One of these casino games is video poker which by the way many players often overlook, without paying deserved attention. However, few players know that of all real money casino games, video poker has the highest payout percentage 99.54%! That’s much more than any other casino game!

Video poker odds and strategy

In a specialized online gambling forum we came across a topic about numbers in video poker. The discussion was about revealing numbers and odds to improve the chances of winning in video poker. At CasinoBike.com we are not only dedicated to comprehensive online slots reviews, but we also thoroughly review and analyze the best legal online casinos in the United States that cover a variety of casino games.

One of these casino games is video poker which by the way many players often overlook, without paying deserved attention. However, few players know that of all real money casino games, video poker has the highest payout percentage 99.54%! That’s much more than any other casino game! So without further preamble, let’s get down to details.

How to use the odds to win in video poker

Do you know how many times winning hands appear in video poker? If you do, congratulations, you are a successful video poker player! For those video poker readers who still don’t know, have a little patience and read on below.

Many video poker players ask the question, how can you improve the odds of winning at video poker with real money online? The answer is to do a few important steps. First, it is recommended that you keep a record of all your video poker sessions. Secondly, analyze in detail the short term performance of the online video poker machine you are playing.

As an example let’s use the video poker variant that is Jacks or Better. Did you know that if you play Jacks or Better at optimal capacity, you can produce a winner in every 2.20 hands? To make you understand even better, for every 100 hands you play Jacks or Better, you will receive approximately 45 winning hands! As you can see it is quite easy to keep track of your sessions and count the winning hands for each group of 100 hands.

As with any casino game it is essential to establish the odds and house edge associated with video poker. The following table shows the most common payout schedule for Jacks or Better 9/6 and details the payout ratio, the number of credits won divided by the number of credits wagered. The probability and expected win rate, the payout rate multiplied by the probability of each hand:

Jacks or Better 9/6 Video poker house edge

Hand

Payout ratio

Probability

Return rate

Royal Flush (five credit bet)

800

0.002%

1.981%

Royal Flush (one to four credit bet)

250

0.002%

0.619%

Straight Flush

50

0.011%

0.547%

Four of a Kind

25

0.236%

5.906%

Full House

9

1.151%

10.361%

Flush

6

1.101%

6.609%

Straight

4

1.123%

4.492%

Three of a Kind

3

7.445%

22.334%

Two Pair

2

12.928%

25.856%

Jacks or Better

1

21.459%

21.459%

Other

0

54.544%

0.000%

Total (5 credit bet)

100%

99.543%

Total (1 to 4 credit bet)

100%

98.181%

As can be seen in the table above, the approximate probability of getting a winning hand in any given game is 45.456%. The win rate when placing 5-credit bets is 99.543% while in the case of 1-5 credit bets it is 98.181%, which translates into a house edge of 0.457% and 1.819% respectively.

The house edge is reduced when placing 5-credit bets such as Jacks or Better 9/6, as payout schemes historically deliver a “jackpot” of 4000 credits for a royal flush won on a 5-credit bet, more than triple the payout ratio. In other words, for every $100 invested on 5-credit bets, the expected profit is approximately $99.54 and $98.18 for bets of 1 to 4 credits.

The other great learning is that, although the payout ratio is only one point below the other 2 combined, it is much more likely to form a full house than a flush or straight. Therefore it is the only winning hand besides those with the 3 smallest prizes with a win rate of more than 10%.

To explain this in more detail, below are the win rates and approximate house edges in different popular varieties of video poker. You will notice that in some of them the win rate when placing a 5-credit bet is actually 100%, which means that the odds are minimally in the player’s favor.

Video poker games house edge

Game

5 credit bet

1 to 4 credit bet

Return rate

House edge

Return rate

House edge

Jacks or Better (9/5)

98.449%

1.551%

97.080%

2.920%

Jacks or Better (8/6)

98.392%

1.608%

97.020%

2.980%

Jacks or Better (8/5)

97.298%

2.702%

95.929%

4.071%

Jacks or Better (7/5)

96.147%

3.853%

94.778%

5.222%

Jacks or Better (6/5)

94.996%

5.004%

93.627%

6.373%

Deuces Wild (full pay)

100.762%

-0.762%

99.457%

0.543%

Deuces Wild (regular pay)

99.569%

0.431%

98.303%

1.697%

Double Bonus (10/7)

100.172%

-0.172%

99.058%

0.942%

Double Double Bonus (10/6)

100.067%

-0.067%

98.718%

1.282%

Video poker strategy

The most obvious advice is to always try to make the maximum 5-credit bet, otherwise you reduce the win rate by 1.362%. Players fall into the trap of not doing this because they think it means betting more money and trying to make more profit on something that has a 0.002% chance of happening.

However, this is not the case. If we bet $5 per game, it makes much more sense to set a credit value of $1 and bet five credits instead of betting just one of $5. In this way, the same amount of money is won for any prize, except for the one won by getting a royal flush, which delivers $4000 instead of $1250 – 3.2 times as much.

