Guide to Playing Jacks or Better Video Poker

by Tim | May 03, 2022

Guide to Playing Jacks or Better Video Poker

Jacks or Better is one of the most popular online poker games and is a type of video poker game that is played in a five-card draw format. As you’d expect, given the name of the game, the point is to make a pair of jacks or better to win.

While video poker does tend to have a good payout percentage, in order for this to happen, players need to have a strategy for their game. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at Jacks or Better and give you some handy strategy tips for the next time you play at an online or mobile casino.

What makes Jacks or Better a good game to play?

Jacks or Better is one of the best online casino games when it comes to RTP (return to player) percentages. Unlike many other casino games, you can actually make decisions that will influence the outcome of the game; this isn’t a game that is based purely on luck at all.

By using a good reward programme or your bonuses, as well as knowing your strategy well, you could find this game incredibly entertaining, as well as potentially profitable.

Jack or Better gameplay

A man playing online poker on a laptop with his phone next to him.

At the start of the game, you’ll have the option of choosing how many coins you want to bet. For the best payout percentage, it’s often wise to go for the maximum number of coins, which is usually five.

Initially, you’ll be dealt five cards and then you get to choose which ones you want to keep and which you’d like to exchange. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be given new cards to replace the ones you have discarded and from these, you’ll need to try and make a winning hand from your current hand combination.

Jacks or Better uses standard poker hand rankings and you’ll need to have a pair of jacks or better to have a winning combination. A better hand combination could be a straight or three of a kind, for example.

This might seem relatively straightforward, but there are a couple of strategy tips that will make it even simpler for you to play the game successfully.

Strategy tips

Here are some strategy tips to keep in mind when you play Jacks or Better at an online or mobile phone casino.

If you’re dealt a low pair

Anything lower than pocket jacks is considered a low pair in Jacks or Better, seeing as they won’t win you anything. So whether you’ve got a pocket 2-2 or ten-ten (two tens), they’ll still have the same value.

Now, for the most part, you’d want to keep your pair together and draw three other cards, however, there are some things to consider in this aspect too. Many people mistakenly keep a high ranking card along with their pair. For example, in a hand of  3, 3, ace, jack and 5, many will choose to keep the ace along with the pair. However, this reduces your chance of winning and it’s better to simply discard the ace and pick up three new cards.

If you have four cards to a straight, such as 5, 5, 6, 7 and 8, you should still keep your pair and pick three new cards rather than discarding one of the fives and trying for a straight, as you’re more likely to get a three-of-a-kind or another valuable combination than a straight in the long run.

In some cases, you should break the pair, however, and the first of these is when you have three cards to the royal flush – you should break up your pair to try and hit it.

The second scenario is when you have four cards to the flush, and you should discard your pair to try and hit your suit.

If you’re dealt a high pair

A player reveals a pair of ace cards.

A high pair means that you’ve been dealt a hand combination that includes jack-jack, queen-queen, king-king or ace-ace. You are already guaranteed a payout when you have one of these combinations, so there aren’t many reasons that you should break it up.

In fact, there’s likely only one scenario in which you should break up a high pair. This is when you have four cards to a royal flush. So if you have the ace of hearts, king of hearts, queen of hearts, queen of hearts, queen of spades and jack of hearts, then it’s simply worth taking the risk and getting rid of the Qs to try and land the massive payout that you’ll get with the royal flush. This is the only instance where it might be worth taking the risk and breaking up a high pair in Jacks or Better.

If you’re dealt a made hand

Of course, this is the ideal situation to be in and you should almost always keep your full house, flush or straight cards if you’re dealt a ready hand. The only time it would make sense to break a straight or a flush is if you have four cards to the royal flush. It’s a big risk, but it’s the ultimate one to take and you could win big if you get it right.

Play online games at The Phone Casino

Now you know more about how to play Jacks or Better at any online or mobile phone casino and if you stick to this strategy you should find that you become more successful at the game. At The Phone Casino, we have a host of live casino online games and no deposit casino games that you can play using your 100 free daily spins that you’ll receive when you create an account with us. Register with The Phone Casino and play your favourite casino games.

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