Joker Poker Strategy

Joker Poker stands out as a widely recognized version of video poker, found across numerous prominent casino software platforms. This engaging game utilizes a deck consisting of 52 cards plus an additional joker card, which serves as a wild one. This addition significantly alters the game’s dynamics, making strategy crucial.

If you are interested in strategies and probabilities in various games, use our gambling calculators.

Joker Poker Strategy

Like blackjack, video poker strategies are about playing hands optimally. However, Joker Poker strategies are unique due to the wild card.

Strategy Overview

Joker Poker video poker strategy shares similarities with the fundamental strategy used in blackjack. It provides guidance on how to handle any hand you’re dealt. However, the approach in video poker varies significantly.

For blackjack, the strategy involves a chart with your hand total on one axis and the dealer’s visible card on the other, helping you decide the best play. Video poker simplifies this process. Your focus is solely on your hand and achieving the highest possible return.

In video poker, strategy cards list potential hands in descending order of value. You compare your hand with this list, starting from the top, and the first hand that matches yours indicates the cards you should retain. It’s crucial to adhere strictly to this strategy, ignoring any gut feelings, as mathematical probabilities are key to success.

Joker Poker, with its vast array of possible combinations, complicates strategy. However, even a basic guide can bring you very close to the optimal expected return.

You refer to two guides. An essential rule in these games is to never discard a wild card.

For hands without a joker, follow this strategy:

  1. Retain any pat royal flush, straight flush, or four of a kind. These hands are too valuable to break up for potential improvements.
  2. Always aim for a four-card royal flush, even if it means breaking up a guaranteed winning hand.
  3. The next best options are a pat full house or flush.
  4. Opt for an open straight flush draw over an inside straight draw. For example, a hand like 5-6-7-8 of the same suit is open-ended, needing a 4 or a 9 to complete. In contrast, a 5-6-8-9 hand requires specifically a 7.
  5. Subsequently, prioritize hands in this order: three of a kind, an inside straight flush draw, a pat straight (where you might discard a card for a better hand), and two pair.

When deciding which cards to hold, consider their suitedness, connectedness, and rank.

Remember, in wild card games, the strategy remains similar, but the wild card is a game-changer that you should always keep.

Joker Poker Slot

Optimal Strategy for Joker Wild Video Poker

With Joker

Hand TypeAction
Full House or BetterHold
Paying FlushBreak for 4-card royal/straight flush
3 of a KindBreak for 4-card straight flush
Pair of Aces/KingsBreak for 3-card straight flush or 4-card flush
None AboveKeep middle card (5-10) with joker

Without Joker

Hand TypeAction
Two Pair or BetterHold
FlushBreak for 4-card royal draw
Pair of Aces/KingsBreak for 3-card royal draw
Low PairBreak for 4-card flush or open-ended 3-card straight flush
Any PairBreak for 4-card straight flush

Advanced Tips

Consider the nuances of the game to boost your winning chances significantly.

Maximizing Returns

  • Focus on Royal Flush: The potential payout justifies breaking up certain hands.
  • Evaluate Pay Tables: Different Poker machines may have varied pay tables.

Hand Ranking

  • High Hands: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind.
  • Medium Hands: Full House, Flush, Straight.
  • Lower Hands: Three of a Kind, Two Pair.

Risk vs. Reward

Weigh the potential payout of a hand against the likelihood of achieving it. Sometimes, holding a lower hand with a guaranteed payout is more strategic than chasing a high-paying but less likely one.


What is the significance of the joker card in Joker Poker?

The joker acts as a wild card, which can substitute for any other card to form a winning hand. This significantly alters the game’s dynamics, making strategic play even more essential than in traditional poker games.

How does Joker Poker strategy differ from blackjack one?

While both games involve strategies based on mathematical probabilities, Joker Poker strategy focuses solely on the player’s hand, aiming for the highest possible return. Unlike blackjack, where a chart guides decisions based on the dealer’s visible card, its strategy involves a list of potential hands to compare with the player’s hand.

Can you explain the basic strategy for hands without a joker in Joker Poker?

The priority is to retain high-value hands such as a royal flush or straight flush. If these aren’t available, aim for a four-card royal flush, even if it means breaking up a winning hand. Always prioritize open-ended straight flush draws over inside ones, and never discard a wild card when playing wild card games.

What should players do with a joker in their hand in Joker Poker?

Players should keep any full house or better. For other hands, the strategy varies: break a paying flush for a 4-card royal/straight flush, break a pair of Aces/Kings for a 3-card straight flush or 4-card flush, and if none of these apply, keep the middle card (5-10) with the joker.