How To Play Jacks Or Better – Rules And Strategies header image

Jacks or Better is a popular video poker game in traditional and online casinos. Players aim to create the best possible five-card poker hand, with a pair of Jacks being the minimum winning hand. This card game offers various betting options and different payout rates for different hands. Another unique feature of Jacks or Better is that it has one of the lowest house edge among most games.

This article will go in-depth on how to play Jacks or Better covering:

  • Rules
  • Winning Combinations
  • Strategies
  • Tips and Tricks

Rules of Jacks or Better

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The rules of this game are similar to five-card draw poker rules but there is no raising or bluffing as you’re playing the house and not against other players. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you must have a better hand than the dealer to win (at least a pair of Jacks, hence the name).

How to Play Jacks or Better Video Poker

Video poker Jacks or Better is a fun and easy game to play. You need both luck and skill to win the game, unlike other casino games where you only win through dumb luck.

Placing your Bets

In Bspin’s version of Jacks or Better, you start setting the number of credits you want to bet and how many lines you want to play. You’ll then be dealt your hand when you click the Deal button.

hand holding ten of diamonds

Dealing and Drawing the Cards

After placing your bet, you will receive five cards from the dealer. Once you have reviewed your hand, you can discard any number of cards and replace them with new ones from the deck. It’s important to note that these cards will automatically be held if you receive a winning hand in Jacks or Better video poker.

There is no time limit for examining and making decisions about your hand in this game. Take as long as you need and consider all possible outcomes before committing to any discards.

It’s best practice for players to always hold onto a pair aside from when four cards complement the royal flush draw requirements. This is because drawing the last card could pay significantly higher than merely holding three Kings, for instance.

Winning Hands in Jacks or Better

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For a winning round of Jacks or Better video poker, you must strive to obtain the best card combination The are numerous possible winning combinations in this game, and they can be categorized based on their respective payouts.

Here are the winning combinations that players can aim for (sorted from low to high):

One Pair

one pair of aces

A hand that has two cards with matching rank and three non-matching cards is called a Pair.

It’s also worth noting that having a ‘One Pair’ will not suffice for high payouts in some Jacks or Better video poker versions. Nevertheless, it’s better than having no pairs and could allow players to win smaller amounts frequently.

Moreover, One Pair is considered one of the more comfortable hands to accumulate while playing Jacks or Better but offers low payout ratios compared to higher-value hands.

Two Pairs

two pairs of five and two

In Jacks Or Better, two pairs mean that the player holds two sets of identical cards in their five-card hand. Having two pairs means the player has a higher chance of winning than other hands with a lower ranking, such as a single pair or high card.

The payout for pairs of two in Jacks or Better is usually higher than for lower-ranking poker hands but still lower than for more rare and valuable hands.

One interesting aspect of the two pairs in Jacks or Better video poker is determining which cards to keep and which to discard to improve the hand. For example, if the player has two pairs consisting of Queens and Nines, they may hold onto both Queen cards and one Nine while discarding the other cards to draw another Queen or Nine.

Three of a Kind (Trips) – A Winning Combination

three of a kind of threes

Three of a Kind, commonly referred to as Trips, is a standard hand in Jacks or Better video poker. This hand includes three cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards. The ranking of the trio determines the strength of this hand. It offers greater odds than Two Pair but is weaker than most other hands.

  • Trips is ranked higher if made up of Aces or Faces (Kings, Queens, or Jacks).
  • Having multiple trips on one hand significantly increases its value.
  • Landing on Trips on an initial five-card draw means it’s time to keep all three and discard the remaining two cards to increase the chances of getting a stronger combination.
  • If Trips are achieved on a hand that initially included four matching cards (4-of-a-kind), the fifth card can be kept solely for kicks or discarded to draw a better combination.


Five consecutive cards of sequential rank but not of the same suit are called a Straight. For instance, a hand of 5-6-7-8-9, all in hearts, makes up a Straight. The probability of hitting one is much less than other hands and provides high payouts.

For maximum payouts, it’s recommended that players keep all five cards if they already have a Straight. It guarantees additional chances at winning huge jackpots since winning can be quite rare with poor initial draws.


flush set of cards

A flush consists of five cards of the same suit. The order in which the cards appear does not matter in a flush. If two players have a flush, the one with the highest card wins.

Players often pursue this hand as it can lead to high payouts in Jacks or Better video poker games.

Interestingly, many professional poker players believe that flushes are overvalued by beginners due to their flashy appearance and relative ease of obtaining them compared to other strong hands.

Full House

A Full House consists of Trips and a Pair. It is ranked higher than a Flush but lesser than Four-of-a-Kind.

The probability of getting a Full House is relatively low, roughly 1 in 86 hands with only a 1.15% chance of landing it on the flop, which makes it a valuable hand for gamblers. It requires a bit of luck, skill, and calculation from the player’s side before deciding to hold or discard specific cards.

Four of a Kind

four of a kind aces

Having four cards of the same rank is called Four of a Kind or quads. It is commonly called “A Strong Hand,” which holds true given its rarity.

