A royal flush consists of a ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit. When video poker is played with five coins royal flush assumes great importance. In all other winning poker hands the payout with five coins is five times the payout with one coin. However in the case of royal flush the payout with five coins is much more than five times the payout with one coin. However getting a royal flush is a rarity. This is creates a dilemma in the minds of the player when deciding which cards to hold. Should they go for the higher paying but elusive royal flush or a lower paying hand that is more likely to occur? The following tips will come handy. These are applicable for Jacks or Better, which is the most popular video poker game. Another factor to keep in mind is that these tips are valid only when wagering with five coins. If fewer coins are wagered then the relative payouts change and this alters the priorities.
The first and golden rule of video poker is that a paying hand should never be broken. It is said that an exception makes the rule and this golden rule also has an exception. When a player is dealt four cards to a royal flush with the fifth card giving a straight or a flush or a jacks or better pair, the paying hand should be broken and the fifth card should be discarded. It is advisable to go for royal flush in this case. For example the player is dealt the ace, king, queen, jack and three of hearts. He should hold the ace, king, queen and jack of hearts and let the three of hearts go even though he is breaking a flush. However, a straight flush should not be broken.
However when the player is dealt three cards to a royal flush the situation reverses. The player should adhere to the golden rule and not break a winning combination. If the dealt hand includes a jacks or better pair, a three of a kind or a straight then players should keep those and give up the chance of getting a royal flush. For example the player is dealt the ace, king and queen of hearts and two other queens. The player should hold the three queens, which is a three of a kind paying hand, and let the ace and king of hearts go. The same applies when the player is dealt two cards to a royal flush with a paying hand.
However when the player is dealt two or three cards to a royal flush but without a paying hand he should go for the royal flush. For example the player is dealt the queen, jack and ten of hearts, the ten of clubs and the three of diamonds. This hand pays nothing. The player should not hold the two tens in the hope of getting three of a kind or four of a kind with tens. He should hold the hearts in the hope of getting a royal flush.
The question arises why the golden rule should be broken when the player is dealt four cards to a royal flush and not when the player is dealt three cards to a royal flush. When the player is dealt four cards to a royal flush he needs only one more card. But when he is dealt three cards to a royal flush he needs two more cards. The probability of getting the one desired card is many times greater than the probability of getting the two desired cards. And it is this difference that makes it worthwhile to break the golden rule in the case when four cards to a royal flush are dealt.