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Making the Most of Bad Jacks or Better Video Poker Hands

By: Joan Peppin, Thursday October 30th 2014
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In the game of Jacks or Better, your average hand that you're dealt is going to be fairly bad as far as the total spectrum of poker hands goes. Along these lines, you have to learn how to make the most of the worst hands. We want to show you some fun and interesting hands where you would need to make the most of a bad hand, and what we want to do is show you some principles that can really help you to make the most out of bad starting hands.

The most important hands with no pairs and no decent draws are those where you have two suited high cards, and there can be very particular differences in how these hands are played. For example, if you have AsKdQdJs9d, you'll keep the KQ9 straight-flush combination. However, if the suits were AsKdQdJs9s instead, then you'd keep the AKQJ set instead. Slightly change this again to AsKsQdJd9s, and you'll find that the right combination to keep is QdJd. The rules for this are hard to learn because it can seem like they're chosen at random, but we want to show you how to keep up with it.

At the top of totem pole are four cards to an open-ended straight like QJT9 or JT98 and so on. If you can't make that, then you have three-card straight flush combinations that include at least two high cards. These don't have to be consecutive situations. For example, KQ9 of the same suit works, as will KJ9, QJ9, QT9, JT9, QJ8 or JT8. These three-card combinations are a pretty big deal, and any three to a royal is actually a strong hand on its own that's better than a low pair.

From there, you have the two-card royal combination QJ which is the strongest two-card combination and the only one that's stronger than a straight draw to AKQJ. Under that you have all of the other combinations of two suited high cards, and all of those are better than all of the gut-shot straight draws that consist of cards nine or higher. Other than that, you'll have to make the most of your hand in the best way you can, but these rules above will show you how to play the majority of these situations in a way that guarantees a high degree of accuracy.

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