How to Prepare for Wild Card Video Poker Games

Published: January 16, 2014

Most people who are even vaguely familiar with video poker will know about Deuces Wild. Deuces Wild is one of the two most basic types of video poker (Jacks or Better being the other), and it's the wild card game that all other wild card games are usually based on. What this means is that if you want to prepare for playing video poker games that use wild cards, then you should look at Deuces Wild and the lessons that it teaches you. What follows is a primer on these lessons.

The first thing that you learn quickly is that almost all of your hands will be played with zero or one wild card. These are the two main groups of hands, and they play completely differently. Hands tend to be worth a lot more when you have wild cards, and they help draws more than they help pair-type hands, so it's worth keeping in mind. Playing with no deuces is pretty straight-forward, but you'll just have to remember that all single-pair hands are equal in value and that two pair hands are useless and should be broken to draw three cards.

One major thing you have to learn in wild card games is how the different straight flush draws work. If you have 2987x with the 987 in spades, that's much more valuable than 2986x with the 986 in spades. The reason is that the 2 can act as a ten or a six in the first hand while it will only be able to act as a seven in the second hand (unless you draw a seven specifically). This makes it much easier to hit big hands with the first hand than the last. A four-card straight flush draw like 2987x is stronger than made flushes or straights. However, a four-card straight flush draw like 2986x is weaker.

From these basic principles, you'll need to adapt based on the information you have available. If you're playing a progressive game, for example, the hand that makes the progressive can be much more valuable than usual, and you'll have to adjust your strategies to compensate. You'll also need to look out for special rules like special payouts for certain four-of-a-kind combinations. These will usually drastically affect which pair you drop when you're dealt a two-pair hand, so it's worth paying attention to.