Video Poker Accuracy and Quantifying Common Mistakes

In video poker, accuracy is the name of the game. You have 32 different ways to play your discards, and you can normally narrow that down to anywhere from two to four possible ways to play your hand that make sense. From there, accuracy is all about picking the side that’s correct more often than you don’t. While not all mistakes are as serious as others, any lack of accuracy hurts your average payout rate in the long-run. We want to help you to see how to quantify certain mistakes so that you can see what that affect really is.

Jacks or Better is a really good game to use for this type of analysis because it’s very straight-forward in terms of what the right strategies are. Let’s start with the hand QJT99 with no flush draw. Right off the bat, you see that the two possible ways of playing this hand are to go with the small pair of 99 or to go with the open-ended straight flush draw along with two high cards with QJT9. On average, keeping the small pair will give you a payout of 0.824x while going with the draw will give you 0.809x. This is a difference of 0.015x or 1.5 percent of your bet size that you will lose on average by making the wrong play there.

Here’s another fun one: AdJdTd5d5c. The two ways that most people see this going are playing with the flush draw or the small pair. The flush draw gives you 1.278x on average while the small pair gives you 0.824x as we saw above. However, the right play is actually to keep the three cards to a royal with the AJT combination because it gives you a slightly higher payout of 1.287x. That’s a difference of 0.009x or 0.9 percent of the size of your bet. It’s a small mistake, but accuracy is the name of the game.

As you can see from these situations, even what can seem like small mistakes will seriously add up over time. In a game where you’re looking at a house advantage of less than one percent with correct play, a mistake worth 0.9 percent of your bet size is a pretty big deal. Overall, following the right strategies will give you a high level of accuracy and the best payouts available in these games.

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