Winning strategy for Joker Poker

Apr 7, 2009 5:08 PM
by GT Staff |

Las Vegas is known for having the best video poker machines in the world, but that mantle has slipped recently as casinos cut some of the pay tables.

A prime example are the Joker Poker machines, whose aces and kings full pay machines should return more than 100 percent to players. However, the number has dropped as some casinos have replaced them with two-pair or better as the minimum award, as well as cutting awards such as four-of-a-kind, which has been cut from paying 20-for-1 to 15- and 17-for-1, depending on the machine.

But we’ve talked enough about pay tables, which you can’t change anyway, so now some strategy on how to play the game. Because the joker complicates playing strategy, it will be broken down into two parts: hands dealt with a joker and hands dealt without one.

Hands with a joker:

1. Always draw one card to a royal flush, unless you already hold a made straight flush or joker royal flush.

2. Draw two cards to a royal flush, unless you already hold a made straight flush, straight, flush or three of a kind.

3. Draw one card to a straight flush, even if you already hold a made flush or straight.

4. Draw two cards to a straight flush unless you already hold a made flush, straight or three-of-a-kind.

5. If you need one card for either a flush or a straight, draw for the flush.

6. If you need one card for either a flush or straight and already have a high pair, keep the high pair.

7. If you’re dealt anything less than a high pair, or you can’t draw to the hands listed above, hold the joker and draw four cards.

 

Hands without a joker:

1. Always draw one card to a royal flush, even if it means breaking a made high pair (kings or aces), straight or flush. But don’t break a made straight flush for a one-card draw to a royal.

2. Draw two cards to a royal flush, unless you already hold a made straight flush, straight, flush or three-of-a-kind.

3. Draw one card to a straight flush even if you already hold a made flush or straight.

4. Draw two cards to a straight flush unless you already hold a made flush, straight or three-of-a-kind.

5. If you need one card for a flush or a straight, draw for the flush.

6. If you need one card for a flush or a straight and already hold a high pair, keep the high pair.

7. If you need one card for a flush or two cards for a straight flush and already hold a low pair (queens or lower), break up the pair and draw. If you need one card for a straight and already hold a low pair, keep the low pair.

8. If you’re dealt two pair and one of them is a high pair, keep the high pair. If not, retain both.

9. Always draw to a low pair rather than holding a single high card.

10. Draw five cards when you don’t have a single high card that can be paired.