Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy Guide

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Jacks or Better is video poker’s most popular game version. In fact, it’s the original variant of this card game. Like in other poker games, players must create the strongest 5-card hand to win the round. However, the hand must have at least a pair of Jacks, hence the name “Jacks or Better”.

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This Jacks or Better video poker strategy guide teaches you how to play the game to improve the chances of winning.

Note that there are no Jacks or Better strategies that guarantee long-term wins because the house always has an edge. Therefore, this piece will only help you reduce the house edge and not eliminate it. Let’s get started!

Understand Jacks or Better Video Poker Hands & Payouts

The Jacks or Better basic strategy is simply learning how the hands rank and work. Also, you need to understand the card combinations and master which cards to draw or hold.

Compiled below are the poker hands and their possible payouts at Bet365. Make sure to read through the video poker Jacks or Better strategy chart before you start playing!

Here is the set of possible outcomes that may occur:


How does this relate to Jacks or Better possible outcomes at Bet365?

  • Royal flush: This is the strongest possible hand in any video poker game, including Jacks or Better. It consists of A-K-Q-J-10, and the cards must be of a similar suit.

    At Bet365, you’ll receive a 250, 500, 750, 1,000, and 4,000x payout for creating 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 royal flushes, respectively.

  • Straight flush: If you create five consecutive cards of the same suit, that’s a straight flush. For example, you can have spades of 2-3-4-5-6.

    You can win a 50, 100, 150, 200, or 250x payout in this poker hand.

  • 4 of a kind: Do you have four cards of the same value? That’s 4 of a kind. For instance, you can create Q-Q-2-Q-Q.

    Remember that the cards can be of different suits to win the 25 up to 100x multiplier.

  • Full house: To win a full house payout, you must create a hand featuring 3 of a kind and a pair. For example, you can have a hand with 3-3-3-2-2. Note that the cards don’t need to be of the same suit.

  • Flush: Poker hands don’t get any easier than flush. Here, you only need to create a five-card hand of the same suit to win a 5 to 25x multiplier on Playtech’s Jacks or Better Multi-Hand.

  • Straight: This poker hand is another easy one to create. You only need to get five cards of a consecutive sequence without worrying about the suit.

    The payout is 4 to 20x.

  • 3 of a kind: You don’t need any introduction to this poker hand, do you? Create a five-card hand with three cards of similar value to get a 3 to 15x payout.

  • Two pair: This is a poker hand with two pairs of cards with the same value. For example, your hand can have A-A-9-9-4.

    The payout for this hand is 2 to 10x the initial stake.

  • Jacks or Better: Lastly, create a Jacks or Better and win a 1 to 5x multiplier. You only need a pair of Jacks or higher in this hand combination, like 8-7-9-J-J.

Don’t fret if you can’t remember the payouts for all these hands. Most Jacks or Better video poker games have pay tables for all winning combinations.

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In Playtech’s version, click the “gear” icon at the top-right corner and choose pay table. This is another underrated video poker Jacks or Better strategy.

Jacks Or Better Video Poker Strategy

There’s a reason why Jacks or Better is one of the best online poker variants. With a theoretical return rate of 99.54%, this game is indeed one of the most rewarding titles at any online casino.

But to enjoy this payback percentage, you must play each hand perfectly with a Jacks or Better strategy calculator.

jacks or better strategy calculator

Some situations may call on players to draw a card even if they have a winning hand. So, we’ll provide you with some Jacks or Better hacks to play the hands like a pro:

Keep a winning pat hand

In 5-card draw poker, you’ll only have a single chance to improve your hand. In other words, the game has only two rounds.

With that in mind, a pat hand in video poker is a hand you’re unlikely to improve after drawing additional cards. No wonder you’ll have to stand pat after creating these hands because you’re most likely to win the round with these hands.

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Pat hands in traditional poker include 4 of a kind, straight, full house, flush, and straight flush. In Jacks or Better video poker, request a payout without thinking twice after drawing a royal flush, straight flush, or 4 of a kind.

Interestingly, you can draw a card to transform a straight flush into a royal flush. But breaking up this hand in the quest to hit a royal flush is not advisable. 

Keep three cards to a royal flush

Another possible Jacks or Better basic strategy is keeping three cards to a royal flush and drawing with the hope of hitting a royal flush.

Any time you get three or four to a royal flush, it’s advisable to be more ambitious by holding onto the cards and drawing to the highest poker hand. Of course, this can mean doing away with a strong poker hand like a straight flush.

