Video Poker Best Strategy Evens the Odds

In this tips blog we’ll talk about some common situation that come up in video poker.  We’ll explain our recommendations for your action on the draw.  In addition to giving tips on all our games, we allow unlimited free play so you can improve your playing skill at no cost and, for new players, Springbok Online Casino is your go-to no deposit casino.  Our no deposit bonus gives you essentially free play with the chance to win some money on the house.

Play 9-6 Video Poker

We also suggest that you make the maximum bet on each hand.  The payout for a winning pair in Jacks or Better with the maximum bet is 5 coins but the payouts for the stronger hands are proportionately much better.  With all of the situations we cover in this blog, compare the payout you’ll receive with the advice we give.

A Low Pair with a Straight Draw

A straight pays more than a pair.  The straight draw has to be an open-ended draw because that gives you two ways to fill the straight as opposed to a closed straight draw which gives you only one card that can close the straight.

If you have an open-ended straight draw with a low pair, we suggest that you keep the pair.  That’s because you could get a three of a kind or another pair to win. 

The exception to this advice is when the straight draw is for either an ace or a nine.  In that situation, you keep the straight draw because there are already three cards that you might pair up to win even if you miss on the straight draw.

Flush Draw and a Low Pair

The flush is a very powerful hand in poker so here you always go for the flush instead of keeping the low pair.  The chances of hitting the flush are good enough that in the long run, going for the flush in this situation will pay off.  The big difference between this situation and the previous one is that in 9-6 Jacks or Better, the flush pays 6 coins and the straight pays only 4 coins.

Based on the pay scale and the law of averages, the advice we give here pays off.

Playing for a Royal Flush

We assume that you are making the top bet so you qualify for the big extra jackpot if you hit a Royal Flush.  If you have a chance at a Royal Flush, you always go for it even if you also have a winning pair, a straight, or a flush without the fifth royal card.

You also always play for a Royal Flush even if you have only three cards to the Royal Flush and a low pair.  But if you have three cards to a Royal Flush and a winning pair, you keep the pair.

There is one exception to the rule that you give up every hand you have to go for the Royal Flush.  The exception is when you have a straight flush, but not a Royal Flush.

A Straight Flush is Not a Royal Flush

In the example we gave above, you would go for a Royal Flush in all situations except if you were dealt a straight flush.  In this next example, we deal with four cards to a straight flush and a non-suited fifth card that gives you a straight.

In this case, we suggest that you keep the straight because the top pay out for a straight flush is not enough, as good as it is, to throw away a dealt straight.  This advice applies even more so when you have four cards to a straight flush and a non-consecutive fifth suited card that gives you a dealt flush.  Always hold the flush in that situation.

The fact that a straight flush is not as good as a Royal Flush is seen in the best strategy when you have three to a straight flush and four to an open-ended straight.  Keep the open-ended straight instead of going for the straight flush.

Going for a straight flush is better when you have two high cards and three to a straight flush.

A Low Pair plus Three High Cards

Many players hold the high cards because they feel that they could get a straight or pair one of the high cards to win the hand.  The chances of coming out ahead in the very long run require that you hold the pair.

The chances of getting the straight are quite long and the chances of winning with the pair are slightly better than the chances of getting a winning pair with one of the high cards.

Keep in mind that this advice applies only when you have three high cards that win when they are paired; it doesn’t apply to a ten.  When you have a ten, a low pair, and two royal cards, it should be obvious that you always keep the low pair.

Drawing to an Inside Straight

This is one of the most complex hands you can get in video poker.  A lot depends on which cards you hold to the inside straight.

  • If you have four to an inside straight and a meaningless low card, you always go for the inside straight.
  • If you have four cards to an inside straight and two high cards, you always go for the inside straight.
  • If you have four to an inside straight and three high cards you go for the inside straight.
  • If you have three cards towards a Royal Flush, you discard going for the inside straight and go for the Royal Flush instead.
  • If only two of the cards to the inside straight are royal cards, you hold only the royal cards so you try for a Royal Flush.
  • If you have only two to the Royal Flush and one of them is the 10, you go for the inside straight instead of for the Royal Flush.

Best Strategy Evens the Odds

Many professional video poker players say that with perfect strategy video poker is as close to an even odds game as there is at an online casino.  We at Springbok Casino hope you study the best strategy even when it seems counter-intuitive so you can have the best possible chances to win at video poker.