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Jacks or Better Video Poker

In Jacks or Better Video Poker - unlike typical slots - you can make your own decisions for drawing or standing and control your destiny, but what is the best decision at any given time and how can you ensure you always make it?

In video poker only a small fraction of the dealt hands are winners, initially. Invariably, you will have to make a drawing decision on the majority of your remaining hands. You always should strive to make the best decision.

The following web page details the basic strategy for Jacks or Better and beneath that is the advanced strategy - you won't be able to remember all the strategies decisions without practice, but print the strategy out or keep this window open and you will improve your odds of winning when you play for real money or visit your local casino.

Jacks or Better Video Poker - Basic Strategy

The following is the basic strategy for Jacks or Better:

  • Always keep 'made' winning hands such as:
    • Royal Flush
    • Straight Flush (Even if you have 4 to the Royal as in a 9-10-J-Q-K Straight Flush*)
    • Four of a Kind
    • Full House
  • Draw one card to a royal flush (*See Above)
  • Flush or Straight (Hold this except to draw one card to a four card Royal.)
  • Four Card Straight Flush - inside or open-ended - draw one card
  • Three of a Kind - draw two cards
  • Two Pair - draw 1 card
  • Pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces - draw 3 cards
  • Four cards to a Flush - draw 1 card
  • Three Card Royal Flush - draw 2 cards
  • Pair (2's through 10's) - draw 3 cards and DO NOT keep a "kicker" (Defined - a kicker is a high-card along with your pair, such as Pair of 10's AND an Ace; the Ace would be the kicker)
  • Four Card Straight (open-ended straights only) - draw 1 card - NEVER draw to an inside straight (6-8-9-10-x). In the latter case you would simply draw five new cards
  • Three Card Straight Flush (inside or open-ended) - draw 2 cards
  • Two High Cards (J, Q, K or A) - Keep the two cards Jack or higher and draw three new cards. If you have three high cards (Jack or higher), hold 2 of the same suit, or the 2 lowest if you don't have 2 suited
  • One High Card ( J,Q, K or A) - draw 4 cards
  • Nothing - draw 5 new cards.

Jacks or Better Video Poker - Advanced Online Strategy:

Video Poker is a game of skill that can be beaten using a combination of correct playing (i.e. drawing decisions), skill and mathematical knowledge. It is important to pay attention to the "pay schedule" presented on the front of each machine. The smart video poker player realizes that the important information to look for is how much a machine pays for a Full-House versus a Flush. Advanced video poker players realize that a "Jacks-or-Better" machine that pays out 9 coins for each coin bet for every Full House and 6 coins for each coin bet for every Flush (classified as a 9/6 machine) can be beaten using perfect a Basic Video Poker Strategy (Above) combined with some casino comps that serve to push the Basic Strategy player over the 100% return mark. The other machine that offers the advanced online video poker player an edge is the 10/6 Deuces Wild machine (article and strategy coming soon!). This has been proven based on computer modeling. While other machines are fun to play, even if you use Perfect Video Poker Strategy you will not win (unless the casino comps are extremely liberal).

Similar to more advanced card counting methods for Blackjack, there are more advanced strategy considerations when playing Jacks-or-Better Video Poker. This advanced strategy for the Jacks-or-Better game is as follows:

Jacks-or-Better Advanced Video Poker Strategy

  • The significant difference when using the advanced strategy is to consider penalty cards and what effect these penalty cards have on your drawing decisions*
  • In any hand containing a Jack discard everything and keep the Jack (unless the hand is already a winner, four to an open-ended Straight, four to a Flush or three to a Straight Flush or Royal Flush) unless there is another high card- then keep the Jack and one other high card)
  • In any hand containing only one card Jack or above, keep the lone high card and redraw
  • In any hand containing a pair lower than Jacks, keep the pair and discard everything else (unless the hand is four to a Straight or four to a Flush)
  • In any hand containing two-pair, keep both pair and discard the odd-card.
  • In any hand containing three-of-a-kind keep the three-of-a-kind and discard the other two cards
  • In any hand containing four to a Straight, keep all four Straight cards and draw (unless the Straight draw is NOT open-ended and your hand contains a Jack)
  • In any hand containing four to a Flush, keep the four Flush (unless the hand contains three to the Royal in which case you would draw to the Royal Flush)
  • In any hand containing four-of-a-kind just hold everything since a one-card draw can't improve you
  • In any hand containing three to a Royal Flush discard everything else and go for the Royal (unless the hand is already a Straight Flush)

I hope that you will practice the basic and advanced strategy to increase your video poker odds for hitting a Royal Flush!. Want to practice on the free video poker games?

A Quick Example to See What You've Learned

Suppose you are dealt the following hand:

Ace of Spades King of Clubs Eight of Clubs Seven of Hearts Six of Diamonds

How do you analyze this hand and use the strategies above, effectively?

Well, this is a hand with two high-cards (a high-card is a J, Q, K or A). Refer to the Basic Strategy above, which states: Two High Cards (J, Q, K or A) - Keep the two cards Jack or higher and draw three new cards. In the example hand above, we would hold the Ace and King and discard the 8, 7, and 6. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, please visit often to read all of our new articles.

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