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Jacks or Better Strategy

Jacks or Better strategy is one of the easiest to learn, if not THE easiest to learn, of all the most popular video poker variations. The Jacks or Better video poker strategy listed on this page will work equally well for any of the pay table versions listed below. But you should never play anything but a 9/6 if you can avoid it. Sadly 8/5 is the most common machine in many casinos, and some even are making the 7/5 pretty much the standard video poker machine. Avoid these at all costs! Here are the pay tables for most of the Jacks or Better video poker games available around the world. The nice thing about Jacks or Better machines is you can always quickly see which pay table it has by just looking at what the full house and flush pays out.

The Jacks or Better strategy section starts below the payback percentage charts. One word of caution though. There are some progressive jackpot Jacks or Better video poker games, usually with the 7/5 pay chart. These can actually become positive expectation games when the jackpot gets large. When this is the case, the optimal strategy may change slightly. So if you are playing a progressive machine with a large pay out, look into the correct strategy.

Hand Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5
Royal Flush 800 800 800 800 800
Straight Flush 50 50 50 50 50
4 of a Kind 25 25 25 25 25
Full House 9 9 8 8 7
Flush 6 5 6 5 5
Straight 4 4 4 4 4
3 of a Kind 3 3 3 3 3
2 Pair 2 2 2 2 2
Jacks or Better 1 1 1 1 1
Approximate Pay Back % 99.54% 98.45% 98.39% 97.29% 96.15%
With these hands don't draw any cards:

Royal flush

Straight flush

4 of a kind

Full House




With these hands draw one card:

4 cards to a royal flush

4 cards to a straight flush

4 cards to an outside straight (unless you have a low pair, then keep the low pair)

2 pair

4 cards to a flush


With these hands draw two cards:

3 cards to a royal flush

3 cards to a straight flush

3 of a kind


With these hands draw three cards:

Pair of Jacks or Better (Never throw this away unless you have at least 4 to a straight flush)

1 pair

2 high cards

KT, QT or JT suited


With these hands draw four cards:

1 high card

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