are three things you need to do in order to understand a video poker machine
and grasp its value to you. These should be included as the underlying bedrock
of your video poker strategy.
1.You must be able to read the pay tables and know which ones
have the highest payback.
2.You must know the best video poker strategy for the machines
you choose to play.
3.You must know the volatility of a particular machine - what effect
it will have on your bankroll.
Based purely on the mechanics, playing video poker is simplicity itself.
However, playing it well entails a bit more effort and that's where your
video poker strategy comes into play. Online and casino video poker is
one game where the house advantage is definitely affected by how much
knowledge the player has. The two main skills involved (proper machine
selection and knowing the proper strategy for the video poker machine
you're playing) get complicated because video poker comes in a never-ending
variety of games.
How do you navigate this sea of machines? First, lets look at them in
the broadest terms: there are non-wild card games such as Jacks or Better
and Double Bonus. Then there are wild card games such as Deuces Wild or
Joker Wild. Within these two general types, there are many varieties.
Payout schedule return rates may vary from below 90% to above 100%
The best place to begin honing your video poker strategy is with the machine
that started the whole phenomenon: the Jacks or Better game. The Jacks
or Better pays off for a pair of jacks or higher, which is particularly
good for beginners because of its easily understandable strategy. Better
yet, the best version of Jacks or Better has a 99.5% payback percentage
when played with expert strategy. This means it has only a 0.5% house
advantage. In other words, in the long run, you expect to lose only 50
cents of every $100 you play. This is one of the best bets in the casino.
While there are many factors to consider in developing your video poker
strategy, they are far too numerous to detail here. We will leave you
though with an important factor, and possibly the most important thing
to look at when developing your strategy - the pay table. The pay table
strips away the game's mystery; its basically a window into knowing whether
the game is worth your money. An example of a pay table can be seen below,
and unlike slot machines, the pay table isn't just there for us to "oohhh
and aaah" over all the pretty payoffs - it can reveal how much a
game pays back if played perfectly.
Here is the pay table for a standard Jacks or Better game:
*Royal flush payout is based on max coins (4,000 coins
for 5 coins played). || Total return: 99.54%
||1 in 40,390.55
||1 in 9,148.37
|Four of a kind
||1 in 423.27
||1 in 86.86
||1 in 90.79
||1 in 89.05
|Three of a kind
||1 in 13.43
||1 in 7.74
|Jacks or better
||1 in 4.66
||1 in 1.83
To illustrate we can take a look at the wizard of odds and his strategy
for jacks or better. The wizard actually outlines three different strategies,
a basic, an intermediate and an advanced. Each correspond to increasingly
attractive payout rates.
** from wizardofodds.com
The following strategy is my "simple strategy" for jacks or
better video poker. Using the strategy on a full pay machine will result
in an expected return of 99.46%. Compared to the optimal strategy return
of 99.54%, mistakes in the simple strategy will cost 0.08%, or one total
bet every 1178 hands.
To use the strategy look up all viable ways to play an initial hand on
the following list and elect that which is highest on the list. A "high
card" means a jack or higher.
Full house or better
4 to a royal flush
Straight, three of a kind, or flush
4 to a straight flush
3 to a royal flush
4 to a flush
4 to an outside straight
2 suited high cards
3 to a straight flush
2 unsuited high cards (if more than 2 pick then pick lowest 2)
Suited 10/J, 10/Q, or 10/K
One high card
High card: A jack, queen, king, or ace. These cards are retained more
often because if paired up they return the original bet.
Outside straight: An open ended straight that can be completed at either
end, such as the cards 7,8,9,10.
Inside straight: A straight with a missing inside card, such as the cards
6,7,9,10. In addition A,2,3,4 and J,Q,K,A also count as inside straights
because they are at an extreme end.
Example: Suppose you have the following hand.
The top three plays are (1) keep the low pair, (2) keep the 4 to a flush,
and (3) keep the 2 suited high cards. The 4 to a flush is listed highest
and is thus the best play, so discard the 3 of hearts.