It’s one of those “yikes” moments when I play video poker. A moment that makes me stare at the screen certain there must be a better option. There must be something I can hold on to. How can five cards show up that have absolutely no relationship to one another? And not even a high card in the bunch.
Oh, yes, I draw plenty of losing hands in video poker, but seldom does a hand actually stare at me from the moment it’s dealt and say “I’m not going to do a thing for you.” Usually they taunt me. “Hey, I’m a low pair” or “high, almost a flush here.” But I have a hand now – ten of clubs, five of hearts, two of spades, seven of spades and six of hearts. So, that would be two cards to a flush which is mostly not a flush. Or three to a straight. Not three to a straight flush, which might be worth something. Just three to a straight which according to strategy charts is pretty worthless. And an attempt at playing them in hopes of drawing a straight proves that they really aren’t worthwhile.
In fact playing a hand like this will often prove that I’d have been better off just tossing everything and drawing a completely new set of cards. Do you believe me? If not, this is what free games are for. It was one of the uncertainties I had to overcome when I started playing and looking a video poker strategy charts. I kept pulling up hands that had nothing that matched the options on the cards. I tried to find ways to hold onto things that I should have.
Then I realized I had to get smart about my play. I started playing free games and actually paying attention to the strategy charts. And I started dumping those really bad hands and drawing all new cards. What surprised me was how often I’d actually draw a winning hand, even if it was only a 1 for 1 high pair, when I did that.
Play the practice game. Be brave and toss away those bad cards. They aren’t treating you nicely and a losing hand really can’t get worse.