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Basic Jacks or Better Video Poker Strategy


By: Ryan D.

Video Poker is a game of skill – and using the simple combination of playing strategy and mathematical know-how, can be beat. Take note of the “pay schedule” shown on the front of each
machine, and look particularly at the most important information – how much the machine
will pay out for a Full-House versus a Flush.

An advanced video poker player will also realise that a “Jacks-or-Better” machine – classed as a 9/6 machine for paying out 9 coins : 1 for every Full House and 6 : 1 for every Flush, can be beaten using perfect Basic Video Poker Strategy.

Another machine offering the advanced video poker player an edge is the 10/6 Deuces Wild machine. These odds have been proven as
a result of computer modelling. For the other machines – even if a player plays the Perfect Video Poker Strategy game, he will still not win, though will have fun playing!

There are set rules defining Basic Video Poker Srategy whether playing online or in a casino – much like the Basic Strategy for Blackjack, 

Jacks-or-Better Video Poker Strategy

  • In any hand holding a Jack, unless the hand is already a winner! – 4 to an open-ended Straight,
    4 to a Flush or 3 to a Straight
    Flush or Royal Flush – reject all cards only keeping the Jack
  • In any hand holding only 1 card Jack or above, keep the single high card
    and reject all other cards and redraw.
  • In any hand holding 1 pair lower than Jacks, keep the pair and reject all
    other cards – unless the hand is 4 to a Straight or 4 to a Flush
  • In any hand holding a 2-pair, keep both pair and reject the odd-card.
  • In any hand holding 3-of-a-kind keep the 3-of-a-kind and reject the other
    2 cards.
  • In any hand holding 4 to a Straight, keep all 4 Straight cards and re-draw –
    unless the Straight draw is NOT open-ended and the hand is holding a
  • In any hand holding 4 to a Flush, keep the 4 Flush – unless the hand holds 3 to the Royal in which case you would draw to the Royal
  • In any hand holding 4-of-a-kind, hold everything since a 1-card
    draw will not improve the cards.
  • In any hand holding 3 to a Royal Flush, reject everything else and
    go for the Royal – unless the hand is already a Straight Flush!

Practice these strategies whist playing – perhaps even print this page out to
refer to the Basic Video Poker strategies until they become 2nd nature. Go on…get the skill and hit those machine!


You can read Ryan’s general musings about online gambling at

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