Below you’ll see a table summarizing the possible payouts based on the number of coins played per spin and bet per hand for Four of a Kind:

Coins Played 1 Coin Per Hand 2 Coins Per Hand 3 Coins Per Hand 4 Coins Per Hand 5 Coins Per Hand
Bet One 125 Credits 250 Credits 375 Credits 500 Credits 625 Credits
Bet Two (Double) 250 Credits 500 Credits 750 Credits 1000 Credits 1250 Credits

Achieving this hand can happen, but it requires patience and strategy. Remember that holding off any winning hand will increase your chances of hitting a Four of a Kind.

It’s worth mentioning that landing a Four Aces guarantees the highest payout for this winning hand. As such, many players try to hold onto an Ace whenever they have one, hoping to get three more.

Straight Flush

straight flush

For those playing Jacks or Better video poker game, achieving a Straight Flush is enough for a big payout. This occurs by obtaining five cards in sequential order of the same suit. The odds of being dealt a Straight Flush are 1 in 64,973.

The table below shows the number of cards in each card value:

Card Value Ace King Queen Jack Ten
Number of Cards 4 4 4 4 4

It is important to track which cards have been played and which are still in the deck when aiming for a Straight Flush. Remember that there are only four possible suits per card value, reducing the chances of obtaining this hand.

Royal Flush

royal flush

A hand with an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit is called the Royal Flush. It has the highest payout as it’s the best card combination and also because of the rarity of being dealt this hand.

If a player maintains their winning streak through subsequent rounds while holding onto a royal flush, they can potentially win big.

Betting Round

hands betting casino chips on green table

For the portion of gameplay known as ‘wagering,’ players must place their bets before the initial draw. The amount wagered is determined by the limits set by the dealer or table, with a minimum and maximum bet. Once bets have been placed, players can draw their cards and judge which ones they want to keep.

Some games only have an initial betting round so make sure to check the rules first.

First Betting Round

Players place bets within established limits before drawing cards.

It’s worth noting that many experienced players may choose to employ strategic betting methods in order to maximize their winnings while minimizing losses.

However, newer players need to understand the ins and outs of basic wagering before attempting more complex techniques.

Second Betting Round

The player on the left of the dealer starts the game. The remaining players can either check or bet. After the bets have been placed, players can raise, call, or fold.

Tip: The best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

Video Poker Jacks or Better Payout

The Jacks or Better generally have the same payout in most of the casinos, but it may vary sometimes. But general payouts are listed below:

  • One Pair of Jacks or Better Pays 1:1
  • Two Pairs Pays 2:1
  • Three of a Kind Pays 3:1
  • Straight Pays 4:1
  • Flush Pays 6:1
  • Full House Pays 9:1
  • Four of a Kind Pays 25:1
  • Straight Flush Pays 50:1
  • Royal Flush Pays 250:1

The payouts may be different depending on the casino so kindly check before placing your bet.

Jacks or Better Strategy

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Here is a reliable game plan that you can use:

  • If you hold only one high card, draw four cards.
  • If you hold any pair, draw three cards, but this tip is not always applicable.
  • If you hold three of a kind or three cards to a straight flush, draw two cards
  • If you hold four of a kind, two pairs, or four cards to a straight or flush, draw one card.
  • If you hold a straight, flush, full house, a straight flush, or a royal straight flush, do not draw any cards.
  • If you don’t have any matching cards in your hand, hold a card that is higher or equal in value to Jacks.
  • If there are no combinations and no Jacks or higher, try drawing five new cards.

Scenario-Based Strategy

You should make the following decisions regarding a low pair:

  • You have a four to Straight, always keep that par. For Example, if you got 44567 keep the pair of 4 but discard the rest.
  • You have a three to a straight flush you should keep the low pair. For example, 2 spade 3 spade, 4 spade, 4 heart, 8 club you should hold both the 4s.
  • You have two to a Royal flush you should still hold the low pair. For example, you have 9 spade, 9 club, 4 spade, 8 diamonds, king spade, and ace spade. You should hold the 9s and discard the rest.
  • You have three or four to a Royal Flush you should discard the low pair. For example, you have 9 spade,9 club, 4 diamond, queen spade, king spade, and ace spade.

You should make the following decisions regarding a high pair:

  • You are four to a flush and a high pair you should hold the pair and replace all the other cards.
  • You have four to a Straight. You should keep your high pair and replace other cards so that there are better chances for you to win.
  • If you have three to a Royal Flush, you should still hold the pair. Because there are reasonably high chances that you might not get a royal flush and lose your money.
  • Even if you have three to a straight flush keeping the high pair might prove to be a better option.
  • But when you have four to a royal flush, you might want to take the risk and discard the higher cards for a bigger payout.

Hands You Should Never Play:

  • If you have a 10 and ace of the same suit, then keep the ace only.
  • If you have 3 unsuited high cards and the highest card as an ace then keep the lowest two high cards.
  • If you have 4 to an inside straight and 2 high cards, then keep the two high cards.
  • If you have 4 to an inside straight and 1 high card, then you should keep the single high card.
  • If you have 4 to an inside straight but not any high card, then discard everything.

