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The game of poker has a storied history, and recently, as in, within the last few decades, it’s popularity has grown exponentially. It has been made iconic through movies, televised tournaments and how-to books written by some of the more successful players in the world.
One of the things that have emerged from poker’s staggering popularity is video poker. Video poker has many similarities to regular poker, but it also has some differences, both in terms of rules and strategy. Before we delve into one of the most popular versions of video poker, Jacks or Better, its rules and various strategies, let’s first take a look at how video poker is exactly the same as regular poker, or the hands and their values.
In video poker, just like regular poker, a hand is comprised of five cards, and there are different values for the different combinations of cards within a hand. The most valuable hand is known as royal flush, and it consists of a ten, a jack, a queen, a king and an ace.
To complete the royal flush, all of the hands must be of the same suit. There are four suits in a deck of playing cards: the club, the spade, the diamond and the heart. So for a royal flush to make, the hand must not only have the aforementioned cards, but those cards must also be of the same suit, such as all hearts or all clubs.
The next best hand is known as a straight flush, and this hand consists of five cards that are not only in sequential order, but that all have the same suit. With this hand, it is important to note that there are varying levels of worth within the hand. For instance, a straight flush that consists of an eight, a nine, a ten, a jack and a queen is better than a straight flush consisting of a three, a four, a five, a six and a seven. The reason for this is that the cards in the first example are higher than the cards in the second example. There is no difference in value between the suits, however.
After that, the next best hand is a four of a kind, and this basically signifies a hand containing four of the same card. For example, a hand that has four aces or four sevens equals a four of a kind. And just like with a straight flush, four aces are better than four sevens because they are higher cards.
The next best hand in the game of poker is the full house, and this hand contains three of a kind and two of a kind. Just like with the straight flush and the four of a kind, the higher cards equal to a better hand. However, unlike with the other two hands, the better hand in the full house is determined not by the aggregate whole, but rather by the highest cards within the group of three. For example, a full house containing three fours and two twos will beat a full house with three twos and two aces. Even though there are two aces in the second example, the first example wins because it has the higher group of three.
After the full house, the flush is the next best hand. The flush is any group of five cards that all have the same suit. It’s important to say again that no suit is of more value than another, so if there are two flushes in a round of poker, the winning flush is determined by which hand has the highest card. After the flush is the straight, and this hand is just like a straight flush in that all of the cards must be in sequential order, but they don’t all have the same suit.
After a straight the next highest hand is the three of a kind, followed by two pair, followed by one pair, followed by a high card. A high card basically means that a hand has no pairs or matching suits or anything else that would construct one of the aforementioned groups of cards, so the hand’s best attribute is its highest card.
Now then, since the game of video poker is played not at a table with other players, but rather on a machine, there are elements in regular poker that are eliminated in video poker, such as bluffing and hands that outrank each other.
There are different games and versions of video poker that vary from regular poker, and one example is the game entitled Jacks or Better. In this version, all of the hands have the same value as regular poker except for one major difference, pairs that make up jacks or better, be it two jacks, two queens, two kings and two aces, are the lowest pairs in value within the game.
Because of this, it is important to play your hands carefully. For instance, the way a video poker game works almost universally is that you can hold cards that work to your advantage and discard cards that don’t. So what you’d want to do in the game of Jacks or Better is as follows: