If you are a Video Poker Player, the Truth is…
That you should learn to play Jacks or Better perfectly and stick with it unless you have a really good reason to play something else. If you habitually play games with lower pay tables, when full pay Jacks or Better is available, you are paying a premium for the experience and most likely you will be a long term loser.
If you play on a regular basis you should be aware of the odds you are getting, so you can make the most from them. Just as I would advise a full pay Jacks or Better player, to play machines with the highest comp rate (usually in multi-game terminals that also include poor pay tables) if you’re playing sub-optimal games, don’t play on machines that are the opposite; ones which also have full pay schedules, where the comp rate could be lower. (Or just play the full pay games!)
Are you disappointed with your results?
Of course it’s possible to go a very long time, getting paid back above theoretical expectation. Maybe you only play a small set amount and only continue to play if you’re winning. Maybe you sock away bumped up jackpots. And yes, there are going to be the luckiest people in the world, but most of those who “poo-poo” the effect of knowledge and skill on return are going to be losers; losers that could win more often, if they made some adjustments.
This post is for video poker players who are disappointed with their results. If you are wealthy and the thrill you get from winging it, is worth your losses, then good for you. I’m all for doing what you want to do with your leisure time. That is your prerogative. But, if you’d like to have a better chance of winning and are willing to exert a little bit of extra effort, you should be able to improve your results. (Unfortunately, you do still have to deal with the normal swings of gambling.)
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better is the basic video poker game that all other non-wild card games are built on. Even if you only play wild card games (which are difficult to find in full pay versions) knowing Jacks or Better strategy thoroughly, will give you insight into other games and allow you to make calculated strategy adjustments.
If you choose to play a video poker game with a lesser payback than Jacks or Better, at least learn the strategy for that particular game with that particular pay table. But, it will be easier to consciously play other games, if you know JOB in and out and the reasons for certain holds. The holds are not always intuitive and some general rules apply between games.
An Extra Bonus
An extra bonus of knowing Jacks or Better well is that you can use the same strategy to play Bonus Poker (and be on your way to learn Bonus Poker perfectly, if you choose) and you can play full pay Double Bonus with a JOB strategy and get roughly the same return as Jacks or Better.
Be sure to share your video poker experiences in the comments below.