Strategy Differences Between 8/5 And 9/6 Video Poker

Part 3 Of Strategy Card Application

Now that we understand how to use strategy cards to improve our play, it’s time to look at the reality of full-pay JOB. Of course, players can use the rules we learn on our JOB Strategy cards on other “Jacks or Better “variations. But there are essential Strategy Differences Between 8/5 And 9/6 Video Poker.

Related PostsPart 1, Video Poker Strategy Cards?; / Part 2, Remove the Confusion of Strategy Cards

Unfortunately, the reality these days of finding full pay are over. You can still find some full-pay Jacks or Better (9/6 – meaning 9-for-1 paid for a full house and 6-for-1 paid for a flush). However, many casinos make it nearly impossible to earn any points when playing full pay. As a result, casinos have dumb-downed the payables, so 8/5 JOB video poker is now the most prevalent JOB video poker paytable in most casinos.

These days, you are much 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.

Using The Same Strategy for both 8/5 And 9/6 Video Poker

So, does the 9/6 JOB strategy work on other video poker 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? Let’s take a look.


Using 9/6 JOB Strategy With 8/5 Bonus Poker

The expected value of an 8/5 Bonus Poker game using the correct strategy is 99.17%. If you used the JOB strategy instead, the EV would be 99.16%, with only a 0.01% decrease. So, using a 9/6 perfect strategy is perfectly acceptable.

Using 9/6 JOB Strategy With 9/6 Bonus Deluxe

Strategy Differences In 8/5 And 9/6 Video Poker
The trade-off on this paytable is that 2 Pair is only even money, but ALL four-of-a-kind pay 400.

The EV for this game with the correct playing strategy is 99.64%. However, if you used the JOB strategy instead, the EV drops by 0.03% to 99.61%. So, using a 9/6 perfect strategy here is acceptable for casual players and players that play the 9/6 Bonus Deluxe game infrequently – but not for the serious player.

Using 9/6 JOB Strategy With 10/7 Double Bonus

The playing strategy for 10/7 Double Bonus is more complicated 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 9/6 JOB Strategy With Double Double Bonus

The EV for the 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%, and 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 Double Bonus games, nor do I. You must learn the strategy specific to this game.

Using 9/6 JOB Strategy With Deuces Wild

Seriously? NO! This is only to see if you’re paying attention. Deuces Wild and JOB are entirely different games and need their specific strategy 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.

Paytable ShortsBeware of Paytable Differences

No, this does not refer to specialty clothing or underwear. It is about when available pay tables are changed overwhelmingly in the casino’s favor. Does the one-number difference in the paytable matter?

Yes! It doesn’t take much to reduce the ordinarily low-house edge game of 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.

A 9/6 Jacks or Better game returns 99.54% of the money if you play each hand perfectly. An 8/5 Jacks or Better game returns 97.30% of the money if you play each hand perfectly. 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.

Changes In Strategy

As the pay tables change, so must the playing strategy. Below, I will examine some strategy changes required for short-pay Jacks or Better pay tables. I am using simplified “basic” strategies when highlighting changes. Advanced strategies will likely have more changes.

Jacks or Better strategy is pretty simple, as we saw in Part 2 of this series – Remove the Confusion of Strategy Cards. Remember, to use the strategy, start at the top and see if that line describes your dealt hand. If there are multiple hands listed, move from left to right. If you locate your hand, 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.

Strategy Differences In 8/5 And 9/6 Video Poker
The colors represent what the player is drawing additional cards for. For example, red stands for a royal flush, Blue stands for a straight flush, Green stands for four-of-a-kind or full house, Orange stands for flush, and Purple stands for straight.

Summary – Strategy Differences In 8/5 And 9/6 Video Poker

In these days of increased casino greed, the best Jacks or Better game you will find is an 8/5 version.

The main differences begin at line 21. As you can see, the changes start getting more specific before throwing all five cards away. But mathematically, there is a reason for the changes – lower house edge.