Video Poker Strategy


Whether you play Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild or some other variation of Video Poker, getting the most bang for your buck and reaching the perfect return on investment rate requires you to go for the right plays every single time. To put it simply, the casinos get most of their Video Poker profits from gamblers who make mistakes, which means that you should do everything in your power to avoid being “that guy.”

Quite obviously, the optimal strategy differs from one game to another due to differences in basic rule sets and payouts. Below you will find beginner-level strategy charts for the most common full pay Video Poker variants, which have been designed to help you improve as a player while simultaneously giving you some idea about how profitable Video Poker can get if you play your cards right.

Please note that the strategies listed here are very simple and don’t cover all the possible situations that you could face in a Video Poker game. In both cases you’ll be misplaying some of the rarest hands, which means that the return on your investment will be less than 0.5% lower than in the case of following the most optimal strategies. Nevertheless, learning those strategies is a good way to start optimizing your winnings in Video Poker, so you should definitely consider giving them a try before you decide to move on to in-depth tactics and exceptions.

Jacks or Better Strategy

A typical Jacks or Better machine is going to offer a 99.46% return on your investment if you follow this strategy, which means that the house is going to retain its edge over the player. If you’re dealt a four of a kind, a straight flush or a royal flush, you should always keep it. Otherwise, you should consult the following chart – the higher the number, the higher the priority of a given combination.

  1. You have 4 cards to a royal flush, draw one card.
  2. Three of a kind or a straight, flush or a full house on your starting hand.
  3. One card draw to a straight flush.
  4. Two pair. Draw one card.
  5. High (J or better) pair. Draw three cards.
  6. You have 3 cards to a royal flush, draw two cards.
  7. You have 4 cards to a flush, draw one card.
  8. Low pair. Draw three cards.
  9. Open-ended straight draw. Draw one card.
  10. Two suited high cards (J or better). Draw three cards.
  11. Three cards to a flush, draw 2 cards.
  12. Two unsuited high cards (J or better). Please note that if you have more than 2, you should pick the lowest 2 and draw 3 cards.
  13. Suited JT, QT or KT – draw 3 cards.
  14. One high card (J or better) – draw 4 cards.
  15. Discard everything.

Deuces Wild Strategy

A typical full pay Deuces Wild Video Poker game is going to offer a 100.71% return on your investment if you opt to follow this strategy, which means that you’re going to have a slight edge over the house if you choose the right plays every time. Consequently, as long as you’re comfortable with playing Deuces Wild, you should always play it over Jacks or Better as long as you’re dealing with full pay machines.

You’ve been dealt 4 deuces:

  1. 4 deuces. Draw 1 card to get a shot at the highest paying combination.

You’ve been dealt 3 deuces:

  1. Keep the pat royal flush.
  2. 3 deuces only.

You’ve been dealt 2 deuces:

  1. Keep any pat four of a kind or better combination.
  2. Keep 4 to a royal flush.
  3. Keep 4 to a straight flush with two consecutive cards 6-7 or higher.
  4. Keep the 2 deuces. Draw three cards.

You’ve been dealt 1 deuce:

  1. Keep any pat four of a kind or better combination.
  2. Keep 4 to a royal flush.
  3. Keep the full house.
  4. Keep 4 to a straight flush with 3 consecutive cards, 5-7 or higher.
  5. Three of a kind, straight or flush.
  6. All other 4 to a straight flush.
  7. Three cards to a royal flush.
  8. Keep 3 to a straight flush with two consecutive cards 6-7 or higher.
  9. Keep your deuce, draw 4 cards.

No deuces:

  1. 4 or 5 to a royal flush.
  2. Three of a kind to straight flush.
  3. Four to a straight flush.
  4. Three to a royal flush.
  5. Made a pair.
  6. Four to a flush.
  7. Open-ended straight draw.
  8. Three to a straight flush.
  9. Inside straight-draw, except missing deuce.
  10. Two to a royal flush, J, Q high cards.