We have already mentioned several times that using strategy while playing video poker is very important. Many casino enthusiasts prefer this game since it actually gives them the opportunity to affect the outcome and they can rely on more than just luck. This being said, you cannot just trust your guts when making decisions on video poker. On the contrary, you have to know which move will bring you the ultimate payout and will be the best for your gaming experience.
It is not realistic to memorize all the possibilities on video poker hands which is why you will have to use strategy charts. These will help you to utilize the right strategy in no time and your gambling experience will be as rewarding as possible. Even if you are seeing a strategy card for the first time, we will help you break down all the important elements of this tool and we will explain in details how to use it.
You should be aware of the fact that strategy cards do not provide some cheat codes and do not guarantee that you will win on every betting round. However, making the best decision will help you revel in a lucrative video poker adventure which will be very rewarding in the long run.
Why You Should Use a Strategy on Video Poker?
While many casino devotees find slots entertaining, there is no way to use a strategy with such game as the outcome is always random and there is no way to predict it or affect the result in any way. This is why those who are seeking games where the player’s decisions also have an impact on the result, often opt for playing video poker.
Even though video poker resembles slots due to the fact that the first 5 cards of one’s hand are dealt randomly, there is an actual chance to change the course of the game thanks to your decisions. Thanks to this benefit, there are video poker variations which will have a drastically low house edge or even give the player a complete advantage over the casino. This is true, however, only for the players who are using the perfect strategy.
Despite the fact that video poker can be a thrilling game, its true charm is hidden in the payout that it provides. If you know how to utilize the right strategy, your chances of sweeping amazing payouts increase significantly. If you have already seen some video poker machines or virtual variations that offer an RTP of over 100%, keep in mind that this number is true only if you know how to use a strategy.
|Type of Game||Optimal Strategy RTP||Other Stratgey RTP|
|9/6 Jacks or Better||99.54%||99.46% (0.08% difference)|
|Deuces Wild 25/15/9/5/3||100.76%||99.73% (1.03% difference with NSUD strategy)|
|10/6 Double Double Bonus||100.07%||99.57% (0.50% difference with 10/7 Double Bonus strategy)|
|10/7/5 Double Bonus||100.17%||99.61% (0.56% difference with 8/5 Bonus Poker strategy)|
|9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe||99.64%||99.29% (0.35% difference with 10/7 Double Bonus strategy)|
|9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe||99.64%||99.60% (0.04% difference with 8/5 Bonus Poker strategy)|
Video Poker Strategy Additional TipsWhile it is true that playing a full-pay variant of video poker will increase the winnings odds, without the right knowledge, you cannot enjoy the potential profit that players who use strategy would.
If you believe that following your hunch is a good technique for playing video poker, just look at the things from a different perspective. Whether we are talking about a virtual video poker game or a machine in a land-based casino, you should know that the payouts you are offered are always based on probabilities which are done thanks to mathematic calculations. Obviously, the casino makes sure that its potential profit will always be guaranteed. This is why players are advised to use a strategy based on the same math calculations which will further help them gain a bigger advantage.
Simply said, the true advantage of using a strategy when playing video poker is that players will be able to enjoy the most profitable outcome. Even though there is no way to guarantee that you will win every hand you play using the perfect strategy, you can be sure that in the long run, your video poker game will be very successful.
What Do Video Poker Strategy Charts Look Like?
In order to be able to use a strategy card, you must first be able to understand its elements and what they represent. If we are looking at the charts for the 52-card video poker variations which do not use wilds, the outlook of the chart is pretty much the same. You will have the hands listed starting from the one with the highest average return and ending on the bottom of the chart with the hand offering the lowest average return. In most cases, the hand that offers the highest payout is the Royal Flush which explains why it is on the top of the strategy chart.
It should be noted that sometimes hands that are not completed will be listed above regular winning hands due to the fact that they might have an average return which is higher than the one of the winning hands. This is why you should not be surprised when you see four cards of the hand Royal Flush above Full House. This is due to the fact that there are more hands that can be formed with the four cards of Royal Flush.
At the bottom of the strategy chart, you will notice a hand that will not help you to form any winning hand which is why it will have the word “Redraw”. This means that the best thing you can do is discard all five cards and replace them with new ones.
How to Use Video Poker Strategy Charts?
When taking into consideration how many possibilities there are to form a winning hand, it is pretty obvious why video poker strategy charts are considerably bigger compared to blackjack cards for instance. Starting from the hand that offers the highest possible payout and ending with the five cards which offer no return, you have a rather long list with the hands comprising the strategy chart of video poker.
If we take for example a strategy chart for 9/6 Jacks or Better, we might have about 60 or 70 lines with the winning hands that will offer good payouts. There are instances, where several lines can be combined into one in order to simplify the look of the chart. One of the most important things you should differentiate in order to be able to utilize a strategy chart is an Open Straight/ Open Straight Flush from an Inside Straight/ Inside Straight Flush. In the context of the game, “open” comes from an “open-ended draw” which forms a very strong hand in poker.
For a hand to be an Open Straight/ Straight Flush, you have to have four cards with two open ends, which means that the hand can be completed on either side. For instance, if you are holding 3h-4h-5d-6d, you can form a Straight with either a 2 or a 7. This type of hand can also be called an outside or double-ended Straight. As you can also see, there is no gap in the hand given in the example. If you, however, have drawn 3h-4h-6d-7d, then you have the so-called gap and your hand is not an Open Straight because it cannot be completed on either of the two sides. Such hand is what is known as an Inside Straight since it can be formed only by a 5 in the middle.
