Jacks Or Better Video Poker Strategy
When it comes to jacks or better, you have to get familiar with the right play for certain types of hands in poker. For instance, you never toss out a secure flush for a small probability chance of reaching a straight flush. There are about 15 hands for you to know the right play to in order for a basic strategy to return 99.45% of the time.
Say, for instance, you have hand of 3c-Jc-5c-Qc-3d. From here you have three potential plays:
- Keep the low pair
- Keep the four suited cards for a flush
- Keep the suited high cards
According to this game’s hand hierarchy, the highest ranking hand is the flush. So, that is the hand which should be pursued. As a result, you discard the 3 of diamonds.
Here is a much more comprehensive, though not exhaustive, list of plays in certain situations. The guide is intended for advanced play and not a recommended course of action for players only starting out in the world of video poker games:
|Hand||Decision To Play Either||Play|
|9h-Th-Jh-Qh-Kh||Solid straight flush or 4 to a royal||Keep the straight flush|
|2c-Tc-Jc-Qc-Ac||Solid flush or 4 to a royal||Go for the royal flush|
|Th-Jh-Qs-Kh-Ah||Solid straight or 4 to a royal||Go for the royal flush|
|Ts-Js-Qs-Qh-Ks||High pair or 4 to a royal||Go for the royal flush|
|Jc-Qh-Qc-Qs-Kc||3 of a kind or 3 to a royal||Keep the 3 of a kind|
|2s-6s-Js-Qs-Ks||Solid flush or 3 to a royal||Keep the flush|
|3h-4h-6h-7h-Qh||Solid flush or 4 to a straight flush||Keep the flush|
|Th-Jc-Qh-Ks-Ah||Solid straight or 3 to a royal||Keep the straight|
|4h-5h-6h-7h-8s||Solid straight or 4 to a straight flush||Keep the straight|
|Tc-Th-Qc-Ah-Ac||2 pair or 3 to a royal||Keep the 2 pair|
|7s-8s-9s-Js-Jh||4 to a straight flush vs. any pair||Go for straight flush|
|2h-5h-7h-Jc-Jh||High pair vs. 4 to a flush||Keep high pair|
|8c-9h-Ts-Jh-Jc||High pair vs. 4 to a straight||Keep high pair|
|3h-Ts-Js-Qh-Qs||High pair vs. 3 to a royal flush||Keep high pair|
|3h-9s-Js-Qh-Qs||High pair vs. 3 to a straight flush||Keep high pair|
|4c-Th-Ts-Qh-Ah||3 to a royal vs. Low pair||Go for the royal flush|
|2h-5c-Th-Qh-Ah||3 to a royal vs. 4 to a flush||Go for the royal flush|
|2h-Tc-Jh-Qc-Kc||3 to a royal vs. 4 to a straight||Go for the royal flush|
|3s 3h 5s 7s 9s||4 to a flush vs low pair||Go for the flush|
|4s 5s 6h 7s Qs||4 to a flush vs. 4 to a straight||Go for the flush|
|2c-6h-7h-8h-Kh||4 to a flush vs. 3 to a straight flush||Go for the flush|
|2c-7c-8h-Qc-Kc||4 to a flush vs. 2 to a royal flush||Go for the flush|
|5s-6h-7c-7h-8s||Low pair vs. 4 to a straight||Keep the low pair|
|7s-8s-8h-9s-Kh||Low pair vs. 3 to a straight flush||Keep the low pair|
|3s-6c-6h-Js-Qs||Low pair vs. 2 to a royal||Keep the low pair|
|2c-7h-8h-9h-Ts||4 to an outside straight vs. 3 to a straight flush||Go for the straight|
|2c-9c-Ts-Jh-Qh||4 to an outside straight vs. 2 to a royal flush||Go for the straight|
|4c-5c-6c-Jh-Qh||3 to a straight flush (type 1) vs. 2 to a royal flush||Go for the straight flush|
|2s-9h-Jh-Qc-Kh||3 to a straight flush (type 1) vs. 4 to an inside straight with 3-4 high cards||Go for the straight flush|
|2h-Tc-Jh-Qs-Ah||2 to a royal flush (both high) vs. 4 to an inside straight with 3-4 high cards||Go for the royal flush|
|2s-4h-Jc-Qh-Kc||2 to a royal flush (both high) vs. any 3 unsuited high cards||Go for the royal flush|
|5h-6h-8h-Ks-As||2 to a royal flush (both high) vs. 3 to a straight flush (type 2):||Go for the royal flush|
|7h-Th-Jh-Kc-As||4 to an inside straight with 3-4 high cards vs. 3 to a straight flush (type 2)||Go for the straight|
|7d-Th-Jc-Ks-Ah||4 to an inside straight with 3-4 high cards vs. 2 to a royal (ten low):||Go for the straight|
|2h-4h-7c-Tc-Jc||3 to a straight flush (type 2) vs. 2 to a royal flush (10 low)||Go for the straight flush|
|7h-8h-Th-Jc-As||3 to a straight flush (type 2) vs. 1-3 high cards||Go for the straight flush|
|2h-5s-Jc-Qh-Ks||KQJ vs. QJ||Play KQJ|
|4s-6h Th-Jh-Qc||QJ vs 2 to a royal flush (ten low)||Keep QJ|
|2h-4h-6h-Js-Qc||QJ vs 3 to a straight flush (type 3)||Keep QJ|
