How Do I Know When To Hold Or Discard Cards In Video Poker?

If you’re wondering, “How do I know when to hold or discard cards in Video Poker?” then you’ve come to the right place! Video Poker is an exciting casino game that requires strategy and decision-making. It’s all about making the right moves to increase your chances of winning big. In this article, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when deciding whether to keep or let go of your cards in Video Poker. So, let’s dive in and unravel the secrets behind this thrilling game!

When you play Video Poker, you’ll be dealt a hand of five cards. The goal is to create the best possible poker hand by choosing which cards to keep and which ones to discard. But here’s the catch – you only get one chance to exchange your unwanted cards. That’s where knowing when to hold or discard comes into play. Don’t worry, though, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. With a little knowledge and practice, you’ll soon become a pro at making the right decisions!

So, how do you determine which cards to hold and which ones to let go? Well, it all boils down to understanding the value of different card combinations, such as pairs, three-of-a-kind, and flushes. By analyzing the strength of your initial hand and comparing it to the potential of improving your hand, you’ll be able to make informed choices. But don’t worry if all these terms seem overwhelming at first – we’ll break them down step by step and give you handy tips along the way.

In the world of Video Poker, knowledge is power. The more you learn about the different hand rankings and the odds of improving those hands, the better equipped you’ll be to make smart decisions. So, grab your preferred beverage, get comfortable, and let’s embark on this exciting journey of mastering the art of holding and discarding cards in Video Poker! Get ready to elevate your gameplay and stack up those winnings in no time. Let’s get started, shall we?

How do I know when to hold or discard cards in Video Poker?

How Do I Know When to Hold or Discard Cards in Video Poker?

Video poker is a popular casino game where players aim to create the best possible poker hand using the cards they are dealt. One of the key strategies in video poker is knowing when to hold or discard certain cards to improve your chances of winning. In this article, we will explore the factors to consider and the strategies to employ when making these decisions. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, understanding when to hold or discard cards will greatly enhance your chances of success in video poker.

1. Understanding the Basics of Video Poker

Before diving into the intricacies of when to hold or discard cards, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the basics of video poker. Video poker is played using a standard 52-card deck, and the objective is to achieve the best hand possible. The game begins with the player receiving five cards. The player then has the option to keep or discard any number of cards in order to improve their hand. After the player makes their decisions, the discarded cards are replaced, and the final hand is evaluated.

When deciding which cards to hold or discard, it is important to have a clear understanding of the different poker hand rankings. The ranking from highest to lowest is as follows: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card. Familiarize yourself with these rankings to better assess the value of the cards you are dealt.

2. Assessing the Initial Hand

The first step in determining which cards to hold or discard is carefully assessing the initial hand you are dealt. Look for any potential winning combinations or cards that can be used to form strong hands. For example, if you are dealt a hand with three cards of the same suit, you have the potential to achieve a flush or even a straight flush if two consecutive cards are already present. Additionally, if you have a pair in your initial hand, you have the chance to form a three or four of a kind.

Consider the payout structure of the specific video poker game you are playing. Different games may have different payouts for certain hands, so it is essential to factor this into your decision-making process. Some games may offer higher payouts for hands like a Royal Flush, while others may give greater rewards for a Full House or Four of a Kind. Understanding the payout structure will help you prioritize which hands to aim for.

3. Calculating the Odds

After assessing your initial hand, the next step is to calculate the odds of improving your hand with the cards you choose to hold. This requires some knowledge of probability and basic poker strategy. For example, if you have four cards to a straight, you have a 1 in 47 (2.13%) chance of completing the straight with the replacement card. Similarly, if you have four cards of the same suit, you have a 1 in 5 (20%) chance of completing a flush.

It is important to note that the odds of improving your hand vary depending on the initial cards you are dealt and the specific video poker variant you are playing. Understanding the odds will help you make informed decisions when deciding which cards to hold or discard.

4. Employing Optimal Video Poker Strategies

To maximize your chances of winning in video poker, it is crucial to employ optimal strategies when deciding which cards to hold or discard. One popular strategy is the “Jacks or Better” strategy, which focuses on keeping any hand that has a pair of Jacks or higher. This strategy ensures that you have a higher chance of forming winning combinations and achieving payouts.

Another strategy is the “Deuces Wild” strategy, which takes into account the presence of wild cards (typically the twos), which can substitute for any other card. In this strategy, the focus is on holding cards that give you the best chance of forming strong hands, such as four cards to a straight flush or four cards to a Royal Flush.

