Video Poker Strategy: Boost Value in Straight Draws

video poker strategy

Video poker strategy is essential for increasing your chances of winning and maximizing your returns. In this game, not all straight draws are created equal. Some are inside, while others are outside. Understanding the difference between these two types of straight draws and knowing when to prioritize flush draws can significantly improve your gameplay.

Outside vs. Inside Straight Draws

An outside draw means that the straight can be completed with a card ranking higher than the highest card or lower than the lowest card. For example, holding 5-6-7-8 means that the straight can be completed with either a 4 or a 9. On the other hand, an inside draw means that the cards held rank higher and lower than the card needed to complete the straight. For example, holding 4-6-7-8 means that the straight can be completed only with a 5.

The value of outside straight draws is much higher than that of inside straight draws. In fact, outside straight draws are twice as valuable as inside straight draws. For instance, in 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker, holding 4-6-7-8 brings an average return of 1.70 coins, while holding 5-6-7-8 brings an average return of 3.40 coins.

When to Go for a Straight

When the fifth card is an unpaired low card, the best video poker strategy is to go for the straight, regardless of whether it’s an inside or outside draw. However, when the fifth card is a Jack or higher, the best play is to hold the open straight, which brings a higher average return than the Jack.

If one of the cards in the potential straight matches another card in the hand, it’s decision time. The answer usually is to hold the low pair, but it depends on how many high cards your hand includes. With no high cards, hold low pairs instead of four-card straights, regardless of whether the straight draw is inside or outside.

With one high card, it’s closer. Since you can pair the high card for a 1-for-1 payoff, the Jack adds value to the straight draw. If the straight draw is inside, it’s better than an inside straight without a high card, but not as good as a low pair.

Flush Draws vs. Straight Draws

When playing video poker, it’s important to have a solid strategy. One key aspect to consider is whether to go for a straight or a flush draw. In general, flushes are more valuable than straights because they pay out more.

If you have a four-card straight and no high cards, it’s usually better to hold a low pair instead. However, if your straight draw is on the outside, it’s worth going for it even if you have high cards in your hand. On the other hand, if you have a four-card flush draw along with your straight draw, it’s usually better to go for the flush.

For example, let’s say you’re playing 9-6 Double Double Bonus and you’re dealt 4 of spades, 5 of diamonds, 6 of spades, 7 of spades, and 10 of spades. In this case, the average return for holding the four spades is 5.74 coins, which is much better than the 3.40 coins you’d get from the outside straight draw. So, the best decision is to go for the flush.

Keep in mind that the value of a flush draw depends on the payout. If the flush pays only 5-for-1, the average return for holding the four spades drops to 4.79 coins, but it’s still better than the 3.40 coins on the outside straight draw.


In summary, when playing video poker, prioritize flush draws over straight draws. Outside straight draws are more valuable than inside straight draws, and it’s important to consider whether you have high cards or low pairs in your hand. By following these basic video poker strategies, you can increase your chances of winning and improve your overall gameplay.

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