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Video Poker Strategy
The only game that can be favored to the player in the casino is Video Poker. The only way to actually get the edge out of the house's favor and into your own is to play with optimal strategy on the right machine. Michael Shackelford, better known as the wizard of odds, has formulated a number of video poker strategy instruction pages. From his repertoire we borrow two methods that you can use to learn how to play and up the return percentage of specific video poker machines. One explains a straightforward and easy to try method for approaching full pay jacks or better video poker, which when used properly can up the return percentage to over 99%. The second strategy is a little more in-depth. It represents an ideal strategy for full pay deuces wild video poker. It has been worked out mathematically by the wizard of odds, and will average a return of 100.77%. This of course means the game has a player edge of 0.77%.

Always keep in mind that a million factors contribute to a player's ability to utilize a strategy perfectly. Anything from fatigue to casino distractions to your own bad memory can make you miss a hold or play something imperfectly. Don't get too encumbered by the 'perfectness' of a video poker strategy. Most strategies are written to compromise a bit of accuracy for added usability. This is another reason I have chosen to feature the strategies from the wizard; I feel there is a good balance between ease of understanding, and quality strategy.

Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy
The following describes the wizard of odds' "simple strategy" for Jacks or Better video poker. Using the strategy on a full pay machine will result in an expected return of 99.46%. Compared to the optimal strategy return of 99.54%, mistakes in the simple strategy will cost 0.08%, or one total bet every 1178 hands.

To use this video poker strategy on our free game, look up all viable ways to play an initial hand on the following list, and then elect that which is highest on the list. A "high card" means a jack or higher.

· Full house or better
· 4 to a royal flush
· Straight, three of a kind, or flush
· 4 to a straight flush
· Two pair
· High pair
· 3 to a royal flush
· 4 to a flush
· Low pair
· 4 to an outside straight
· 2 suited high cards
· 3 to a straight flush
· 2 unsuited high cards (if more than 2 pick then pick lowest 2)
· Suited 10/J, 10/Q, or 10/K
· One high card
· Discard everything

High card: A jack, queen, king, or ace. These cards are retained more often because if paired up they return the original bet.
Outside straight: An open ended straight that can be completed at either end, such as the cards 7,8,9,10.
Inside straight: A straight with a missing inside card, such as the cards 6,7,9,10. In addition A,2,3,4 and J,Q,K,A also count as inside straights because they are at an extreme end.

Example: Suppose you run across the following hand while playing:
The top three plays are (1) keep the low pair, (2) keep the 4 to a flush, and (3) keep the 2 suited high cards. The 4 to a flush is listed highest and is thus the best play, so discard the 3 of hearts.

This video poker strategy is altered to be easier to use. For a more advanced Jacks or Better strategy with a slightly higher return percentage achieved, check the wizard of odds video poker section.

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