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Top Three Mistakes Players Make in Jacks or Better Video Poker

By: Mark Freedman, Thursday July 31st 2014
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The game of Jacks or Better is known for forming the foundation that players need to have to take on any other form of video poker. To this end, it's really good to be able to identify the key mistakes that most players make in this game so that you can avoid making them yourself and get one step closer to playing on the expert level. What we have here are the three most important mistakes that you can possibly know about in Jacks or Better when it comes to strategy.

The first mistake is giving too much weight to open-ended straight draws. Generally, people tend to group flush draws and open-ended straight draws together mentally because they have very similar chances of hitting, and they are considered to be the two major types of poker draws. In Jacks or Better, however, open-ended straight draws aren't even better than a low pair because they don't hit as often as flush draws and because they do not have as good of a payout when they do hit. You have to realize the differences between these draws and understand that they are not the same if you want to do well in this game.

The next big mistake that players tend to make is not understanding the relationship between pairs and flush draws. There are two types of pairs: high pairs and low pairs. High pairs are jacks or higher, and low pairs are tens or lower. A high pair is better than a four-card flush draw, but a low pair is worse than a flush draw, so you have to understand this relationship so that you can play the scenarios correctly where you have a choice between a flush draw and a pair.

The final mistake we're going to look at is how certain flush draws are played. If you have something like AsQsTs8s4d and you're like most players, you think it's a very clear case of discarding the four of diamonds. However, this is a mistake. Playing three cards to a royal flush is actually stronger than four cards to a regular flush, and this is a really tricky thing to understand because it goes against your intuition. Part of the reason this works is that you have at least two shots at picking up high pairs, and that adds a lot of value to the hand.

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