Maximizing Your Payouts With Exceptions to Video Poker Rules

Added: December 9, 2014

The process of learning to play video poker on a high level is tricky at best. You start off by learning which types of hands are good, and then you move from there to learning general rules about how to play common starting hands. Then once you start getting used to these rules, you start learning that there are a lot of exceptions to them. We want to help you to maximize your payouts by learning which exceptions matter and which rarely come up or cause a very small change in your payouts.

Understand this: The game of video poker is all about picking the best combination of cards for the discard round. You'll have 32 ways to play any particular video poker hand, and you have to try to get as close to picking the best option as often as you can to maximize your payout rate. The general rules we learn help us to make decisions when we have more than one way to play a certain type of hand. For example, you'll often see that open-ended straight draws aren't as strong as low pairs in most games.

However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. The most well-known exception is probably found in Jacks or Better where you can keep the draw with KQJTT if there's no flush draw instead of going with the pair of tens. The lesser-known exceptions are often the ones that come up the most often, however, because it's going to be fairly rare for you to be dealt exactly KQJTT which is interesting in itself because that's the only case in that particular game where you'll play an open-ended straight draw over any type of pair at all.

All American video poker is a good example of a game where a lot of the rules are out the window. Both flushes and straights are given a large 8x payout in this game while two pair is given a payout of just 1x. This means that single pairs that improve to two pair don't get a better prize, but draws are given really large payouts compared to usual. This means that draws are better than even high pairs in this game, and if you aren't aware of that, then you'll end up with a really bad payout rate when you play.

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