Fundamentals of Video Poker Jacks or Better Strategy
A video poker game is a casino game played on computerized consoles that resemble slot machines. It is based on a five-card-draw poker strategy. In the early ’70s, when video poker games were introduced, the machines were called “poker slots” which had a lot of common features as slot machines. They are easy to use and require no direct interaction with the players. Also, slot reels and card combinations are guided by Random Number Generator.
Video poker games may look similar to the traditional slot games, but they are very much different in terms of players’ engagement and returns. Slot games do not require many skills and so the players can blindly place their bets. This certainly sounds very advantageous for beginners, but as the players gain confidence, slot games tend to become boring to them; they start taking more interest in video poker games. In Video poker games, players are held liable for making decisions and the outcome of the bets is greatly influenced by their decisions.
Jacks or Better is the most popular variation of video poker casino games, and they are sometimes also called “Draw Poker” games. Payoffs start at a pair of King Jacks for which the poker game is given the acronym “Jacks or Better”, which means, the lowest winning hand lies on a pair of Jacks. Sometimes this Full Pay game strategy is also called 9/6 Jacks or Better because the payoff for a Full House is 9 times the bet, and likewise, the payoff for a Flush is 6 times the bet. These versions like 10/6 or 9/7 are given out as promotions. Some of the Low Pay games are listed below:
Low Pay Video Poker Games
Sometimes casinos use ‘pay tables’ to reduce the maximum payout percentage. This in turn increases the house edge but reduces the net revenue for the casinos as the players then experience less “play time” on the slot machines, thereby busting out of their purchase at a much earlier point. On the contrary, casinos that reduce ‘pay tables’ have to increase promotions to attract customers. Check out the following strategies for video poker games with low pay.
1) 9/5 Jacks or Better
9/5 Jacks or Better is the lowest pay version of the video poker game. The payout for making a Flush is cut from 6x to 5x of the bet placed by the players, but in the end, all other payouts remain the same. This payout cut strategy reduces the maximum payout percentage to 98.45% for players who bet five coins per hand to receive the Royal Flush bonus.
2) 8/5 Jacks or Better
8/5 Jacks or Better cuts both the Full House Payout and the Flush Payout; the Full House payout is cut from 9x to 8x your bet, and the Flush payout is cut from 6x your bet to 5x your bet. All other payouts remain the same as in a Full Pay game. These payout strategy cuts reduce the maximum payout percentage to 97.30% for players who bet 5 coins per hand for the full Royal Flush bonus. Some casinos add an extra 2% progressive meter over this Royal Flush Bonus to attract and compensate the players (major casinos have all rights reserved on how they offer bonus).
3) 8/6 Jacks or Better
Just like 8/5 Jacks or Better, this is also another most common low pay video poker game played in casinos that use pay tables for Jacks or Better games. Here, the full house payout is cut from 9x to 8x your bet, while all other payouts remain the same just in a full pay game. With this strategy, the maximum payout percentage is reduced to 98.39% for players who bet 5 coins per hand for the Royal Flush bonus.
4) 7/5 Jacks or Better
In this strategy, the Full House payout is cut from 9x to 7x your bet, and the Flush payout is cut from 6x to 5x your bet, and all other payouts remain the same as that in a full pay game. The maximum payout percentage is thus reduced to 96.15% for players who bet 5 coins per hand for the Royal Flush bonus.
5) 6/5 Jacks or Better
6/5 Jacks or Better video poker cuts the Full House payout from 9x to 6x your bet, and the Flush payout from 6x to 5x your bet, and all other payouts remain the same as a full-pay game. In this strategy, the maximum payout percentage is reduced to 95.00% for players who bet 5 coins per hand for the Royal Flush bonus.
6) Progressive jackpot games
Apart from these low pay poker games, there are many other progressive jackpot games that yield high payouts to the players. Many establishments often advertise these high pay games with a billboard to attract more players. These high payout games also pose tough competition to the suboptimal games like 8/5 Jacks or Better.
How to Play Jacks or Better?
Players get 5 cards to play the Jacks or Better game and they need to choose the ones that they want to keep till the next round. Once the players choose their cards, they are required to click “deal” on their consoles or slot machines and they get their final combinations. After this draw, based on the pay table, your hand will either be paid out or held up. The pay table varies depending on the casino set-up of the game variant and the preference of the game operator.
