Some Important Conflict Hands In Online Video Poker

February 24, 2017


In video poker you discard some cards from your dealt hand in the hope of landing a pay table ranking hand with the cards received in replacement. In some cases, by discarding different sets of cards you can hope to get different pay table ranking hands. Such hands are referred to as conflict hands. The lower ranked hand will pay less but is more likely to occur. The higher ranked hand will pay more but you are less likely to get such hands. Using Microgaming Jacks or Better as an example this article explains how to handle some common online video poker conflict hands.

The simplest example is when you already hold a winning combination. Suppose you hold JH, JS, 10H, 9D and 8S. If you keep the two jacks and change the other cards you are assured of even money payout no matter what cards you receive. If you discard one of the jacks then you have the possibility of getting a queen or seven and ending up with a straight, which pays 4 to 1. Based on the probability of getting a straight, the optimum strategy in this case is to stay with the two jacks.

Now look at a slightly different dealt hand consisting of JH, JS, 10H, QH and KH. By discarding JS, you are open to the possibility of getting AH and ending up with a royal flush. Though the probability of this happening is very low there is a handsome payout of 800 to 1 if you have wagered five coins. The optimum video poker strategy in this case is to break the winning combination. A cardinal rule of online video poker follows from these two examples. Never break a winning combination unless you are playing for a royal flush.

We now look at slightly more complex hands. Consider the dealt hand with 3C, 3H, 4H, 5H and 6H. By discarding the 3C you can hope to get a straight flush, a straight or a flush. On the other hand, by discarding the 4H, 5H and 6H you can hope to get three of a kind, four of a kind, two pairs or a full house. In this case you should discard the 3C and go for the straight flush, straight or flush. You may hold 3C, 3H, 4S, 5D and 6D. By discarding one of the threes you can hope only for a straight. In this case you keep the three pair and discard the other cards. The optimum Jacks or Better strategy from these examples can be summarised as follows. If you have a low pair and four cards to a straight then keep the low pair. If you have a low pair and four cards to a flush then go for the flush.