Strategy for unusual Video Poker Scenarios

Video Poker is a popular game that requires players to learn to play common scenarios with a high degree of accuracy in order to perfect gameplay strategy that will effectively lower the house edge and yield greater returns.

Like any game, the more you play the better you'll get at it, especially if you put the time and effort into mastering the prescribed strategies for each outcome. That said however, there are a few scenarios in this game that are quite rare and may not be covered in the basic video poker strategy guide that you may have studied.

Here we take a look at the few exceptions that you may come across so that they will not catch you off guard and you'll still be able to maintain the highest payout rate possible.

The first and most important a typical scenario that you may encounter is in a game of Jacks or Better when you are dealt KQJTT with no flush or draw. Generally, we know that a small pair is better than an open-ended straight draw. In this scenario however, the high card draw makes keeping the TT for an average payout rate of 0.824 a critical error. If you find yourself presented with this hand opt to retain the KQJT for an average payout of 0.872, which will afford you a higher payout. Keep in mind though that this is the only exception to the rule, in all other cases play according to the small pair rule.


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Another example or an unusual scenario comes in the form of the AhKhJh5h5c hand in a Jacks or Better game. Basic strategy dictates that in these instances you should always select a flush draw instead of a low pair, and while there are no exceptions to the rule in this case, it may cause you to overlook an important aspect of the hand. If you decide to retain the four hearts cards then you can expect an average payout of around 1.340, however if you keep the three cards that you need to make a Royal Flush you will earn a 1.387 payout which is a good improvement. This situation comes up more often than you expect, so be sure to keep it in mind for added returns.

Last but not least, in a Deuces Wild game you may be dealt a hand consisting of the following: AsJs8s5s5h. When receiving this type of hand most players will instinctively want to play the flush draw by discarding the five of Hearts card. This, however, would be a costly error as one needs to be mindful of the fact that all pairs have the same value in Deuces Wild Video Poker and no single pair payouts are offered. This means that a pair of 5's here would be worth an average of 0.560 but the Flush would be worth slightly less with a payout of 0.511.

As you can, there are almost always exceptions to the rules in Video Poker and knowing how to recognise and play these hands correctly can go a long way to maximising your payouts.

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