Learning Jacks or Better (JOB) perfect strategy is the best way to start playing video poker. But, the days of quickly finding 9/6 video poker that returns 100+ percent are over. You can still find some full-pay 9/6 Jacks or Better paytables, but for low-rolling $.25 players, they are tough to find. So, the question is, Can the 9/6 JOB Strategy Work on Other Games?
First, let’s find some common ground with the video poker terminology.
- “9/6” means 9-for-1 paid for a full house and 6-for-1 for a flush.
- “return” refers to the Payout percentage in the long-term – the average of thousands of hands, not a single session.
- “EV” or Expected Value, is the measure of what a player can expect to win or lose on each bet placed on the same odds time and time again.
- “Perfect Strategy” – In video poker, you make choices. This means you have control of the outcome, unlike slots. If you make the correct choices, you can lower the percentage that the casino takes. The correct choices or perfect strategy are not necessarily obvious and sometimes counterintuitive. Mathematics determines the correct play for the best possible return.
- “short-pay” – paytables diminished by the casino give the higher house edge. Good for the casino, but bad for players.
- JOB – Jacks or Better
Ch-ch-ch-changes In The Casino
Once upon a time (cue “pleasant fairyland” music), the land of casinos provided all the best payables. There was 9/6 JOB, 10/6 DDB, 9/6 DW, and more. The players rejoiced!
That fairytale is long gone. These days, the video poker player must negotiate around a forest full of short-pay video poker games. 8/5 JOB video poker is now casinos’ most prevalent JOB VP paytable. These days, you are more likely to come across “short-pay” versions of JOB such as 9/5 & 8/6 (not very often), 8/5, 7/5, and even 6/5.
So, Can 9/6 JOB Strategy Work on Other Games?
Henry Tamburin, in his article Going Down The Wrong Road – Wrong Video Poker Strategy, compares and examines using the perfect 9/6 strategy on other video poker games. So, what games can use a 9/6 perfect strategy without ruining the EV (expected value) in the long run? Here’s what he says, with additional comments from “Binbin:”
Using JOB on 8/5 Bonus Poker – The expected value of an 8/5 Bonus Poker game using the correct strategy is 99.17%. However, if you used the JOB strategy instead, the EV would be 99.16%, a decrease in EV of only 0.01%. So, using a 9/6 perfect strategy is perfectly acceptable.
Using JOB on 9/6 Bonus Deluxe – The EV for this game with the correct playing strategy is 99.64%. However, the EV drops by 0.03% to 99.61% using the JOB strategy instead. So, using a 9/6 perfect strategy here is acceptable for casual players and players who play the 9/6 Bonus Deluxe game infrequently – but not for serious players.
Some Games Need Own Strategy
Using JOB on 10/7 Double Bonus – The playing strategy for 10/7 Double Bonus is more complex than JOB. The JOB strategy is acceptable for players who only occasionally play 10/7 Double Bonus games. Anyone planning to play this game more often should put in the time to learn the 10/7 Double Bonus playing strategy to achieve an EV over 100%. (Caution – the variance for the 10/7 Double Bonus is much more significant than JOB; therefore, players need a bigger bankroll and be prepared for wider swings.)
Using JOB on Double Double Bonus – The EV for 10/6 Double Double Bonus Poker (DDB) is 100.07%. But unless you play a high-limit denomination, you may only be lucky enough to play 9/6 DDB Poker at 98.98%. That paytable is also hard to find. The typical paytable for DDB in most casinos these days at the quarter level is 9/5 DDB. Henry Tamburin does not recommend using the JOB playing strategy on any Double Bonus games, nor do I. You must learn the strategy specific to this game.
Are you using JOB on Deuces Wild – Seriously? This question is only to see if you’re paying attention. Deuces and Bonus games are different and need their specific strategy if you want to stay in the game longer. If you don’t know DW needs its specific strategy, it’s time to move to slots and video keno.
No, this does not refer to specialty clothing or underwear. It is about changes in payables. Does one number difference in the paytable matter?
Yes! It doesn’t take much to reduce the ordinarily low-house edge video poker to nothing more than a slot machine in terms of return. The game’s return is lowered by about 1.1 percent for every one-unit reduction in pay. The EV of 9/6 JOB and 6/5 JOB, respectively, is 99.46% and barely over 95%.
Payout percent shows your long-term expectation meaning the average of your outcomes over thousands of hands, not a single session.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to reduce the ordinarily low-house edge video poker to nothing more than a slot machine in terms of return. And this is with “expert” play with lots of practice to get these returns!
The more the player knows, the better he can make video poker games, paytables, and strategy choices. As always, recreational gambling does include one caveat – play what and how you’d like. But if you want to play longer and get a lower house edge, a simple perfect strategy for 9/6 Jacks or better is the way to go.
So here is that simple perfect strategy. Good luck, and remember, “Embrace the Math, Not the Myth!”
A Simple Strategy for Jacks or Better, 9/6
Here is a basic playing strategy for full-pay Jacks or Better. Start at the top and see if that line describes your dealt hand to use the strategy. Next, move from left to right to locate your hand if multiple hands are listed. Keep those cards. If not, continue moving down line-by-line until you find your hand. If you reach the bottom without finding your hand, don’t save anything; redraw all five cards.
5-Card Straight Flush
Four of a Kind
4 of a Royal
4 of an Open Straight Flush, 2345-9TJQ
4 of an Inside Straight Flush
High Pair JJ-AA
3 of a Royal
4 of a Flush
Low Pair 22-TTUnsuited 9TJQ, 89TJ
Suited QJ9, JT9
4 of an Open Straight, 2345-789T
Suited QJ8Suited KQ9, KJ9, QT9, JT8 or J98
Suited KQ, KJ, AK, AQ, or AJ
4 of an Inside Straight with 3 Hi Cards
Any 3-card Straight Flush except 2 Gaps, 0 Hi Cards
Unsuited KQJ, QJ
Unsuited KQ, KJ
Unsuited AK, AQ, or AJ
A Lone Jack, Queen, King, or Ace
Any 3-card Straight Flush. Just redraw all five cards.