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How to Play Jacks or Better Video Poker

Jacks or BetterSometimes referred to as Draw Poker, Jacks or Better video poker is the most common variation of video poker. Full pay Jacks or Better is known as 9/6 Jacks or Better. This name comes from the payoff of 9 times your bet amount for a full house and 6 times your bet for a flush.

In this Jacks or Better video poker trainer, you can learn how to play Jacks or Better, view the Jacks or Better paytable, and get the latest to improve your odds of winnings.

Why Choose Jacks or Better Poker?

Compared to other casino games such as roulette and slots, Jacks or Better offers more engagement and entertainment. With the right strategy and skills, you can significantly influence the outcome of the game. Another reason why Jacks or Better video poker is a good choice is for the exceptional RTP. On average, the RTP for Jacks or Better is 99.54%.

However, to reap the full benefits of what this video poker variation has to offer, let’s take a closer look at how to play Jacks or Better video poker in different types of stations and some of the best tips.

How to Play Jacks or Better

Every game starts with you placing your bets. You will select between 1 and 5 coins. Before selecting the number of coins at random, look at the paytable. In most cases, the difference in payout for a royal flush can be significant if you wager the maximum 5 coins.

After you have placed your bet, you will receive your first five cards. You will have the option to exchange or keep any of these five cards. You will receive new cards for the ones you have chosen to exchange. Once the cards have been exchanged, this will become your final hand, determining if you have any winning combination.

Jacks or Better Poker Hands

Like with most other video poker variations, Jacks or Better uses the standard poker hand rankings.

Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J, and 10 from the same suit.

Straight Flush: Five cards from the same suit (4, 5, 6, 7, and 8)

Four of a Kind: Any four cards of the same value (2-2-2-2-8)

Full House: A pair accompanied by a three-of-a-kind (3-3-3-2-2)

Flush: Any five cards from the same suit.

Straight: Five cards in sequence from any suit.

Three of a Kind: 3 cards of the same value with two other random cards (3-3-3-6-5)

Two pair: Two card of the same value plus two other cards of the same value (4-4-9-9-A)

Pair: Two cards of the same value (8-8-7-6-J)

High Card: When there are no pairs or other winning combinations, the player with the highest-value card wins.

Jacks or Better Payouts

Winning Hands

Highest Payout in Coins

Natural Royal Flush


Straight Flush


4 of a Kind


Full House






Two Pairs


Jacks or Better


Jacks or Better Strategy

Jacks or Better video poker, just like other poker and video poker games, relies on maths. The slightest mistakes may cost you a win. To help you understand to make better decisions when it comes to strategies.

How to Play if you receive a low pair:

A low pair in a jacks game or better is considered a pair of jacks or lower.  These hands will not give you a payout unless you improve them.

In this situation, getting rid of the additional high card or breaking the pair when you have four cards to complete a straight. These moves can drastically reduce your odds. To help you, here are some situations where you will break the low pair.

  • When you have three cards to a royal flush, you will want to break the low pair to get the royal flush.
  • When you have four of the five cards needed for a flush.

What to do when you receive a high pair?

A high par in Jacks or Better is considered either a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces. With any of these high pairs, you are guaranteed a payout. There are not many reasons why you will break this hand. But there is one exception:  

  • When you have four cards to the royal flush, it is worth breaking the high pair to see if you can get that one card needed to complete the royal flush. The payout difference for a royal flush is much greater than for a high pair, making the risk worth it.

How to play when you receive an already made poker hand?

If you are fortunate enough to receive an already made hand from the first five cards dealt, you should always keep a full-house, flush and straight. But, in some cases, it might be worth breaking the straight or flush if it means you can get a royal flush.

Tips: Jacks or Better Video Poker

  1. Throw out the fifth non-essential card if you have four out of five cards for a royal flush. This leaves an open spot to receive a possible completion to the royal flush.
  2. Three of a kind, a flush, a high pair, and a straight wholly outrank three cards of a royal flush. Only play out three of a royal flush if you have lower ranking hands.
  3. If you only have two cards to a royal flush, keep cards that could make up a higher hand. See the paytable for all winning hands.
  4. If you only need one more card for a royal flush, don’t hesitate to break up a flush, straight, or lower-ranking hand.
  5. Hold on to a high pair (aces, kings, queens) over four of a flush or four straight.
  6. Hold on to a high pair if you have four cards of a straight flush or four royal flush cards.
  7. Never shred a full house.
  8. If your hand has no possible ranking, low cards, or no or singular parts of a good hand, rather discard your cards
  9. If you do not receive a good hand, it is wise to discard all the cards and receive 5 new ones.

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