The Fundamentals of Playing High-Card Hands in Video Poker
In most video poker games, you’re going to run into high-card hands that aren’t clear how to play about half the time. Unfortunately, most players shy away from learning how to play these hands well because they’re relatively boring and don’t normally turn into any kind of notable win. However, learning to make the most of these poor hands can save you a ton over the long run which means more opportunities to start off with those big hands that you love. That’s why you need to learn the following fundamentals of playing high-card hands.
For the purposes of these ideas, high cards will be cards that get paid for making a single pair. So if you have two suited high cards, that’s going to be stronger than three to a straight flush. However, three to a straight flush is better than two offsuit high cards. What’s important to note is that having three offsuit high cards is not an advantage, and you’ll actually want to discard the highest of them while keeping the lower two if you run into this type of situation. This is one of the things that throws off a lot of new players.
What’s important to note at this point is that most people know that you should keep a single high card if you have it instead of just discarding all five of your cards. However, there are some situations where you’ll play a different combination of cards even if you only have one high card in your hand. If you have a suited combination of K-T, Q-T or J-T, it’s better to play this than the king, queen or jack, respectively, by itself. The reason for this is that the added value for the draws more than compensates for the lost value from having one extra chance to catch your high pair.
Everything in these hands is all about knowing what type of hand you have and what your options are for playing it. For example, if you have AcQsJh4h3d, you need to know that keeping the AQJ combination isn’t as good as going with the QJ combination. This is one of the most anti-intuitive things about these spots other than the issue that comes up from the K-T, Q-T and J-T suited combinations being stronger than the single high card hands themselves.
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