How to beat betfair Zero Jacks or Better

Zero Jacks or Better strategy

Zero Jacks or Better optimal strategy

betfair's Zero Jacks or Better pays out 976 to 1 on a Royal Flush. As most other casinos (including betfair's main casino) payout 250 to 1, this substantially increases the odds in your favour and reduces the house edge to zero.

Another difference in the player's favour is that betfair don't reserve the highest payout for playing maximum coins.

Normally, casinos pay out more on a Royal if you bet 5 coins at once. For example, the betfair Main Lounge pays 4000 to 1 for a 5 coin Royal. That's 16 times the payout for playing 1 coin.

In the Zero Lounge, the payout for a Royal on 5 coin play is 4880 to 1 - exactly 5 times the payout for playing 1 coin. In other words, there's no advantage to playing more than the mimimum number of coins, so don't bother!

NB If you're new to Video Poker, why not check out the video tutorial at the foot of this page?

Strategy to beat Zero Jacks or Better

The proper strategy for beating any Jacks or Better Video Poker depends on learning some basic rules and being very disciplined in applying them. This isn't as easy as it may sound as some of the rules will go against your instincts e.g. keeping 2 threes instead of A,Q.

But remember, whereas Poker is a people game played with cards, Video Poker is all about maths and probability. There's no psychology here, just hard numbers.

Trust these rules - they'll give you by far your best chance of beating Jacks or Better.!

How many cards?

To make this strategy easy to use, we've divided it up into sections, each one dealing with the number of significant cards in the hand you're dealt. For example, if you're dealt K, J, 9, 3, 3, you should look under the '2 card hands' section and read the do's and do not's. If you're dealt Q, J, 7 clubs, 6 clubs, 3 clubs, look under the '3 card hands' section.

Some hands may come under more than one category e.g. A, A, J spades, 10 spades, 9 spades comes under '2 card hands', '3 card hands' and also the 'How to rank hands' section which tells you how to separate confusing hands.

NB High card = Jack and higher, Low card = 10 and below.

2 card hands


ANY pair is better than 1 or 2 high cards, even if the 2 cards are suited and connected.

If you don't have a pair (high or low) hold up to a maximum of 2 high cards, ranked from low to high (eg Q,J rather than A,Q) - unless you have two or three suited high cards, in which case hold the suited high cards.

Do not

Don't hold a single high card with a pair.

Don't play just 2 suited and connected cards.

3 card hands


Hold three suited and connected cards, even if you also have a pair (high or low).

Do not

Don't hold 3 suited cards hoping to get a flush.

Don't hold 3 connected, unsuited cards, hoping to get a straight.

4 card hands


Hold a 4 card straight (connected, unsuited cards) unless you also have a pair (high or low).

Hold a 4 card flush (suited, not connected) unless you also have a high pair.

Do not

Don't try to draw to the inside of a straight. Only draw to a straight that's open at both ends.

eg if you have 2, 3, 5, 6, Q, don't hold 2, 3, 5, 6 hoping to draw a 4. A straight like 6, 7, 8, 9 can be completed with both a 5 and a 10 so your chances of winning are much higher.

5 card hands


Break up a 5 card straight or flush if you have a chance of a Royal Flush. e.g. if you had suited 8, 10, J, Q, K, discard the 8 and hope for the suited Ace.

Do not

Don't break up a 5 card straight or flush in an attempt to get a straight flush. The hand is already going to win, so it makes no sense to risk it for the small chance of a higher payout.

Confusing hands - how to rank them


Sometimes you'll be faced with hands that give you a number of possible outcomes. In that case, you should rank them in this order (all based on probability - trust it!):

1. High Pair
2. 3 cards of a Royal Flush
3. 4 card Flush
4. Low pair
5. 4 card straight

No significant cards - just dump them!


If you haven't got at least a single high card or a low pair, just discard all 5 and draw some more.

How to beat Zero Jacks or Better - summary

Getting a zero house edge in Zero Jacks or Better depends on being dealt a Royal Flush. You have no control over that, but you do have control over how you set the rest of your hands, giving you the best chance to stretch your bankroll and stay in the game longer.

Our advice? As we recommend with betfair's Zero Blackjack, you should use the 'Play for fun' mode until this strategy becomes second nature (it doesn't take long), then play Jacks or Better for real and just wait for the Royal Flush - and the big payout!

Try out our Zero Lounge Jacks or Better strategy now!

Zero Jacks or Better - video tutorial