Online Joker Poker

Online Joker PokerA close cousin of both Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild video poker, online Joker Poker made a name for itself by including the trump card used in family home games for generations now: the joker.

Rather than turn the deck’s four deuces into wild cards, and preserving the 52-card structure that almost every poker variation is based on, Joker Poker simply adds a 53rd card to the equation.

Before brushing up on the exciting prospects to be found in this creative version of video poker, visit the Jacks or Better page. Here you’ll find an enlightening look back through the history of video poker, standard rules and game-play, traditional poker hand rankings, and other essential information.

Joker Poker Overview

After you’ve acquainted yourself with the ins and outs of Jacks or Better, bring it back here to learn about the differences to be found in online Joker Poker. You’ll find an introduction to the rule distinctions, a breakdown of common pay tables and what they mean for your bottom line, and the optimal strategy guidelines which savvy players rely on to make the game’s closest decisions.

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Online Joker Poker Rules

Learn To iconThe transition from basic Jacks or Better to online Joker Poker isn’t all that jarring for most players, as the games both function in essentially the same fashion. Make an online casino deposit, select the wager amount, and play your cards as best you can.

However, as you might suspect, having a single wild card in the deck adds a few wrinkles to the game. First of all, the presence of a joker creates additional possibilities in terms of the hands you can form. After all, you can never make five of a kind in Jacks or Better, but it’s eminently possible in this game.

The mother of all poker hands – the royal flush – has also been slightly altered in online Joker Poker, with higher payouts for a “natural” royal flush which contains no joker. When you do happen to use a joker as part of your royal flush, the payout might be smaller, but the thrill will still be the same.

You can review the revised hand hierarchy for poker hands used in Joker Poker online on the chart below:

Royal Flush sm

Natural Royal Flush

10 J Q K A, all in the same suit, with no joker.

Five of a Kind with Joker

Five of a Kind

Four of a Kind plus one Joker.

Wild Royal Flush with Joker

Wild Royal Flush

10 J Q K A, all in the same suit, with one or more Jokers.

Straight Flush sm

Straight Flush

Any five-card straight, all in the same suit.

Four of a Kind sm

Four of a Kind

All other four of the same card ranks.

Full House sm

Full House

Three of a kind AND one pair.

Flush sm

Flush

Any five cards all of the same suit.

Straight sm

Straight

Any string of five consecutive cards.

Three of a Kind sm

Three of a Kind

Three of the same card rank.

Two Pair sm

Two Pair

Two sets of two cards of the same rank.

Pair of Aces or better

One Pair

One set of two cards of the same rank.*

*For Kings or better; Aces and better requires (A A X X X), and two pair or better requires (5 5 Q Q X)

The three highest hands on the list all cover cases in which the joker either does or doesn’t affect the outcome. After that, the rankings follow traditional poker ordering, running downward from a straight flush to a single pair.

One thing to keep in mind is the minimum hand requirement needed to earn a payout. As you’ll learn in the following section, online Joker Poker can be found in three primary versions, with each requiring a different hand as the lowest possible payout. You can learn more about how to play video poker on Wikipedia.

Online Joker Poker Pay Tables

Paytable iconOnline Joker Poker is offered in slightly different versions depending on the casino or machine manufacturer.

The crucial difference to keep in mind is the minimum hand required to earn a payout, which begins at a pair of kings or better on the most player friendly machines. The following table is considered the “full pay” version of Joker Poker:

Notice that the increased payout for landing a natural royal flush has been removed, and instead, an incremental payout has been included. This means that the expected return rate for two pair or better versions of online Joker Poker remain the same no matter how many coins you choose to bet.While the absence of a larger payout for the game’s highest hand may leave some players searching for a different machine, the expected return of 99.92 percent on this game is actually one of the most reasonable in the house. Confronting players with a tiny house edge of only 0.08 percent, two pairs or better Joker Poker online is actually a more favorable option than kings or better when wagering less than the maximum.

Another version of online Joker Poker, this one requiring one pair of aces or better, can also be found. However, a quick scan of the expected value amounts shows this game to be a “sucker” bet by comparison to the pay tables above. With an expected return of just 98.41 percent when betting the maximum, aces or better Joker Poker should be avoided whenever possible, as more player-friendly video poker options will always be available after a bit of hunting.

Kings or Better Pay Table

Kings or Better Pay Table
1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Natural Royal Flush 400 800 1200 1600 4000
Five of a Kind 200 400 600 800 1000
Wild Royal Flush 100 200 300 400 500
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 20 40 60 80 100
Full House 7 14 21 28 35
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 3 6 9 12 15
Three of a Kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two Pair 1 2 3 4 5
Kings or Better 1 2 3 4 5
Return % 99.78% 99.78% 99.78% 99.78% 100.64%

Sticking to the familiar video poker layout, online Joker Poker offers incremental increases for all payouts when players bet between one and four coins. Accordingly, the expected return for bets of between one and four coins is identical, at 99.78 percent.

