The Give and Take Nature of Non-Wild Card Video Poker Games

Published: March 20, 2014

If you're familiar with the 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker payout table, then you'll know that there are very standardized payouts for all of the hands that you can get. You're probably also familiar with the fact that most non-wild card video poker games are based on Jacks or Better in one way or another. There's a general formula that's followed for most of these titles, and it will help you to understand what this formula is like and how it applies to your game when you're looking to play these games well.

The first thing that makes a game stand out is that it will have bonus payouts for certain types of hands. The most popular games like Aces and Faces have special payouts for certain combinations of four of a kind. This adds value to the overall paytable. To keep the players from having an advantage, value has to be taken out somewhere else to compensate for this. Most of the time, that value is taken from some of the lower payouts for hands like a full house and a flush. To this end, a 9/6 game might become a 8/5 game or worse even though the optimal payout rate stays about the same.

There are a few effects that this has on the game. First off, it changes strategy a bit. The value of full houses changing doesn't really change your strategy much, but the changes to the value of flushes will. The most difficult flush draws to play are the ones where you have other reasonable ways to play the hand as well, for example when you have a pair to go with your draw, and lowering the value of flushes makes these plays more difficult. In fact, the cards that actually make up your flush draw become pretty important to the decision instead of it being a black or white issue.

Generally speaking, the value of draws will go down a little while the draws of individual pairs will go up a little because of the increased payouts for four of a kind. However, this is often countered a bit by the decreased payouts for a full house, so it mostly becomes a wash. As far as your strategies are concerned, the payout rates will take care of themselves as long as you realize where you need to adjust.