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Types of Video Poker Games

The following is taken from Power Video Poker, 
the Only Video Poker Book You'll Ever Need!

There are three broad types of video poker games.

The first video poker "family" uses 52 cards and pays on a high pair of Jacks or Better.  We have already discussed this version of the game in our earlier examples.  There are many versions of this game with the payouts varying slightly with each version. 

We are going to concentrate on learning two versions of Jacks or Better well.  The first version called 9-6 Jacks or Better, is one of the most common versions of video poker in Nevada.  Variations of this game, with reduced payouts on the Full House and Flush, variously called 8-5 Jacks or Better or 6-5 Jacks or Better, can be found around the world.  While we prefer the 9-6 version, we will find that we can profitably play on the other versions.

Another version of Jacks or Better video poker that we will cover in some detail is called 10-7 Double Bonus Poker.  This version of video poker pays 10 for a Full House and 7 for a Flush as well as offering bonuses for different combinations of Four of a Kind.

These are the only versions of video poker not offering wild cards that we will discuss.  In the earlier days of video poker, there were many more versions of video poker without wild cards.  Some versions didn't offer payoffs on any pairs, with the lowest paying hand starting at Two Pairs.  Others paid for high pairs, but paid on Ten or Better.  Nearly everywhere video poker is offered has a version paying on High Pairs of Jacks or Better, and we will limit our analysis of how to play and beat the non wild card games to the 9-6 Jacks or Better and the 10-7 Double Bonus versions of the game.

The second video poker family uses 53 cards with a Joker added to the deck.  Five years ago there were dozens of this version of video poker being offered.  Because it was possible for players to beat some versions of the game, there are many fewer Jokers Wild games offered today.  We will concentrate on learning about two beatable versions of the game.

Our final video poker category is played with a 52-card deck and counts all deuces (Twos) as wild cards.  This version is quite popular and is also beatable.  We will concentrate on learning a version of the game whose lowest paying hand is Three of a Kind.

I want to clarify where we are going with our analysis of these selected versions of video poker.  We are going to offer two levels of play for each of the games chosen.

For the long-term or professional level of play, only versions of video poker where the player can gain a mathematical edge over the game will be analyzed in detail.  An exact playing strategy must be learned for each version of the game, and a long-term player will only play a beatable version of the game.  Looking at the Jacks or Better family of video poker, we will present the exact long-term playing strategies for two versions of the game that are beatable over the long run.  These are the versions of the game you must look for if you plan on playing video poker as a long-term strategy.

Unfortunately, the best long-term versions of video poker are not as readily available as we might like.  For example, you may not be able to find many 9-6 Jacks or Better machines anywhere but in the state of Nevada.  This does not mean that you will not be able to play video poker profitably.  But I want to point out that the relative rarity of some machines will restrict the number of persons who will chose to become long-term players.

If I were presenting this as a "good news, bad news" story, I might say that "the bad news is that the number of machines offering theoretical paybacks of over 100% is very limited, and you may not be able to find one.  However, the good news is that if you chose to concentrate on short term play, you will not need to find one of these machines in order to win."

We are going to take a look at two categories of play, long-term or professional play and short-term or weekend play.  The long-term play will have very detailed strategies presented for a limited number of versions of video poker.  My reasoning here is that the only successful long-term players I know limit their play to these machines, using these proven strategies, and there is no reason to analyze inferior versions of the game on a long-term play basis, as it makes no sense to play these machines if you are a long-term professional player.

Fortunately, the short-term weekend playing strategies are more flexible.  You will be able to play on just about any version of poker paying on Jacks or Better or offering Jokers or Deuces Wild and be successful.  The playing strategies are much simpler because you don't need the degree of refinement used for professional play for weekend play.

Probably 98% of the people who read this book will opt to use the short-term playing strategies.  That is why I will spend more time on these strategies.  Nearly every video poker analysis I have seen only allows for long-term play, while hardly anyone wants to spend thirty or forty hours every week playing video poker.  That is why we will spend more time discussing short-term strategies and much less time on long-term play.

I do recommend that you read the section of this book called Professional Video Poker Play.   Even though you have probably already decided that you are a Week-End player, you will find the analysis of the different versions of the video poker games helpful in understanding how to be a successful short-term player.

 

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