A Manageable Draw Strategy for Jacks or Better Video Poker

Among the more popular games in online gaming, Video Poker has won a reputation as an intelligent, fast-paced game for anyone looking for more substance from his or her gaming experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind poker-style variation and pays those who exercise strategy, as opposed to relying on random luck. It achieves this by giving the players the choice to select which cards to hold and which to discard from any hand. With the following guide, you can master a strategy and the intricate plays needed to win in this stimulating game.

The most commonly played version of Video Poker is Jacks or Better. To win, you need a hand with two jacks (of course, a hand with a higher-ranking value would be better). You would then receive a large payout, with the amount determined by the hand itself, as well as how many credits were wagered. Further, the payout ratio varies depending on the machine. They are also classified by payout ratios between a Flush and Full House.

Pinochle meld by (— AMK1211talk!) by Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 files

Here, we attempt to break down advanced concepts, presenting them as a more efficient system while aiming for the accuracy and strength of more complex explanations. The aim here is to reduce the brain-power and time needed to understand the principles so that you can invest your mental resources into the game.

We’ll begin by looking at a strategy based on recognising combinations of cards in your original hand that gives you the greatest chance of possessing the higher paying hands post-redraw.

The Six Primary Starting Hands

1) 2 Pairs or Better: Here, the very first thing to look for in your initial hand is whether it immediately achieves payout qualification, i.e. Jacks or better.

2) Pay Pair: For the second most favourable hand, we’re looking at the Pay Pair, which is either two Jacks, two Queens, two Kings, or two Aces. Should your hand contain an additional pair, the above “Two Pairs or Better” section would come into play. Of course, a Pay Pair may progress to an improved payout, post-redraw.

3) No-Pay Pair: In the third best starting hand, we’re looking at a Non-Paying Pair. This would be any pair that ranges from 2’s though to 10’s, that, although paired, is yet to achieve payout qualification, due to it ranking below Jacks. Should the hand progress to either two pairs or three-of-a-kind, you would then secure a payout.

4) Lowest Two Value Pay cards (preferably suited): A Pay Card is any picture card or Ace. These are called Pay Cards because, should your hand improve to the point where any one of these turns into a pair, the hand qualifies for a payout. If you have another pair or better combination, you would look to the above sections.

5 and 6) No Pays or One Pay: Often, your hand will contain a single Pay Card. At other times, you will have No Pays at all. When you possess just a single Pay Card, it’s still a better option, except in cases where one of the below draws is available. When your hand lacks any Pays at all, you should discard all of your cards and redraw to a completely new hand. Should you have one of the below draws, of course, you would instead retain them.

Riding on a Poker Wave

Video poker has become increasingly popular of late, riding the wave of the poker craze that has hit both online and offline casinos in recent years.

Online poker has been around since 1998 but it wasn’t until 2003 when it blew up in a big way, trebling the industry revenue the following year. The popular Chris Moneymaker’s win at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has also been cited as among the reasons behind the game’s explosion. Since then, poker has seen a plethora of poker magazines, tournaments, endless popular culture references, and even a number of movies dedicated to it. This popularity has bled into other forms of the game, Video Poker included.

Sites such as 888 Casino, with its 20 million users and solid global reputation, have made Video Poker safer to play for those delving into online casinos for the first time, which helps to explain it being so widely enjoyed. Also, bonus and no deposit Video Poker is always fun to play. However, having access to the game is one thing; players also need to know how to play, and, of course, have a strategy in place. It’s time we looked at more of the latter.

The Draws

Now we have looked at Pay Cards and Pairs or Better hands, let’s assess what each draw entails so you can be in a position to instantly spot them.

The preceding hands are what you’d generally be holding from one hand to the next. However, each listing offers a number of draws that should be kept, as opposed to the headline recommendations. When the Primary Pay Card or Pair+ combinations are acknowledged and appropriately referenced, the hand should be further scanned for overriding draws below them.

For any specific draw listed below, you must instead retain the draw.  Any draw listed below global headers should be considered stronger for that particular holding and have a greater chance to end with a payout. Here is each kind of draw you can possibly come across.

Royal Flush w by (Cornischong at Luxembourgish Wikipedia) CC-BY-SA-1.0

1) 4 Royal Flush Cards: The highest-ranking draw is a combination of four cards required for a Royal Flush. This is the very best hand, with the highest available payout, and comes around when you achieve an AKQJT sequence (the highest value straight) combined with a flush (five suited cards). If you have four cards with the potential to progress to a Royal Flush, you have yourself a Four-Card Royal Flush draw. At this time, the sequence is irrelevant. You simply need four cards of Ten or higher of the same suit, requiring a single card to achieve a Royal Flush.

2) 4 Straight Flush Cards: This follows the criteria of the Four-Card Royal Flush draw, except that the flush cards don’t need to be part way to a highest straight. While a non-straight Flush still ranks as a favourable hand, it isn’t as high as a Royal Flush when it comes to a payout. If you have four cards that are needed for a Straight Flush, your hand is termed a Four-Card Straight Flush draw.

3) 4 Flush Cards (any): This is a far more common hand, only requiring any four suited cards. They don’t need to form a potential straight. You will see this hand with more regularity than any of the previously mentioned flush draws.

4) Straight Flush Cards or Three Royal Flush: The Straight Flush or Three Card Royal Flush bears the criteria of the above four-card hands. Of course, the difference here is that they involve just three cards required for a potential Straight Flush.

5) Open-Ended Straight Draw: This hand comprises four consecutively numbered cards that have the potential for a straight, with a single card needed to either begin or end the straight. An OES, however, doesn’t include a One Card (also known as Gunshot) Straight Draw. An example of this would be 3-4-6-7, where the cards don’t form a sequence and only a single card (in this case, 5) can complete it.

6) 10-Paint Suited: Here, we have a combination of two cards of the same suit: Ten-Jack, Ten-Queen, or Ten-King. This hand only offers any value when it features a single Pay Card and no stronger portion. The typical advice would be to “hold a pair of Pay Cards”, along with “Ten can’t be regarded as a valid Pay Card in any situation”. In this example, however, the relevant Pay Card combined with a suited Ten provides the player with a better mathematical chance of a payout over just the Pay Card itself. Should any of the higher listed draws occur, of course, they should be held instead.