Pick ‘em Poker
Pick ‘em Poker is a type of poker developed for inexperienced video poker players. In some casinos, it is known as Pick a Pair Poker.
If you have played standard video poker, you know that you will get a start hand consisting of five face-up cards and that you get to chose freely how many cards to keep (0-5 cards) and how many cards to discard and have replaced with new cards from the deck.
In Pick ‘em Poker, your freedom to pick and chose is considerably more limited. Because of this, Pick ‘em Poker is rarely played by experienced video poker players, but it is a popular choice among novice players making their initial forays into video poker.
Pick ‘em Poker is usually played with a standard 52 card deck without any jokers or other wild cards.
How to play Pick ‘em Poker
- Make your bet and start the game.
- You will receive two cards face up. (Let’s call them A & B.)
- You will receive another two cards face up. (Le’ts call them C & D.)
- You will automatically keep A & B, but you get to chose if you want to keep C or if you want to keep D. You can not discard both C & D – you have to pick one of them to combine with A & B.
- You will receive a fourth and a fifth card from the deck (face-up). You can not discard these cards.
- You now have your final hand. If it is good enough, you get paid. If not, you lose your bet.
There is another variant of Pick ‘em Poker where the cards are dealt in a somewhat different fashion.
- Make your bet and start the game.
- You will receive two cards face up.
- You will receive two sets of cards, each set consisting of three cards. In each set, you can only see the topmost card. The two other cards in each set are hidden.
- Decide which set of cards you wish to keep and combine with your initial two cards.
- The two hidden cards in the set you picked will be revealed. You now have your final five card hand. If it is good enough, you get paid. If not, you lose your bet.
Paytable for Pick ‘em Poker
Below you will find an example of a paytable for Pick ‘em Poker. Different Pick ‘em Poker machines have different paytables, so it is always advisable to check the paytable for each machine that you are interested in playing Pick ‘em Poker on.
The paytable below has a statistical return to player (RTP) of 99.95% for max bets. Even though it isn’t 100% or more, it is so high that Pick ‘em Poker machines using this paytable are known as Full Pay Pick’em Poker machines. We have never encountered a Pick ‘em Poker machine where the RTP is higher than this. If you want a higher RTP, our advice is to skip Pick ‘em Poker and go looking for Full Pay All American or Full Pay Deuces Wild instead.
|Hand||5 coin bet|
|Royal Straight Flush||6000|
|Four of a Kind||600|
|Three of a Kind||25|
|Pair of Nines or Better||10|
You may wonder why Four of a Kind pays 1199 on a 5 coin bet rather than 1200. The answer is to be found in the origin of the Pick ‘em Poker video poker machine. It was developed for offline casinos in the United States, where a win of $1200 or more would necessitate the filling out of certain forms (for tax reasons). Low Pay Pick ‘em Poker video poker machines usually have a less conspicuous payout for Straight Flush, since the pay out is well below $1200 anyway. If you are playing Pick ‘em Poker online or offline outside the United States, you may also find Pick ‘em Poker video poker machines (full pay and low pay) that use a less striking number in their paytable.
Basic strategy for Full Pay Pick’em Poker
The list below is an outline for basic (not necessarily optimal) Full Pay Pick’em Poker strategy.
The list is filled with possible three card hands. To use the list, begin at the top and work yourself down until you find a row that accurately describes a three card hand that is possible for you to obtain with you two card starter hand + one of the other available face-up cards. Your aim is to get a three card hand that is as close to the top of the list as possible.
Example: Your starter hand is queen of diamonds + jack of diamonds. The two cards that you have to chose between are king of diamonds and jack of hearts.
If you pick the king of diamonds, you end up with king of diamonds + queen of diamonds + jack of diamonds. This hand is ranked #3 in the list (king + queen + jack of the same suit).
If you pick the jack of hearts, you end up with queen of diamonds + jack of diamonds + jack of hearts. This hand is ranked #4 in the list (high pair).
You should always pick the highest ranked option, which in this case is #3. Therefore, you should pick the king of clubs, not the jack of spades.
|1||Three of a Kind|
|2||Queen + Jack + Ten of the same suit|
|3||King + Queen + Jack of the same suitor
King + Queen + Ten of the same suit
King + Jack + Ten of the same suit
|4||High Pair(Pair of Nines, Pair of Tens, Pair of Jacks, Pair of Queens, Pair of Kings, or Pair of Aces)|
|5||Ace + King + Queen of the same suitor
Ace + King + Ten of the same suit
Ace + Queen + Ten for the same suit
Ace + Jack + Ten of the same suit
|6||Jack + Ten + Nine or the same suit|
|7||Ten + Nine + Eight of the same suit|
|8||Nine + Eights + Seven of the same suit|
|9||Queen + Jack + Nine of the same suitor
Queen + Ten + Nine of the same suit
|10||3 cards of an open Straight Flush without any high cardsor
Eight + Seven + Six of the same suit
Five + Four + Three of the same suit
|11||Jack + Ten + 8 of the same suitor
Jack + Nine + Eight of the same suit
Ten + Nine + Seven of the same suit
|12||King + Queen + Nine of the same suitor
King + Jack + Nine of the same suit
King + Ten + Nine of the same suit
|13||Ten + Eight + Seven of the same suitor
Nine + Eight + Six of the same suit
Nine + Seven + Six of the same suit
|14||3 cards of the Straight Flush, where two cards are high cards and there are two gaps|
|15||3 cards of a Flush, where all three cards are high cards|
|16||3 cards of a Straight Flush, where no cards are high cards and there is one gap|
|17||Jack + Ten + Nine of more than one suitor
Queen + Jack + Ten of more than one suit
|18||3 cards of a Straight Flush, with one high card and two gaps|
|19||Three cards of a Flush, where two of the cards are high|
|20||Low Pair(Pair of Deuces – Pair of Eights)|
|21||3 cards of a Straight Flush, with no high card and two gaps|
|22||3 cards of a Straight, with three high cards and one gap|
|23||Ten + Nine + Eight of more than one suit|
|24||3 cards of the same suit, with one high card|
|25||3 cards of a Straight, with two high cards and two gaps|
|26||3 cards of a Straight, with two high cards and one gap|
|27||Nine + Eight + Seven of more than one suit|
|28||3 cards of a Flush, with no high card|
|29||Three high cards|
|30||3 cards of the Straight, with two high cards and two gaps|
|31||Ten + Eight + Seven of more than one suitorNine + Eight + Six of more than one suit
Nine + Seven + Six of more than one suit
|32||3 cards of an open Straight, with no high card|
|33||Two high cards|
|34||3 cards of a Straight, with one high card and two gaps|
|35||3 cards of a Straight, with no high card and one gap|
|36||One high card|
|37||3 cards of a Straight, with no high card and two gaps|
|38||No high card|