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# Holding Hands in Video Poker

7 November 2020

Hi Stickman,

I'm hoping that things are OK with you down there.

I just have one question here for you about Jacks or Better. How would you play the following hand in Jacks or Better? ......

Ah, Ks, Jc, Tc, 9c?

Thanks again for your help. All the best,

Jody

Hi Jody,

Let’s look at the possibilities for this hand.

• There is only one shot at a royal flush – holding the Jack of clubs and the 10 of clubs. With this hold, there is no shot at a straight flush (other than the royal) since the 9 of clubs would be discarded. This hold contains only one high card.

• Saving the four highest cards gives a shot at a straight or one of three possible high pairs. None of these possibilities pays very well. The straight pays four-for-one and the high pairs pay one-for-one.

• Holding the four low cards also gives a shot at a straight but only one of two possible high pairs.

• The only really decent possible hand would be a straight flush by holding the three cards of the fully open straight flush (Jack of clubs, 10 of clubs, 9 of clubs).

Here are the average returns in credits assuming five credits bet for some of these holds:

Holding the Jc Tc 9c returns 3.5754 credits.
Holding the Ah Ks Jc Tc returns 2.6596 credits.
Holding the Ks Jc returns 2.3679 credits.
Holding the Ks Jc Tc 9c returns 2.3404 credits
Holding the Ah Jc and Ah Ks returns 2.3235 credits
Holding the Jc Tc returns 2.2812 credits.

As you can see, none of the holds will get your initial five credits back, but holding for the straight flush comes the closest. It returns almost a full credit more than the second-best hold.

A three-card fully open straight flush is a fairly strong hold, but let’s look at what happens when the hold is for an inside straight flush.

Here is the original hand with the exception of the 9 of clubs becomes and 8 of clubs making this hold a three-card inside straight flush.

Ah, Ks, Jc, Tc, 8c

Holding the Jc Tc 8c returns 3.1684 credits.
Holding the Ah Ks Jc Tc returns 2.6596 credits.
Any other holds pay less than the above two holds.

The return for holding the three-card inside straight flush with one gap is reduces by more than four-tenths of a credit.

Now let’s look at a hand with a three-card inside straight flush with two gaps. This is the previous hand with the 8 of clubs becoming the 7 of clubs.

Ah, Ks, Jc, Tc, 7c

Holding the Jc Tc 7c returns 2.6873 credits.
Holding the Ah Ks Jc Tc returns 2.6596 credits.
Any other holds pay less than the above two holds.

Holding for the straight flush is not near as lucrative when there are two gaps, but it still pays better than holding the four cards of a straight – though by just less than 0.03 credits.

Holding three cards of a fully open straight flush is a powerful move. It is a good hold even is it is an inside straight flush. When comparing this hold to four cards of a straight, most times the straight flush hold will win more.

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
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
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