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Let’s assume you have a hand like K-J-10-2-4, with K-J-10 being of the same suit. In that case, discard the 2-4 cards and draw, hoping to get Q-A of the same suit.

However, breaking up this hand also increases the chances of your opponent beating your hand. Other possible hands you should hold onto include 3 of a kind, flush, 4 of a kind, and straight. 

Aim for a straight flush

As you may already know, a straight flush hand is a poker hand with five same-suit cards in numerical order.

Aim for a straight flush because there are 10,200 possible straight hand combos, with 40 naturally occurring straight flushes.

Remember that the four highest-ranking straight flushes (A-K-Q-J-10) are royal flushes.

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But you can stand pat or draw with a straight flush and still win the round.

For example, you can have a straight flush hand with K-Q-J-10-9. You can hit a royal flush if you draw another card to replace 9.

On the other hand, you’ll still have a straight if you don’t get a royal flush. That’s a risky strategy, though, as your hand becomes weaker.

Deal with no matching cards in the hand

Consider this; you get 8 Clubs, 6 Spades, K Spades, 3 Clubs, and 2 Diamonds. This example means the minimum hand combination you need to win the round is a pair of Jacks or better.

Therefore, hold the card equal to Jacks or higher, hoping to create a pair of Jacks or better.

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Here, you’ll discard all the cards except the K. If you draw a Jack, you can win a payout. You might also end up drawing two Ks, forming a 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind. 

Resolve a problem of Low pair vs High pair

Many poker players ask when it’s best to keep a low or high pair. Let’s break down this strategy for you:

Jack or Better strategy: Low Pair

Holding a low pair is one of the best strategies in this video poker Jacks or Better strategy cart.

You can create four winning hands with a low pair, including a straight flush. Let’s explain in detail with examples of when to hold and discard a low pair:

When to keep a low pair:

  • Example 1: Keep a low pair when you have four cards to hitting a straight.

    For instance, in a 3-3-4-5-6 hand, discard 4-5-6 and keep 3-3.

  • Example 2: Hold your low pair if you have three cards to a straight flush.

    For example, if you have 3 Hearts, 4 Diamonds, 4 Hearts, 8 Clubs, and 9 Spades, keep the 4 Diamonds and 4 Hearts and discard the rest.

  • Example 3: If you create a hand with a low pair and two cards that can make a royal flush like 6-6-3-K-Q, hold the 6-6 and discard the others.

When to discard a low pair:

  • Example 1: If you have three cards to a royal flush, the obvious thing to do is to discard the low pair and draw.

  • Example 2: Suppose you get 5 Diamonds, 5 Hearts, 8 Hearts, 6 Hearts, and 9 Hearts. In this example, break the low pair and hope to create a flush.

  • Example 3: Let’s say you have a hand with 10-10-K-3-2. Dispose of the 10s and draw, hoping to create a high pair. 

Jack or Better strategy: High Pair

You probably know the “never break a high pair” strategy. The good thing about keeping the high pairs like Ace/Kings and Queens/Kings is that drawing anything above 10 is an automatic win.

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Keeping this pair will keep you going in the game, hoping to create a bigger win. However, sometimes you may need to break the pair. Let’s expound it further with examples:

When to keep a high pair:

  • Example 1: If you have three cards to complete a royal flush, keep the high pair because the odds of creating a high pair are lower.
  • Example 2: If you have four cards to a straight, hold the pair to increase your chances of winning.
  • Example 3: If you have four cards to a flush, hold the high pair and draw.
  • Example 4: If you get two suited high cards, keep them, hoping to receive a royal flush or another hand. 

When to discard a high pair:

  • Example: If you have four cards to complete a royal flush, breaking up the high pair is advisable as the chances of creating a royal flush are lower. 

Jacks Or Better Tips & Tricks

Jacks or Better can come with one of the highest RTP values in a poker game. But remember that the house still has at least a 0.46% edge, which will ultimately work in their favour in the long run. Although there are some tips on how to win at online casino, the gambling is a game of chance - don't ever forget about that.

jacks or better poker

Because of this, play Jacks or Better or any other online casino game strictly for fun. Lowering your expectations on the table is one of the most effective Jacks or Better tips we can give you.  

In the meantime, always play with a bankroll. Set aside money for playing multiple rounds, let’s say 500 rounds per day, after which you’ll quit and try the next day.

