Jacks-or-Better Video Poker

 Jacks-or-Better video poker is one of the two most popular variations on video poker (the other being Deuces Wild). In Jacks-or-Better, payoffs begin at a pair of jacks or better.

A Jacks-or-Better video poker machine is sometimes called a 9/6 machine because it typically offers a 9-to-1 payoff for a full house and a 6-to-1 payoff for a flush. For details of the payoff terms you should look for to identify a full pay machine (one worth playing in terms of the potential to realize a small profit over the long run), see Jacks-or-Better payoff schedule.

Jacks-or-Better video poker is much simpler to play well than real table poker. Strategy tips for playing like a pro, which you should implement in order from top to bottom depending on the cards you’re dealt, include

  • Avoid breaking any two pair or better in the hopes of making a better hand on the draw, UNLESS you have a chance of a four-card royal – in which case, break anything except a straight flush
  • Only consider breaking a high pair if you have a good shot at a four-card royal or straight flush
  • Only break a low pair for a three-card royal or better, or for any four-card flush
  • Only break a four-card flush or straight for a three-card royal
  • If you have to choose between going for a four-card flush and a four-card straight, go for the flush
  • Break four royal cards (A-K-Q-J) only for three suited high cards
  • Break any three of A, K, Q or J for any two high suited cards
  • Hold all royal cards and aces, with the following exceptions – discard the ace in Jacks-or-Better video poker if you’re holding A-K-Q, A-K-J or A-Q-J