Your Questions About Poker Odds Straight Flush

George asks…

Video poker advice for Jacks or Better 9/6?

I’m just getting into video poker because it’s so fun and have some questions if you don’t mind answering? I usually play Jacks or Better 9/6 on bodog.

1) If I have a pair that is less than Jacks, do I hold them hoping for 3 of a kind or do I fold them hoping to get higher cards on the draw?

2) When do I go after straights and flushes? Is it ok to go after them 2 cards away or should I always only go after them if I am 1 card away?

3) From a house edge standpoint, is it more profitable for me as the player to play single hand or multi-hand? I tried some 50-hand and lost money real fast … though I’m only playing 5 cent ones as I learn.

4) Does this mean that this is the Vegas style video poker where it’s supposed to have the same odds as real poker as opposed to the Atlantic City kind where it’s more like a slot machine:

Jacks or Better Rules:
•Hands are graded based on the pay table
•Cards are dealt from a single deck
•Cards are re-shuffled each hand
•Player has the option to discard up to five cards.

5) Do you have any tips for a beginning player?

Thanks for any help!

admin answers:

Jacks or Better 9/6 is an excellent payout as far as Video Poker goes. The „9“ refers to the amount you’ll win on a full house. (45 if you bet the maximum 5 coins, because 9 X 5 coins = 45). The 6 refers to hitting a flush. (30 if you bet 5 coins, because 6 X 5 coins = 30.)

Check carefully when you go into a casino. You’ll see most Jacks or Better machines pay only 8/5, or 40 coins for a full house and 25 for a flush with maximum coins bet.

Your questions:

1) I would almost always keep the lower pair and go for 3 of a kind (or you can hit 2-pair.) The only time I wouldn’t, would be if I have an EXCELLENT draw. (Either 3 or 4 to the Royal Flush or 4 to a flush or 4 to an open-ended straight draw.)

2) Go for a 4-flush or an open-ended straight draw. Only keep 3 to a flush if they are 3 to the Royal Flush.

3) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE remember one thing: No matter how well you play, in the long run the House has an edge on you! This means the more hands you play over the course of your life, the more money you will eventually give to the casino. This is true even if you hit a Royal Flush!!! Wow, it’s great to have that cash when you finally hit the big one, but in the course of the thousands and thousands of hands you might play in your life, you will eventually give more money to the casino than they will give to you! The only way this will NOT be true is if you’re lucky enough to hit a Royal Flush toward the beginning of your playing career, and then you NEVER play slot machines again!

Therefore…(to make a long story short!)…The more hands you play at once, the quicker you will give money to the casino…IN THE LONG RUN. (There’s always a chance that you’ll hit the „big one“, in which case you’ll think it was because you were playing more hands.)

4) Mostly I explained this in my opening paragraph. Yes, you will find SOME machines in Vegas that are of a 9/6 style, but not very easily. More often, you will get a worse deal. (no pun intended!) Everything you said about the Jacks or Better Rules is right. Just don’t forget to check the Pay Table of whatever machine you’re using.

5) My best tip that some folks will disagree with: You aren’t playing a video poker machine with the hopes of winning 5 dollars, or 10 dollars, or even 50 dollars. You are playing with the hopes of hitting the „Big One“…the Royal Flush!

With that in mind, look for opportunities to draw to the Royal. If you’re dealt a King of Hearts, a Queen of Hearts, and a Jack of Clubs, plus 2 other worthless cards, keep the K-Q of Hearts, and toss the J of Clubs! You’ll have 3 cards to get yourself a pair, and you give yourself that tiny change at drawing 3 to a Royal.

Here’s an even more radical play I’ll make with the same reasoning. If I am dealt 3 or more to a Royal Flush, I will almost always go for the Royal Flush….EVEN IF IT MEANS BREAKING UP A PAIR OF JACKS OR BETTER!!! It so hard to get a Royal Flush, but once you have 3 of the Royal, you have just a little worse than 1 in 1,000 shot at drawing the final 2! (1,080 to 1, to be exact.) That’s NOT all that bad of a chance! Furthermore, if I have 4 to the Royal Flush, I will break up ALL hands to take a shot at the jackpot. This is true even if I was dealt a flush. (I’ve never been dealt a King-high Straight Flush in the first 5 cards. I’d have to really think about throwing away the 9 in the hopes of pulling the Ace.)