If you’re playing the Playtech version at Bet365, you’ll face a minimum bet limit of C$0.25. Now let’s assume you play 200 rounds per day. This will bring your total bankroll to at least C$50 per day. That’s just an example.

Lastly, play Jacks or Better for free to sharpen your decision-making skills in this tricky game. Playing the demo version allows you to implement the Jacks or Better strategies discussed above without spending a dime at the casino. Note that all winning will be in virtual coins.

888 Casino offers a free demo version of Jacks or Better Double Up by Evolution (or NetEnt).

How To Start Playing Jacks Or Better?

  1. Step 1: Choose a Jacks or Better casino in Ontario

    Play Jacks or Better at a licensed and reliable online casino in Ontario to enjoy safe and transparent gameplay.

    Look at the licensing, game library, reputation, customer support, payout speeds, and more. Thankfully, Ontario isn’t short of options, as at least 18 websites are legally operating in the province. For this guide, we’ll play Jacks or Better on Bet365.

  2. Step 2: Create a casino account and deposit an amount

    After selecting an online casino, tap the Join button to fill out the virtual form with your email, address, username, password, and more.

    Also, you may need to enter the bonus code to claim the deposit or no-deposit bonus. So, make the minimum deposit, as you’ll need it to play Jacks or Better.

  3. Step 3: Open the casino lobby and choose the game

    Once the account is active, click the “Casino” option, then search for Jacks or Better. At Bet365, you’ll be able to play Jacks or Better Multi-Hand by Playtech, which uses 52 decks of cards.

    Also, you can play five hands simultaneously and win an increased payout of up to 4,000x.

  4. Step 4: Play the game and cash out your winnings

    To play Jacks or Better, set a bet amount and the number of hands to play.

    In the Playtech version, you can play with as little as C$0.25. After placing a wager, click Deal to reveal five face-up cards. Choose the cards you want to hold and tap Deal once more.

    Remember to use the Double or Double Half options to increase your wins accordingly. It’s that easy!

Where To Play Jacks Or Better In Ontario?

Ontario is home to multiple online casinos licensed this year. However, the available Jacks or Better versions at these casinos can differ in terms of game developers, RTPs, payouts, etc.

If you’re wondering where to play Jacks or Better in Ontario, this table should guide you:

Ontario casinoJacks or Better RTP
Bet365 Ontario96.06% to 97.30%Play Now
888 Casino Ontario99.54%Play Now
BetMGM Ontario99.54%Play Now
PokerStars Ontario99.54%Play Now
Coolbet Ontario95.00%Play Now
ComeOn!99.56%Play Now

Some casinos can offer Jacks or Better variations from different game developers. A good example is ComeOn! This casino provides Jacks or better from Evolution, Microgaming, and Play’n GO.


Nothing is guaranteed when playing Jacks or Better or any other online casino game. That’s because all games have a house edge which works against players in the long run.

However, play slot games with the highest return rates and quit while still ahead. Don’t wait for the house edge to catch up with your wins.

It depends! For example, keep a low pair when you have four cards necessary to create a straight.

Also, keep a low pair when you have three cards to a straight flush or two cards to a royal flush. However, don’t hesitate to discard it when you have three cards to a royal flush.

Jacks or Better is a poker game that uses a 52-card deck, and players aim to create the strongest 5-card hand.

However, it gets its name from the fact that players need a hand with at least a pair of Jacks to win.

When you get a pair of Jacks or Better, hold them and draw three additional cards. This way, you can get a 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind. High pairs are even better because they guarantee a win.

The odds for getting Jacks or Better is 1:1 on the paytable. This means a single coin bet will return an additional coin if the hand wins. However, the odds can increase up to 5:1 if you play multiple hands.

Yes, Jacks or Better is one of the most rewarding poker games, coming with a 4,000x jackpot if you create five royal flush hands.

However, you’ll need some serious luck and skills to hit the jackpot. So, practice often and play using a bankroll.

Double Bonus Poker represents the best value for poker players, coming with a 100.76% payout rate at most casinos.

Joker Wild and Double Bonus are also good options, paying out at 100.65% and 100.17%. Other poker games with more than 100% RTP are Loose Deuces Wild and Double Double Bonus.

Absolutely! Video poker is a skill-based game, meaning some decisions can reduce the house edge to less than 0.00%.

On the other hand, a slot machine is a luck-based game, meaning you’re just a mere spectator after spinning the wheels.