Jacks or Better: Rules and Strategies

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Gambling slots Jack or Better

Video poker may be perceived as a unique combination of a traditional poker game and slot machines. Even though you might have some hesitations about your chance of winning, there are still some techniques that may help you to become a better punter. The rules aren’t that hard to understand and the house edge is pretty low, so there is no reason to be a scared rookie!

There are many video poker game variations, and Jacks or Better is the top one! So, if you’re wondering how to play Jacks or Better there are simple steps you should follow. Here, you can get familiar with the essence of the game and learn some more about winning strategies.


Jacks or Better video poker is a very easy one to tackle. The aim is to combine the strongest hand. The winning hand comes up when you get a Jack or a Higher Card. For each pair of Jacks or higher you get a point. The more you bet, the bigger are your chances of getting more of winning combinations. This game allows you to play 100 hands simultaneously, to increase your odds of success.

Once you place the bet into your machine, the game starts. The machine will give you five cards, and you have to decide which ones to discard and which ones to keep. You may also decide to keep all of them. Once the choice is done, the machine deals replacement cards, if needed, and the final hand is formed. The higher the hand, the bigger the win. You will not be able to raise in the game, and you will have to use the initial bet to play.

Before the start, each player has to set up a number of credits to bet. One can wager from one to 5 credits on the hand, and they may be worth from $0,25 to $1 each. The hand rankings are similar to a draw poker:

Royal Flush – same suited A, K, Q, J, 10.

Straight flush – all of the cards are from the same suit, and go in consecutive order.

Four of a kind – four equal cards.

Full House – a pair and three of the same kind.

Flush – five cards – one suit.

Straight – cards in different suits that go in consecutive order.

Three of a kind – three cards of the same height.

Pair – two pairs of one height.

Jacks or Better – pair of Jacks or better.

What Are Your Chances?

The most popular type of Jacks or Better is a 9/6 version with a 99.5% return. It’s not enough to play with your gut; only those who follow a specific strategy can benefit from the high payback rate on offer here. Inattentive players end leaving up to 4% of their winnings if they avoid learning everything they need to learn prior to playing the game, which always has such large sums of money at stake.

There are 2,5 million hand combinations in this game. Assuming that more than 55% of them are going to end up making you lose anyway, the amount of lucky combinations is not that hard to follow. There are some of the most frequently used techniques to help you succeed in Jacks or Better.

The main purpose of the game is to compose the strongest hand. When you have one, never discard it, unless it is a situation with a four card Royal Flush. To be honest, many strategies do focus on getting a Royal Flush; but the chances of meeting it are slim, as it happens once in every 40,000 hands.

One interesting fact about video poker is that one of the differences concerns low and high pairs. The high one always guarantees success. There will be some cases, where you will be forced to split the pair to catch the bigger win. For example, when you are four cards to Royal Flush, then that is the right moment to break it!


What is more important is to check the payout rates. Usually, they are the following:

When playing video poker, keep an eye on these rates, as any discrepancies increase your loss at least by 1%! So remember to pay maximum coins at the Jacks or Better machines, as they offer the highest payout for Royal Flush. Bonuses can be gained if you hit it, condition you have already paid five coins.

Don’t Rush

Due to the fact that the game has a pretty low house edge, some players get too excited with all the multiple betting on offer. Playing hundreds of hands simultaneously may lower your chances of making a profit. For example, when betting $5 for a spin in the 200 hands game, you may lose $5 per hour. However, the same bet in a 100 hand game lowers it down to $2.5. Furthermore, don’t overestimate your gambling speed. To play poker fast, you need to make sure you’re in control of each hand, and this can be extremely hard. Progress gradually in the game, and don’t be too greedy!

Join the Club

Casinos offer you some splendid opportunities to join a players club, to help you truly master the game. Once you get into one of them, you will get a player’s card. Using this card you may count on additional bonuses, food, play or money. The cumulative system allows saving up to 0.1% for the bonuses and add it up to the total return. What is more, it may lift you up to the VIP playing level, where multipliers are applied and various free stuff is available!

There are so many strategies to memorize, from the easy 15 lines guides to more complex 21 lines blueprints on how to win the Jack or Better game. But if you’re a novice here, don’t be afraid of all these perplexing combinations and betting systems; there is plenty of material there on the Internet, and our guide is the cue card you can use at any time.

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