Jacks or Better Poker Strategy

Aug 24 2012

The most popular and most basic form of video poker in iPhone casinos is Jacks or Better. Because it’s the game that most forms of video poker are based on, it’s really important for all video poker players to be able to play very good Jacks or Better poker strategy, even if it’s not their main game. The ideas and fundamentals that you get from studying how to play this game well carry over into other types of video poker and help you to improve your chances of winning as much as possible.

There are a couple of basic ideas that you’ll need to know and understand before you can implement the Jacks or Better video poker strategy that we are going to recommend. The first idea is that you have to always be betting five coins. When you bet five coins, you get a nice boost to your payout percentage because the royal flush payout increases dramatically. There is no exception to this rule; always bet five coins in Jacks or Better video poker.

Second, you need to understand that the strategy we are recommending here is not mathematically perfect. However, it will give you a 99.46 percent payout rate when you are playing 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better. You can find these 9/6 games by looking for a Jacks or Better video poker game with a 9x payout for a full house and a 6x payout for a flush. If the payouts for these hands are lower than 9/6, then your payout percentage will be lower. Perfect strategy in 9/6 Jacks or Better will pay out 99.54 percent. It will take the average person several days, if not weeks, to learn how to play Jacks or Better video poker perfectly. However, the strategy that we are going to teach you here is only 0.08 percent away from being perfect, and you can learn it in less than an hour.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get started learning our 99.46 percent payout strategy. The first thing you need to know is that you will always keep pat hands that are three of a kind or higher except in one condition. If you have four cards to a royal flush, then you will always draw to them unless you have a straight flush already. For example, if you are dealt the Ace, King, Queen, Ten and Four all of spades, then you will need to discard your Four and try to draw to a royal flush. This might seem anti-intuitive since you already have a made hand, but the mathematics involved shows that discarding your Four will make you the most money on average.

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Once you know when to draw to a royal flush, the next step in this strategy is to know that you should draw when you have four to a straight flush as long as you don’t have a hand that is three of a kind or better. For example, if you are dealt the Jack, Ten, Nine and Seven of spades along with the Jack of clubs, then you should always discard the Jack of clubs and draw to the straight flush instead of keeping your pair of Jacks and drawing to three of a kind or two pair. This example is a little easier to see since you have a chance to hit both a flush or a straight, but it’s better to make this draw since you’ll make more money on average when you do.

You should keep a single pair of Jacks or better instead of drawing to three to a royal flush. However, always draw to three to a royal flush before you draw to four to a regular flush. For example, if you have the Ace, Queen, Ten and Four of spades along with the Six of diamonds, then you should keep the Ace, Queen and Ten and discard the Four and Six. You should also draw to either of these hands instead of keeping a low pair of Tens or worse.

After a low pair, the hands you should keep in order of importance from most important to least important go in the following order: four to an outside straight, two suited high cards, three to a straight flush, two offsuit high cards, suited Jack/Queen/King with a Ten and a single high card. If you only have five low cards with no straight draw, flush draw or pair, then you should discard all five of your cards. This doesn’t happen very often, but knowing what to do in this atypical situation will help to set you apart from players who think that they should keep their highest cards or draw to a longshot draw for some reason. As long as you follow the recommendations that we have given you here, then you will perform very well at Jacks or Better video poker.

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