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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Holding Advice for Joker’s Wild – Kings or Better Video Poker

13 March 2021

A reader has some questions about holding for a royal flush while playing Joker’s Wild – Kings or Better video poker. Here is the inquiry.

Hi Stickman,

Hoping all is well with you. I have two questions that have to do with Jokers Wild Kings or Better video poker. How would you play the following samples in this game?

1. Td, Qd, 2s, 4s, 5c

2. Joker, Th, Qh, 3c, 4h

All the best to you!

Answer:

Here are the answers to your questions as well as some observations.
Both hands contain a suited Ten and Queen. The second hand also has a wild card (Joker) in it.
You did not mention the pay table for these hands so I used the following for the purposes of this article. The numbers shown represent the five-credit column.

• Royal Flush ---- 4700
• 5 of a Kind ---- 1000
• Wild Royal Flush --- 500
• Straight Flush --- 250
• 4 of a Kind --- 90
• Full House --- 35
• Flush --- 25
• Straight --- 15
• 3 of a Kind --- 10
• 2 pairs --- 5
• Pair of Kings or Better --- 5

This game returns 99.28 percent with perfect play and has a variance of 33.09. By perfect play I mean playing each hand so that it pays the highest overall amount on average. The perfect style of play will allow the best possible chance to come away a winner. If not actually winning (as this game has a negative expectation) at least you will play for the longest time.

Now for a look at the hands about which you asked.

Hand One: Td, Qd, 2s, 4s, 5c

• Holding the two cards of the royal flush (Td, Qd) returns 1.8296 credits on average for five credits played.
• What is very interesting about this hand is that the second-best hold is … nothing. It is better to be dealt a completely new hand rather than holding any of the dealt cards. Holding none of the dealt cards returns 1.6549 credits on average.

Hand two: Joker, Th, Qh, 3c, 4h

• Obviously, the joker must be held for the maximum return as it can substitute for any card in the deck, but which cards in addition to it?
• As with the previous hand, holding the two cards of a royal flush in addition to the joker (Joker, Th, Qh) produce the highest average return – 8.9140 credits.
• holding the three cards of a flush in addition to the joker (Joker, Th, Qh, 4h) returns 7.7083 credits on average.
• Similar to the previous hand, holding none of the other dealt cards (besides the joker) is the next highest return at 7.1012 credits on average for five credits played.

Summary:

The top two holds for the first hand are, 1: go for the royal flush and 2: discard everything. The addition of the joker in the second hand makes holding the three cards of a flush the second-best hold. Finally, in third best hold for the second hand is the lone joker.

As is obvious in the above numbers, the joker is a very powerful card. No possible hold for the first hand will return the original five credits bet. In fact, the best hold returns only about 36 percent of the amount bet.

Any of the three best holds for the second hand make money for you. In fact, the 10 best holds all have a positive expectation for the player. That is the power of the joker in this game.

While you may not be able to find a game with this pay table (and this high a return), it is almost certain that the holds presented will be this best in any game.

May all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com
Jerry Stickman

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com