The First & Most Popular Video Poker Game
Jacks or Better video poker was born thanks to a minor tweak - when the paytable of the first mass produced video poker game, Draw Poker, was slightly altered. Instead of two pair, the lowest paying hand became Jacks or better, which increased the payout and sent the popularity of video poker through the roof.
Today, Jacks or Better is the most popular video poker game
In its full pay version the return to player is 99.54%. The full pay version of a video poker game features a paytable with the highest theoretical return. Many land based or online casinos provide the same video poker game with different paytables – with payouts for some hand combinations decreased, and sometimes even some increased in order to reach a lower overall return.
FULL PAY JACKS OR BETTER PAYTABLE 99.54%
The full pay video poker game is also called "9-6" Jacks or Better, based on the payout for Full House and Flush. The full pay version of Jacks or Better video poker is not that easy to come by, and is available at casinos featuring video poker games from most games providers including Microgaming, Playtech and RTG. One of our recommended casinos, 32 Red, features full pay Jacks or Better video poker.
Variance of Jacks or Better Video Poker
The theoretical payout or RTP tells only part of the story about each video poker game. Another important figure to take into account when choosing which video poker game to play is variance. According to variance, we can determine how wins are distributed, based on their amount. If the variance is high, it means that a lower number of high amount wins are more likely to occur. At low variance, it is the opposite - most wins are paid to the player in small prizes, and big wins are extremely rare.
The variance of Jacks or Better poker at 19.5 is one of the lowest available. That means that during your session, you will experience more frequent but mostly smaller wins.
Because of this lower variance you will need less bankroll to last, for example, one hour, than if you were playing some other video poker games with higher variance..
Jacks or Better Strategy
Also make sure to master Jacks or Better strategy to get close to the 99.54% theoretical return. Check our video poker strategy article for the Jacks or Better basic strategy table.
Those who would like to get even closer to the declared theoretical payout should learn and master optimal (perfect) Jacks or Better strategy, which will help them reach that RTP figure.
Jacks or Better Optimal Strategy
This strategy will enable you to take full advantage of the 99.54% full pay version of Jacks or Better video poker.
|3||4 of a Kind|
|4||4 cards to Royal Flush|
|7||3 of a Kind|
|9||4 to Straight Flush Open Ended (Q high)|
|11||4 to Straight Flush Inside Draw|
|12||High Pair (Jacks or Better)|
|13||3 cards to Royal Flush|
|14||4 cards to Flush|
|15||10 J Q K|
|16||Low pair (22 - 10 10)|
|17||9 10 J Q|
|18||8 9 10 J|
|19||9 J Q suited|
|20||9 10 J suited|
|21||Open ended straight draw (10 highest)|
|22||8 J Q suited|
|23||3 to Straight Flush Open Ended (max 10)|
|24||9 Q K suitted, 9 J K suited|
|25||9 10 Q , 8 10 J , 8 9 J all suited|
|26||J Q suited|
|27||J Q K A|
|28||J K suited, Q K suited|
|29||J A, Q A, K A all suited|
|30||4 to Straight Inside (3 hihg cards)|
|31||3 to Straight Flush 2 Gaps 1 High Card|
|32||3 to Straight Flush 1 Gap 0 High Card|
|35||10 J suited|
|37||10 Q suited|
|38||JA, QA, KA|
|39||10 K suited|
|44||3 to Straight Flush 2 Gaps 0 High Card|
As you can see, the optimal strategy is 3 times as long as the basic strategy. The mistakes that will occur because of the simplification of the basic strategy will cost you less than 0.1% in the long run. So unless you are serious about mastering optimal strategy, or have an extremely good memory, you will be fine with the basic Jacks or Better strategy.
Free Jacks or Better Online
An excellent way to learn how to play Jacks or Better and to practice strategy is to play free Jacks or Better online without registration or download required. Most casino games providers offer such an option, as well as Jacks or Better online games.
Another option is to start playing video poker games using free no deposit bonuses. However, make sure that video poker games (and particularly Jacks or Better) are allowed when playing with a bonus, as many online casinos restrict bonuses only to slot games. Also check out the wagering requirement, which is often higher for video poker.
FREE ONLINE JACKS OR BETTER NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED