Video Poker Strategy: Partial Flushes

 Video Poker Strategy: Partial Flushes

Video poker decisions frequently come down to choosing between two viable options. Players who want to get the most out of the games learn early that a low pair is more valuable than a single high card, to use one commonly occurring example.

Recently, a reader wrote to ask about the situation with partial flushes.

“Do you always hold four cards to a flush, even if the card is an Ace in Double Double Bonus, where four Aces get you 2,000 coins? What about a flush with a low pair?

“When do you break up four parts of a flush to hold something else?”

Since the reader asked specifically about holding an Ace in Double Double Bonus Poker, let’s use the 9-6 version of that game as an example.

Four cards to a flush ranks high on the strategy table among non-winning hands in any game. You wouldn’t want to break up any winner to hold your four-flush, but it does outrank non-paired high cards or low pairs.

Dealt 2-4-7-9 of hearts with a Queen of spades in 9-6 DDB, the average return per five coins wagered is 5.74 coins if you hold the four hearts and 2.20 if you discard them and hold the Queen instead.

It’s not much closer if the high card is an Ace instead, with an average return of 2.37 coins. Holding the four suited cards wins in a landslide despite the long-shot chance at a four-Ace jackpot.

The four-flush also easily beats holding a low pair. If our sample hand is 2-4-7-9 of hearts and a 7 of clubs, the average return on the low pair is 3.67 coins, far short of the 5.74 on four parts of a flush.

It’d be to your advantage to break up a four-flush for a non-winning hand only when your suited cards include three parts of a royal.

Dealt 7-10-Jack-Queen of hearts and a 7 of clubs, average returns are 7.27 coins on 10-J-Q and 6.38 on all four hearts. Turn the 10 into a King, and averages are 7.29 on J-Q-K and 7.20 on the four flush.

But unless you have that two-card draw to a royal, your best play in hands that don’t already include a winner is to keep the four parts of a flush.

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