How to Use Video Poker Strategy Charts Additional TipsThere can also be an instance when the hand can be formed by adding another card only on one of the ends. For example, if you have been dealt As-2c-3c-4d, you can complete this hand only with a 5 which also makes it an inside draw.
The reason why it is important to know the difference between an inside and an outside draw is that it will make the reading of the strategy chart easier. You will notice that Open Straight/ Straight Flush hands are positioned on higher lines since they offer more options to be completed.
Another important thing you need to pay attention to when using a strategy chart is the order of hands in accordance to their payout. This will help you determine whether the hand you are holding is a better option than an alternative hand. This is information you can easily gain access to by simply reading the paytable of the exact game you intend to play.
The steps to using a strategy chart are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Whenever you are dealt your initial 5 cards, you simply have to take a look at the first line of the strategy chart. If the hand that is shown there does not correspond to the one you are holding, then you move to the lower lines until you come across the cards you are holding. Whenever you locate the hand you have been dealt, hold the cards that the strategy is suggesting and discard the remaining ones. Of course, it is possible that you have reached the bottom of the strategy chart and you have not found the hand you are holding. In this case, the optimal move will be to discard all five cards and draw an entirely new hand.
If you have opted to use a simplified strategy chart which has combined some lines into a single one, you will still have to go through a similar process. Often the first line of such chart says “Four of a Kind or Better” which will prompt you to check whether you are holding a Four of a Kind or a better hand. Remember when we said that it is important to know the payouts for the different hands on the game you are playing. This will help you utilize the shortened version of the strategy chart and decide whether your hand is better than the one listed in a line.
Are Video Poker Strategy Charts Legal and How Accurate Are They?
Although video poker strategy charts come in handy when you want to experience the best possible gameplay, not many players tend to use them. There are different reasons for that, including not knowing which chart to use, they feel like it will take way too long to make a decision with the chart or they think that these charts cannot be used at casinos.
You may often hear players refer to strategy charts as cheat sheets but that does not mean that they are illegal. It is true that players are not allowed to use electronic devices which will tell them the exact move for every specific type of hand. However, in most gambling facilities, it is usually allowed to use a printed chart.
In fact, there are some casinos which will sell video poker strategy charts to players. If it happens that you stumble upon a place which will not allow you to use your chart, the worst thing that may happen is to receive a warning. These so-called “cheat sheets” are in fact, very similar to blackjack strategy cards and there is nothing wrong in using them in order to maximize your winning chances.
Video Poker Strategy Charts Additional TipsEven if you decide to use a strategy chart, you might be wondering how accurate it is going to be. This is a rather understandable concern since even if you come across a machine that offers odds of 100.65%, if the chart you are using has error occurrence of 0.6%, you will actually lower the advantage you have gained to 100.59%. This is still a rather good percentage but it is not the best one you can enjoy.
It should be noted that it is not possible to use a perfect strategy chart which is error-proofed. This is due to the fact that the chart should be extremely long in order to be able to display all the possible hands that can be drawn and the little nuances of difference between them. This being said, most of the charts that you find online are pretty accurate and will definitely allow you to make the most of your video poker gambling.
There are also many apps which will enable you to practice the strategies for different video poker variations. Many of them will also have strategy charts for various games which can be printed out and used when you gamble at a land-based casino.
What Are the Consequences If You Use a Mismatched Strategy Chart?
It is actually very common to have the strategy chart for a certain video poker game but come across a machine which has lower payouts or is a different variation of the casino game. In such cases, you might think that there is no use of your chart and you might opt for playing without using the strategy. However, you will be surprised by the low cost of playing with a mismatched strategy.
If you take for example the full-version of Jacks or Better which pays 9 to 1 for a Full House and 6 to 1 for a Flush and apply the same strategy on a 9/5 variant of the game, the mismatched gameplay will cost you only 0.01%. Meanwhile, if you apply the 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy on an 8/6 variant, it will not affect your gameplay in any way. Of course, this does not apply to all short-pay variations of video poker. This is why if you use the 10-7-5 Double Bonus strategy chart on the same game with a payout of 9-6-5, the possibility of errors will increase with 0.25%.
In addition to the generally low cost of using a full-pay strategy on short-pay variants, there is often little harm when you apply the strategy of one video poker variation to another. For instance, you can play Bonus Poker, using the strategy for Jacks or Better or the other way around and you will not suffer huge damage to your gameplay. You can also play Bonus Poker Deluxe using the strategy for Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker. However, if you have set your mind on playing Triple Double Bonus, you should always stick to the strategy which applies to this specific variation.
Whenever you are playing Deuces Wild you should avoid using the Not So Ugly Ducks (NSUD) strategy on a full-pay version and vise versa. Playing full-pay Deuces Wild with the NSUD strategy will increase the possibility for errors with 0.93%, while mismatching the strategy for the variant with the full payouts will result in 1.03% cost of errors.
Whenever you have decided to improve your winning odds on video poker, you should utilize the right type of strategy. Since the possibilities for forming hands, however, are numerous, it is rather difficult to memorize all the right moves. This is why strategy charts come in handy for video poker enthusiasts. They help you to quickly distinguish the hand you are holding and decide which cards to hold and which ones to discard.
Even though video poker strategy charts have many lines and a bigger compared to blackjack cards, they are pretty easy to use. All that you need to know is the paytable of the specific game you are playing. You should also pay attention to the exact cards you are holding and find the best option in the strategy chart.
Even though sometimes they are referred to as cheat sheets, video poker strategy charts are not illegal and usually, players can use them when playing at land-based casinos. In addition to that, strategy charts are a great way to practice before you start playing video poker for real money.