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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Short Pay Jacks Or Better Video Poker

7 February 2015

Dear Jerry:

It seems for Jacks or better you can't find full pay and short pay they are cutting it back.
Question? Do I still follow the grid for short pay even if they are reducing payouts? Also, what's your next favorite video poker game?

Thanks for the input.
Mary

Hi Mary,

Unfortunately when the pay table changes, so does the strategy. Sometimes not much changes and sometimes a lot changes. It all depends. Here are some examples of strategies for full-pay 9/6 (9-for-1 for a full house and 6-for-1 for a flush) Jacks or Better and a common short-pay game 8/5 Jacks or Better.

The pay table follows.

Jacks or Better Full-Pay (9/6) – 99.54 Percent Return, Variance: 19.5

Hand 1-Credit Pays 5-Credits Pay
Royal Flush 250 4000
Straight Flush 50 250
Four of a Kind 25 125
Full House 9 45
Flush 6 30
Straight 4 20
Three of a Kind 3 15
Two Pair 2 10
Pair of Jacks or Better 1 5

The strategies were generated by the Video Poker Strategy Master (VPSM) program using the "Basic" strategy. I then combined lines where possible for the shortest strategy chart.

Jacks Or Better Full-Pay (9/6)
1. 4-of-a-Kind or Better
2. 4 Cards of a Royal Flush
3. 3-of-a-Kind or Better
4. 4 Cards of an Open Straight Flush (Suited 2345-9TJQ)
5. Two Pair
6. Any 4-Card Straight Flush
7. High Pair (JJ-AA)
8. 3 Cards of a Royal Flush
9. 4 Cards of a Flush
10. TJQK (Straight)
11. Low Pair (22-TT)
12. 9TJQ, 89TJ (Straights)
13. Suited QJ9, JT9
14. 4 Cards of an Open Straight (2345-789T)
15. Suited QJ8
16. 3 Cards of an Open Straight Flush (Suited 345-89T)
17. Suited KQ9, KJ9, QT9, JT8, J98, QJ
18. AKQJ (Straight)
19. Suited KQ, KJ, AK, AQ, AJ
20. 4-Card Inside Straight, 3 High Cards
21. Any 3-Card Straight Flush except 0 High Cards, 2 Gaps
22. KQJ, QJ
23. Suited JT
24. KQ, KJ
25. Suited QT
26. AK, AQ, AJ
27. Suited KT
28. One High Card (A, K, Q, J)
29. Any 3-Card Straight Flush
30. Redraw

The pay table for the 8/5 short-pay version of Jacks or Better follows. Notice the return drops about 2.25 percent and the variance is slightly lower.

Jacks or Better Short-Pay (8/5) – 97.29 Percent Return, Variance: 19.3

Hand 1-Credit Pays 5-Credits Pay
Royal Flush 250 4000
Straight Flush 50 250
Four of a Kind 25 125
Full House 8 40
Flush 5 25
Straight 4 20
Three of a Kind 3 15
Two Pair 2 10
Pair of Jacks or Better 1 5

The corresponding simplified strategy chart is presented below. Any changes to the chart are indicated by gray shading.

Jacks Or Better Short-Pay (8/5)
1. 4-of-a-Kind or Better
2. 4 Cards of a Royal Flush
3. 3-of-a-Kind or Better
4. 4 Cards of an Open Straight Flush (Suited 2345-9TJQ)
5. Two Pair
6. Any 4-Card Straight Flush
7. High Pair (JJ-AA)
8. 3 Cards of a Royal Flush
9. 4 Cards of a Flush
10. TJQK (Straight)
11. Low Pair (22-TT)
12. 9TJQ, 89TJ (Straights)
13. Suited QJ9, JT9
14. 4 Cards of an Open Straight (2345-789T)
15. Suited QJ8
16. AKQJ (Straight)
17. Suited QJ
18. 3 Cards of an Open Straight Flush (Suited 345-89T)
19. Suited KQ9, KJ9, QT9, JT8, J98, KQ, KJ, AK, AQ, AJ
20. 4-Card Inside Straight, 3 High Cards
21. KQJ, QJ
22. 3-Card Straight Flush 1 High Card, 2 Gaps
23. Suited JT
24. KQ, KJ
25. 3-Card Straight Flush 0 High Cards, 2 Gaps
26. AK, AQ, AJ
27. Suited QT
28. J, Q
29. Suited KT
30. A, K
31. Any 3-Card Straight Flush
32. Redraw

As you can see there are a lot of changes caused by the lowering the pay for two hands by one credit each. Sometimes pay table changes cause almost no strategy change. That is not the case here.

What is my next favorite video poker game?

I will not play any video poker game with less than a 99 percent return. It is just not worth my time playing a game where the casino gets more than a dollar for every $100 I run through it. One exception to this rule is when there are especially good promotions such as 10 times slot club points, or if I get free meals or rooms with my play. I only want to play games where my total return (including comps) is at or above 100 percent.

Jacks or Better is my preferred game as it is yours.

If I can’t find a Jacks or Better pay table that is worth playing (9/6) I will look for a good Bonus Poker game (8/5-8 for full house, 5 for flush). This pays 99.11 percent which is not bad. I will also play a decent Double Bonus pay tabIe. 10/7, 10/6 and 9/7 are all decent plays. They tend to be a little difficult to find but all of them pay 99+ percent. I will also play a good deuces wild pay schedule. I will also look at progressive video poker games that have a high jackpot that will bump the return to 99 percent plus.

Each of these games needs a different strategy and some games are hard to find, but I would rather not play than play something where the casino has too much of an edge.

I hope this information helps you in your search for Video Poker nirvana. Whatever you do, remember that playing video poker should be fun. So enjoy yourself.

And … may all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.

Jerry “Stickman”
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