Video poker comes in various forms, which is one of the strengths of playing online. Developers are working all the time towards tweaking the rules and adding fun new options to games like video poker, keeping them fresh and interesting for new and veteran players.
One of the most common video poker formats is Jacks or Better, which is seen throughout casinos both offline and online.
This is also known as Draw Poker and note also that some video poker games will combine two or sometimes more variations together. The basic mechanics of this game are the same as standard video poker, with a deck of 52 cards in play and a hand of five cards being dealt to you each time you make a bet.
Most games let you choose bet size, which in turn increases the prizes. After each hand is dealt, you get to discard some, none or all of those cards and then a second set is dealt- then a win calculated based on your best combination of cards.
About The Game
Jacks or Better refers to the conditions for winning. Only hands which are a pair of jacks or better can win. In other words, anything of a lower rank, such as a pair of number cards, cannot win. This may seem like it cuts out the number of ways to win, but the prizes will reflect this and the RTP or Return To Player is actually very high in most cases (also referred to as a low house edge). Most games will list the RPT as a percentage, which is the average amount given back to the player.
The higher paying games are traditionally referred to as ‘Full Pay’. Jacks or Better usually falls into this category and offers a pay out percentage of 99.54%, with some variation possible based on special rules or bonuses used by different online casinos. You may also see Full Pay Jacks or Better referred to as ‘9/6’ because the pay out for a full house is nine times your bet, while the pay out for a flush is six times. You may see variations on this fraction, with the same meaning.
The rest of the hands in Jacks or Better follow the typical rankings of poker. A royal flush with A, K, Q, J and 10 of the same suit is still the highest paying hand, awarding the jackpot. A straight flush comes next, five consecutive cards in one suit. Four of a kind ranks over a full house, then a flush ranks over a straight.
Three of a kind beats two pairs, but remember again that these must be jacks or better, number cards will not be counted. A pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces is the lowest ranked hand. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your low numbered cards are useless, just because they are not ranked as pairs. They can still be used to make up bigger hands like a flush or full house.
The high pay out of Jacks or Better has made it very popular in casinos and online. The fact that it’s very simple to play and quick to learn helps, too. You can find free play versions that are helpful in learning the ropes, plus you can increase that high pay out percentage even more by factoring in welcome bonuses gained from joining new casinos. Watch out also for variants that give bonuses in special circumstances, like Bonus Poker which gives a bonus prize for four of a kind.