Jazbo's Video Poker Strategy Cards
General Information

Copyright 1996-1999, Jazbo Enterprises
Last changed 4/30/99

New! I've just started offering a small number of video poker products by other authors: Video Poker-Optimum Play, Bob Dancer Presents WinPoker, and Video Poker Strategy Master. I think each of these products is the "Best of Breed" and well worth your considertaion. More information about them can be found on my description page.

I now have over a dozen varieties of video poker strategy cards, now including Deuces Wild and Double Jokers. Descriptions of the different game can be found following this link. There is also a separate order page that you can keep open while you refer to the individual descriptions.

General Information

My specially formatted, laminated strategy cards provide a way to quickly and easily play "best basic" video poker strategy. Here's an example of what part of one looks like:

The unique, four-column format neatly organizes the information you need for quick and accurate decisions. It's easy to see from the example above that on Full-pay Jacks or Better, you should hold KQJ9s, breaking up a pair of Kings, but hold the Kings if you have a pair of Kings and three to a Royal. The pay table is given prominently at the top, so you can be sure it applies to the machine you are playing, and the expected return (from this actual strategy--not some computer-optimal-but-unplayable strategy) is clearly stated.

Best Basic Strategies

It's actually not too hard to find an optimal strategy with a computer  for each possible hand, you just figure the expected value for each possible way of discarding and choose the best. However, describing an optimal strategy would take a lot of space and would not really be playable by most people. A more reasonable approach is to consider a ranking of "holds," the cards you hold and draw to. For example, for a particular game, we might rank JTs (the "s" means suited and "T" means 10) above KJ. That would imply that we should hold JcTc instead of KhJc in the hand KhJcTc3d2d.

A "basic" strategy is one that ranks holdings, but does not take discards into account. A discard that negatively affects the value of the cards held is called a "penalty card". My "best basic" strategies are designed to be as good as reasonably possible without using penalty card rules. All of my non-wild card strategies with 0.01% of optimal without the need of any penalty rules. Strategies for wild card games often cannot reach this high standard without the use of penalty cards, but I try to keep penalty rules to a bare minimum.

Pay Tables

For Video Poker games, the expectation of a given machine is determined by the "pay table," which indicates the payoffs for different final hands. To make sure you know which game I am giving strategies for, I indicate the pay table by a sequence of integers such as: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 25, 50, 800. This give the pay offs for hands from a big pair (Jacks) up through a royal flush, as follows:
1 Pair of Jacks or Better
2 Two Pair
3 Three of a Kind (Trips)
4 Straight
6 Flush
9 Full House
25 Four of a Kind (Quads)
50 Straight Flush
800 Royal Flush

The pay offs are given in terms of units bet. Normally, to get the full value, you must bet five coins, so a unit is $1.25 on a quarter machine or $5 on a dollar machine. A frequent variation on the pay table is to pay different amounts for different quads. In this case, I give the quad pay offs as a sequence in square brackets like: "[80,50,160]". For all games I am currently offering, the values are for Quads 2-4, Quads 5-K and Quad Aces, respectively.

Comments and questions are welcome. Suggest other VP games you'd like to see, but be warned that it takes quite a while to develop a good strategy and come up with a great format to display it. Just send email to Jazbo.