Strategy for Jacks or Better Video Poker
By Brad Isaac
Jacks or Better is one of the most popular variations of video poker. Gamblers have been playing Jacks or Better since 70-s of XX century. It is amazing that the game despite of its solid ages is still popular. Many people say that this game is the most suitable one for beginners who want to learn video poker. Popularity of Jacks or Better can be explained with simple rules of the game.
In 70-s most video poker slot machines paid gamblers only when they collected 2 pairs or something even better. Therefore it was extremely difficult to win anything. House edge was enormous. It is not surprising that gamblers were not happy with video poker. And developers had to change rules of the game. They decided to change pay table rules. From when they started to pay when a gambler manages to collect at least pair of jacks. That’s why this game has got such name – Jacks or Better.
We would like to note that different variations of Jacks or Better have got different house edge. In best kinds of this game house edge is as small as 0.5%. Not so many games have got such attractive odds for gamblers! But it is not enough just to know your odds. You also need to follow proper strategy. And we will try to help you to maximize your odds in Jacks or Better.
We will have a look at most common situations a gambler might face playing Jacks or Better. We have decided to introduce you basic strategy with such convenient table. In the left column we have cards that you have received. In the right column we have placed needed action.
|Your Cards||Correct actions|
|Royal Flush, Straight Flush||Keep all cards|
|Four of Kind||Keep four cards with the same value, discard last card|
|Full House||Keep all cards|
|Royal Flush draw||Keep 4 cards with potential to become Royal flush. Discard last card even if you have to break completed flush.|
|Straight Flush draw||Keep 4 cards with potential to become Straight Flush, discard last card even if you have to discard a pair|
|Flush||Keep all cards|
|Straight||Keep all cards|
|Three of Kind||Keep 3 cards with the same value, discard last 2 cards|
|Two Pairs||Keep 4 cards making two pairs, discard last card|
|KQJ or QJT of the same suit||Keep these cards, discard last two hoping to complete Royal Flush or any other combination|
|JJ or an better pair||Keep only 2 cards (your pair) and discard other 3 cards|
|3 cards for Royal Flush but not connectors||Keep these cards, discard all others even if you have to discard lo pair|
|Flush draw||Keep these cards, discard the last one even if you have to discard low pair|
|KQJT of different suite||Keep these four cards, discard the last one even if it was T|
|Any low pair||Keep only this pair, discard 3 last cards|
|Straight draw without a pair||Keep these 4 cards, discard the last one|
|3 cards of the same suit in succession
without a pair
|Keep these cards, discard all the rest|
|QJ of the same suit without a pair or any other combinations||Keep QJ, discard last 3 cards|
|AKQJ of different suites||Keep these 3 cards, discard last 2 cards hoping to complete Straight or high pair|
|2 cards of the same suit higher than T||Keep only these 2 cards, discard all the rest|
|3 cards for Straigt Flush not in succession||Keep these 2 cards, discard last 3|
|JT of the same suit||Keep these cards, discard all the rest|
|QT of the same suit (if there are no other cards of this suit)||Keep these cards, discard all the rest|
|One of the following cards J,Q,K and four different low cards||Keep only this valuable card, discard 4 other cards|
|All 5 different low cards or with one A||Discard all 5 cards (forget about straight)|
You should not be frightened with numerous situations and strategies. It is quite easy to memorize and effectively use this table. Just carefully consider each situation and you will understand why it is reasonable to use offered strategy.
We strongly advice you to follow offered strategies. It really helps to win more often playing Jacks or Better. Luck is crucial in video poker but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know any strategy. Sometimes you need to assist Lady Luck a bit. This is such case.