Common Conflict Hands In Video Poker

In online video poker you have to hold certain cards from the dealt hand and replace the others. In many cases the choice of which cards to hold is simple because there is only one way forward. If the dealt hand is 3C, 7S, 9D, JH, JD then you hold the two jacks. The other three cards are useless. You are already winning with a jack pair and may even end up with three of a kind, two pairs, full house or four of a kind.

But there will be times when the choice is not that simple. By holding certain cards you can hope for a higher ranking winning hand that is less likely to occur. And by holding certain other cards you can hope for a lower ranking winning hand that is more likely to occur. So, do you go for the larger payout or for the greater chance of winning? Such hands are referred to as conflict hands. They are resolved by computing the expected value for each option using the relative probabilities and payouts. You need to have more than a fair expertise in mental math to be able to do the calculations. It is simpler to be aware of the conflict hands and the optimum video poker strategy to handle them. Some common conflict hands are discussed below.

A video poker hand that is dealt quite often is of the type – 3C, 3H, 4H, 5H and 6H. By holding the four hearts you have the chance of ending with a straight flush, a straight or a flush. By holding the 3s you have a chance for three of a kind, four of a kind, two pairs or a full house. In this case, where you have four cards to a straight flush, you should hold these cards and break the low pair. Even if you hold four cards to a flush, instead of four cards to a straight flush, you should try for the flush by discarding the appropriate card from the low pair. But if you hold four cards to a straight then you should hold the low pair.

Another common situation arises when three cards to a straight flush are in conflict with other possible winning hands. The hand 3S, 8H, 9H, 10H, JD describes the conflict between three to a straight flush and four to an outside straight. The optimum online video poker strategy is to hold the four cards to the outside straight. However if the choice is between four cards to an inside straight and three cards to a straight flush then the strategy is to hold the three cards to a straight flush. In the case of the outside straight any of two cards can complete the hand, whereas in the case of the inside straight you will need only one specified card. This makes the inside straight more difficult to complete.

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