Improve your chances of winning at video poker with our 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy charts. Full range taking you from a beginner to an advanced level.

Jacks or Better online

Video poker is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance with its growing popularity at many online casinos.

In terms of providing excellent value to customers, video poker is definitely one of the premier games to play.

You can find many variants of this game with an RTP above 99.0% which means the casino holds less than a 1.0% advantage.

However, to achieve that level of payout, you need to play with the correct strategy. Ultimately, the casino makes most of its money from players who don’t know what the correct action is to take for the cards they are dealt. This page aims to put the power into your hands.

The following Jacks or Better strategy guides will help cut out the bad decisions so that you can make more money from your time playing video poker online.

What is 9/6 video poker?

As you learn more video poker strategies, you will come across the usage of the term ‘9/6’. Quite simply, this refers to the paytable where the ‘9’ represents the payout for a Full House, and the ‘6’ relates to the payout for a Flush.

While this type of paytable can apply to any form of video poker, it’s most commonly associated with Jacks or Better. A 9/6 Jacks or Better game is as ‘Full Pay’ because the RTP is over 99.0%.

Generally speaking, a 9/6 paytable is more rewarding than an 8/6 or 8/5 paytable. However, this isn’t always the case, so it pays to check a few games before deciding which one to play.

9/6 Jacks or Better basic strategy

All modern online video poker games have a strategy programmed into them. Therefore, when you hit ‘Deal’ to begin a hand, the computer will auto-hold any cards which conform with its own Jacks or Better strategy.

However, this only holds winning hands, such as being dealt three of a kind or two pair. As you will discover from our list below, this may not be the best option.

Here, we have listed all of the hands/possible hands that you may get from the first deal. These are in order from the strongest to the weakest:

  • A Royal Flush - a Straight Flush - 4 of a Kind
  • Four cards to a Royal Flush
  • 3 of a Kind - a Straight - a Flush - a Full House
  • Four cards to a Straight Flush
  • Two Pairs
  • A High Pair
  • Three cards to a Royal Flush
  • Four cards to a Flush
  • A Low Pair
  • Four cards to an outside Straight
  • Two high cards (Jacks or above) from the same suit
  • Three cards to a Straight Flush
  • Two high cards (unsuited)
  • Tens suited with Jack, Queen or King
  • One High card
  • Hold nothing

How to use this 9/6 basic Jacks or Better strategy:

A single hand of draw poker can have multiple options. To follow this strategy, you must choose the highest on the list, although this may ruin a good winning hand in doing so.

Let us run through a few examples to explain further.

Ex 1: you are dealt

Ace of Clubs King of Clubs Queen of Clubs Jack of Clubs Ace of Diamonds

Ex 2: you are dealt

Ace of Clubs King of Clubs Queen of Clubs Jack of Clubs Ten of Diamonds

Ex 3: you are dealt

Two of Spades Queen of Spades King of Spades Six of Sapdes Six of Hearths

There are no differences between the basic and advanced Jacks or Better strategies at the top of the list above. You can follow that up until (and including) Four cards to a Flush. That is where we will continue this advanced strategy from:

  • Four cards to a Flush
  • Ten, Jack, Queen, King (unsuited)
  • A Low Pair
  • Four cards to an outside Straight if two are high cards
  • Three cards to a Straight Flush with two high cards
  • Jack & Queen (suited)
  • Four high cards to an inside Straight
  • Jack & King (suited) - Queen and King (suited)
  • Ace with Jack, Queen or King (suited)
  • Four cards to an inside Straight if three are high cards
  • Three cards to a Straight Flush with one high card or holding two, three, four (suited)
  • Jack, Queen & King (unsuited)
  • Jack & Queen (unsuited)
  • Ten & Jack (suited)
  • Two (King) high cards (unsuited)
  • Ten & Queen (suited)
  • Two (Ace) high cards (unsuited)
  • One Jack
  • Ten & King (suited)
  • One Queen, one King or one Ace
  • Three cards to a Straight Flush with no high cards and gaps (no consecutive)
  • Hold nothing

Video poker strategy conclusion

Naturally, the optimal Jacks or Better strategy is more intricate, so what difference to the house edge does it make?

The answer is not a great deal. The basic strategy gives the casino a 0.54% advantage, whereas using the optimal strategy long-term that is reduced to 0.46%.

With that said, all these small gains are beneficial to your career bankroll.

Like blackjack, video poker strategy is based on mathematical probabilities, so you only need to keep faith in the system. This does mean, on occasions, throwing away a winning hand to try and land a better one.

Often, you won’t win, and this can annoy some players, but the math is sound, and one day you will be rewarded for taking this calculated risk.

Last update: 05-03-2020