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Question About Jacks or Better Video Poker

20 November 2021

Question from John about a Jacks or Better video poker hand.

Hi Stickman,

I was just was dealt this interesting JOB video poker hand that has me scratching my head: Dealt 5s, 4s, 3s, 2s, Ac.

You could hold all five cards and play the pat straight (pays 20 credits) or draw one and go for the straight flush (pays 250 credits). The ranking sheet for all video poker hands says the pat straight is the best play, but I'm not convinced on this one. There are a lot of flush and straight possibilities if the straight flush isn't made.

What play do you advise?

John S.


Hi John,

It is a very valid question that you ask.

It sure seems that a 4-card open straight flush might be able to win out over a “measly” 20-credit straight. There are two cards out of 47 left in the deck that will snag the 250-credit score – a 1-in-23.5 shot.

Out of the 47 possible results from holding the 4-card straight flush there are also seven shots at a flush, and five chances of hitting the 20-credit straight that was discarded.

So, how does all of this work out in actual numbers.

Saving the straight pays 20 credits.

Saving the four cards of a straight flush returns 17.2340 credits on average.

The strategy sheet is, indeed, correct. You give up a little better than 2.75 credits (on average) by taking a shot at the straight flush.

As always, may all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”


Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com
Jerry Stickman

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com