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Atypical Kings or Better Joker Poker Drawing Scenarios

By: Rick Balding, Wednesday April 29th 2015
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Joker Poker is known for having a number of different formats. The one that requires the most skill is likely to be the kings or better version. This game uses a 5/3 paytable with a 7x win for a full house and a 1x payout for two pair. Along these lines, you can only improve pairs to three of a kind or better to boost your payout, and that decreases the value of all one pair hands. When you add the joker to the mix (marked with an X in the hand examples below), things can get hairy quick because it becomes much easier to make three of a kind.

If you start with something like XQJT2 with no flush draw, you can keep a one-pair hand with the joker, or you can go for the open-ended straight draw. The pair gives you a 1.46x payout on average, while it's only 1.38x for the draw. However, that changes if one of the cards is a king because of the one pair payout for kings or better, and this is the type of thing you have to really pay attention to in this game.

With XKhQhJd2c, it seems like your options are the pair or straight draw. The high pair XK has a 1.66x payout, but with XKhQhJd you've got to remember that you already have the pair of kings as well, which is easy to overlook. This gives the draw a 1.69x payout, slightly higher than the pure pair. Neither of these are the correct way to play, however, since we can play with three to a royal with XKhQh for a payout of 2.06x. This is a good example of a really tricky spot in this game that requires a lot of special attention.

Straight flush draws against three of a kind are also important. Generally speaking, having one or zero gaps makes the draw better than three of a kind, but having two or more gaps makes the trips better than the draw. With XTh8h6h6d, the draw is worth 3.75x while the trips are worth 3.94x. However, if you drop one of the gaps with something like XTh8h7h7c, then the draw jumps up in value to 4.88x which is a lot more than the 3.94x you get for keeping the three of a kind.

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