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Best of Jerry Stickman

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More Video Poker Hold Advice

29 May 2021

Hi Stickman,

Hoping all is well with you.

I have one sample to ask you about. I'm tempted to hold just the Th and Kh, but is that the wrong play? Why wouldn't I hold just two cards to a royal flush here (I'm confused)?
Here is the sample I'm referring to ...

5c, Th, Jd, Kh, Ac (Jacks or Better).

What would you do, Stickman?

Thanks again for answering my question.

Keep well and stay safe,

Jody

Hi Jody,

Hold the four cards of the straight (Th, Jd, Kh, Ac). This hold has the highest average return for this hand.

By holding the four cards of a straight, there are 47 possible hands (since you need one card and there are 47 cards left in the deck). Out of these 47 possible hands, there are three possible outcomes:

• Four chances of drawing a queen that will complete the straight paying 20-for-5,
• Nine chances that the hand results in a high pair paying 1-for-1, and
• 34 chances the hand is a loser.

The overall average return for this hold is 2.6596-for-5.

While returning less than the above hold, there are four additional holds that will return more on average than holding the Kh, Th.

The second-best hold is the Kh, Jd. It returns 2.3827-for-5 on a 9/6 game and 2.3771-for-5 on an 8/5 game. And, no, a royal flush is not possible with this hold, but out of 16,215 possible final hands, there are:

• Two chances of hitting a four-of-a-kind paying 125-for-5,
• 18 chances of a full house paying 45-for-5 on a 9/6 game and 40-for-5 on an 8/5 game,
• 84 chances of a straight paying 20-for-5,
• 281 chances of a three-of-a-kind paying 15-for-5,
• 711 chances of two pairs paying 10-for-5, and
• 4,914 chances of a high pair paying 5-for-5.

The next two best holds are the Ac, Kh and the Ac, Jd. Either of these two holds returns 2.3179-for-5 on average.

Out of the 16,215 possible hands when holding two cards, there are exactly the same number of winning possibilities as for the previous hold except for straights. Since both of these holds are inside straight holds, meaning the straight can only be filled on one end.

In this case the straight can only be filled on the low end. This means there are only 36 possible straights not 84 like in the previous hold.

The next best hold is the lone Jd. It returns 2.2682-for-5.
Let’s look at holding the Kh Jh (as you mentioned) first. It returns 2.2174-for-5. This hold allows for:

• One royal flush,
• One straight flush,
• Two four-of-a-kind hands,
• 18 full houses,
• 163 flushes,
• 83 straights,
• 281 three-of-a-kind hands,
• 711 hands with two pairs, and
• 2,739 high pair hands out of the possible 16,215 total hands.

The lone jack, however, also allows for:

• One royal flush, as well as
• Three straight flushes,
• 52 four-of-a-kind hands,
• 288 full houses,
• 491 flushes,
• 632 straights,
• 4,102 three-of-a-kind hands,
• 8,874 hands with two pairs and
• 41,322 high pairs out of a possible 178,365 hands.

The additional four-of-a-kind hands are a big factor favoring holding the lone jack.

There you have it, Jody. I certainly hope you were able to see the logic of these holds through all the details.

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