An Analysis of Important All American Video Poker Hands

Published on: July 30, 2014 

All American Video Poker is a game that a lot of players end up checking out because it has a lot in common with Jacks or Better, the game that most video poker players start with. With All American, however, there are some major changes you have to make to your strategies or you're going to end up with a really terrible payout rate. You can start to understand these strategic changes if you look at your average payout rates from playing common hands in different ways, and that's what we want to do here with some hand analysis.

Let's say you have AsAh9h7h3h. Generally speaking, you're going to always play a high pair ahead of a flush draw in Jacks or Better and most other types of non-wild video poker. In All American, however, this is a sizable mistake that will cost you about one-sixth of a bet on average. When you play the pair, you're going to get an average payout of about 1.41 times your bet. However, if you play the flush draw, you're going to get a 1.57x payout instead. This is a key example that most players will play incorrectly, so it's really important to learn in this game.

The reason for this difference is two-fold. First off, the average payout for the high pair is higher in Jacks or Better than in All American because the two pair payout is 2x in Jacks or Better and only 1x in All American. Second, All American has a big 8x payout for flush draws, and that's something that you don't see in Jacks or Better with its lower 6x payout in the full pay 9/6 payout structure. These changes in the paytable mean that you have to adjust your strategies accordingly.

Another type of hand players struggle with in All American is a high pair with an open-ended straight draw. The only time you should go with the high pair is if you have exactly JJT98 with no flush draw. This surprises a lot of people, but what you have to remember is that straights are also given an 8x payout in this game, and when you add in the value from being able to make high pairs with the high cards left in the hand, this overtakes the value that you get from keeping your own high pair to begin with.

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