5. Practice, Patience, and Persistence

As with any skill, becoming proficient at knowing when to hold or discard cards in video poker requires practice, patience, and persistence. Familiarize yourself with different video poker variants and their specific rules, as each variant may have unique strategies to employ. Take advantage of free online video poker games to practice and refine your skills without risking any money.

Observe and learn from experienced players. They may have valuable insights and strategies to share. Additionally, keep track of your gameplay, noting the decisions you made and the outcomes. This will help you identify patterns and areas for improvement.

Remember, video poker is a game of skill, and making informed decisions when it comes to holding or discarding cards can greatly increase your chances of winning. By understanding the basics, assessing your initial hand, calculating the odds, employing optimal strategies, and practicing consistently, you will develop the expertise to confidently make the right decisions in video poker. So, brush up on your poker skills and get ready to take the casino by storm!

Key Takeaways: How to Decide Whether to Hold or Discard Cards in Video Poker

  • Pay attention to the paytable and understand the different winning combinations.
  • Hold onto cards that contribute to potential winning hands, such as pairs or high-value cards.
  • Discard cards that don’t improve your hand or contribute to potential winning combinations.
  • Consider the probability of getting better cards when deciding which ones to discard.
  • Use basic strategy charts or guides to learn the optimal decisions for different video poker variations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you unsure of when to hold or discard cards in Video Poker? Look no further! We have answers to some common questions that can help guide your decision-making process. Check them out below:

1. What factors should I consider when deciding which cards to hold in Video Poker?

When deciding which cards to hold in Video Poker, there are a few key factors to consider. The first is the initial hand you are dealt. Evaluate if you have a winning combination already, such as a pair or a high-ranking hand. Additionally, assess the potential of your current hand by looking at the cards you have and the ones you need to complete a winning combination. Finally, take into account the paytable of the specific Video Poker game you are playing, as this will indicate the payouts for various hands and help you determine which cards are worth keeping.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about which cards to hold in Video Poker and increase your chances of landing a winning hand.

2. Should I always hold onto high-ranking cards in Video Poker?

While high-ranking cards like Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks carry value in Video Poker, they should not always be held onto automatically. The decision to hold or discard these cards depends on the context of your entire hand and the potential of improving it. If you have a pair of high-ranking cards, it may be favorable to keep them. However, if you have a mix of high and low-ranking cards that don’t create a winning combination, it might be more strategic to discard the high-ranking cards and try for a better hand.

Remember, Video Poker is about optimizing your hand to achieve the highest possible payout, so keeping or discarding high-ranking cards should be based on the overall potential of your hand.

3. Is it ever a good idea to discard all cards in Video Poker?

Discarding all cards in Video Poker, also known as a “draw,” is a strategy sometimes employed in specific situations. One such situation is when you have no matching cards and no high-ranking cards in your initial hand. In this case, discarding all cards gives you a chance at getting a brand new hand and potentially landing a winning combination.

However, discarding all cards should be approached with caution, as it involves starting from scratch. It’s essential to assess the probabilities of getting a favorable hand and consider the potential risks and rewards before choosing this strategy.

4. Can intuition play a role in deciding which cards to hold in Video Poker?

Intuition can certainly play a role in deciding which cards to hold in Video Poker, but it should not be relied upon solely. While gut feelings and hunches can sometimes lead to successful decisions, it’s important to have a rational approach based on the odds and probabilities of the game. Trusting your instinct can be a part of the decision-making process, but always consider the factors we mentioned earlier: your initial hand, the potential of improving it, and the paytable of the game you are playing.

By combining both intuition and a strategic analysis of the game, you can make more informed decisions and increase your chances of success in Video Poker.

5. Are there any common mistakes to avoid when deciding which cards to hold in Video Poker?

Yes, there are a few common mistakes to avoid when deciding which cards to hold in Video Poker. One of the most significant mistakes is falling into a repetitive pattern of holding the same cards, even if they are not contributing to a winning combination. Another common mistake is only chasing after high-ranking cards without considering the overall potential of the hand. Remember, in Video Poker, the goal is to create the highest-value hand.

Additionally, it’s essential to pay attention to the paytable and understand the payouts for different hand combinations. Not assessing the paytable properly can lead to holding or discarding cards that may not align with the payout structure, ultimately leading to missed opportunities for higher payouts.

How to Play 10 Common Video Poker Hands the RIGHT Way!


Knowing when to keep or throw away cards in video poker is crucial for success.

First, understand the basic strategy chart which shows the optimal decisions for every hand.

Second, look for the highest-ranked possibility in the chart and keep those cards.

Third, check your current hand and compare it to the chart to decide what to do.

Finally, remember to practice and make smart choices to improve your video poker skills.

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