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Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy: Play to Win

Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy

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.

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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: {a-}{k-}{q-}{j-}{10-}. 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:{3-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}.
  • Four of a Kind. Nothing complicated here: four cards of the same value. Example: {k-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{k-Spades}{8-Spades}{k-Clubs}.
  • Full House. You collect Full House when you receive five cards that are comprised of one pair and three of a kind. Example: {q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{4-Clubs}{4-Spades}{4-Hearts}.
  • Flush. Five cards of the same suit. Example: {a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{8-Hearts}
  • Straight. Five cards that form a consecutive sequence. The suits are mixed. {6-Spades}{7-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}
  • Three of a Kind. You get Three of a Kind when you receive three cards of the same value. Example: {8-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{2-Hearts}.
  • Two Pair. Two pairs of two cards of the same value. Example: {9-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}.
  • Jacks or Better. The easiest one to collect, this combination includes only one pair of jacks or a higher value. Example: {j-Clubs}{j-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{9-Hearts}

Suit abbreviations:

{x-Spades}Spades (s)
{x-Hearts}Hearts (h)
{x-Diamonds}Diamonds (d)
{x-Clubs}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.

How to Play Jacks or Better Poker

The problem is:

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?

jacks or better Low Pair Vs. 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.

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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.

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