CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Bob Dancer Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

 

Straight Flushes are Wild in Joker Wild

12 October 1999

By Bob Dancer

Joker wild is one video poker game where you can have two separate straight flush draws in the same hand. Also, in most other video poker games, straight flush draws are differentiated by how many gaps and how many high cards are present. In joker wild, it's a bit more complicated.

Today's information is for Kings or Better joker wild machines only. By this I mean, you get your money back for a pair of kings or aces. The specific numbers I refer to relate to a machine returning 7 for a full house and 20 for four of a kind. The numbers will vary somewhat with different pay schedules, but the logic is accurate anyway. If the joker wild machine available does not pay anything until you get two pair or more, the analysis presented here is not relevant.

I'll use a W to mean "wild card" and indicate the joker. Consider the following hands:

W 5h 6h 9c Tc
W 4h 6h 9c Jc
W 4h 7h 9c Qc

In each case, the choice is the joker by itself, or the joker with the hearts, or the joker with the clubs.

Forget about holding just the joker. Straight flushes are worth a lot in joker poker. Thanks to the joker, the straight flush pops up five times as often as it does in jacks or better. In fact, in the first hand, if you were playing for dollars and held just the joker, you would be throwing away over $2.35 in equity. The last hand isn't so strong, but you'd still be losing 83¢ if you went with the joker by itself.

So, in each hand we're going to go with one of the straight flushes. In each example, the straight flush options (hearts or clubs) seem identical. Every strategy book I've seen published says it doesn't matter whether you go with the hearts or the clubs in these hands. Yet in each case, going with the hearts is the superior play by over 13¢. Let's see why.

With either hearts or clubs, it is just as easy to get three of a kind, straights, flushes, full houses, four of a kinds, or straight flushes. It is impossible (with these hands) to get five of a kinds, or royal flushes. And two pair is never possible when you have a joker in the hand. The only difference between choosing hearts or clubs is the number of high pairs you will get.

From either hearts or clubs, there are going to be 1128 unique 2-card draws, and of those, there will be 127 straights. Drawing from W 9c Tc, 30 of those 127 straight-draws contain a K. For example Kc Qh, Kc Jh , Kc Th , Ks Qh , etc. When a K is being used for a straight, it cannot be used as a high pair. Therefore, from W 9c Tc you are going to end up with 30 fewer high pairs than you will from W 5h 6h . What is the value of those 30 high pairs (averaged over the 1128 possible draws)? A little over 13¢.

As we see above, the number of straights doesn't change, just the number of high pairs. So how can we tell when this is going to happen? It will happen whenever a 5-card straight including the cards in question could reach all the way to either an A or a K, which are the only high cards in this game.

W56 isn't affected by this because the lowest possible straight is 23456, which does not include the A. W45 would be affected, because now the lowest possible straight, A2345, definitely includes a high card. In fact, if we changed the above hands to

W 4h 5h 9c Tc
W 3h 5h 9c Jc
W 2h 5h 9c Qc

we now have three dead-even choices. The hearts are exactly as close to the A as the clubs are to the K.

If W 3h 5h 9c Jc gives us an even choice, how about W 3h 4h 9c Jc? If we compare the W34 with the W35 combinations, we'll see that both combinations can end up with A-low, 2-low, or 3-low straights and straight flushes. The conclusion? W34 and W35 are equal combinations, and if one of them offers a pick 'em choice with W9T, so does the other.

Similarly, W23, W24, and W25 are also equivalent. Any of these have exactly the same value as W9Q, and are lower in value to any other two-gap straight flush combination.

That's it for this time. Until next time, go out and hit a royal flush.


For more information about video poker, we recommend:

Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 

Coins in the Tray --- A Waste

27 September 1999
When I started playing video poker several years ago, quarter deuces wild was my game of choice. Four deuces is a fun hand in this game. It happens every eight hours or so, and you get a thousand quarters ($250) spilling into the tray. What fun! What a waste! Frequently, the machines would run out of money --- requiring a hopper fill. ... (read more)
 

Chickening Out Versus Gambling It Up

14 August 1999
Congratulations! You've just been dealt one of the most interesting hands in video poker: Kh Qh Jh Th 9h. A straight flush! Wonderful! Your two best options are to "chicken out" and keep the straight flush (i.e., hold all five cards) or to "gamble it up" and go for the royal (i.e., hold KQJT, pray, and draw). ... (read more)
 

An Interesting Gap in Jacks or Better

17 July 1999
Let's examine a common gap in good old jacks or better. Assume you are playing 9-6 jacks (i.e., you receive 9 for a full house and 6 for a flush), and you could choose between either of the following hands. Which would you choose, and how would you play it? Ks Qd 2c 3c 5c   and   Ks ... (read more)
Bob Dancer
Bob Dancer is America’s premier video poker authority.
His booklets Video Poker Reports: Deuces Wild, 9/6 Jacks or Better, and 10/7 Double Bonus are considered the most accurate strategies ever devised for these games.

Bob Dancer Presents WinPoker is the premier computer trainer for video poker. It requires Windows 95 or newer, and has 15 of the most popular games, including Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus, Double Joker, etc. plus the ability to load in most other games. It has won several competitions for being the best video poker software.

Bob Dancer Websites:

www.zamzone.com
Bob Dancer
Bob Dancer is America’s premier video poker authority.
His booklets Video Poker Reports: Deuces Wild, 9/6 Jacks or Better, and 10/7 Double Bonus are considered the most accurate strategies ever devised for these games.

Bob Dancer Presents WinPoker is the premier computer trainer for video poker. It requires Windows 95 or newer, and has 15 of the most popular games, including Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus, Double Joker, etc. plus the ability to load in most other games. It has won several competitions for being the best video poker software.

Bob Dancer Websites:

www.zamzone.com