Video Poker Plays That Intermediate Players Frequently Botch
When players first start out with video poker, they have to develop a basic set of skills to make it up to the intermediate level. However, proceeding from the intermediate level is a lot more difficult because there’s a lot more to learn. We want to give you some opportunities to learn here by looking at plays the intermediate players frequently mess up on. These involve some tricky scenarios where there are multiple good ways to play you rhand, but intermediate players tend to pick the wrong way on a consistent basis.
To start off, let’s look at the hand AhJhTh6hTc. The intermediate player would immediately look and tell you that their main choices are between playing the pair of tens or playing the flush draw. They would correctly tell you that you should play with the flush draw in almost every form of video poker, but that you’d prefer to play the tens in something like Tens or Better where they get their own payout. The intermediate player knows that flush draws are typically better than low pairs but typically worse than high pairs that have their own 1x payout.
While most of this analysis is well and good, the intermediate player misses something huge at the very beginning of the hand. The correct play in most forms of video poker is to actually keep AhJhTh for a three-card royal draw. This is stronger than the four-card regular flush draw, and it’s definitely stronger than keeping a low pair. A high pair would still be the correct way to go if you had something like AcAhJhTh6h instead, but that’s not the case in this particular hand. In this situation, the intermediate player misses the forest for the trees, you could say.
In general, the intermediate player will also not be familiar with the common exceptions to the rules they have learned. For example, what if you have the hand ThTcJdQsKs in Jacks or Better? The rule they learn is that a low pair is better than an open-ended straight draw in this game. However, there is a single exception, and that’s when you have the exact hand KQJTT with no flush draw. In this scenario, you should actually play the KQJT instead of the TT because the high card power gives you extra chances to catch 1x payouts when you play with this particular draw.
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