Casino Reviews

Video Poker Jacks or Better

Video Poker Jacks or BetterA reader wrote who was playing Video Poker Jacks or Better,  “if you have two high cards of different suits, the best play is to hold them both. Don’t you mean to hold one and discard the other? If you hold both, you have no chance at a royal flush.”

Video Poker Jacks or Better

Royal flushes are a huge part of the attraction of video poker. That 4,000-coin payoff for a five-coin bet – $1,000 for $1.25 on a quarter machine – can make your day. But there are times it’s more prudent to settle for a chance at smaller pays that keep you going until a higher probability shot at the big one comes.

If you are dealt jack of spades, queen of hearts, 8 of diamonds, 5 of clubs, 3 of clubs, holding one face card will bring a royal an average of just once per 178,365 hands.

Holding both high cards gives you a better shot at low pairs, two pairs and straights. Overall, 38.3% of your draws will bring some return when you hold both high cards. Only 32.5% are paying hands, if you hold just the jack and 32.4% if you hold just the queen.

These payouts change igf you change the game e.g. Double Double Bonus Poker

The bottom line is that per five coins wagered, the average return on 9/6 Jacks or Better is 2.53 coins if you hold queen-jack, 2.36 if you hold just the jack, and 2.33 if just the queen. If your game is 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker, it’s 2.33 on jack-queen, 2.15 on jack and 2.13 on queen.

There’s an attraction to altering your strategy, but the arithmetic points the way to prudent play.

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