Jack Or Better


The object of Jacks or Better is to obtain a five-card poker hand that contains a winning combination (see the pay table on the machine).

The better your hand is, the bigger the payout. You choose how many and which of your cards are to be replaced. You may replace your cards only once.

How to play

The player aims to get the best hand possible. The payoffs are marked right on the face of the Video Poker machine. Betting is pretty straightforward. On any given machine you can typically choose $0.25, $0.50, $1, or $5 games. And the bets are 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x (or maximum bet) whichever game you’re playing. So if you’re playing a $1 game, you can place bets of $1, $2, $3, $4, or $5.

If you bet 5 coins, all winning hands are paid out multiplied by a factor of 5 (except for the royal flush). This is a bonus amount designed as an incentive to play five coins. And those players who don’t play the maximum coins are just setting up the best payoffs for those who do.

It is very important to know that the payoff ratios vary from game to game. Jacks or Better may pay 25:1 for Four Of A Kind. These ratios do not necessarily reflect the true odds, so knowing your game helps you play smarter.


Keep any hand that already pays. Possible exceptions, in decreasing value, are:

  • Hold four card Royal Flushes to make Straights or Flushes.
  • Four card straight flushes, inside or outside.
  • High card Pairs rank here.
  • Three card Royal Flushes.
  • Four card Flushes.
  • Low Pairs rank here, trying to build Three Of A Kind.
  • Four card Flushes.
  • Four card Straights. Hold inside Straights only if you’ve got three or more high cards (J, Q, K, A).

Follow this general strategy in order of preference:
Keep any two suited high cards. Discard unsuited high cards.

Four mixed-suit high cards:

  • Keep any three suited, toss the unsuited.
  • Otherwise, keep them all.

Three unsuited high cards:

  • Keep all three of K-Q-J.
  • With A-K-J or A-Q-J, discard the A.

Keep any two unsuited high cards.
Keep any single high card.


The first thing to note is that the game face shows you the payoff for each betting level. Invariably playing maximum bet pays off better, overall, than any of the lower multiples. Smart players pick the betting level they are comfortable with and choose their game accordingly.

Those players who don’t play the maximum coins are just setting up the best payoffs for those who do.

if you are comfortable with a $5 bet, then pick a $1 machine and play at maximum bet for $5. In either case, you are getting the best payoff odds you can for that game.

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