Jacks or Better Basic Rules and Strategies

Years ago you could walk into a casino, head straight to the bar for an adult beverage, and play video poker slots on the countertop. It was a way to keep the customers gambling, and you a way to win some money. Even though some would say the odds at the bar were worse than on the floor, this is just a myth. This is just a myth and the same goes for online video poker.

Today, let’s go over a few easy rules and strategies. Hopefully it will increase your odds of winning.

#1 Captain Obvious’s Simple Rules

The simple rules are you are dealt five cards. You don’t play against a dealer (which helps), so the only thing you have to do is get a pair of Jacks or anything better to win. So, let’s say you have A, J, 9, 7, 2 in your initial hand. Since you need a pair of Jacks or better, you would want to discard the 9, 7, 2 and hope the three new cards have an Ace, Jack, or a higher pair to help you win.

Jacks or Better

Understanding Jacks or better video poker is pretty simple, and if you’re a poker player, you already understand the game, so it’s kind of like those Captain Obvious commercials.  However, if you haven’t played before and want to learn more just read the rules and get the basics down. The strategies I discuss below will be more important to memorize.

#2 Know Everything Better than a Pair of Jacks

Real quick; it’s crucial to know all the payouts in video poker. Here’s a quick list below:

Pair of Jacks
Pair of Queens
Pair of Kings
Pair of Aces
Two Pair
Full House
Straight Flush
Royal Flush

When you’re gambling, it’s real easy to get sucked into going for the biggest win. However, the chances are greatly diminished when you take this approach. If you want to win money over the long term, you have to be consistent with your strategy. One of the most common “potential” wins in Video Poker is a flush.

Flushes require all cards to be the same suit, and video poker loves spitting out 4 cards of the same suit, in one hand. Do you go for the flush? This depends on whether or not you have a chance with anything else. If you are up in regards to your bankroll, then I would tell you; YES. If you’re down, you want to focus on consistent wins, especially if you have a few high cards (jacks or above) in your hand.

The point is; you should try for the flush in some instances, but don’t do it every time. Remember that the house has the odds, and most of the time a flush won’t surface.

#3 Don’t Give Up a Guaranteed Win

I have done this myself over the years (I wasn’t as smart back then, lol) and it bit me in the back side. For instance, there have been several times I’ve had a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces in my hand, but had a chance to win a straight, flush, or three-of-a-kind. Now, over the past 30 years this has probably happened a couple hundred times, and unfortunately I can’t remember winning once. So any time you have Jacks or better from the get-go, take the win and try to build on it with two pair if you have another high card, or a three-of-a-kind.

It’s easy to see that these are basic rules and strategies to video poker. I’ll go more in-depth in my next piece, when you’re ready to take your knowledge to the next level.