9/6 Jacks Or Better

Please note:I don't promote gambling. Spend your money on cocaine and hookers.

Jacks or Better video poker traces its roots back to the 1970s when personal computers began to popularize. As the earliest form of video poker, it offered a simple and compelling game mechanic that was less intimidating than table poker games. The game derives its name from the fact that the lowest winning hand is a pair of jacks. It quickly gained popularity in casinos because it blended the solitary play of slot machines with the skill and decision-making of poker.

My own video poker!

This story also begins with "when I was a kid..." I had a secret Commodore 64 cassette and later just as secret C64 floppy. These coveted items included two games: Samantha Fox strip poker and Hollywood poker. Copied from our neighbour. I don't remember where I learnt the poker hands, but these were my introduction to poker games, and quite a big step up from solitaire card games I've played before. In reality neither one of these were very good at being a poker game, but I think the point was to see some pixelated titties. I can't belive this story is hitting every possible SEO box there is!

Anyway, until 2010 age limit for playing slots, video poker or any other gambling machine in Finland was 15. And in the 1990s no one really cared who was playing, if you just were tall enough to see the screen. These gambling games were, and often still are everywhere. In big and small shops, service stations, kiosks, bars, restaurants... However, playing is much more regulated these days. But 30 years ago there were enough opportunities to gamble away your weekly or mothly allowance. Not that I ever really did that, I had my Hollywood poker.

That was basicly the beginning of my interest and love for playing cards and card games. Solitaire, pixelated titties and gambling in service stations. No wonder I turned out as fine as I did! 😁

One more thing! This game is not suitable for practicing gambling. If you like some real practice, visit Wizard of Odds for that. I bet there is others too.

Notable Variants

While Jacks or Better remains the foundational video poker game, its success has spawned numerous variants.
Some notable examples include:

  • Bonus Poker - Offers higher payouts for four-of-a-kind hands, depending on the ranks of the cards.
  • Double Bonus Poker - Similar to Bonus Poker but offers even more generous bonuses for different four-of-a-kind hands.
  • Deuces Wild - In this variant, twos are wild, dramatically changing the dynamic and strategy of the game.

Each variant adjusts the pay table and the strategic decisions players must consider, often adding more volatility and potential for high payouts. In Finland we have a variant of Deuces Wild called "Kakkospokeri".

Basic Play Strategy

The strategic element of Jacks or Better is one of its most attractive features. The basic strategy involves making the best decision for which cards to keep and which to discard after the initial deal.
Here are some basic foundational tips:

  • Hold any hand higher than a pair of jacks, as higher hands are guaranteed wins.
  • Never break up a paying hand unless you have four of the five cards needed to form a Royal Flush.
  • If you have four to a Flush and no high pairs, keep the four flush cards and draw for the fifth.
  • Low pairs are better than a single high card; they have potential to turn into three of a kind or even four of a kind, both of which pay out higher than a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces.
  • High Cards: If you have no better hand, keep any Jack, Queen, King or Ace to try for a high pair.

Optimal play in Jacks or Better requires a balance between following strategic guidelines (there is whole books about how to play Jacks Or Better) and making judgment calls based on the specific situation. You can use strategy cards or trainers to practice and learn the probability-driven decisions to improve your odds over time.

In conclusion, Jacks or Better video poker offers a combination of strategic depth and fun gameplay, making it a favorite for casual gamblers and serious enthusiasts alike. So, whether you're playing for fun or for win, understanding history, variants, and strategies can (and ofter will) enhance your playing experience and potentially your winnings.

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