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Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy: Play to Win

Table Of Contents

  • The Importance of Poker Hands at Jacks or Better Strategy
  • How to Actually Play Jacks or Better Poker
  • Jacks or Better Strategy Made Easy
  • The Problem of Low Pair Vs. High Pair
  • Jacks or Better Poker Strategy: Low Pair
  • Jacks or Better Game Strategy: High Pair
  • You Can Play Jacks or Better Video Poker Game Online For Free!

  • This article is for those who don’t know how to play Jacks or Better video Poker
  • Read the best Jacks or Better strategy tips before you play real money games
  • You can play free video Poker Jacks or Better online here

Today, I am going to share some useful Jacks or Better video poker strategy tips that will help you increase your win rate and enjoy more this exciting casino game.

Did you know that video poker has the highest payout percentage of all casino games?

While the house edge for typical casino games varies between 90 and 97 percent, video poker can offer up to 99.54 percent.

But only if you know what you’re doing.

And for that, you need a good video poker strategy.

In this article, we will delve into my favorite variation of video poker – Jacks or Better (Draw Poker). I like it because of how simple and straightforward the game is.

(Another great game to play is Deuces Wild, but we’ll keep that to another article.)

To play successfully (aka. to win), a sound Jacks or Better strategy is a must.

That’s why today you are going to find out a few important things like:

  • how to reduce the house edge
  • how to make the best out of the cards you get
  • how to maximize your chances to win

In case you already know how to play Jacks or Better and want to put your knowledge into action ASAP, you can visit this Casino site and play this video Poker game online for free and for real money.

Use my video poker strategy tips to play Jacks or Better like a pro!

As for the rest of us, let’s continue with the article!

The Importance of Poker Hands at Jacks or Better Strategy

If you want to become good at Jacks or Better video poker, you need to understand its card combinations.

It comes without saying that you must know the basic video poker rules for a solid start, and I recommend this article for that.

Now, let’s check out the possible poker hands that result in winnings.

  • Royal Flush. It can’t get any better than that. This hand has to include these cards: . Most games don’t require them to be consecutive. All cards must be in the same suit.
  • Straight Flush. Five consecutive cards from the same suit. Example: .
  • Four of a Kind. Nothing complicated here: four cards of the same value. Example: .
  • Full House. You collect Full House when you receive five cards that are comprised of one pair and three of a kind. Example: .
  • Flush. Five cards of the same suit. Example:
  • Straight. Five cards that form a consecutive sequence. The suits are mixed.
  • Three of a Kind. You get Three of a Kind when you receive three cards of the same value. Example: .
  • Two Pair. Two pairs of two cards of the same value. Example: .
  • Jacks or Better. The easiest one to collect, this combination includes only one pair of jacks or a higher value. Example:

Suit abbreviations:

Spades (s)
Hearts (h)
Diamonds (d)
Clubs (c)

Don’t worry if you can’t remember them all – these video Poker machines online include a table with the winning combinations and payouts.

And if you really want to go deeper on the subjects, here’s the most complete poker hands chart on the internet.

The most important thing is to choose the casinos with the highest payment possibilities.

Tip: If a game has full payouts, it should pay two times your bet for Two Pairs.

How to Actually Play Jacks or Better Poker

If you’ve ever played Jacks or Better, you know that this is a casino game that depends on both luck and your choices – a characteristic, this one, that is common to all online poker machines.

It goes like this:

You get five cards and must choose the ones that you want to keep for the next round. You click ‘deal’, and get your final combination.

Which cards should you hold?

Luckily, this choice is not as difficult as it might seem. Below, I prepared an easy Jacks or Better strategy for beginners that you should use when dealing with your cards.

Jacks or Better Strategy Made Easy

Here are the main tips for a basic Jacks or Better poker strategy:

  • When you have four cards to a Straight or a Flush, hold all four of them and draw only one additional card.
  • When you have three cards to a Royal Flush, keep them! Draw two additional cards and you might be lucky.
  • Need only two more cards for a Straight Flush? Hold the three lucky cards you have and draw two more.
  • When you get a pair of cards, hold them and draw three additional cards. However, this tip is not always applicable.
  • If you have no matching cards in your hand, hold a card that is higher or equal of value to Jacks.
  • No combinations and no Jacks or higher? Draw five new cards.

The Problem of Low Pair Vs. High Pair

A couple of the main questions that most video poker players have are as follows:

When is it best to hold a low pair?
When should I hold a high pair?

Let’s take a look at what you should do in different situations.

Jacks or Better Poker Strategy: Low Pair

Usually, I suggest you keep all the low pairs you receive. However, there are certain situations when it’s better to skip them.

This is when you should keep a low pair:

  • When you have four to a Straight, always keep the pair that you got. Example: 55678. In this case, hold 55 and discard 678.
  • When you have three to a Straight Flush, keep the low pair. Example: 3h4h5h5s9c. Hold 5h and 5s.
  • When you have a low pair and two cards that could result in a Royal Flush… you should still hold the low pair! Example: 6s6h2cKhAh. Hold 6s and 6h and discard the rest.