What to do when you initially receive a winning hand

When initially receiving a winning hand, it is important to know what to do with it. There are many hands that should be kept in their entirety if initially received. Obviously these hands include the royal flush, as it is the best hand in the game, the straight flush, and the poker flush.

The full house should be kept in its entirety. It is tempting to get rid of the pair to try to form poker since we know that, if we fail, we can resort to the three of a kind. However, with a single deck of cards in play there is only a 4.30% chance of this happening, which means that approximately 19 times out of a total of 20 the winnings will be reduced by two thirds.

If you have a Flush or Straight, hold unless you have four of five cards required for a Royal Flush, at which point the decision is at your discretion.

For instance, if you have the A K Q J and 9 , discarding the 9 can provide several winning hands. This will enable you get a Royal Flush if you get the 10 (a 2.13% chance assuming one deck in play), a Flush if you get any other heart (a 17.02% chance), a Straight if you get any other 10 (a 6.38% chance) or Jacks or Better if you get any J or higher (a 25.53% chance).

If you originally had a Flush, this totals a 19.15% chance of either maintaining or improving upon your hand and a 25.53% chance if you had a Straight. In both cases, there is a 53.19% chance of any winning hand, although obviously some of these provide will diminished winnings compared to what you originally had.

If you are initially dealt a Three of a Kind or Two Pair, swap the remaining cards that do not contribute to the winning hand for a chance to get a Full House.

If you have Jacks or Better, solely hold the pair unless you have four of five cards required for a Straight Flush (e.g. J J 10 9 and 8 ), at which point discard the card in the pair of the other suit.

While discarding the J in this scenario sacrifices being guaranteed to have your bet returned to you, you will now get a Straight Flush if you get the Q or 7 (a 4.25% chance assuming a single deck in play) and a Flush with any other spade (a 19.15% chance), as well as another Jacks or Better pair with the J or J (a 4.25% chance).

This provides a 23.40% total chance of improving upon your hand. While again how you proceed is your decision, these are arguably decent odds when the alternative is essentially agreeing to break even on the round.

Many players believe that if you get Jacks or Better alongside a lone high card (Jack or higher) of a different rank, you should hold onto both and only discard the other two cards. However, this strategy is not desirable, as by holding onto the lone high card you are in fact limiting the opportunity to improve upon the pair with a Three of a Kind, Full House or Four of a Kind. This information is summarised in the table below.

Video poker winning hand strategy

Hand

Optimal strategy

Royal Flush

Hold entirely.

Straight Flush

Four of a Kind

Full House

Flush

Hold entirely, unless you have four of five cards required for a Royal Flush.

Straight

Three of a Kind

Discard the other two cards to try and get a Full House.

Two Pair

Discard the remaining card to try and get a Full House.

Jacks or Better

Hold the pair, unless you have four of five cards required for a Straight Flush.

Discard any lone high cards.

What to do when we do not initially receive a winning hand

If we do not initially receive a winning hand, the best strategy is to analyze the winning hands from best to worst to determine how close we are to getting them. As expected, the best non-winning hand we can receive initially is four of the five cards needed to form a royal flush, giving us the aforementioned 53.19% chance of achieving a winning hand.

However, this process is more complex than simply looking at the list of winning hands to see if we are one card away from a winning hand, two cards away and so on. It is equally important to consider the value of the starting hand in terms of how many winning hands we can achieve and how much money we can make from them.

When analyzing a straight or flush in this context, we must also determine whether it is open or closed. If it is open, it means that a card is missing at the beginning or at the end. For example, a three or an eight to form a series of four, five, six and seven. If it is closed, it means that at least one of the three cards in the middle of the series is missing. For example, five, six or seven to form the series from four to eight.

Therefore, several video poker strategies classify non-winning hands by ranks as follows and recommend not to keep any card that does not contribute anything to the hand being described:

Strategy for the non-winning hand in video poker

Strategy for the non winning hand in video poker

Naturally this is a very long list. The most effective way to adopt this strategy is to try to retain as much information as possible and play video poker games trying to determine the range of our hand as quickly as possible and especially since many video poker machines in online casinos have limits per round.

If we continue to do this and seek out the knowledge we are missing in the process, instantly determining what we should do with the starting hand will become a natural practice.

To discuss some specific items on the list, a common belief is that a pair of tens or lower cards is of less value than a single jack or other higher card because it is not a winning hand. While keeping the latter offers a 26.38% chance of forming a winning pair, keeping the pair of lower cards gives us the possibility of forming two pair, three of a kind, full house or poker.

Likewise, holding 2 royal flush cards and no Ace or Ten may at first seem less valuable than some other hands further down the list. Indeed, while in this context forming a royal flush is highly improbable, there is also the possibility of forming a flush, straight and jacks or better game. We must remember that the true value of a starting hand often comes from the number of winning hands we can form with it, as opposed to simply getting the best of them all.

If you want to learn more, read our article what you need to know about online video poker.

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