Video Poker Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better video poker was born out of a minor restructuring during which the highest paying poker game at the time, Draw Poker, was redesigned. As a result, instead of Two Pairs, the Jack and the cards are the smallest payment hand.

Jacks or Better is the most popular video poker game today

In the full version of the game, the return to player is 99.54% . The full paid version of the video poker game offers the highest return to player experience. Many traditional poker rooms and online casinos offer the same video poker game, but each sets its own payout percentage – somewhere in some combinations the percentage increases, and somewhere it decreases.


The full version of Jacks or Better is also called “9-6” and is based on full house and flash payouts. Jacks or Better is not as easy as it sounds. You can play it at casinos powered by Microgaming , Playtech and RTG .

Jacks or Better video poker variations

The theoretical payout or payout percentage is only part of the history of video poker. Another important point is that the game of poker has several variations . Depending on the chosen variation, you can determine how the winnings are distributed. If the variance is high, it means that the chances of winning are also quite high. In the case of low variance, most of the winnings are just small prizes. Big money wins are extremely rare.

Jacks or Better is one of the most affordable variations of video poker. However, its variance is low, which means that you will win quite often, but not much.

Due to the low variance, you will need a small bankroll. Much less than if you were playing another variation of video poker with higher variance.

Jacks or Better strategy

To get closer to the 99.54% payout percentage, try to constantly improve your skills at Jacks or Better. To do this, check out our Jacks or Better strategy article .

Anyone who wants to get closer to the stated theoretical payout should fully study the principle of the Jacks or Better strategy. Only this will help to achieve the maximum payout percentage.

The optimal Jacks or Better strategy

This strategy will allow you to more effectively approach your desired payout percentage of 99.54%.

As you can see, there are 3 times more possible combinations in the optimal strategy than in the main one. If you take learning the optimal strategy seriously, or if you just have a good memory, you can master it quickly and efficiently.

Free Jacks or Better Game

A great way to learn how to play Jacks or Better is to practice your strategy online for free and without downloading . Most casinos provide this opportunity.

Another way to “make friends” with the game is to play video poker using free no deposit bonuses . However, you should make sure that the game, in particular Jacks or Better, allows you to play with bonuses. The fact is that many online casinos only allow playing for bonuses on slot machines. Also read the terms and conditions for wagering bonuses in video poker. They are often stricter than for the same slots.

Video poker strategy

Video poker is one of the most popular games not only online, but also in land-based casinos around the world. In simple terms, it is a mixture between games of chance (slot machines, for example) and games where skills are more important (Texas Hold’em poker). As poker players are well aware, luck can be relied on in the short term, but ultimately skill and strategy are the only things that work.


It is very difficult to strike a balance between luck and skill in video poker. Of course, if you are not on a short foot with poker (or drank a few extra glasses at the bar) and can hardly tell a royal flush from a cocktail waitress’s neckline, you are unlikely to be able to collect a royal flush.

Unless you have the right combination on hand that will give you the highest theoretical payout, you will never come close to the theoretical payout of the video poker you are playing. Let’s take a look at this with an example. You have a pair on hand with the ability to play a set or four of a kind. It is also possible to get a royal flush (as well as a flush draw). Based on the probability and payout percentage of each possible hand, you can calculate the expected return on each hand. Any video poker strategy is based on expected profit .

How can we calculate this expected income?

It is quite difficult to do this, and not many poker players know how to calculate the expected income based on the cards offered by the slot machine. The easiest way is to let the computer do all the calculations and calculations, and based on these results, we can draw up a set of rules that will help us EVALUATE EVERY COMBINATION in video poker.

Let’s take a look at the example we described above. We will see how the computer calculates the expected income for the two most obvious options we have:

  • Leave a pair – two aces
  • Leave Royal Flush Draw


(Skip the next two paragraphs if math isn’t interesting to you)

When we LEAVE A PAIR OF Aces , we are left with 16,215 possible combinations to play the hand, considering all possible cards. For a couple, all these combinations will be winning. Of these, we have 1159 chances of staying with one pair, 2592 chances of getting two pair, 1854 chances of getting a full house, and 45 variants of four of a kind.

When we LEAVE ROYAL FLASH DRO we are left with 47 possible combinations . In 27 cases, we will not collect anything. In 8 cases we will get a jack or better, in 3 – a straight, in 8 – a flush and in one case a royal flush. So when we consider making a royal flush (1 out of 47) and multiplying it with a payout for a royal flush, we get the partial expected value for our hand of 85.11. We then compute the expected value for every possible winning combination we can get – jack or better, straight and flush – and add all the partial expected values ​​together to get the total expected value when playing a royal flush for our hand, 92.34. When we do the same calculation for two aces, the expected value is 7.68. Therefore, keeping a pair would be a big mistake.

