CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ace-High-High Hands in Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker

1 February 2020

[Most video poker players in today’s casinos use a playing strategy that I call the hunch strategy. They examine the cards that are initially dealt and decide which cards to hold and which to discard based on what they feel is the right move. In other words, they play their hunches.

The hunch strategy can work well in most cases, such as with a hand containing a high pair and nothing else. But it can also get tricky. Video poker players who want to get the most out of every penny played through a machine know that what may feel might be the best move many times is, indeed, not the best.

This is one in a series of articles that examine hands where what appears to be the best hold, the math proves otherwise. Since pay tables vary from casino to casino (and even within casinos), several popular pay tables are examined.

The term “popular” is taken to mean popular to the more savvy players – not popular with the casino. In other words, only those pay tables that give the player a decent chance to win or at least to play longer. Pay tables that return at least 98 percent to the player.]

The sample hand examined in this article is one that contains an Ace-High-High unsuited. Winpok6 software was used to obtain the results using the specific hand of:

Ace of spade, King of hearts, Jack of diamonds, 2 of diamonds and 8 of clubs. (As Kh Jd 2d 8c).

This hand contains three high cards (As, Kh, Jd) and not much else. Most players using the hunch strategy would save all three high cards hoping for a winning hand containing at least a pair of high cards. But is this the proper hold? By proper, I mean the hold that will return the most money to the player on average.

Let’s look at some specifics.

Jacks or Better is a low variance game. Many casinos still have this game with decent pay tables paying at least 97 percent. We will specifically look at two Jacks or Better pay tables.

The 9/6 (9-for-1 for a full house and 6-for-1 for a flush) version returns 99.54 percent with proper play. While this game can still be found, it is becoming increasingly scarce.

The 8/5 version returns 97.20 percent. While this is not a great return (with proper play the player will lost $2.80 for every $100 played on average), the game has a fairly low variance so bankroll fluctuations will not be all that severe. The player has much less chance of being wiped out in short order by a losing streak.

Many casinos also have 9/5 or 8/6 versions available. Their results would be somewhere between the 9/6 and 8/5 results.

Let’s see the specifics of the 9/6 Pay table.

Holding the three high cards (As Kh Jd) returns, on average, 2.2803 credits per the maximum of five credits played.

Holding the Ace along with EITHER the King or the Jack (As Kh or As Jd) returns 2.3383 credits.

Holding the King and Jack (Kh Jd) returns 2.4172 credits.

Holding the King and Jack is the best (and proper) hold. It returns 0.1369 additional credits over holding all three high cards.

The results for the 8/5 pay table were very similar to the 9/6 pay table.

Holding all three high cards returns 2.2803 credits.

Holding the Ace and EITHER the King or the Jack returns 2.3327 credits.

Holding the King and the Jack returns 2.4227 credits. This is also the proper hold for this pay table by 0.1314 credits.

While holding just the two high cards and not the Ace might not seem to be the proper move, let’s look at why it really is.

When the three high cards are held, there are only 1,081 possible hands that can be made. When holding two cards, there are 16,215 possible hands. When holding two high cards there are two possible results of four-of-a-kind versus zero possibilities when holding the three high cards.

There are 18 full house possibilities when holding two high cards versus zero when holding the three high cards. There are also more possibilities for all the other winning hands when holding only two high cards versus all three.

So that explains why the player should hold only two high cards and not all three, but why is holding the King and Jack better than holding the Ace and one of the other high cards?

The number of possible winning hands is identical when holding any of the two high card combinations except for possible straights. Because the Ace can only be used as the high end of a straight, there are 112 possible straights when holding the King and Jack versus only 48 when the Ace is one of the two high cards.

In Bonus Poker, while the returns are slightly different, the preferred holds are exactly the same as when playing Jacks or Better – the King and Jack have the best average return followed by the Ace and either the King or the Jack followed by all three high cards.

So, now you know.

The next article in this series will look at the proper holds for this hand when playing Double Bonus Poker.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com