The Math Behind Video Poker Games

Poker Games

Mathematics heavily influences video poker games. While most players don’t care to know exactly how they work, knowing the math behind it can help improve your odds. Let’s look at the math behind video poker games and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

House Edge

All casino games operate on the concept of the house edge, and video poker is no exception. Video poker uses a set of cards selected from a standard deck, either 52 or 53 cards. If the game you’re playing uses 53, this includes a joker. These games also have pay tables that vary between games.

These two things are important for two reasons. It lets you know which cards the game uses, which helps you determine the best play for every possible hand. It also allows you to compare the paytable to the set of cards to calculate the house edge.

Let’s use Jacks or Better as an example of how this works. This popular video poker game uses 52 cards and plays with a single deck. You start with five cards and decide which ones to keep or discard. Your discards are replaced with new cards from the same deck, creating your final hand. If your hand is listed on the paytable, you win. Knowing the odds of getting a hand on the paytable helps you decide which cards to keep and discard.

Multi-coin bets

A common strategy for online gambling is to bet the smallest amount possible, but the pay tables are designed so your odds are better wagering five coins. Returning to our Jacks or Better example, the payout for a Royal Flush is 250 for a one-coin bet, 500 for two, 750 for three, and 1,000 for four. If the payouts followed this progression, you would expect a payout of 1,250 for a five-coin bet, but it doesn’t. With a five-coin bet, the payout for a Royal Flush is 4,000 coins. This concept holds for every other line on the pay table, making a five-coin wager your best choice.

Strategy charts

You can use your knowledge of the cards in the deck to determine your odds of improving your hand, and you can use the paytable to determine the most lucrative betting amount. This figure requires a lot of math calculations to figure out, and you’re most likely not going to calculate your odds each time you play online casino games. To avoid this, you find a strategy chart.

It’s not necessary to calculate your best play because someone else already did. Every popular video poker variation has a strategy card to tell you the best play on any given hand, regardless of what cards you hold.

To use a strategy chart, simply read down the column until you find a hand matching yours. Keep what’s listed and discard the rest. Using strategy charts to play online video poker and video poker will significantly increase your odds of winning.

Conclusion

Video poker has some of the highest winning odds of any casino game; if you use a strategy card and find the best paytable. These games run on mathematical principles. Understanding the math behind them will help you gain an edge.

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