How the Value of Draw Scenarios Increase in All American Video Poker

All American is one of those video poker games that really breaks the mold. Because the payouts for flushes and straights are so high (8x, the same as a full house), and because the payout for two pair is 1x instead of 2x, scenarios where you have to choose between a pair and a draw or a draw and a made hand can be pretty complicated and anti-intuitive. We have gathered some of the most important instructive examples to show you exactly what you need to know about playing the critical hands in this very atypical game.

Let’s start off with open-ended straight draws. In most forms of video poker, they area almost always worse than small pairs. Suppose you have 56788 in All American with no flushes or flush draws. Keeping your low pair here is the typical play to make, and it gives you an average payout of 0.70x. However, breaking that pair and going for the draw almost doubles your payout to the level of 1.36x. This is the first lesson: Open-ended straight draws are worth a lot more in this game.

Naturally we should move on to flush draws and compare them to high pairs. If you have a single high card in your draw, you’re still going to want to keep the draw. For example, if you have 246JJ with a flush draw, you can keep the pair or the draw. Keeping the pair gives you a 1.41x average win, but it bumps up a bit to 1.57x with the flush draw. Note that having more high cards in your flush draw would boost the value of the draw even higher over the value of a single pair, and that’s an important distinction.

Finally, let’s look at when you should break made hands. Generally speaking, you should only break a flush if you’re going for an open-ended straight flush draw. Gutshot straight flush draws aren’t typically strong enough to compete with the large 8x win that flushes get. With 679TJ as a straight flush, discarding the 6 only gives a 6.02x win (compared to the 8x you get for keeping your hand pat). On the other hand, breaking the straight flush 4567Q has a 10.55x win instead which is higher than the 8x you get for standing pat. The extra outs make a huge difference here.

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