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Betfair zero-margin videopoker


• Racking up the royal
• Playing maximum (5) coins is not necessary
• How much is the extra payout worth?
• Squeezing out a few extra drops of value
• Hand rank table
• The basic differences
• Recommended casinos
• Game location
• Variance alert!



The Betfair Jacks Or Better game



Another game in the Betfair "Zero Lounge" quartet, this is a Jacks Or Better videopoker game with a long-term payout of 100% with perfect play.


Racking up the royal


The standard payoff on a royal flush in Jacks Or Better is 4000 coins:


jacks or better paytable


With perfect play, this leads to an overall payout on this game of 99.54% - see the Jacks Or Better hand rank table for details of how to achieve perfect play.

However, the Betfair game pays 4880 coins or the royal - an increase of almost 25%:


The Betfair Jacks Or Better game paytable highlighted



Playing maximum (5) coins is not necessary


Another unique aspect of this game is that the royal jackpot pays exactly the same, relative to the number of coins played, at all levels, not just on maximum coins - see the paytable graphic directly above. Playing five coins, the royal pays 4880, or 976 times your initial five-coin bet. Playing just one coin, the royal pays 976 coins.

This is very unusual, as on most videopoker machines you are penalised for not playing maximum coins with a much lower royal payout - usually just 250 per coin.

So, play one coin, two coins, or however many you want to play - the royal always pays he same 976 coins for each coin wagered.

It's also worth pointing out that the denomination is fixed at 1. You can therefore play any initial bet amount between 1 and maximum 5, but you cannot adjust the denomination. Again, however, bear in mind that you do not need to play maximum coins - you get the same full payout on the royal at one, two three or four coins.


How much is the extra payout worth?


In order to establish exactly how this extra 880 coin payoff on the royal affects the player return, we need to first look at how much the standard 4000-coin royal is worth.

From the "frequencies and return" chart on the videopoker supplement page...


Jacks Or Better hand frequencies and percentage returns
(Reproduction courtesy of Winpoker)


...we can see that the royal is worth 1.98% of the total payback of 99.54%.

In order to stretch the payback to 100% we need an extra 0.46% from the royal, or total royal payout of 2.44%.

Those 880 extra royal units represent a 22% increase, or an extra 0.4356% added to the value of the royal. Adding that little bit extra to the base 99.54% gives us a total return of 99.98% - within a gnat's whisker of the magic 100%.


Squeezing out a few extra drops of value


Playing standard Jacks Or Better strategy, we see above that the Betfair game pays out 99.98%. However, an analysis of the game with the Winpoker software tells us that the total return is, in fact, exactly 100%:


Betfair Jacks Or Better hand frequencies and percentage returns
(Reproduction courtesy of Winpoker)

The reason for the extra 0.02% is that when the royal pays more, our basic Jacks Or Better strategy requires a handful of little tweaks to reflect the royal's greater value; basically, we shoot for the royal more often.

There are two ways to learn the strategy: either learn the hand-rank table below, or, if you're already familiar with standard Jacks Or Better, it would be much simpler to learn the handful of differences, in which case skip the hand-rank table and jump straight to the basic differences.


Hand rank table


1. Pat royal flush
2. Pat straight flush
3. Pat four of a kind
4. 4 to a royal flush
5. Pat full house
6. Pat flush
7. 3 of a kind
8. Pat straight
9. 4 to a straight flush
10. Two pair
11. 3 to a royal flush (1)
12. High pair

13. 4 to a flush
14. 4 to an outside straight with 3 high cards
15. Low pair
16. 4 to an outside straight with 0-2 high cards
17. 3 to a straight flush, spread 5, 2 high cards
18. 3 to a straight flush, spread 4, 1 high card
19. Suited jack and queen
20. 3 to a straight flush, spread 3, 0 high cards

21. 4 to an inside straight, 4 high cards
22. 2 suited high cards, king highest
23. 2 suited high cards, ace highest
24. 4 to an inside straight, 3 high cards
25. 3 to a straight flush, spread 5, 1 high card
26. 3 to a straight flush, spread 4, 0 high cards
27. Unsuited JQK
28. Unsuited JQ
29. Suited TJ
30. Suited TQ (2)
31. 2 unsuited high cards king highest

32. Suited TK (3)
33. 2 unsuited high cards ace highest

34. J only
35. Q only
36. K only
37. Suited TA (4)
38. A only

39. 3 to a straight flush, spread 5, 0 high cards

Notes:

1) Hold three to a royal over a high pair unless the royal contains a ace and a ten, in which case hold the high pair.

2) Hold TQ suited over two unsuited high cards king-high, unless there is another card of the same suit as the ten and queen, in which case hold the two unsuited high cards.

3) Hold TK suited over two unsuited high cards ace-high, unless there is another card of the same suit as the ten and king, in which case hold the two unsuited high cards.

4) Hold TA suited over a single ace unless there is another card of the same suit as the ace and ten, in which case hold the ace alone.


The basic differences


The following are the strategy differences between standard Jacks Or Better and the Betfair game:

• Hold three to a royal over a high pair, unless the royal contains an ace and a ten, in which case hold the high pair.

• Never hold a four flush over a three royal

• Hold TA suited over a single ace unless there is another card of the same suit as the ace and ten, in which case hold the ace alone.

• Always hold TK suited over a single king

• Hold TK suited over two unsuited high cards ace highest, unless there is another card of the same suit as the king and ten, in which case hold the two unsuited high cards

• Hold TQ suited over two unsuited high cards king highest, unless there is another card of the same suit as the queen and ten, in which case hold the two unsuited high cards

• Hold JQ suited over three to an straight flush no gaps (eg. 5, 6 and 7 suited)

• Hold JQ suited over four to an inside straight with four high cards (this is usually correct also in standard Jacks Or Better)

• Hold TJ suited over JK unsuited

• Hold TQ suited over QA unsuited

These differences are intuitively logical as they all revolve around holding suited royal cards in preference to pairs, flush draws and unsuited high cards; since the royal pays more, those suited high cards naturally gain in value.

Recommended casinos


This game is only found at Betfair.

There were a couple of bonus confiscation issues at Betfair a while back, which I commented on in my Betfair bonus confiscation issue blog article. The matter was not resolved to my complete satisfaction. However, I have seen no evidence of any other problems in the intervening period, and I have received and cashed out Betfair bonuses myself without any problem. I am confident you can play here safely, but be aware that if you take a bonus and play it using an auto-click robot programme, this is against the Betfair rules and they may remove the bonus upon cashout.


Game location


From the homepage, click on "casino" then simply click on the bottom right of the four central game graphics, "Play zero Jacks Or Better". To play in free mode, click on the "play for fun" graphic towards the bottom left corner of the screen.


Betfair lobby screen



Variance alert!


The variance of the Betfair Jacks Or Better game is fully sixty percent greater than the standard 4000 coin royal game. This is because all the strategy variations sacrifice short-term gain in favour of the long-term return.

A way around this is to simply play normal Jacks Or Better strategy and settle for a 99.975% return.

However, I wouldn't recommend this: playing correct strategy you hit ten percent more royals than you do by following the standard strategy, and you push your return up to the full one hundred percent "zero house tax" level. And remember, it isn't necessary to play maximum coins, so you can wager as little as 1 a hand.


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