|3h-5s-Jc-Qh-As||QJ vs 3 high cards A high||Keep QJ|
|2c-3h-Th-Jh-Ac||JT suited vs 2-3 unsuited high cards K or A high||Keep JT|
|2h-4h-6h-Ts-Js||JT suited vs 3 to a straight flush (type 3)||Keep JT|
|2h-4s-Th-Jh-Kc||KJ vs JT suited||Keep JT suited|
|2h-4h-6h-Js-Kc||KQ or KJ vs. 3 to a straight flush (type 3)||Keep KQ or KJ|
|3h-4c-5h-Ts-Ks||KT suited vs. K||Play KT suited|
|2h-4h-6h-Ts-Ks||KT suited vs. 3 to a straight flush (type 3)||Keep KT suited|
|3c-5c-7c-8h-Jh||Single high card vs. 3 to a straight flush (type 3)||Keep high card|
The different straight flush draw types are as follows:
Type 1 – Straight flush draw in which the number of high cards equals or exceeds number of gaps.
Type 2 – One gap and no high cards, two gaps and one high card, Ace low or 2-3-4.
Type 3 – Straight flush draw with two gaps and no high cards.
Exceptions To The Strategy
There are a few exceptions that contradict some actions outlined in the above table, they are:
- In the case you are faced with 3 to a royal flush, 4 to a flush beats 3 to a royal if royal includes a ten and A, and the unsuited card is a T or straight penalty card.
- When holding a Suited QJ, 4 to an inside straight beats suited J and Q with 9 or flush penalty card.
- When you hold a hand that forces you to choose between Suited T and J versus an unsuited J and K, keeping the 10 and J is the better play if there is no flush penalty card, otherwise the J and K are the way to go.
- When holding a suited T and K versus K only, the T and K is better than the king alone more often than not. However, in the event you have to discard a 9 and a flush penalty card, then the solo K is the better play.
When it comes to penalty cards, you can interpret these as a card discarded, even though it can prove useful to the player. With a hand consisting of Kc, 10c, 9s, 6c, and 3d, the high cards are 10 and K. while it could be beneficial to take either the 10 and K together or simply hold the K. In this scenario, the nine lowers the odds of forming an effective straight and the six lowers the odds of a potential flush, so they are considered penalty cards because they must be discarded along with the 10 in favor of the heightened odds on the K alone.
The Martingale system
Like with so many other casino games, the famous martingale betting system can be applied to those participating in video poker too. It’s a contentious strategy that some players swear by and others swear is useless. We’ll detail the strategy and let you decide whether or not it’s worth implementing. The martingale is a betting system that requires the player to double their bet on any loss. This is done in an attempt to reclaim any lost bankroll funds in an effort to break even. When it comes to table games. The Martingale depends entirely on the player doubling their wagers on a loss. The system breaks down otherwise.
The Grand Martingale
The Grand Martingale builds on a system that already has many players doubting its efficacy. Nonetheless, it is a system of betting that can be utilized by anyone. In this instance, players triple their wagers on a loss, rather than doubling, in an effort to further minimize losses.
The Reverse Martingale
This betting system is also referred to the Paroli system. It is essentially an opposite reaction to the Martingale and its efficacy equally as hotly debated. In this case, the player doubles their wagers following winning hands and halves their bets on losing hands. The idea is to get in and out of the game with a quick boost to the player’s bankroll. This strategy hinges on a player knowing when it is time to step away from the tables and that is perhaps the best strategy to have when playing any casino game.
You are now equipped to dive into the world of Video Poker like a true champion. You can get even more out of the game when you review our how to play, rules, and odds resources. When you are ready, take a look at our recommended casinos for the best places to play online video poker and claim the best video poker promotions.