Just as in the normal poker games, Jacks or Better pay table strategy also starts with the pair of jacks, and goes up through Straight, Flush, and Full. Every player looks for that elusive strategy of Royal Flush consisting of the ten, King, Queen, Jack, and Ace of the same suit, but for that players need to follow some tricks that might help them to win. For example, when holding cards, which cards to hold is often a difficult decision to make. The following tip will help you to make the right choice.
- If you have two pair cards to a Flush or Straight, hold all 4 of them and draw only 1 additional card.
- If you have 3 cards to a Royal Flush, keep all of them and draw 2 additional cards.
- If you have 2 cards to a Straight Flush, keep them and draw 3 additional cards.
- If unfortunately, you have no matching cards in your hand, hold a card that is either higher or equal to the Jacks.
- If you have neither of the above combinations, no Jacks or no higher cards, draw all 5 cards and who knows you might be lucky this time.
Next, there is another confusion that players often face and to which pair to hold, a high pair or a low pair. The following list will help you to decide on your pairs. Have a look below:
Situations where it is better to keep a low pair:
- when you have 4 to a Straight
- when you have 3 to a Straight Flush
- when you already have a low pair with 2 additional cards that could result in a Royal Flush
Situations where it is better to discard a low pair:
- when you have 3 to a Royal Flush
- when you have two pair cards to a Flush, discard the low pair.
Situations where it is better to keep a high pair:
- If you have 4 cards to a Flush and also a high pair, hold the one card and draw 3 additional cards. But remember, if the same situation arises when you are holding a low pair, it is better to break the pair.
- If you have 4 cards to a Straight, keep it
- If you have 3 cards to a Royal Flush, keep it
- Also, if you have 3 cards to a Straight Flush, it is better to keep them, and eventually, it will lead you to a victorious win.
The situation where it is better to break or discard the high pair:
When you have Four of a kind to a Royal Flush, it is better to break the high pair. Therefore, whatever video poker strategy you follow, stick to the one till the end, and never switch strategies in between, otherwise, it will become utterly confusing.
Thus, Jacks or Better video poker games are easier to master than other casino games like Deuces Wild or Double Bonus Poker that also have better returns as compared to Jacks or Better. Also, the basic Jacks or Better variant games can be easily manipulated. For example, if a player hits the Royal Flush, the Jacks or Better machines will offer the biggest payout for this betting hand, and therefore winning jackpots become easier. Players may also win a bonus if they hit the Royal Flush. However, for that players need to bet five coins; betting between one to four of a kind coins on a Royal Flush does not give out the bonus payouts.
Jacks or Better Optimal Strategy
The Jack or Better Optimal Strategy applies for Full Play Jacks or Better video poker games. There is a designated pay table assigned to all full play poker games that are based on a 5-coins bet. To use this strategy, players need to look up at the pay table and choose the play that is highest on the pay table. If a play is not listed on the pay table, it should never be played. The average return of each play is mentioned on the right side of the pay table.
Why Play Jacks or Better?
The most dominant reason why poker enthusiasts prefer to play Jacks or Better over other casino games is the higher payouts that the Jacks or Better video poker games offer to the players. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best games played in casino rooms all over the world. If you know the strategies well and implement them in your games, no one can stop you from winning the bet. Here is why Jacks or Better video poker games are so popular.
- Players experience more engagement – unlike playing slots or roulette, where players blindly place their bets and depend on their luck for the outcomes, in a Jacks or Better video poker, players have the liberty to make their decisions that can affect the outcomes drastically. Thus, the players feel more engaged in the game.
- More returns – this is yet another reason why players want to play Jacks or Better. Jacks or Better poker video games offer excellent returns that can reach up to 99.54% provided you know the strategies well.
Learn the video poker strategies and increase the chances of your wins. It is one of the convenient games played online. If you have a clear knowledge of probability and house edges, you win is certain.
1) What is the best strategy for video poker?
Jacks or Better is the best strategy for playing video poker games and it is advisable to stick to the Jacks or Better strategy to win high returns.
2) Which video poker game has the best odds?
Full pay games like the Deuces Wild poker games have the best odds.
3) Is video poker better than slots?
Yes, Video poker games are certainly better than slots. Video poker machines yield much higher returns than slot machines. Also, in a slot game, it is impossible for the players to identify the machine that will yield the highest returns. But, in video poker, knowledgeable players with a clear idea of poker codes can easily identify the better machines.