Casinos / Entertainment

Holding Multiple High Cards in Video Poker: Good or Bad?

Video poker machine screen. gambling

A good video poker player will always focus on learning the best possible draw on every hand. Your strategy of play in video poker makes a huge difference in terms of outcome. Most players don’t know what to do if they are dealt jack or higher and a lower pair too.

What should you hold if you have a high and low pair? If you are after more wins, it is better to hold the higher card and discard the lower pair with other cards. The other option is to hold the pair and discard the other cards, as it will yield higher money on average.

Why should you Hold High Cards?

It is a basic rule that pair of jacks or better will help you to win. When you decide to hold a low pair, the chances of winning are associated with getting a good deal as your pair may become a Full House, Two Pair, Four-of-a-Kind or Three-of-a-Kind.

If we talk about numbers, experienced players are usually against holding lower pairs. Low pairs result in loss 71.3% of the time. There are many reasons why you should hold the higher card and not discard it when you have two pairs. One of the reasons is that video poker has a strategy that helps in this regard.

When you get dealt a low pair, your first priority is to draw another card without the risk of drawing two cards. Therefore, if another high card appears on the next draw, then your pair will be turned into a full house or four of a kind.

Low Pairs offer more value than High Cards

video poker

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Most players think that it is better to discard high cards and hold low pairs rather than the other way around. A common mistake comes into play when a player does not know the strategy of video poker. It is better to follow a valid video poker strategy from the very start of the game. You can find out more about it here:

The rule states that “if you are holding a pair of jacks or higher, it is better to hold the higher card and discard the lower pair with other cards.” For example, if you are dealt with a pair of ten and a jack, then it is best to hold the jack and discard the ten. This means that your chances of winning have increased by 6% immediately.

Pay Attention to Card Pairs

You should always look out for pairs as they offer more value than any high cards, which are lower than combos. In general, the strategy of holding pairs is recommended as it will only help you to win more. It is not a rule that you should never hold low pairs or low cards.

The fact is that there are situations when high cards can help you win more than a pair of jacks or better. There are situations when it is possible for players to draw two cards if they have three or four cards that are suited to make a Straight Flush. As soon as you draw two high cards and discard one pair, then your chances of winning will increase.

Now that we have explained what should be held if you have a high and low pair let’s move on to describing how this situation can be turned into a winning hand by strategy.

Why do players discard low pairs?

video pokerIn general, players discard lower pairs in the hope of getting a better hand. For example, you have a pair of sevens and an eight, and you draw another card, then the new card may turn out to be a second seven or even a ten. But it is more likely to be a face card or an ace, which will make your pair into a full house or four of a kind.

In this case, most players would hold the higher cards, and there is no point in holding the lower ones. Discarding them will only result in spending more money on average. Therefore, with this rule in mind, you should always hold the higher cards if you are dealt with two pairs and your aim are to win more money.


High Cards help you in drawing more cards, and by doing that, you can improve your chances of winning. There are certain situations where the pair is worth more than other cards. Therefore, hold them and avoid throwing low pairs away.

The strategy of holding higher pairs can be changed according to the current situation. The advice that you should only hold higher pairs if there is a chance to make a full house or four-of-a-kind holds true for most players. But if you are playing with experienced players, then low pairs will surely win more money as they tend to discard them on purpose.


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