Final Thought: If you play this long enough, you WILL hit a jackpot at some point in time in your life. But in the long run, the casino will always have more of your money than you have of theirs! Live it up and celebrate those times you hit the Jackpot. They’re few and far between.

William asks…

Poker help??

This is what Paul Wasicka wrote on ftp. He is a 25/50 player and seems to be quite good. This article addresses a mtt game.

„Let’s say you’re holding pocket Aces and the flop comes 9d-8d-7c with a flush draw on the board. Chances are that you’re ahead, but a canny opponent can easily put you in a tough spot by check-raising your continuation bet. If you think your opponent connected with this flop or may be holding a big draw, think about keeping the pot small by playing passively and letting him do the betting for you. If the straight or flush hits, you can get away cheap and look for a better spot later on. “

I, as most of you guys know, play cash games. Does this still apply? I mean, if you dont bet out, you are giving your oppenent infinite odds to catch up to your overpair (which is most likely ahead). I understand that you wanna keep the pot small with a mediocre hand, but it seems to me that: Protecting mediocre hand>Pot control.

Its a 1/2 game. You raise to 7 utg, and a LOOSE VERY agressive player calls on the bb.
Pot is 15. You bet out 15, now he c/r to 50, with rougly 150 behind him and you cover. You think he is doing this with a range of 25% better hands, 25% decent draws (oesd with one over, pair+ flush draw, pair + gutshot, two overs + flush draw, etc) The last 50% of his range is pure bluffs or horrible draws, that will fold to a 3-bet. You are pretty sure he will 2 barrell and maybe even 3 barrell.

Is this a spot where u want him to fold his bluff so you 3-bet because of all the turn scarecards? Or do you want him to continue bluffing/semibluffng further streets?
The bonus question refers to the same flop as the above.

admin answers:

The answer to your question is absolutely, unequivocally, NO!!!!!!

Here is the reason: in a tournament, you have one buy-in, and with this fact in mind if your lone goal is to make as much money as possible, then you are not playing optimally…you have to not only accumulate chips, but also protect your stack in spots where you could go broke by playing a big pot with a good hand that is not the nuts or close to it…basically, what you are doing is preserving yourself and staying out of a sticky situation in order to more closely guarantee survival…in cash games, survival is not a factor since theoretically you have an infinite number of buy-ins, so your lone goal should be to make correct decisions based on the situation at hand…therefore, protecting the best hand is clearly the right play in a cash game, where in a tournament you might want to opt for the cautious play and not play a big pot with just one pair on a coordinated flop

personally, i would make a pretty sizeable bet on either flop, but again, the alternate line is much more enticing in a tournament

edit: for the bonus question, i think i could make a case for either line, but i think based on the ranges you give i’d just 3-bet it right there on the flop, for the reason you give…there’s a lot of cards out there which would hurt your hand if you allow a turn to come off, so you might want to just scare your opponent away right here

Carol asks…

is there something about 5 9 in poker?

Everytime i see 59 in my hand or on the community cards something really odd happend……… not just me but my friends noticed this too. ill give you examples.
First: my friend has 59 suited (hearts) in the casino against 2 players flop is „9 10 J“ 2 hearts on the board. so he like flush draw with trips draw with 2 pair draw….. both players go all in for like 100 dollars my friend knows this 5 9 ordeal so he calls. every body shows there cards. 1 guy has 9 J two pair other guy has QA of hearts better flush draw soooooooo only way he could win this hand is running 5s which happens everybody is shocked!!!!!!!!!!! worst hand loses…

