Video Poker Strategy
Sure it’s only one card, but what a difference a single card makes! Joker Poker with 53 cards in the deck, the different possibilities for winning hands are very appealing to slot players who enjoy video poker. When that Joker appears on the screen, it adds an immediate bonus.
The explosion in the popularity of video poker machines has understandably led to the development of games that use wild cards. The most popular of these games has to be the Joker Poker machine. It adds a 53 rd card to the deck for each hand. Since this gives the player more opportunities to draw winning hands, and making the game easier, the payout schedule is lower than ordinary video poker.
About 10 percent of the time the Joker will appear and you must be prepared to react to certain situations in a different manner then how you would react in an ordinary video poker game. The video poker strategy changes and the different situations in this game must be understood to take advantage of the higher payoffs.
Though there are many different types of Joker Poker machines – most only pay on two pair, others pay for Jacks, Kings, or Aces or better – and the pay tables vary, the strategies in the table below are useful in most situations.
The Joker can be used as a substitute for any other card, or used as a fifth imaginary card of any value (for instance, to complete a five of a kind). The machine will automatically compute the best hand when using the Joker. The only hand a joker cannot complete is a royal flush (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten of the same suit). If a joker is used to complete this hand it is paid off as a straight flush. In most versions of Joker Poker, the lowest payoff is two pair, unlike many video poker machines that pay off for Jack or Better.
There are some basic rules that apply only to Joker Poker. These guidelines are formulated by the unique situations and odds that exist by the addition of the only wild card.
A solid video poker strategy is to never draw more than three cards, regardless of the first five cards received. If you get a Joker in the first deal, always keep one additional card to start with a pair. If you don’t have a Joker, keep at least two cards of the same suit, this provides you with the beginnings of a flush. Drawing a royal flush is not possible when you get a Joker in the first five cards, so any flush will be paid off, at best, as a straight flush.
When you start with a Joker, you can’t finish with two pair. It’s simple.
With the Joker, partial straights are better than partial flushes. If you have a Seven, Eight, Nine, and Joker a Five, Six, Ten or Jack will make this hand payoff. This represents 16 possibilities. A four card flush with a Joker, only presents ten possibilities to complete that flush. Although the payoff for a straight is slightly less than for a flush, you will draw a straight more times than a flush.
It is not anymore difficult to win at Joker Poker than it is with an ordinary video poker machine. However, Joker Poker is much more complicated and therefore you must understand what the addition of the joker does to the probabilities. This very challenge makes Joker Poker more exciting.
The following rules are the correct basic video poker strategy to use when playing Joker Poker. Best hands are listed first.
When you are dealt the Joker:
When you are not dealt the Joker:
Another popular wild-card video poker game is Deuces Wild. This wild card game actually has four wild cards, it complicates the video poker strategy that is necessary to succeed at the machines.
Just as in other varieties of video poker, it’s important to note the pay table on Deuces Wild. But it’s not as easy as with Jack-or-better. Casino executives have discovered several different ways to alter the pay tables that will alter the payback percentage.
The pay table below is shows four examples of Deuces Wild games available today. The small variations in the pay table are the reason for the variation in payback percentage for expert play.
The object of the Deuces Wild, obviously, is to use the wild cards to get those valuable hands. But what does it mean when you start off the hand with Deuces?
Even in the highest paying version of Deuces Wild – at 100.6 percent – 66 percent of the time you will not receive a deuce, which means that 80 percent of your hands will lose. Another 14 percent will be the minimum three-of-a-kind winner, which is actually isn’t a winner but a push. So not receiving a deuce before the draw will result in a win only six percent of the time.
When you get one deuce in the initial hand (which only happens 30 percent of the time), 45 percent of your hands will lose, 38 percent will get the three-of-a-kind push, leaving only 17 percent that will actually win. Another 9 percent will be near-minimum winners as straights and flushes. When two deuces are dealt in the initial hand (which happens only 4% of the time) – you must take advantage of this hand, despite the fact that 70 percent of these hands will wind up being flushes or lower. About one in four will end up as four-of-a-kind, and one in 98 will wind up as five-of-a-kind.
The following video poker strategy is a little more complicated than other games. Some basic rules are not to play any machine that does not pay five-for-one for four-of-a-kind. And most important of all, even if you’ve got a shot at a natural royal, do not discard any Deuce!
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