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Video Poker Strategy

Play online video poker using a solid strategy. Use the Casino Slots Wizard Video Poker Strategy Guide and start out a winner!

Video poker has experienced enormous gains in popularity. Today it is played by more people in casinos than any other game except slots. Many are turning to video poker because, unlike slots, a player's knowledge and skill can affect the outcome of the game. Video poker machines not only provide you with hours of entertainment, expert video poker play can put your payoff expectations at close to 100%!. We have only one word of strong advice, always play for maximum coins. Your payout line always rewards such play! Most video poker machines are programmed to pay-out close to 100% when players play at the expert level, the casinos can do this because the vast majority of players don't play anywhere near the expert play level required.

The original versions of video poker required Two Pair or Better for a payout. When the payout schedule was increased to include a high pair, business boomed. Thereafter, a number of different versions evolved. Playing video poker is easy. Once you've placed your bet, one to five coins, you get your initial five cards dealt. From the five cards dealt you determine which, if any, you wish to retain. After selecting the cards you wish to keep, you draw to obtain your final hand.Once all your cards have been dealt the video poker machine will recognize the ranking of your final hand value and pay you accordingly. Here are a few tips to bring your playing closer to an expert level and improve your chances of winning. Varieties of video poker machines can be found with very different payout's on winning hands. Your overall payback depends on the payout schedule of the particular machine you are playing. Video poker cards are randomly dealt. Accordingly, a low pay schedule will not be offset by a machine making more winners, nor will a high pay schedule be offset by fewer winners on the machine. Shopping for the best paying machines is a very important part of expert play. The expert player knows that to attain top return, you must play the best paying machines. Machines that depart from the full pay schedules generally do so at the expense of the player. They reduce the payout on frequent winners and sometimes increase it on the less frequently paid hands. Any reduction in payback is undesirable, it can have a serious impact on your chances of being a winner.As a rule of thumb, a one unit payout reduction on straights, flushes or full houses will reduce the payback about 1% each. Reductions in four of a kind payout's can cost the player even more. There is no need to settle for less. The trend is accelerating toward increasing the number of full pay machines in play. As a result, the casinos have noticed an increase in the number of video poker players. If the machines payback is not posted then look at the chart on the machine and pick out one that pays the most for a full house and a flush. The greater the return then the higher that machine pays-out. The following is an example on a jacks or better machine:

Machine Return Appox. Machine Payback
9 for a full house / 6 for a flush 99.5%
8 for a full house / 5 for a flush 97.4%
7 for a full house / 5 for a flush 96.3%
6 for a full house / 5 for a flush 95.2%

Simple Video Poker Strategy

Playing with a 52 card deck, if you ignore the order of the cards within the hands, there are exactly 2,598,960 unique 5 card hands that can be dealt as your initial hand. Las Vegas style Jacks or Better offers odds of winning at 46% of hands dealt:

Hand You win once in every X number of hands
Royal Flush 40,165
Straight Flush 9,610
Four of a Kind 423
Full House 87
Flush 92
Straight 90
Three of a Kind 13
Two Pairs 8
High Pair 4.6
Non-winners 54% of hands

The payout's for every hand combination are attached to the machine. The maximum number of coins is also shown (normally five coins) It is a good idea to always play the maximum number of coins in order to be eligible for the bonus payout for a royal flush. Also make sure the machine has accepted all of your coins before playing in the event that you do get a big win you want to be absolutely sure the five coins were played.

Playing progressive machines is a good idea, they can pay large amounts for a royal flush and make the payout more in line with the difficulty of obtaining a royal flush (about once in every 40,000 hands). Play progressive machines that are showing about 80% of the payoff amount (example $2,000 on a machine that has a payoff of $2,500), and be sure to play the required number of coins to be eligible for the payoff.

Don't forget that in video poker you are playing a machine. The machine is programmed to only payoff when a player holds one of the posted hands. Don't bother holding a 'kicker' card (a high value card to be used along with a pair) this works when playing against other players but the machine doesn't care and you have lost the opportunity to draw a better card.

Don't draw to an inside straight (where you have four cards and need one in the middle to fill a straight). On the other hand if you have an open-ended straight (you have four consecutive cards and only need one at either end to fill a straight) then take a shot at making the straight.

Always keep any pair vs. holding a high card. Many players would discard a pair of two's and keep one or more high cards, this is not the best strategy, trying for three of a kind you have better odds when considering the payout and chances of drawing what's needed.

Always keep a high pair vs. a four-card open straight, a four-card flush or a three-card royal. Try for three of a kind with the knowledge that at worst you have recovered your bet.

Always keep a low pair over a four-card open end straight. The low pair has more value as a potential 3 of a kind than going for the straight and should be kept.

A three-card royal should be kept over a low pair, a four-card flush and a four card open end straight. The bonus for the royal flush makes it a better play. Don't be afraid to draw five cards if you have garbage (one that doesn't have a least one high card).

Basic Video Poker Strategy Summary

Cards in your hand Draw
4 of a kind or better 0-1 cards (keep cards or trade 1 if wild card is available)
4 cards to a royal 1 card
Full house or flush 0 cards (keep all your cards)
3 of a kind 2 cards
4 card straight flush 1 card
Straight 0 cards (keep all your cards)
2 pair 1 card
High pair 3 cards
3 cards to the royal 2 cards
4 card flush 1 card
Low pair 3 cards
4 card straight 1 card
3 card straight flush 2 cards
2 high cards 3 cards
1 high card 4 cards
Garbage 5 cards

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