How to Use Video Poker Strategy Chart

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?

Video Poker StrategyWhile 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)

What Do Video Poker Strategy Charts Look Like?

Video Poker Strategy ChartsIn 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?

How to Use Strategy ChartsWhen 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.

Are Video Poker Strategy Charts Legal and How Accurate Are They?

Video Poker Strategy ChartsAlthough 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.

What Are the Consequences If You Use a Mismatched Strategy Chart?

Mismatched Strategy ChartIt 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.


Video Poker MobileWhenever 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.

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Find the answers of questions people asked so far:

Dan Marilyn

How can I be sure that I am using the correct strategy chart when playing video poker?

Asked by: Marilyn | Asked on: 2023-06-11
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-06-12

With so many variations of video poker, it comes as no surprise that there are also just as many strategy charts. That is why sometimes players might be having a tough time when they are trying to find the correct strategy for the video poker game they play. However, with so many websites offering video poker strategy charts, you can easily compare cheat sheets for the variation you wish to play and find the chart that is right for you. You should also make sure that you are playing a full-pay version of the game or at least a variation that offers payouts that are as close as possible to the full-pay ones.

Dan Carolyn

How do I read video poker strategy charts to find out which cards to keep and which ones to discard?

Asked by: Carolyn | Asked on: 2023-11-19
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-11-20

At first glance, video poker strategy charts might look confusing, especially when the charts for certain variations have many lines. However, once you get the hang of it, you can easily read charts and see the optimal move even when you take a quick gander at the chart. Video poker charts contain several lines with different hands, with the hand offering the highest potential return going to the top of the list.

You may see that the chart also lists partial hands, ranking them at their proper place, depending on the return they might offer. That way, you can spot if you are holding a partial hand and keep those cards if they offer a better return than trying for a different hand. To get a better understanding of video poker strategy charts you might want to play certain variations of the game for fun to practice your gameplay and learn how to read the respective chart properly.