Online Jacks or Better
This is an online mimic of the offline Jacks or Better game, a game that could be considered the vanilla ice cream of video poker.
Why? Because it is plain and basic, and so satisfying in its simplicity at the same time.
The true original game was called Draw Poker, but it wasn't very popular because the payouts started at two pairs. There were just too few winning combinations to make the game compelling.
The game exploded in popularity with someone's brilliant idea of offering an even money payout on a pair of Jacks or Better. Because of that, about half the hands wins something, even though an even money payout isn't exactly a true win.
The how to play section applies below, but because Jacks or Better plays just like other versions, you can start practising immediately if already familiar with the rules.
After you've been dealt five cards, you must decide which ones to keep and which ones to throw away. The new cards will take in place of your discards, and you win a payback based on the payback table.
According to payback tables, there are four different versions of Jacks or Better. Those are 9/6, 8/5, 7/5 and 6/5. The 9/6 version is recognised as a full pay because Full house have payout 9 for 1 and for Flush you'll get 6 for 1. It will be ideal always to play 9/6 version with only 0.5% house edge, but the most common online variant is 8/5 where the edge is 2.7%. The good thing regarding some 8/5 machines is that they offer progressive jackpots, which can make a positive expectation situation for a player. In case you find casinos with 7/5 (house advantage is 3.9%) and 6/5 (house advantage is 5.0%) versions, just avoid them because loss per hour will be huge in comparison with 9/6 or 8/5.
Although a difference in payout might not sound significant, when you calculate over time what it costs to play one of these games, it adds up quickly indeed. With a 0.5% edge, the house makes £3.75 per hour (That's what you'll lose over the long term per hour of play) from a quarter machine. But on an 8/5 machine, that loss per hour increases to over £20 per hour!
This is calculated by multiplying the wager amount by the number of wagers per hour, times the house edge. We assumed a quarter machine with max bet (£1.25) and 600 bets per hour, and the house edge of 0.5% in the 9/6 game and 2.7% in the 8/5.
For the end, here are some quick, easy-to-remember strategy tips.
- Be sure you know how to read the pay table and find a 9/6 Jacks or Better game.
- Don't press hold button on a kicker card (A high card that you hold with a pair hoping to make a higher two pairs than your opponent) since you don't have an opponent in this game.
- Don't draw to an inside straight. (An inside straight draw only has one card that can complete it, like 7-9-10-J. There are only four 8's.)
- Check a strategy chart for the game and follow it religiously. No hunches or deviations. Keep the math in your favour.