Conflict Hands in Video Poker

Conflict Hands in Video Poker

Conflict hand is an expression used to describe the situations in playing video poker when the player isn’t sure which cards he should discard, because he has more then one possible combination of cards. The things are much easier when you can see the most probable outcome expected, for example, if you have three of a kind, but when you are not sure whether you should try to get one combination or the other, things are far more complicated. It’s hard to give some general rules applying to all possible cases, but here are some of the rules for the most common ones.

There are different types of conflict hands – you may have some lower rank winning cards, but you think you can get higher one if you discard them and keep some of the better cards that you have. The general rule says it isn’t a good move. If you have a winning combination the hand, you shouldn’t break it hoping to get the higher one, with the exception of the possibility for royal flush.

There are also situations when it is more likely to get some lower combination if you discard higher cards, and there is also a possibility of getting the higher-ranking combination, but those chances are much slimmer. There are no guaranties, and it isn’t easy to decide what to do in such situations.
That’s why there is no general rule. Here are some samples of those situations:

  • If you have, for example, 3C, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, what should you do?

Let’s see: if you discard 3C, you have the opportunity for straight flush, straight or a flush. If you keep 3C and 3H, a pair, you have the opportunity for 3 of a kind, poker, full house or maybe two pairs. Let’s face it – it is a low pair. You should go for a flush. However, if your cards are good for a straight instead, keep your pair and hope for the best.

  • If you have, for example, 3D, 4D, 5C, 6D, KD, what then?

As you can see, you can choose between the opportunity for straight and the opportunity for flush. By discarding KD, you can try to get a straight, but the right thing to do is to discard 5C, and to try to get a flush. Why? Well, in order of getting the flush, you can get 2D, 7D, 8D, 9D, 10D, JD, QD and AD. And in order of getting straight, you would have to get 2 or 7. The same odds for higher ranked combination.

  • If you have, let’s say, 3S, 8H, 9H, 10H, JD

Now you have a few possibilities for winning – if you discard 3S and JD, you can go for a straight flush, but if you discard only 3S, you have an opportunity for winning the outside straight. That means you can get a straight with either any 7 or any Q. in this case you should stick to a straight and discard 3S only.

But if you have the same cards, except QD replaces JD, that means you have the possibility for inside straight, and the only way you can achieve this goal is to get Q, you should keep 8H, 9H and 10H and go for a straight flush. The possibility of getting Q is smaller than the possibility for getting Q or 7 – that’s why in this case you should make different decision about discarding your cards.

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