Jacks or Better Math

gambling mathsVideo Poker is played on a machine that looks pretty much like a regular slot machine in which from 1 to 5 coins are inserted in order to the player to be given access to their favourite poker game. Currency and tickets are also accepted to place a wager.

Then, the player is dealt a total of five cards that are given to them with their faces up on the screen. The order of the five cards is unknown, as they are dealt by a Random Number Generator (RNG). Then, the player needs to make a decision of each of the cards whether to keep them or discard them.

This offers them a total of 32 ways to play the hand. If they decide to discard n cards and are dealt n new cards, each of the 47/n possibilities are considered as equally likely. The player is granted with their payout, which depends on how much money they have wagered on the hand and what was its ranking.

Payout Schedule of Jacks and Better

Players should always remember that pay schedules are important. It is not always easy to get oriented in a certain pay-off table, but players are recommended to always make clear what the pay-off would be for every hand in the game of Jacks or Better in a certain casino, regardless if it comes to a land-based or an online one.

When it comes to payout for Jacks and Better, there is a difference between the Royal Flush hand and the Straight Flush hand. In addition, the term “full-pay” machine is used to highlight the fact there are some video poker machines that feature payout schedules that are less favourable.

Players should also be aware of the fact that they need to bet the maximum amount of five coins in order to qualify for the maximum pay-off granted by the Royal Flush hand.

When a Royal Flush hand is ranked, the pay-off odds amount to 800 to 1, since there are only 4 ways to make the hand. On the other hand, a Straight Flush hand can be made in a total of 36 ways, so its pay-off odds equal 50 for 1. The pay-off odds for Four of a Kind hand are 25 for 1, and the number of ways that could end up with such a hand are 324.

Players could make a Full House hand in 3,744 ways, which decreases the pay-off odds to 9 to 1. On the other hand, the Flush hand could be made in 5,108 ways, which leads to the pay-off odds being reduced to 6 to 1. Straight hands could be formed in 10.200 ways. The pay-off odds for such hands is 4 for 1. The hands consistent of Three of a Kind bring pay-off odds of 3 for 1 as they could be formed in 54,912 ways.

The Two Pair hands can be made in 123,552 ways and bring 2 for 1 pay-off odds. The Pair of Jacks or Better hand features pay-off odds of 1 for 1 and can be combined in a total of 2,062,860.

5-hand jack or better

Major Math Issues

The paramount math issue when it comes to the game of Jacks or Better is for the player to determine which cards to hold and which to discard considering their initial five-card hand. Basically, this decision would be based on the cards of which the player’s hand consists of.

No matter if it comes to a player who does not have enough experience or not, they have to make the decisions for themselves, by evaluating the cards they have as well as the chances to complete their hand in a way that boosts its rank. They should also remember not to rely too much on their intuition in such situations but to stay with cool mind and carefully consider what to do.

Usually, the optimal strategy is considered the one that provides the player with the chance to maximize their conditional expected pay-off. So, if we have to put this in other words, it would be better for a player to draw to a four-card flush in comparison to drawing to a three-card two-gap royal flush. Still, casino customers should be careful as making generalizations is not the best approach.

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