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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Video Poker Strategy

22 August 2020

There are four factors to be considered when choosing a video poker game to play – game availability, return, variance, and playing strategy complexity.

Almost all video poker players have a decent sense of the proper playing strategy for a majority of hands dealt. They know to keep a paying hand if there is nothing else in the hand. But what if there is more than one possible paying hand resulting from the dealt hand?

My wife has perhaps the best “gut feel” for the proper holds on such hands. She doesn’t bother with practice. She doesn’t bother referring to a strategy card while playing.

I regularly practice playing strategy for our chosen game and even will refer to a strategy card while playing when confronted with a close hold decision.

We often play video poker side by side. As a test, I will often ask her what she would save on one of these close hands. She is right better than 95 percent of the time. Most “gut feel” players are nowhere near as accurate.

Proper playing strategy is extremely important if a player is to succeed in playing video poker. Every time the hold does not provide the largest return over time, the casino gets a little bit more of an advantage over the player.

When deciding the best game to play, the complexity of the playing strategy factors into the choice. The number of lines in a playing strategy varies immensely depending on the game type and pay table.

For those readers who do not know what a strategy chart is, here is a description. A strategy chart is a list of hands or partial hands listed starting with the highest average return and followed by hands or partial hands having a successively lower average return.

The player starts at the top line. If the line describes the dealt hand, save the designated cards. If not, check the next lower line in the chart against the dealt hand and continue until the end of the chart is reached. If none of the lines describe the dealt hand, do not save any cards.

Strategy charts contain from about 20 lines for the simplest strategies to more than 50 lines. In order to make the most out of video poker play, you must play perfect strategy. The more lines in the strategy chart, the less likely the strategy will be properly played. Misplaying the strategy can cost the player half a percent in return – or even more.

Even though a game with a slightly higher return may be available, you must make sure you can handle the strategy for that game. If not, you might as well play the slightly lower return game.

The goal of most video poker players is to win as much as possible; or more realistically in today’s casino environment, lose as little as possible. That goal gets harder to achieve with a complex playing strategy.

To be as successful as possible playing video poker make sure you pick a high return game, have a large enough bankroll to handle the variance of that game, and make sure you can follow the playing strategy perfectly.

Few video poker players follow that advice. Sure, it is work. Isn’t it work a little work to increase the results of your video poker play?

May all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com