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Guide to Best Video Poker Play
In our free, expert guide, you’ll learn all about the different types of video poker strategy. We’ll show you which hands to hold and which cards to dispose of, explain what hands you should be targeting and why, and point you in the direction of a few online casinos which offer excellent online video poker in Canada.
Sign up to one of our recommended casinos via the links provided to get straight into the action, or scroll down to look deeper into our video poker strategy guide.
Is video poker strategy important?
Video poker strategy is incredibly important when you’re playing the game, because it can hugely alter how much money you make.
There are many casinos games where, even if you don’t know the rules, you can still play and expect to win a fair proportion of the time. Roulette is a good example: you can blindly place your chips on the roulette table and, if you get lucky, you’ll be paid at fair odds.
This is completely different in a casino game like blackjack. Here, not knowing the rules can cost you big time. For instance, if you hit on 20, you’re almost definitely going to be cheating yourself out of potential profit.
Online video poker strategy is vital, as you need to know which cards to hold and which cards to dispose of. If you don’t have a good grasp of this, you’ll reduce your potential for profit.
When to fold ‘em
In traditional poker, they say a good player knows when to hold ‘em and knows when to fold ‘em. That’s true of online video poker, too.
Here are a few handy tips you should always remember when assessing the strength of your hand:
One high card
If you’re holding one high card only, keep it and discard the other four. This gives you the best chance of landing at least one pair and salvaging the bet.
A high card refers to a jack, queen, king or ace. Remember, a single pair below jacks is invalid in Jacks or Better video poker, and most versions of the game.
If your initial draw returns a pair of jacks or better, keep it – and discard the other three. You’ll have a respectable chance of hitting trips or better, and you’ll be guaranteed a small win even if you don’t.
Once you make your initial deal and hit either a straight or anything ranked above it, you should immediately hold all five cards and dispose of none, locking in the chunky win.
The one exception to this rule is four-of-a-kind. In this instance, you’d hold the guaranteed four-of-a-kind and discard the fifth in hope of making five-of-a-kind and potentially hitting a bonus.
Free video poker
While you get used to these new techniques, you can try free video poker. Your strategy can be honed without spending any actual funds, which means you can test it out over time and see what kind of loss or return you’re likely to make.
Free online video poker can be found at many of the top casinos available to players in Canada. You can either play some games without signing up at several casinos.
Check out the links provided on this page, to get access to free video poker and test out some strategies for free.
Our experts are always very careful not to recommended that you bet too much. It’s vital that you set aside a specific bankroll and only stay within that. The purpose of betting should always be to have fun – you shouldn’t ever chase your losses.
With that being said, optimum video poker strategy dictates that you should always bet the maximum on each deal. Pay tables vary for different versions of video poker, but you’ll notice that the bonuses paid out for hands like a royal flush with the maximum bet are always much, much higher than those for lower wagers. It would almost be a travesty to hit a royal flush without the max bet in play!
Usually, bets are sized from one to five coins. The key is to bet five coins wherever possible, so you can move down to a lower stakes machine if that makes things easier.
Ignore your gut
In all versions of poker, it’s a risky strategy to choose your gut over straight logic. For example, in traditional poker, some players have a specific lucky hand, or get a lucky feeling on some deals, and commit to the hand more than they normally would. It’s a recipe for disaster.
This is the same in online video poker. Strategy should dictate your game, not emotions. Let’s say you’re dealt 4c-5c-6c-Kh-Kd. The logical play is to hold your kings and get rid of the other three. This guarantees you a small win with a pair of kings, and your hand may well improve.
However, some players will have a lucky feeling, and hold onto the 4c-5c-6c, disposing of the kings in the hope of hitting a straight or even a straight flush. This is extremely unlikely as you’ll need not one but two cards to complete the sequence. Instead, the best option is to play pragmatically. You can chase the big hands like straights and flushes, but only when it makes absolute sense to do so.