Jacks or Better: A Comprehensive Guide

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Jacks or Better: If you’ve read our Top 10 Mobile Poker Games article, you’ll know it’s our favourite video poker game of them all. That’s why we’ve decided it’s really important to get a comprehensive guide to this form of video poker written for you as soon as possible. So, below you’ll find everything you need to know about this game – including, perhaps most importantly, how to maximise your chances of winning lots and lots of cash!

How is Jacks or Better Played?

Jacks or Better screenshotFor most, the first time they play any form of video poker will be pretty confusing. Even those who’ve played table poker before can have a hard time coping with its digital cousin. Have no fear though, as you’ll know exactly what to do if you read this article first…

The basic premise of Jacks or Better is simply. The player first decides how much money they are going to bet on the hand, and this usually ranges from a couple of pence through to significantly larger amounts. Here’s the decision to make though: the less you bet, the less you’ll lose. However, the more you bet, the better the odds become. This means you should ideally bet as much per hand as possible – it’s better to have 1 x £1 hand than 10 x 10p hands.

Next you’ll move onto the game, with the goal being to create the best five card poker hand possible from the cards you are dealt. The higher the hand you create, the more money you’ll win. So, firstly you’ll be dealt five cards, and you’ll need to decide which ones you want to keep, and which ones you want to swap for new cards. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to leave you to work out which cards to keep/discard yourself though – there’s a load of information about this decision further down the page.
You’ll then be dealt new cards to replace the ones you didn’t like. It’s from these final five cards that you’ll need to make a hand. The game will tell you exactly how much you’ve won, so you won’t need to work out the hand for yourself. Then it’s on to the next hand, as you continue with your quest to land that ultra-profitable Royal Flush

Keep or Swap?

Okay, so this bit could be complex, but we’ve tried our best to keep it as simple as possible for you. Because video poker is a game entirely based on probability, you need to be able to use probability to your advantage. This means making sure you make the choices that will have the best chance of paying off, and not chasing the elusive “big win” when you have an extremely minimal chance of getting it.

Your bread and butter from this game will come from the lower hands, such as two pair or a pair of Jacks or better (that’s where the name comes from: pairs lower than Jacks will not pay out any money at all). Therefore, it makes sense to protect these smaller wins as much as possible. This means that you should nearly always keep a pair when it is dealt to you, in the hope that it will turn into two pair, three of a kind or better. The only exception to this is when you have a four card straight or a four card flush: in this case, discard the other paired card and hope for a big payout.

What should you do if you don’t get dealt a hand with a pair though, and there are no obvious straights or flushes that could develop? The answer is easy: try to make lemonade from lemons. Keep any cards that are Jacks or higher and hope that they are paired with new cards, and if there are no Jacks or higher, discard the whole lot and start again. Sure, you might get dealt five new rubbish cards, but it’s the best chance you’ve got of making at least something.

Of course, there are times when it is worth throwing caution to the wind and chasing the big score. This comes when you have at least three cards of a straight flush or royal flush – meaning that just two cards coming down will yield a huge win (a royal flush generally pays 4000 coins at the highest stakes). Don’t expect this strategy to pay off even one time in a hundred though – although it’s worth it when it does!

How Much Can Be Won?

Hand coming out of phone holding moneyBelow, you’ll find the different ranking hands in a game of Jacks or Better, along with the typical amount of money you can expect to win from each one. Please note that each value assumes that you are playing at the highest stakes – playing at lower stakes will yield significantly lower amounts.

  • Royal Flush – 4000
  • Straight Flush – 250
  • 4 of a Kind – 125
  • Full House – 45
  • Flush – 30
  • Straight – 20
  • 3 of a Kind – 15
  • 2 Pair – 10
  • Jacks or Better – 5

When it comes to how much money can be won, it might surprise you to find out that Jacks or Better generally has a payout ratio of over 99% (some even have payouts of over 100%). How do they make their money then? Well, this 99% only applies when you play Jacks or Better absolutely perfectly, making no incorrect decisions. Therefore, unlike most games of luck, it is possible to influence your winnings through your style of play. Sure, nobody ever plays absolutely perfectly, however more and more practice will lead to more consistent play, and therefore better results.

What Sites Offer Jacks or Better?

There are many different sites offering Jacks or Better to their players, along with loads of other different variations of video poker as well. The sites you can find Jacks or Better on are:

However – and you’ll know this if you’ve read the article on the best mobile poker games – we think that there’s one place better than any other to play this game: Bet365. Therefore, if you are looking to have a go at Jacks or Better for the first time, make sure you head to Bet365 before you head anywhere else!


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