Learn a Basic Video Poker Strategy

While basic video poker is easy to learn, it is certainly difficult for many players to master. The mechanics themselves are simple and most players understand the pay scale -- meaning that they understand that a Full House will pay out much more than a pair. However, what many players do not understand is that there is a very basic strategy that should be applied to video poker games in order to win more often and extend the lives of their bankrolls in general. It is also important that while most of the game of video poker is luck, the choices the player makes can have a huge impact on payouts.

First and foremost, players should understand that video poker is based upon a series of mathematical principles that dictate the odds of getting a certain hand. Though this can fluctuate somewhat based upon the variation of the game and the number of cards in the deck, it will always be true for instance, that the odds of obtaining a Royal Flush are worse than the odds of obtaining a three of a kind. Therefore, players should always focus on creating the hands that they are more likely to receive.

As an example, imagine that a player has received an A-K-Q of Hearts, a nine of Clubs and an Ace of Diamonds. While the player may choose to hold the A-K-Q of Hearts and the nine of Clubs in order to attempt to finish out a straight, the player must consider the odds of doing so. The player would be better off in holding both the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Diamonds in an effort to obtain a three of a kind. Although the payout is smaller, the odds of finding another Ace when exchanging three cards are much better than the odds of finding a 10 when exchanging only one card.

It is situations like the one above that absolutely demand a video poker strategy. New players would likely attempt to complete the straight just because the payout potential is higher. However, when the odds of actually completing that straight are discovered and understood, going for the three of a kind just makes more sense. After all, even if the third Ace doesn't come, the player will still break even on his or her wager with the pair. In going for the straight, the wager would have been lost unless the 10 appeared.

In order to play the game and extend their bankrolls effectively, players must learn and implement a basic video poker strategy. There are charts and information available online that can help the player learn the odds in games like Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Aces and Eights, Joker Poker and any other video poker variant in the world. Without the use of such a strategy, players cannot hope to win very often--but they can rest assured that they will spend through their bankrolls more quickly than is necessary.