Determining the video poker strategy

A basic video poker strategy will help us make the right decision in various difficult situations that can sometimes arise when playing video poker. The computer will do all the necessary calculations and, based on the expected values ​​of the various cards held and the probabilities of various outcomes and payouts, we can compile a list of which cards are worth keeping.

You can keep a couple of fives and, at best, hope for a set or full house
Or you can leave open-ended straight draw and hope for a straight
Based on the expected return of both options, holding a pair of fives would get 4.118 and an open-ended straight draw of 3.404. As you can see, when playing Jacks and Better video poker at full pay with a full paytable, a low pair has a higher expected return than an open-ended straight draw. Of course, this may not be the case, especially if you play different video poker games with different pay tables. It all depends on the difference. When there is little difference in pay tables and games, the video poker strategy can be applied everywhere. But in the case of large differences in pay tables and rules of the game (as, for example, in games with wild cards), the strategy can be completely different.

Simple and optimal strategy

Players use two types of video poker strategy. A simple (or basic) video poker strategy groups some hands with similar expected returns. As a result, this strategy is much shorter and much easier to learn . The difference in expected payout using this strategy is very small when comparing the maximum payout amount that can only be achieved using the optimal strategy.

The difference between the theoretical payout of Jacks and Better with full pay, simple and optimal (or ideal) strategy is 0.08%. The difference is the result of mistakes players make in the simplification process.

Video poker strategy table for Jacks or Better game with full pay
Combinations from highest priority to lowest likelihood are shown below. Therefore, comparing the cards from the previous example, you will see that a low pair (nines) has a higher priority (and, accordingly, the expected return) than an open-ended straight draw.

A placeCombination
oneRoyal Flush, Street Flush, Four of a Kind
24 cards to Royal Flush
3Full House, Flush, Street, Seth
four4 cards to Straight Flush
fiveTwo pairs
6High Pair (Jacks or Better)
73 cards to Royal Flush
84 cards to Flush
nineLow steam
tenOpen-ended Straight Draw
eleven2 cards of the same suit
123 cards to Straight Flush
thirteen2 high cards of different suits
1410 King, 10 Queen, 10 Jack of the same suit
15High card

Pitfalls of video poker strategy

As you can see, video poker is a pretty tricky game and it can seriously hurt your chances of winning if you don’t use the right strategy. Especially in the long run.

Thus, despite the fact that in some games, such as “Jacks and Better” , payouts reach 99.54%, without a perfect strategy, your theoretical payout will be much lower. Moreover, it will proportionally depend on the number of mistakes you make and the number of played combinations. Therefore, it is important to set your priorities.

Do you want to control the outcome of the game?

Basically, the outcome of the game is predetermined due to incorrect decisions. Or do you just prefer to have fun and rely on luck when playing in the casino? If so, then you will be more interested in slot machines where skills are not required and it is impossible to make a mistake. If the slot machine has a theoretical payout of 95%, then this is what you get, no matter how hard you hit the button.


Casino has had a big impact on the popularity of video poker, providing exciting games with high payout rates and big jackpots. Our online casino has expanded its range of video poker and now you can choose from more than 50 different games to your taste. All of our games are renowned for their exceptional graphics and first-class sense of reality.

One of the most exciting aspects of video poker is the instant rewards on offer. A single bet can lead to multiple wins, making the game even more dynamic for an unforgettable experience. All winnings in video poker are based on the classic system: who has the best combination of cards in traditional 5 card poker. You will be dealt 5 cards each and asked to hold the two strongest cards. Think about all the possible winning combinations or how you can make a hand of 5 strong cards when the dealer deals each line.

The combination of cards can be: Full House, Pair (Pairs), Jack’s or higher, Straight, Straight Flush, 4 of a Kind, 4 Aces and a royal flush (4 Aces and Royal Flush). On many of our games, you can even play 100 hands, which increases your chances of winning big in video poker. Take your luck and become our video poker winner today.


You can try digital video poker in hands-on mode and then start playing for real money. We also have a “How to play?” Preface, which can be a great guide for beginners, as well as good comprehensive information for regulars. If you want to relax and enjoy free play, then the Auto Play feature will suit your taste and you can bet on as many consecutive hands as you like. Join the magical video poker at Casino today and discover a world of riches …

Here is a small list of some of the most popular games among AU players at casino:

  • Deuces Wild video poker
  • Jacks or Better video poker
  • Bonus video poker
  • Tens or Better video poker
  • Double Bonus video poker
  • Double, Double Bonus video poker