Jacks Or Better

Jacks or Better (JB for short) is a video poker game. It is played against a “computer”, there are no dealers nor any other players. It is you vs. the AI! All video poker games are variants of draw poker, which means you develop your hand by holding and drawing cards. It is possible to play Jacks or Better online, as well as in a land-based casino. JB is a very popular game because it's one of the easiest poker variants around. It is even possible to say that it is almost as popular as the slot machines. You can play JB with very low bet amounts. In this respect, it is a budget-friendly game, and you have a better chance of winning than slot machines. You only need to know the basic poker card hierarchy. Except for implementing basic strategies, you do not have to do detailed calculations. JB has a very fast gameplay and is suitable for both casual and professional players.

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Rules of Jacks or Better

Whether you are playing online or in a casino, the interface of a Jacks or Better game is always the same. At the top, you can see the paytable. This basically shows the legal hands you can develop and the prizes for those hands. Note that there is more than one section in this paytable. This is because it is dynamic: The prize levels change according to your bet levels. As a general rule, you should always play with the maximum bet amount to win the highest prizes in JB games. (Actually, this rule applies to all video poker games.)

At the middle of the screen, you can see 5 poker cards. These represent your “hand”. Your goal is to develop a legal poker hand: The higher the hand, the bigger the prize is. Let’s take a look at the card hierarchy you will use:

Rank

Name

Example

1

Royal Flush

10, J, Q, K, A – all the same suit

2

Straight Flush

4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – all the same suit

3

Four of a Kind

K, K, K, K, random card

4

Full House

K, K, K, A, A

5

Flush

3, 6, 8, 10, Q – all the same suit

6

Straight

6, 5, 4, 3, 2 – all the different suit

7

Three of a Kind

Q, Q, Q, 4, 8

8

Two Pair

Q, Q, J, J, random card

9

One Pair

J, J, random cards


Here is the thing: Jacks or Better games have one more card sequence called… well, Jacks or Better. If you get 2 Jacks (or higher), you will win a special (but very small) prize. So how it is different from One Pair? Any pair works for the one pair combination, for example, 2 10s. JB requires at least 2 Jacks.

Let’s continue with gameplay, shall we? At the bottom of the screen, you will see some buttons. The most important buttons you need to remember are 3 in total: Paytable, Deal, and Bet. (The names of the buttons may differ from game to game, these names should just give you a general idea.) We will talk about Bet and Paytable buttons below, so let’s focus on the deal button. When you press this button, 5 cards will appear on the screen. At this point, you have 2 options:

  • Hold: You can hold any number of cards. JB games have 2 dealings, and the cards you choose to hold will stay put for the next dealing. For example, if you get J, J, J, 8 and 4, hold the Jacks. You can do this by clicking on the cards themselves.
  • Discard: The cards you didn’t choose to hold will be discarded, and new ones will take their place in the second dealing. Usually, you do not need to click anywhere – if you don’t choose to hold, they will be discarded automatically.

That’s it: The second dealing is final and if you manage to form a legal poker hand, you will win a prize according to the paytable. Click the “deal” button again to start a new round.
You place your bet before the beginning of the rounds. Bet levels vary according to the game, but usually, they start as low as 0.01 coin per round.

General Tips & Tactics

Always check the paytable to see the maximum bet levels. If you want to win any notable prizes in JB games, you should always play with the highest bet amount.
Never discard the pairs. No matter how low they are, always hold them.
If you don’t get any usable cards, you should discard them all.
Never discard a Straight, Full House, Four of a kind and Three of a kind.
Aim for the middle section of the hierarchy (rank 4 and below). Your chances of forming a Flush is very low.