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You Don’t Need to Memorize Video Poker Strategy Charts

Let’s apply a little basic arithmetic to video poker.  Let’s say that you are the average player and you make modest bets.  You always bet the maximum on the lucky chance that you’ll get the big extra bonus for hitting a Royal Flush.  Now, if you bet a total of R10,000 in a single session and you lose the common 0.5% of your bets, you’ll end up losing only R50 for the session.

Count on Getting Lucky

You might also get lucky and win about R50 or more.  With such an even matchup between you and the house, getting lucky is very common indeed.  So, you can play for as long as you wish at little or no cost.  The point is that with excellent play and good strategy, a session of Jacks or Better video poker is a very good way to be entertained at little cost.

The Springbok Casino no deposit bonus for new players takes the low cost aspect of video poker one step further.  Only an online casino can offer a no deposit bonus or unlimited free play.  So, practice video poker with our great no deposit bonus and play for free until you’re ready to play for real money.

The Cost of Entertainment

We have so much free time nowadays that we look for many different ways to be entertained.  Everything costs money up front except online casino gaming which may or may not cost money.

Let’s look at this concept.  When was the last time you went to a restaurant and they paid you to eat there?  When was the last time a movie theatre gave you a free ticket to a movie?  When was the last time a hotel said come one come all the rooms are on us?

Even at land based casinos, where there may be a free buffet if you play long enough, or even a low priced room, there are travel costs.  Nothing is free.

But, if you play video poker with correct strategy and you get just a little lucky, you will win.

The Effect of Playing Hunches

Now let’s say that you play your hunches throughout the gaming session.  You might lose as much as ten times the basic rate or 5% of your wagers.  This comes out to a loss of R500, quite a bit more than if you had followed the best strategy.  If you can increase your bets, the percentage remains the same but you can easily see the advantage of using optimum playing strategy.

Getting Used to Video Poker Strategy

There are far more than 2,000,000 possible five-card starting hands in video poker.  Fortunately, we can reduce this massive number of hands to just a few categories.

This is similar to the strategy that obtains in many games.  In Sudoku, for example, there are also many possibilities but experienced players look for just a few possible solutions for one number.  Then they extrapolate to find another number and so on.

In football, situations repeat themselves frequently.  Players are trained to recognize situations.  In this way, a play can develop that may result in a goal.  If it weren’t for the repetition of situations in football, clubs might play match after match with no goals being scored at all!

Ways to Play a Hand

In addition to over 2,000,000 possible starting hands, there are 32 different ways to play each hand.  Fortunately, on any given hand, we can reject a priori almost all of those possible ways to play the hand.

For example, you would never break a three card set.  Even as you want to go for a Royal Flush, in this type of hand, you could only have three to a Royal Flush and you wouldn’t break a set to chase the Royal Flush.

In every hand there is a statistically better one way to play the hand.  The difference between the number one statistical way to play and the number two way may be a very small fraction but it is still statistically better.

A Few More Statistics

Video poker players lose over 50% of all hands.  That means that you failed to get Jacks or Better.  That also means that you have to win more hands that pay above the 1-1 range in order to break even or win in the session.

Clearly, you need to tailor your strategy toward getting paid more than 1-1.  However, there are also many hands where playing for Jacks or Better is the best play.  A simple example is one high card and four ow cards with no play for a straight or a flush.  Jacks or Better will normally be about 20% of all winning hands.  Only about 30% of all winning hands are a straight or better.

Go for a Royal Flush

Many players think that they’ll never get a Royal Flush.  Oftentimes, these same players buy a lottery ticket hoping to win billions.  The odds against getting a Royal Flush are about 40,000-1 but the odds of winning that state-run lottery are millions to one.  So, go for the Royal Flush when it makes sense to do so.

The Shortened Video Poker Chart

  • Go for the Royal Flush whenever you have four to the Royal Flush.
  • Go for a Royal Flush with three to the Royal unless you already have a set or better.  In this case, you may have two pair but the reward for going for the Royal Flush is worth breaking up two pair.
  • Always keep four to a straight flush.  This might involve breaking up a high pair but it is worth it.
  • Keep four to a flush unless you have a high pair.  The payout for the flush is not high enough to justify breaking up a winning pair.  This is a very common strategy mistake; players want to hit that flush.  The difference between playing for the flush and holding the high pair is small but it is very real.  The pair can turn into a higher hand as well whilst the flush will likely only turn into a flush or a losing hand.
  • Keep a low pair before keeping for to an outside straight.
  • Never keep four to an inside straight.  A hand like this, with no high cards is like having five unrelated cards which you should discard and start all over.
  • Keep high cards even if they are unsuited.  A king, queen, and jack are far better than any other high card combination because you can get an outside straight with some luck.  Otherwise, three high cards give you good chances to get 1-1 for a high pair.

As you can see, this much shorter chart relies on common sense more than memorizing minutiae to achieve parity with the house.