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For many, poker is not merely a game of luck, it is a game where players analyze their odds, take risk and reward factors into account, strategize with the cards they hold and the rules in place and consider a variety of permutations for possible outcomes that could all account for whether they win or lose. For these players, video poker is not simply a game of chance, but rather, they consider a number of factors involved which moves it in the category of a game of skill. When combined with a relatively low house advantage, the potential for substantial cash wins, and the anonymous nature of playing alone from the comfort of your very own home, there are few games of skill that can compare to the fun, entertainment and excitement of a game of video poker. It is important to understand a number of factors such as the rules of the particular game you are playing, the payouts for each of these games, the possible calculations of winning combinations and more in order to exert your skill in a game. To these ends, it makes sense to read up a little on your game of choice before playing and, if possible, where a free version of the game exists, to practice your strategy on the free version before moving on to the real money version. Pick your game Each video poker game has its slight variations and it’s important to be familiar with the variations of your particular game before playing. Being familiar with the rules, paytable, wild cards, etc will allow you to employ the correct tactics for the game at hand, thus extending your bankroll, and enabling you to capitalize on situations when you are in an optimal position to win. For example, playing a video poker game with a single deck of fifty-two cards, increases the likelihood of you being able to calculate and form a winning combination. An extra joker in the pack also increases your chances of forming a winning combination. Likewise, should you decide to play a progressive video poker game and your intent is to play for the jackpot, always make sure to bet the maximum, as this is most often the amount required to win the large jackpot prize. Use a strategy Approach your chosen game with a comprehensive strategy. Your bankroll should be considered just as important a part of your strategy as the hand you are dealt. Playing progressives, which pay out less regularly than regular video poker games, will require a high bankroll, whereas regular hands will allow you to grind out hands with lower denomination bets so you can build up a balance slowly and steadily. Your approach to the actual game may also differ, for example, keeping a high card - where the possibility of a straight or flush is reduced – increases the possibility of you obtaining a high pair. It is therefore important to know beforehand how you will proceed, so that you can maintain consistency in your approach. Everyone is entitled to their own approach, however, if you want a few quick and easy tips, we would say: Do not hold onto bad cards. If you are dealt cards that can't be used to form a winning hand ie: a pair or three or four cards of the same suit or part of a straight. Do not be afraid to discard all your cards and draw 5 more cards. It’s usually better to keep a pair instead of holding for one high card. The odds and the payout percentages favor three-of-kind over a high pair. Don't keep an extra card along with your pair either, as this reduces your odds of drawing three-of-a-kind. It’s usually better to keep a high pair and try for three of a kind rather than drawing into a four-card straight, a flush, or a three-card royal. Going for three-of-a-kind offers you the best odds. In the long run you'll make more out of going for three-of-a-kind. It is also usually better to keep a low pair rather than drawing for a four-card straight. The odds of drawing three-of-kind are better. If you have a four-card straight (can be completed on either end) without a pair, go for the one card draw. However, do not try to draw a card to fill the middle of an incomplete straight. If you have a choice between drawing two cards to complete a 3-card royal or keeping a low pair, a 4-card flush or a 4-card-open-ended straight, go for the royal flush.
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