Next me: i have a9 i go all in since im short stacked at a tourney my friends calls me to back me up ( he will muck if no 1 calls so i can get some chips) but another guy calls. flop is „4 9 9“ i flop trips one guy goes all in my friend has to call because he too has trips…… his hand is 5 9…… turn is a 5 river is a 2 and the other guy had AQ he lost i lost against 59 🙁 when i had A9 WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next my other friend: he has kk goes all in with 100 dollars cash game 3 ppl call to crack his kings LOL guess wat some lady had 59 of Diamonds. flop „6d 7s Jd“ turn: „Qh“ river: „8d“ so the lady had a straight and or flush but not a straight flush. OVERKILLL

not only that but i got pictures on full tilt with me winnin with 59 and videos with daniel negreanu there is 3 i found so far of bad beats with relevance to 59……. Links are below

admin answers:

This is definitely some compelling research about the 5 9 hand. I will have to rethink this hand and perhaps include it in my range of starting hands.

Susan asks…

How was this a bad play ?

Im not a pro but I dont consider myself a fish.
I can shuffle 8 chips and I know some terms and strategies in poker.

So I was playing live micro cash game 0.25/0.5.
I was BB and had 1 raise in middle position to 1.5 and 1 reraise to 3.5 euros from SB. I had 4,10 of spades so had a posibility of hitting the straight flush. With such good odds, I raised from position to 10 euros. The others called.

The flop came 6 of hearts, 9 of hearts and K of diamonds. 1 player checked, I raised to 15 euros, the other 2 called.

The turn came 4 of diamonds. Hitting the pair I went all in –> around 30 euros. They both called.

The river came an A of hearts.

1 player hit the set with his pocket pairs, the other had pocket kings.

When i showed my cards the whole table, the dealer included started laughing and said it was a bad play.

How in the world was it a bad play ? I had the nut draw !!!!!!

admin answers:

Looks like you played it perfectly. Remember, people mock what they don’t understand.

The beauty of 4,10 of spades is that you can hit a low straight OR a high straight flush. You just got unlucky that those other fish sucked out. It happens.

EDIT TO THOSE THAT DON’T GET IT: I’m working under the assumption that this post is a joke, and I replied in kind. I can’t believe people think this (the question or the answer) is serious.

John asks…

Did I make the right Poker call.?

You might say no because I did end up losing this hand which got me out of the tournament eventually after I went on tilt, lol, but if this scenario kept happening again would I end up winning in the long run?

I had 3 2 suited spades. I was up against three opponents. The small blind raised about 3 times the blind pre-flop and I usually call any suited connectors especially if I’m in the lead the way I was. Then one more person just called.

The flop came 4 spade 5 heart and 8 spade. So I instantly had 15 outs with 6 cards for the straight and 9 more for the flush.

Then the first to act raised half his stack which was way over the initial pot, I’d say about 7 times the pot. I figured he’s already pot committed so there is no use just calling him so I put him all in. The third to act also went all in and neither my flush or straight came out. Actually the third person ended up winning with quad 8’s and the first to act had pocket kings which is why he bet so high after the flop.

So if this situation kept coming up should I keep calling? Conventional wisdom says yes because I had way too many outs no matter what the pot size but then again I don’t know too much of the math behind pot odds.

Also the third to act had about the same amount as the first to act if that helps any..

admin answers:

First off, you shouldn’t be calling 2-3 suited. I know you’ve heard you should play suited connectors sometimes (which is true) but usually not in raised pots, and not 2-3. 2-3 unsuited is the worst hand you can get in many situations, and suited is only slightly better.

And you’re flop was not quite a good as you think. Someone could already have the nut straight. Someone could have a higher flush draw, and anyone with a spade will beat you with running spades. And if some hit trips, a board pair makes them a boat that always beats you. You’re not always going to worry about all this, but it’s a factor in multi-way pots, and really makes a difference.

Look man, as a rule of thumb, you never raise with a draw if you don’t think there’s a chance you could get your opponent(s) to fold. You never call with a draw if you’re not getting reasonably pot odds or implied odds.

Your opponent was not going to fold after betting 7 times the pot. You’re not getting even close to proper pot odds. This is an EASY fold.

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