Advanced Hand Examples for Two Ways Royal Video Poker

The chances in the pay table and rule set for Two Ways Royal video poker makes it pretty hard to adjust to on the fly just from reading about strategies themselves. We solve that issue here by helping you to transition to this game by looking at real, live hand examples that display the advanced strategies needed in this game.

Two Ways Royal and the Key Differences From Other Games

It’s difficult to adequately describe how different it is to play Two Ways Royal compared to Jacks or Better. One of the big reasons for this is that they come across as being virtually identical games to people who don’t have an in-depth understanding of video poker.

Unfortunately, that leads to many players jumping into Two Ways Royal and finding out for themselves that they are in over their heads very quickly from a strategic standpoint.

We want to help players to avoid that type of situation, but it’s almost impossible to do by just talking about individual strategies. As human beings, we don’t adjust so well without instructive examples when it comes to abstract concepts, so we’re going to look at some advanced hand examples for Two Ways Royal video poker here in what follows.

Rules to Be Mindful Of

There are some changes to the pay table that you need to be mindful of when compared to other types of non-wild video poker.

The first thing to note is that there’s a second way to win a royal flush payout. That’s with a 2/3/4/5/6 straight flush. It counts as a “Lo Royal Flush” in this game, and it has the same payout as the high end at the 800x level.

Second, the pay table is 6/5 instead of 9/6, which is what most players are used to. What that means is that the value of straights is dropped a little, but the value of flushes is dropped a lot, and you’ll have to make adjustments to your strategies accordingly.

Finally, we want to remind players that they should always get in on the action in this game with five coins per hand because playing with fewer kills your potential payout rates since the royal flush wins are much lower proportionately (four times lower in proportion than with five coins).

With that said, let’s get into some hand examples.

Hand 1: AcQsJh5c3c

The key thing to do when you first see a hand is to organize your thinking by looking at two factors: pairs/high cards and flush/straight-type draws.

In this hand, the AQJ cluster is the relevant pair/high card portion, and the A35 of clubs cluster is the relevant flush/straight draw portion.

The reason you do this is that it makes it very clear right off the bat what it is that you need to be focused on. In most hands, this will be all of the information that you need to make a clear decision, but more advanced strategies call for looking at how the more borderline, difficult hands are played.

General strategy for video poker dictates that if we go with the high card cluster, we will keep the QJ and discard everything else. Note that this would be different if we had KQJ (off-suit) instead since it performs better than QJ or AQJ thanks to the extra straight possibilities.

It’s unclear how the A35 cluster comes into play here since it can’t make a low royal, but here are the relevant numbers:

  • QJ – 0.498x
  • A35 – 0.497x
  • AQ or AJ – 0.466x
  • AQJ – 0.456x

We see that three to a straight flush with one high card was enough to be really competitive with the QJ combination, which is the best two-card off-suit combination of Broadway cards that we can have. However, it wasn’t quite good enough to be best.

Hand 2: TsTh6h5h3h

Once again, we’ll start by looking at the pair/high card aspects and the flush/straight aspects of the hand.

On the flush/straight part of the hand, we have the flush draw, and on the pair/high card side, we have the pair of tens.

Generally speaking, in non-wild card video poker games, a flush draw is better than a non-paying pair. That can lead players to hop to discarding the ten of spades on autopilot. However, there’s a trick in this particular hand that’s really easy to miss unless you’re specifically looking for it.

The trick is that you have three cards to a royal available as a draw, and that performs better than the flush draw. Consider the following average payouts:

  • 653 (Three to a Royal) – 1.152x
  • T653 (Four to a Flush) – 0.957x
  • TT (Low Pair) – 0.835x

What’s worth noting is that the inclination that this draw is better than this pair is actually correct. However, it’s easy to miss the draw to the low royal flush because it’s not something that you’d be used to looking for from any other games.

In fact, this is the only game where this is a factor at all, and it’s something that’s related to the following hand as well.

Hand 2b: Ks6s5s3s2s

This is a really straightforward example hand that has the purpose of showing just how important this low royal draw is and how much value you can miss out on by not seeing it when you’re playing along on auto-pilot.

  • 6532 (Four to a Royal) – 18.021x
  • K6532 (Flush) – 5x

As you can see, there’s a massive amount of value that can be lost here. The lesson to be learned is that when you’re playing Two Ways Royal, make sure to double-check flush draws and made flushes to see what’s available for the smaller cards.

Hand 3: KsQhJcTd4h

This is a specific hand that is a key part of strategy for non-wild video poker games. We’re including it here because there’s a little bit of a twist on the payouts that illustrate something important about this game’s 6/5 pay table.

  • KQJT (Straight Draw) – 0.872x
  • TT (Pair of Tens) – 0.835x

The general guideline that most players follow for non-wild games is that low pairs (ie: pairs that don’t pay out on their own) are worth more than four cards to a straight. The KQJTT example is often given as an exception to that rule because of the value that the KQJ pairing has in terms of catching pairs that pay out.

However, something worth pointing out is that the gap between those hands is actually much smaller there than you see in most other games. This is because of the 5x win for a straight being lower than what you find in most other non-wild titles.

Hand 3b: QsJhTd9c9d

We have a somewhat similar situation here with the ranks moved down just one spot. With the absence of just one of the high cards, here’s what happens to the value of the straight draw:

  • 99 (Pair of Nines) – 0.835x
  • QJT9 (Straight Draw) – 0.809x

The value of that draw dropped tremendously, and that’s because it’s not as propped up as it would be if the payout was higher.


Two Ways Royal video poker is a game where the strategies get pretty deep because of the existence of hands that are so different than what you typically learn about when you’re figuring out basic strategies.

As a result, to learn to play on an advanced level in this game, you have to really learn the exceptions to the rules and why the rules are the way they are in the first place. The example hands we have given above illustrate the most important of these exceptions in a way that you can remember when they come up during actual play.