Basic jacks or better video poker strategy

You’ll have to decide between the two types of Jacks-or-Better machines: Full payout or progressive machines. The full payout pays a fixed amount of coins for a royal flush, usually 4,000 coins with the maximum bet. The progressive pays a jackpot that continues to grow until one of its machines hits the royal flush. The progressive jackpot is higher than the fixed payout, but that is sometimes offset by lower payouts on the other hands, such as full houses and flushes. Always try to play a machine that pays the following jackpots for one coin bet:

Royal flush 800 coins
Straight flush 50 coins
Four of a kind 25 coins
Full house 9 coins
Flush 6 coins
Straight 4 coins
Three of a kind 3 coins
Two pair 2 coins
Jacks or better 1 coin

The primary objective at the jacks-or-better machine is to hit the royal flush. You’ll also want to maximize your winnings if you don’t hit the royal, which has odds of about 40,000 to I against it. In order to do that, follow this basic strategy: 

  1. Always draw one card to a royal flush even if it means breaking a pat high pair Jacks or better), straight, or flush. But don’t break a pat straight flush for a one-card draw to a royal. 
  2. Draw two cards to a royal flush unless you already hold a pat straight flush, straight, flush, or three of a kind. 
  3. Draw one card to a straight flush unless you already hold a pat flush or straight.
  4. Draw two cards to a straight flush unless you already hold a pat flush, straight, three of a kind, or high pair. 
  5. If you need one card for either a flush or a straight, draw for the flush. 
  6. If you need one card for either a flush or a straight and already hold a high pair, keep the high pair. 
  7. If you need one card for a flush and already hold a low pair (10s or lower), break up the pair and draw for the flush. If you need one card for a straight and already hold a low pair, keep the low pair. 
  8. Always hold two pair and three of a kind. 
  9. Always draw to a low pair rather than holding a single high card. 
  10. Draw five cards when you don’t have a single high card that can be paired and don’t have four to a flush or straight.