Increasing The Chances of Winning

woman jumping in sunset

Increasing The Chances of Winning

To improve the odds of winning in Jacks Better, one can employ specific gaming strategies. Here are five best Jacks or Better strategies that you can use to increase your success in this game.

  1. Stick to the Proper Strategy – Using the right strategy is crucial in any game of video poker. Familiarize yourself with optimal play by using a perfect-play table. This will ensure that you always make the right decision and reduce your chances of losing.
  2. Choose Your Machine Wisely – Different Jacks or Better machines have distinct pay tables, which directly affect your payouts. Look for a machine with better payouts and bet limits that match your preferred style of play.
  3. Betting Max Coins Pays Off – Betting max coins ensures maximum returns when hitting a Royal Flush. Playing fewer than the maximum coins could lead to missing out on significant cash prizes.
  4. Practice Before Betting Real Money – Video poker experts advise practicing first with free games before betting real money on any variant. This helps familiarize yourself with different variations and build more confidence in your abilities.
  5. Know When – It is easy to lose track of time and become addicted while chasing a big payout. Set limits; wager only what you’re willing to lose, take breaks if necessary, and avoid chasing losses at all costs.

Advanced Video Poker Strategy, Tips, and Tricks

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Advanced Video Poker Strategy, Tips, and Tricks

To master the video poker game of Jacks or Better and increase your chances of winning it is handy to have some tricks up your sleeve. This section will provide quick, easy, and essential tips to give you a better playing experience and improve your chances of winning.

Start with Low Bet

To make sure you stay in the game for longer, it is recommended to begin with a modest bet. Starting with a low bet allows you to learn the game’s mechanics without losing much money. Increasing your wager as you become more confident in your ability can lead to bigger payouts.

Continuing with a reasonable bet size that does not exceed what you can afford is crucial to successful gameplay. It ensures that you can play for longer periods without running out of funds. Additionally, striking a balance between risk and reward will keep you motivated to play and increase your winnings.

hand showing pair of two and seven

It is important to note that lower bets may also minimize the payout for higher-ranking hands. However, if decreasing initial bets means playing longer rounds at fewer amounts but increasing difficulty and probability of winning larger payouts later on, it makes sense to hold back while still enjoying the game.

Some games may have different table limits allowing small wagers ranging from $0.25 to $5 increments or higher stakes going up from $50 per hand. Always check for minimum and maximum betting requirements, and never gamble irresponsibly beyond your means so that you can fully enjoy the benefits of the game’s strategy and skill factors.

Always Play Max Coins

To maximize your winnings and gaming experience, utilizing the ‘Max Coins’ feature is recommended. Using this feature increases your chances of hitting a royal flush, which offers the highest payout in the game.

Playing with fewer coins may cause you to miss out on significant returns and limit your overall winnings. To make sure that you are getting the most out of the next round, set your coin value appropriately and bet consistently.

card pair of twos

Remember to always play with the maximum number of coins available to you. Doing so ensures that you are not missing out on potential returns or experiencing a lower payout when achieving a winning hand.

In addition to wagering more coins, don’t forget to practice proper bankroll management by setting realistic limits for yourself. Gambling should be an enjoyable experience but should never lead to financial hardship or debt.

Jacks or Better vs. Five Card Draw

The difference between the two games is that in Jacks or Better, you must have at the very least a pair of Jacks to open the initial betting round. If no player has such cards, the cards are shuffled, and a new hand is dealt.

There is no bluffing in Jacks or Better unlike in five-card draw poker. In the latter, the pot grows every time the cards are dealt, but the winner takes it all.


Jacks or Better is a fun way to spend your free time. Whether you are a seasoned player or just starting as a beginner, there is always something new to learn and improve upon. To become adept at this video poker game, one must practice regularly until the right strategies become second nature.

To enhance your enjoyment, start slow and gradually increase the stakes. As winning depends on your understanding of the rules and strategy of the game, it’s crucial to take time to familiarize yourself with them.

One unique detail worth mentioning is that online Jacks or Better payouts vary depending on the paytable used by each casino or online platform. Before you start playing, review the payout percentage for that particular site.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best Jacks or Better strategy?

You can improve your chances of winning by using a basic Jacks or Better poker strategy. One of the best strategies is to always hold on to a high pair. You should also hold on to any four cards to a straight flush and any four cards to a flush. Additionally, you should always discard cards that don’t contribute to a winning hand.

What is a full-pay version of Jacks or Better?

A full-pay version of Jacks or Better is one where the payout ratio is the highest. In such a game, a royal flush pays out 800:1, a straight flush pays 50:1, and a full house pays 9:1. It’s always better to play this version of Jacks or Better to increase your win rate.

How many cards do I draw in Jacks or Better?

In Jacks or Better, you can discard as few as none or as many as five cards. You can discard and draw as many cards as you want only once. If you get a winning hand after the first round, you can choose to hold all your cards, and the game automatically draws five new cards for you.

Can I win money in Jacks or Better?

Yes, you win money by playing Bitcoin Jacks or Better game here at Bspin. The amount you win depends on the betting round, the number of players remaining, and the strength of your final hand. You can also use casino promotions and better machine payouts to win more money.