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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Playing 8/5 Jacks or Better

2 October 2010

An acquaintance recently asked me to comment on playing the 8/5 version of Jacks or Better. He understands that 9/6 Jacks or Better is a better game to play but says it is sometimes hard to find.

For those readers who are not familiar with video poker terminology, Jacks or Better is one of the first video poker games ever manufactured. You will not lose money -- although you may just get your bet back -- if you get a pair of jacks or a better hand. The 9/6 or 8/5 refers to the payoff for a full house and flush, respectively. The 9/6 game pays nine units for every unit bet for a full house and six units for every unit bet for a flush. The 8/5 version pays eight units per unit for a full house and five units per unit bet for a flush.

A 9/6 Jacks or Better game returns 99.54% of the money played if you play each hand perfectly. The pay schedule for this game with the maximum five coins played is:

Hand

Payout

 

Royal Flush

4000

 

Straight Flush

250

 

Four of a Kind

125

 

Full House

45

(9 times the 5 coins played)

Flush

30

(6 times the 5 coins played)

Straight

20

 

Three of a Kind

15

 

Two Pair

10

 

Pair (Jacks or Better)

5

 

An 8/5 Jacks or Better game returns 97.30% of the money played if you play each hand perfectly. The pay schedule for this game with the maximum five coins played is:

Hand

Payout

 

Royal Flush

4000

 

Straight Flush

250

 

Four of a Kind

125

 

Full House

40

(8 times the 5 coins played)

Flush

25

(5 times the 5 coins played)

Straight

20

 

Three of a Kind

15

 

Two Pair

10

 

Pair (Jacks or Better)

5

 

By simply reducing the payout for two of the hands (full house and flush) by one unit per unit bet, the total payback for the game is reduced by more than two percent. In the long run, for every $100 you play through the 8/5 version, you will lose $2 more than if you played the 9/6 version. For this reason alone, a savvy player will avoid an 8/5 game.

Many times a casino that has standard 9/6 Jacks or Better games will have Progressive 8/5 Jacks or Better games. Part of the added profit the casino takes in lower paybacks are added to a jackpot that pays off when you get a royal flush. Usually the progressive jackpot starts at 4000 units. It very slowly moves upward as people play the progressive group of machines.

Believe me when I say that the amount that gets added to the progressive jackpot is nowhere near the two percent difference in payback compared to the 9/6 game.

As the progressive amount moves higher, the long-term payback also moves higher. It is possible for the progressive to get high enough to offset the reduced payback of the game. Heck, it is even possible for the progressive jackpot to get high enough to make the game have a long term positive payback -- that's right, more than 100 percent.

To have an 8/5 Jacks or Better game return 99.54 percent like a 9/6 game, the jackpot has to get very high and that doesn't happen very often at all. The progressive needs to be almost 8,000 units before the payback reaches that of a 9/6 game. That is almost twice the normal payoff for a royal flush.

I will dig further into the issues that are faced when playing a high jackpot game in another column, but for now, think very carefully before you decide to play an 8/5 Jacks or Better game -- especially when a 9/6 Jacks or Better game is available.

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