Here are the cases when you should discard your low pair:

  • When you have three to a Royal Flush. The probability to get the best outcome is simply too high to keep the low pair. Example: 2sJhJsQsKs
  • In case you have four to a Flush, break that low pair! Example: 5d5h8d9dQd

Jacks or Better Game Strategy: High Pair

The crucial difference between a low pair and a high pair in video poker is that the latter is a guaranteed win.

However, there will be certain situations when you’ll think that you need to break the pair for a bigger win.

BUT – a seemingly right decision can cost you your bet.

Here are the cases when you have to keep your high poker pair no matter what.

Note: A high pair consists of two cards of the same value (Jacks or higher).

  • If you have four to a Flush and a high pair, hold the pair and draw three other cards. When an identical situation occurs with a low pair in hand, you should break it.
  • When you have four to a Straight, keep your high pair to have a higher chance to win.
  • If you have three to a Royal Flush, it is still better to hold the pair! The odds to get a Royal Flush are not high enough in this case.
  • It’s more beneficial to keep the high pair when you have three to a Straight Flush. Over time, this will produce better results.

On the contrary, there is one case when you should break your high pay in Jacks or Better poker game:

  • When you have four to a Royal Flush. In this situation, it would be a waste not to do it as the odds are simply too high for that sweet winning sequence!

Note: As soon as you decide to use a video poker game strategy, stick to it. Whether you play online or at a land-based casino, discipline is your truest friend when it comes to beating Jacks or Better.

You Can Play Jacks or Better Video Poker Game Online For Free!

No strategy can be useful without sufficient practice.

But you don’t want to bet your hard-earned money on your first try at Jacks or Better. No, you need to play this video poker game for free first!

And that’s an easy task. Why?

Because you can do that on this video poker site.

Here, each Jacks or Better game variation has a demo mode that does not require real money. At all.

Register a free account and use the bonus to play free Jacks or Better Video poker games online.

So, practice online all you want – and try to win real cash as soon as you learn how to play this game flawlessly.

May the odds be with you!

The promotion presented on this page was available at the time of writing. With some Casino promotions changing on daily basis, we suggest you to check on the site if it still available. Also, please do not forget to read the terms and conditions in full before you accept a bonus.

Become a pro at Jacks or Better video poker game with this easy-to-follow strategy! Play online for free or for real money and beat the game even if you’re a beginner.

A Beginner’s Guide to Jacks or Better

If you are new to the game of Jacks or Better take a look at our simple guide to help you understand how to play the game.

Jacks or Better is the most popular video poker game. It is the original video poker game and can provide you with hours of fun. The aim of the game is to build the best possible poker hand. The game is won if the player’s hand contains at least a pair of jacks (hence the game’s name). At first you are dealt five cards, you then choose which to hold on to before discarding and replacing the others. You are then paid depending on the strength of your hand. Before you begin playing the game, you must first understand what all of the different hands are. Here is a quick guide:

  • Two/Three of a Kind –This is a hand that contains either two matching cards or three matching cards. For example, two or three 2s.
  • Two Pair –This is hand containing two pairs, for example two 2s and two 4s.
  • Full House –This is a pair together with three of a kind, for example two tens and three kings. It doesn’t matter what suit the cards are, as long as they have the same value.
  • Flush– This is a hand where all the cards are the same suit, for example, 4, 5, 7, K and A of clubs.
  • Straight– This is a hand with five cards in sequence, for example 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Once again it doesn’t matter what the suit is and the Ace can be used at either the beginning or end of a sequence.
  • Outside Straight– This is a set of cards that can be made into a straight with another card on either end. For example, 9, 7, 10, 8, 3 is an outside straight because either a 6 on the low end or a Jack on the high end will turn it into a straight.
  • Inside Straight– This is a would-be straight with a hole in the middle. 9, 2, 10, 8, 6 is an inside straight because only a 7 will turn it into a straight. It is important to know the difference between inside and outside straights as when playing Jacks or Better you would never bet on an inside straight becoming a straight as you only have one chance of completing the straight.
  • Straight Flush– This is a hand that is both a straight and a flush. For example, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of diamonds.
  • Royal Flush– This is a straight flush composed of the highest cards, such as 10, J, Q, K, A. This is the strongest hand in video poker and if you see it then you know you are in for a big payout.

Game Play

The basic idea of playing Jacks or Better is knowing to play he highest hand that matches your cards. The list shows which cards to hold depending on what you are dealt. Below the list there are some worked examples.

