Remove the Confusion of Strategy Cards

Video Poker Strategy Cards Part 2 – How To Read Them, How To Use Them

Video poker is mostly a skill game. Each decision you make changes the “house edge.” Here’s Remove the Confusion of Strategy Cards.

This is Part 2 in a three-part series on Strategy Cards. Here is Part 1 if you haven’t read it. Related Post – Video Poker Strategy Cards? Part 1

KISS ( Keep It’s Strategy Simple)

The total number of possible combinations on the deal is 2,598,960 using a standard 52-card deck, and each has a single best way to be played. The exact math is complicated, but the best play can be proven mathematically. The great news is that you don’t have to do any math using strategy cards.

Yes, you can use strategy cards to lower the house edge and improve your odds of winning. The easiest way is to use the most uncomplicated strategy card I know. Here’s a Strategy Card that will Remove the Confusion of Strategy Cards for the recreational video poker player:

The Recreational Strategy Card
TWO PAIR or higher paying combinations,
except to:
break a  FLUSH or STRAIGHT or
for a 4-card royal flush
Any 4-card straight flush
3-card royal flush
4-card flush
That’s right. Thanks to Harry Tamburin, this simple little helper will answer most of your questions concerning which cards to hold.

Take a look at the following dealt hand:

Removing the Confusion of Strategy Cards

Mr. Tamburin writes about using the 5-line strategy card above, “If you start at the top of the table and go down, you’ll find the 3-card royal flush on line 4, and the four-card flush on line 5. The 3-card royal flush is higher to the top of the table than the 4-card flush. Therefore, the correct way to play the hand is to hold the 3-card royal flush. Pretty simple, huh?”

How To Read Strategy Cards

Poker Hand Rankings

First, since playing video “poker,” you must know the hierarchy of paying hands.

Removing the Confusion of Strategy Cards

Next, you need to have a strategy card in front of you. So, refer to the following card to understand this section entirely. We will be using a strategy for 9/6 Jacks or Better. (The “9” refers to the Full House payout, and the “6” refers to the Flush payout.)

Simple 9/6 Jacks or Better Strategy

Removing the Confusion of Strategy Cards

Sometimes, strategy charts won’t match. Usually, an advanced chart that produces a 99.54% return will be more complicated and might include penalty card implications than a more straightforward strategy chart that produces a 99.46% payback and

By the way, if you want the fastest way to memorize the correct strategy, remember – you will be using a strategy card while you play! So, there’s no pressure to memorize when using the strategy card.

Understanding the Code

Here are a few abbreviations to help you read the card and Remove the Confusion of Strategy Cards. Remember you must know the Poker Hand Rankings first:

  • Numbers and letters represent the playing cards.
    • 2 through 9 equal the numbered playing cards
    • J=Jack, Q=Queen, K=King, and A=Ace
  • An open (ended) straight – three or four cards in order without any gaps. (Ex – 2,3,4,5, or 9,10, J, Q)
  • An inside straight – four cards of a poker hand that will make a straight if a card of one particular rank is added. (Ex – 9,8,6,5 – considered “one gap”)
  • High Pair – two Aces, Kings, Queens, or Jacks
  • Suited – Same suits (hearts, clubs, diamonds, or spades)
  • Unsuited – Different suits (hearts, clubs, diamonds, or spades)
  • Gap – a space between sequential cards. (Ex – 6,7,9,10 has one gap where the eight would be; 3,5,6,8 has two gaps where the 4 & 7 would be.

Answers to Practice Examples: 1) Hold the pair of Aces; 2) Hold the pair of 7’s; 3) Hold the Pair of 5’s; 4) Hold the QJ

How To Use Them

It’s easy once you know how to do it. You look at your cards and read the strategy chart from top to bottom. As soon as you find a hand that matches yours, you stop. Then, keep the cards listed at that point and discard the rest. Here’s an example:

Removing the Confusion of Strategy Cards

You are dealt the Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Clubs, seven of Hearts, five of Hearts, and Four of Hearts. Now, start reading down from the top of the strategy chart, and the first hand that matches yours is a high pair because you have a pair of Jacks. You discard the seven, five, and four and draw three new cards.

Your hand appears in two other places on the chart, but you ignore them because the only result you’re interested in is the highest-listed one that matches your hand. Your hand also has three cards to a straight flush.

SummaryWhy Do Strategy Cards Work in Video Poker?

Using a video poker strategy card is easy and the best way to keep the house edge as low as possible. It only takes a second or two to check your card to ensure you make the most profitable play.

Once you start using a strategy card, knowing the best play for most hands won’t take long. Eventually, you will have the entire strategy memorized and won’t have to use your card again. But until then, there’s no shame in using a strategy card.

Three Practice Examples – Check Your Understanding

Figure out which cards to hold using the Simple 9/6 Jacks or Better Strategy Card above. The answers are above in the Understanding the Code section.

  1. Easy

2. Medium

3. Medium

4. Difficult

How’d you do? Go up to Answers to Practice Examples above.