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Math in Online Video Poker

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2021-03-27

Eddy Cheung

Video poker games are a staple in the online gaming scene. This game borrows heavily from the traditional five-card draw poker. However, instead of having individual players bet against each other, the hands are rewarded based on their rank. Ideally, video poker is based on this mathematical principle; the lower the probability of a hand occurring, the higher the payout.

Math in Online Video Poker

The game starts with players placing their wagers. After a player is done placing their bet, they are dealt with five cards. The player is then given the option to hold or discard all or keep some of the cards. If he or she opts to do away with some cards, he can then draw a fresh set of cards again. Payouts are made based on the quality of the hand and the bet.

Overview of Card Rankings

Here is an overview of five-card poker games starting with the highest ranked (lowest probability) to the lowest-ranked hand (highest chance):

  • The straight flush results when all cards are of the same suit and follow a numerical order such as 2,3,4,5,6, of aces
  • The Four of a kind results when a player has four of any number
  • Full house, three cards of one kind, and two of another kind
  • Flush results when all cards are of the same suit
  • Straight occurs when a player has cards following some numerical order, regardless of their suit
  • Three of a kind, as the name suggests, results when a player has three cards of the same kind
  • Two pairs results when a player has two sets of pairs
  • Pair, a hand with a single pair of cards
  • High card, when all cards are missing, the highest-ranked card is used to settle the draw.

How to Win at Video Poker

While wins are not guaranteed in online poker, just like with any other online casino game, players can always find ways of improving their chances of winning. There are various ways to go about employing a video poker strategy. Ideally, a strategy informs how a player plays with their hands to improve their chances of winning.

The first video poker strategy is to choose the right paytable, which involves doing some math. Players who play live poker online need to pay attention to the payback percentage offered to players. Each video poker variant offers multiple pay tables. It is the player’s responsibility to ensure they make optimal decisions.

During active gameplay, being strategic is essentially about having a list of prioritized potential hands. Players should be alive to the probabilities associated with different card ranks, which requires some math. For players who are after big wins, card combinations such as the straight flush might be ideal.

Playing video poker online is undoubtedly appealing in many ways. Players of all levels stand a real chance of getting decent payouts on each hand. All that is required is to understand how they can improve their chances of winning mathematically. By combining knowledge of pay tables and employing the best practices of playing each hand, having a strategy can considerably reduce the house edge to as low as 1%.

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AUTHOREddy Cheung

I remember the first time I saw Kai Tak, Hong Kong's gambling city, I thought I was in a fairy tale. All the lights blinking, the music and the monumental buildings, what 9-year-old wouldn’t think they’ve come to a magical place? It was my father who brought me, dragging me along and when inside I was hit by the smell of frying duck. As soon as I hit 21 I returned to Kai Tak, A bit nervous to see if my mind had embellished the memory, but it hadn’t. Kai Tak was still a magical place. I decided I wanted to spend as much time as I could at this place, so I did. For the next coming years I lived and breathed Kai Tak. Now I am married with kids, and they have become a part of my life too. That’s why I started exploring online casinos to create a better work-life balance and I couldn’t be happier!

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