  1. Full house or better
  2. 4 to a royal flush
  3. Straight, three of a kind, or flush
  4. 4 to a straight flush
  5. Two pair
  6. High pair
  7. 3 to a royal flush
  8. 4 to a flush
  9. Low pair
  10. 4 to an outside straight
  11. 2 suited high cards
  12. 3 to a straight flush
  13. 2 unsuited high cards (if more than 2 pick the lowest 2).
  14. Suited 10/J, 10/Q or 10/K
  15. One high card
  16. Discard everything

Now lets look at some examples. Scenario 1 You are dealt: 9 Clubs, 7 Hearts, Jack Spades, 3 Diamonds, 2 Clubs. If you cross-reference this with the list above, you will see that the best you have is number 15, one high card. The minimum hand you need to win is a pair of Jacks. As a result, you will immediately hold the Jack in the hope of drawing another one. With a bit of luck you could even draw two jacks and form a three of a kind hard, or even four of a kind. Scenario 2 You are dealt: 9 Clubs, 8 Clubs, 4 Diamonds, 5 Spades, Queen Hearts Just as in the previous scenario, all you have here is one high card, the queen of hearts, so you will hold it. Scenario 3 You are dealt: Queen Spades, 8 Hearts, Jack Diamonds, 5 Clubs, 2 Clubs Here you have two high cards, the Queen of Spades and the Jack of Diamonds. You need to hold them both as you can form a pair by drawing either a Jack or a Queen. Your odds are good for making a pair and if you are really lucky you may even get a Full House. If you look at the list above this corresponds to number 13, 2 unsuited high cards. Scenario 4 You are dealt: Queen Spades, 8 Hearts, Jack Diamonds, Ace Clubs, 2 Clubs Here you have three high cards, the Queen of Spades, the Jack of Diamonds and the Ace of Clubs. However, you don’t want to hold all three as if you did it would be impossible to get a Full House. Instead you hold the Jack and the Queen, once again this corresponds to number 13 on the list. Scenario 5 You are dealt: 8 Hearts, Jack Clubs, Queen Diamonds, Ace Clubs, 2 Diamonds Once again you have three high cards but there is a big difference to last time, two of them are the same suit (The Jack and Ace). As a result, these are the ones that you need to hold as they can turn into a Flush, or even a Royal Flush. This corresponds to number 11 on the list, 2 suited high cards. Scenario 6 You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 5 Spades, 5 Hearts, 2 Diamonds Here it is immediately clear what to do, you have been dealt a winning hand of three of a kind. Hold them and hope that you draw another 5 for four of a kind. Scenario 7 You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 5 Hearts, 2 Hearts, 3 Spades This isn’t quite as good as the last hand, you have a pair of fives but this isn’t enough to win. However, you would hold the fives and hope to draw another to form a winning hand. This corresponds to number 9 on the list, low pair. Scenario 8 You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 8 Clubs, 2 Hearts, 6 Hearts Here you have four to an outside straight – 5, 6, 7, 8. Receiving either a four or a nine will turn it into a straight. As a result, you hold all cards but the two and hope to draw a four or a nine. This is number 10 on the list. Scenario 9 You are dealt: 5 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 8 Clubs, 2 Hearts, 4 Hearts This is an inside straight, 4, 5, 7, 8. You need a six to complete the straight but as mentioned above, in Jacks or Better you would never draw to an inside straight. In this scenario there is nothing you can do, the hand doesn’t even contain the minimum requirement of a high card as specified by the list. All you can do here is replace all five cards and hope for the best. Scenario 10 You are dealt: 9 Hearts, 7 Hearts, 5 Clubs, 2 Hearts, 4 Hearts This may look useless at first, but you should notice that four of the cards are of the same suit (hearts). This means that you have four to a flush, discard the five and hope for a heart. This is number eight on the list. Scenario 11 You are dealt: 9 Spades, 6 Spades, 3 Hearts, 5 Spades, 8 Diamonds Once again, you have cards that at first look useless but you actually have three to a straight flush, the 5, 6 and 9. You hold these cards and hope to draw the 7 and 8 of Spades. A straight flush offers a huge payout so while you wouldn’t draw to an inside straight, you would to a straight flush. Scenario 12 You are dealt: 4 Clubs, 5 Spades, 6 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 7 Hearts Here you have two choices, you can hold the four to an outside straight or hold the two 7s and go for three of a kind or four of a kind. Given that a low pair is number 9 while four to an outside straight is number 10. The low pair is higher on the list so you hold the pair. Scenario 13 You are dealt: 4 Clubs, Queen Clubs, 6 Clubs, 7 Clubs, 7 Hearts This is a case where something beats a pair, four to a flush. Hold the four Clubs cards and try to form a flush. A good rule to remember is that a pair beats a would-be straight, but not a would-be flush. Scenario 14 You are dealt: 4 Clubs, 4 Diamonds, Queen Clubs, King Clubs, 7 Spades Here you decide between going with the pair or the high card. As mentioned, we should always go for the pair, number nine on the list, rather than number 11 for the two suited high cards. Scenario 15 You are dealt: 10 Clubs, Jack Clubs, Queen Clubs, King Hearts, King Diamonds Here you have three choices, do you go for the straight (10, J, Q, K), the high pair (K, K) or the three to a royal flush (10, J, Q). If you look at the list above you will see that a high pair is highest, number six, while three to a royal flush is seven and four to an outside straight is 10.

If you are new to the game of Jacks or Better take a look at our simple guide to help you understand how to play the game. ]]>