Jacks or Better Strategy - Draw Hands Defined
In this strategy we have an "arsenal" of ten hand groups, with names that are consistent with the "Best Shot" theme, for waging video poker war against the Jacks or Better machines.
I'll go over all the hands involved and then give you a condensed "crib" sheet that you can carry around and memorize over a few cups of coffee or take to the machine for quick reference. (This is the little "secret weapon" I promised you.) Most casino operators won't care if you occasionally glance at notes inside the back of a pack of cigarettes or somewhere. They do care, if they have a full crowd, and certain players tie up their machines with very slow play.
The only reason for putting the hands in groups with names is to make them easier to remember. However, people process information to be memorized in different ways. Some folks might find the draw hand rankings easier to memorize if they make them new lyrics for "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" or something. If so, go for that, or whatever works.
Here are the ten hand group titles:
- Top Draw
- Fast Draw
- Sure Hit
- Straight Shooters
How to Use the Strategy: As the names imply, the groups that are highest on the list are the strongest. Within the groups, the hands are shown in descending priority and your best play is always the hand that is highest on the list. So for example, if you have ace of spades, king of hearts, queen of spades, jack of spades and ten of spades you would break up the straight and replace the king of hearts. This is because four cards to a royal flush is higher on the list than a straight.
Remember that HIGH cards are Jack - Ace, and LOW cards are 2-10. Hold cards are shown in blocks. The unblocked cards have no significance except to represent typical side cards that are to be replaced by your draw.
It will be important for you to be able to recognize all the hand types and their abbreviations.
There's not much to think about with the 3 KD and the 2 PR either. They are both sure winners that can improve to bigger winners with a good draw.
Four of a Kind
Three of a Kind
4 CDS to a R FL
Four Cards to a Royal Flush
4 CDS to a STR FL
Four Cards to a Straight Flush
3 CDS to a R FL
Three Cards to a Royal Flush
4 CD FL
Four Card Flush
Primary Draw Hands
These primary hands that we just looked at are not only the strongest but are generally the easiest to spot. They will be shown in the first column on your Best Shot condensed strategy order guide that you take to the machine.
When the machine first deals your hand, if you find the hand description in the first column on the left, you play it without concerning yourself with the lesser strength, secondary draw hands in the second column on the right.
Secondary Draw Hands
Most of your opening dealt hands will fall into these secondary groups. These hands are shown in the second column on the right and, just as in the primary groups, the highest strategy value hands are the highest on the list. You will note that draw hands with three suited cards to a Straight Flush are shown regular face red type. This is to make your hand description search easier because if your hand does not have three suited cards, these descriptions can be ignored. Here are the secondary draw hands.
4 CD STR
Four Card Straight
3 CD STR FL
Three Card Straight Flush
3 CD IN STR FL w 1 or 2 H CDS
Three Card Inside Straight Flush with 1 or 2 High Cards
3 CD DBL IN STR FL w 2 H CDS
Three Card Double Inside Straight Flush with 2 High Cards
4 H CDS
Four High Cards
2 H CDS Suited
Two High Cards Suited
3 CD DBL IN STR FL w 1 H CD
Three Card Double Inside Straight Flush with 1 High Card
4 CRD IN STR w 3 H CDS
Four Card Inside Straight with 3 High Cards
3 CRD IN STR FL w No H CDS
Three Card Inside Straight Flush with No High Cards
3 H CDS No Ace
Three High Cards No Ace
2 H CDS
Two High Cards
1 H CD w 10 Suited No Ace
One High Card with 10 Suited No Ace
1 H CD
One High Card
3 CD DBL IN STR FL w No H CDS
Three Card Double Inside Straight Flush with No High Cards
This hand consists of five low cards with the suits and denominations distributed in a way that you can't find anything of higher value to play. I thought about calling this hand a "shot in the dark" to be consistent with the other hand group names, but decided that "duds" is more to the point and easier to remember.
On a positive note, your second chance at a dealt pay hand is now better than your first because five low cards are now gone from the deck. Your chances of being dealt a pair of jacks to aces are much better than on the first deal.
Your chances of being dealt a royal flush are improved from almost impossible to almost, almost impossible, but just remember, when those five new cards pop up... anything can happen.
5 L CDS - Draw New Hand
Five Low Cards - Draw New Hand
That's it for all the draw hands used to compile the final strategy. The "Condensed Best Shot Strategy" at the bottom of the page is a recap of all these of these hands and groups of hands listed in strategy order and in abbreviated form.
I recommend that you print the page, clip out the strategy and take it to the machine with you for quick reference. You will find that after you've had a little experience at making all the correct plays, most of the plays will come to you automatically. Later, they all will. It won't take long.
Remember that when the machine displays your opening dealt hand, first see if you have one of the Primary Hands on the left side of your sheet. Then make sure that you play the highest one that you can find on that list. If instead, you have a Secondary Hand on the right side, first check to see if you have three cards suited to a Straight Flush. If you don't, just ignore the hands printed in red and find your highest hand on the secondary list. If you do have the three Straight Flush cards, include the red listings in your search.
The "Best Shot" Condensed Strategy
Everything you need to know about how to play expert jacks or better video poker is right here. All you need to do is memorize the play ranking order in the "Best Shot/Nutshell" strategy, or memorize as much as you can and take a copy with you to the casino machine for quick reference. Just print and clip out the condensed strategy on this page or download the Jacks or Better condensed strategy in .pdf format for easy printing.
You have what it takes to be an expert winner at jacks or better video poker. I wish you very good luck.
Give it your Best Shot and WIN!
- video poker ebook
- Section I. video poker introduction
- Section II. five card draw poker - The Basic Poker Game
- Section III. jacks or better video poker
- Section IV. evaluating video poker hands and draw options
- Section V. jacks or better strategy - Draw Hands Defined