a loose understanding of Poker is going to lose you money.

Each Video Poker variation has its own quirks when it comes to the odds and optimum player strategy. In the next section we'll give you a rough guide to the most popular games, but detailed strategy guides would take pages. If you're serious about Video Poker, try some of the material in our reference section. Smart players can do pretty well at Video Poker.

Jacks or better

Jacks Or Better strategy can get a little complicated. For a full analysis check our references below, or follow this rough strategy guide:

Keep any hand that already pays. Possible exceptions, by potential value, are:

  • Hold four card Royal Flushes to make Straights or Flushes.
  • Four card straight flushes, inside or outside.
  • High card Pairs rank here.
  • Three card Royal Flushes.
  • Four card Flushes.
  • Low Pairs rank here, trying to build Three Of A Kind.
  • Four card Flushes.
  • Four card Straights. Hold inside Straights only if you've got three or more high cards (J, Q, K, A).

If you've got nothing worth money, here's a general strategy, in order of preference:

  • Keep any two suited high cards. Discard unsuited high cards.
  • Four mixed-suit high cards:
    • keep any three suited, toss the unsuited.
    • otherwise, keep them all.
  • Three unsuited high cards:
    • keep all three of K-Q-J.
    • with A-K-J or A-Q-J, discard the A.
  • Keep any two unsuited high cards.
  • Keep any single high card.

Tens or better

Same strategy as Jacks Or Better where 10 is now a high card.

Deuces wild

General strategy includes, best options first:

  • Hold any 5 Of A Kind or Royal Flush.
  • Else, if you've got four 2's: keep 'em!.
  • Else, if you've got three 2's:
    • hold any made 5 Of A Kind or Royal Flush
    • otherwise, keep the 2's and discard the rest.
  • Else, if you've got two 2's:
    • hold any made Straight, Five Of A Kind or Royal Flush.
    • hold any 4 of a Kind.
    • hold any 4 of a Royal Flush.
    • otherwise, keep the 2's and discard the rest.
  • Else, if you've got a single 2, keep any made hand EXCEPT:
    • hold four card Royal Flushes over made Straights, Flushes and
  • Straight Flushes.
    • keep four card Straight Flushes of all types.
    • hold three card Royal Flushes .
    • pairs: with two pair, keep one, but not both.
    • hold four card Flushes.
    • hold four card Straights.
    • hold three card Straight Flushes, including gaps.
    • hold four card inside Straights.
    • hang on to two card Q or J high Straight Flushes .
    • discard two card Royal Flushes.
    • if you've come this low in the list, discard everything and try again.

Jokers wild

Remember that only K and A are high cards: this is a Kings or Better game.

General strategy:

  • Keep a Joker if you get it. You'll only see in once in ten hands, on average.
  • Don't keep an inside Straight.
  • Straight Flushes are a good payer and they occur considerably more frequently than in a game like Jacks or Better

All American

Straights and Flushes pay well here so it tips the usual strategy in their favor:

  • Prefer inside Straights over one or two high cards.
  • Prefer 4 card outside Straights and 4 card flushes over pairs, even high ones.
  • Hold any three cards to a Flush.

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