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HOME > HI-ROLLER > Gaming Tips > Saving an 8 in video poker

Saving an 8 in video poker

2 September 2017

By Jerry Stickman

Hi Stickman,

With five-card video draw poker, assume you have the following: 7 of spades, 8 of diamonds, 8 of hearts, 9 of spades and 10 of clubs. Obviously you will discard one of the two 8's. My question is, does it matter which of the two you discard?

In other words will the same replacement card come up no matter which of the two 8's you discard?


Hi William,

First off, let me comment that the decision to discard one of the 8’s versus saving only the two 8’s is determined by the specific type of game and pay table you are playing. If you are playing Jacks or Better, the correct play would be to save the two 8’s and discard the rest.

However, if you are playing Double Bonus Poker, it would be correct to discard one of the 8’s. For your question (will the same replacement card come up), however, it doesn’t really matter what the proper hold is.

This is a question that I get quite often, though it is presented in various ways.

Decades ago, 10 cards were selected as you hit the deal button – two for each display location. If that were true today, it would make a difference which 8 was discarded on that hand, but it would not matter in the long run as the game would ultimately return what the math dictates.

Because of the way the older generation machines selected cards, that is selecting all 10 cards at once, it was possible to determine which cards would be drawn. In fact, a couple of highly savvy video poker players were able to collect quite a bit of money from casinos by doing that very thing.

So the games were changed.

Machines manufactured for the last 30 years or so only select cards as they need to be displayed. In other words, five cards are selected for the initial hand. The random number generator continues to cycle until the draw button is hit. Additional cards are then selected for only the discarded locations.

So in today’s machines, it would not matter which 8 was discarded. As long as the draw button was hit at exactly the same instant, the same replacement card would be selected by the random number generator. However, in reality, the draw button would almost certainly not be hit at the same instant, so a different card would be selected.

I know that sounds like a cop out, but it is true. It will always take just a tiny fraction longer or shorter to save a different card. Therefore a different card will be drawn due to the way the random number generator works. It the “old days” you definitely would get a different card depending on which 8 was discarded. Today you will almost certainly get a different card, but you could get the same card.

All the best in your casino and life endeavors,

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is the co-author of the book Everything Casino Poker. You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Jerry Stickman
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.

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