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Jacks or Better Poker: How To Play

4 of a Kind in Jacks or Better pokerIn this article, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about how to play Jacks or Better video poker on desktop or mobile casinos.

This is the original and still the most popular version of video poker, so for many players this is the most important VP game guide you’ll read.

First, you’ll learn the rules of the game and get a step by step guide showing you exactly how Jacks or Better works. You’ll also learn the terminology used, how to understand the pay tables and play the bonus game.

We’ll then move on to look at how to win! I’ll share some simple but effective tips that you can use whenever you’re playing at any of the top video poker sites.

How To Play Jacks or Better

The aim of the game in Jacks or Better is to get the best winning hand possible. The available hands, and payouts associated with each hand, are listed on the game’s pay table. The name Jacks or Better refers to the fact that any pair of Jacks (or better) is a winning hand in this game.

Game Sequence

  1. The game starts with the player selecting their desired stake / bet size. Next is the deal, where the player receives an initial set of 5 cards.
  2. The player then has the opportunity to hold as many of these cards as he or she chooses. The remaining cards that have not been held (if any) are then discarded and replaced in the draw.
  3. The main game then ends. If the player holds a winning hand, he or she will then have the opportunity to collect the winnings, or gamble them in the bonus round.

Terminology Used

  • Deal – Initial request for game to deal first 5 cards.
  • Draw – Request for new cards once player has selected which of the initial cards to keep. Also used in the Double or Nothing bonus feature.
  • Collect – Bank winnings from base game and decline the bonus round.
  • Gamble Bonus Round – optional side game that gives the player a chance to double or even quadruple the winnings.

How To Play

  1. Select how many coins you want to play. Increasing the number of coins increases the payouts.
  2. Select the amount to bet for each coin you want to play (coin value).
  3. Tap/click on Deal.
  4. Select the cards you want to hold for that hand. Tapping/clicking on them will hold the card, tapping/clicking again will release it.
  5. Tap/click on Draw.
  6. The game will tell you what hand you have achieved (if any).

Hand Ranks & Pay Table

Cards are ranked in order from highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. Cards of different suits and the same rank are equal.

jacks or better paytable

  • Royal Flush 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of same suit
  • Straight Flush Five cards of same suit in sequence
  • Four of a Kind Four cards of same rank
  • Full House Three of a kind, plus a pair
  • Flush Five cards of same suit
  • Straight Five cards in sequence
  • Three of a Kind Three cards of same rank
  • Two Pair Two sets of two cards of the same rank
  • Jacks or Better Two cards of same rank that are Jacks or higher

The payouts may be different depending on which casino you’re playing at, but the pay table should always be visible on all versions of the game. It might look confusing at first, but it’s quite easy to understand once you know what you’re looking at.

The table shows the payout for each hand, depending on how many coins you’re playing. So in this example, a Royal Flush pays 250 x Stake if you’re playing one coin per hand, which goes up to 4,000 x Stake if you play the maximum 5 coins per hand.

Gamble Bonus Game

Jacks or Better bonus gameSome versions of Jacks or Better offer you the chance to play the Gamble Bonus game if you have a winning hand. When this game is available, you’ll see the options to Collect your standard win, or Gamble to play the bonus game.

The bonus game operates on a simple next card draw. You may see two options:

  • Red or Black– Simply choose the colour of the next card drawn. It pays 2x if you win, so essentially it’s double or nothing.
  • Suits – Choose the suit of the next card drawn. Harder to get right, but pays 4x if you win.

If you lose, your winnings are forfeit and you go back to the main game. If you win, you’ll get the opportunity to collect or gamble again. So if you get on a roll, the bonus game does give the opportunity to boost your winnings significantly.

Tips And Basic Jacks or Better Strategy

Jacks or Better is a strategic game in which the decisions a player makes can greatly influence the chances of success in the long run. Fortunately it’s also a fairly easy game to play, and by remembering a few simple strategy rules, you can significantly increase your returns.

  • Where possible, play the maximum number of coins. This reduces the house edge and increases your winnings in the long run by paying out substantially more when you hit a royal flush.
  • Take your time and do not rush your decisions. There is no time limit in this game, so think about your moves so you make the right decisions.
  • Hold pairs of Jacks or Better, or any higher winning hand UNLESS you have the chance of a royal flush. For example, if you have a complete straight flush 9-K you should hold 10, J, Q, K but not the 9.
  • The bonus game has no house edge, so there is no advantage or downside to gambling for the player.
  • Remember that every game of Jacks or Better is based on a random number generator. The game has no memory, and each draw is independent. So there is no such thing as a Hot or Cold machine, and there is no value in changing to a different game if you’re on a winning or losing run.

Also, it goes without saying that you should make sure you’re playing at a good VP casino. This ensures fair gaming, good customer service, fast payouts and bonuses that can help boost your bankroll.

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021