Making the Max Bet

High Limit iconHowever, by placing the maximum bet of five coins, players are entitled to a significantly higher payout when they land a natural royal flush, earning 4,000 credits rather than the 2,000 which would be paid off using the incremental structure.

This additional juice on natural royal flushes actually transforms online Joker Poker into a positive expectation game for players who are max betting, provided they are sticking to optimal strategy (more on this to come in the next section). By wagering five coins and playing properly, you can flip the house edge on its head and enjoy an even money proposition.

Two Pairs or Better Pay Table

Online Joker Poker casinos using the kings or better threshold are the player’s best bet, but some casinos have developed pay tables with stricter requirements. The following pay table describes online Joker Poker games in which players must make two pairs or better in order to qualify for a payout:

2 Pairs or Better Pay Table
1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Natural Royal Flush 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
Five of a Kind 100 200 300 400 500
Wild Royal Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 20 40 60 80 100
Full House 10 20 30 40 50
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 5 10 15 20 25
Three of a Kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two Pair 1 2 3 4 5
Return % 99.92% 99.92% 99.92% 99.92% 99.92%

Aces or Better Pay Table

Aces or Better Pay Table
1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Natural Royal Flush 400 800 1200 1600 4000
Five of a Kind 200 400 600 800 1000
Wild Royal Flush 100 200 300 400 500
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 20 40 60 80 100
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 3 6 9 12 15
Three of a Kind 2 4 6 8 10
Two Pair 1 2 3 4 5
Aces or Better 1 2 3 4 5
Return % 97.55% 97.55% 97.55% 97.55% 98.41%

Five Different Pay Tables You May Encounter

Finally, the grid below features five common alternatives to the three full pay versions listed above. The Kings or Better (KoB) and Two Pairs or Better (TPoB) pay tables offer decent expected returns, but whenever possible, try to limit your action to the full pay versions for each game.

Other Pay Tables & Payouts
KoB TPoB KoB KoB AoB
Natural Royal Flush 800 800 800 800 800
Five of a Kind 800 800 150 200 200
Wild Royal Flush 100 100 80 100 100
Straight Flush 100 100 50 50 50
Four of a Kind 16 16 20 17 20
Full House 8 8 6 7 8
Flush 5 5 5 5 5
Straight 4 4 3 3 3
Three of a Kind 2 2 2 2 2
Two Pair 1 1 1 1 1
Lowest Hand 1 (KK) n / a 1 (KK) 1 (KK) 1 (AA)
Return % 98.59% 98.59% 98.41% 98.09% 96.87%

One item to take stock of concerns the drop off between full pay kings or better Joker Poker online and the alternative versions listed in the preceding grid. Rather than an expected return of more than 100 percent, obtainable by max betting on a kings or better machine while playing properly, these lesser versions can reduce the expected return to between 98.59 and 96.87 percent.

A few percentage points might not seem like much, but when it comes to statistical probability, this drop off is extremely drastic, turning a reasonable game into a money pit on par with roulette and certain hybrid table games. Additionally, you can read more about different Joker Poker online pay tables on The Wizard of Odds pay table breakdowns here.

Online Joker Poker Strategy

Betting Strategy iconBefore moving on to the optimal strategy chart used to help players make tough decisions, it’s important to realize that the most powerful strategic tool in your video poker arsenal is the game selection.

You’ve just studied the pay tables for different versions of online Joker Poker, learning that the full pay version of kings or better actually offers a negative house edge (meaning the player holds a slight advantage). With this information fresh in your mind, ask yourself one question: why would you ever play the same game when it offers reduced odds?

Of course, locating a full pay kings or better online Joker Poker casino can sometimes be a chore, and your local options may be lacking. In this case, always take a few minutes to scout out the casino floor, checking to see which pay table versions are available. Nevertheless, make sure to browse our wide catalog of recommended online casinos to find where to play online Joker Poker. After that rudimentary research has been completed, take your business to the best paying machine. By maintaining discipline, and avoiding the sunk costs of alternative pay tables whenever possible, you can easily improve your odds of enjoying a winning session before ever pressing the “DEAL” button.

Joker Poker Optimal Strategy Charts

As far as optimal strategy charts go, online Joker Poker can be divided into two possible scenarios: hands in which you hold a joker, and hands without one. For the sake of brevity, the optimal strategy charts below assume that a kings or better structure is being used.

Holding No Joker Strategy

When you happen to hold no jokers among your first five cards, making use of the following list will help you decide which cards to hold and which to discard. To use the list, simply assess your five card hand, determine which positions on the list you currently hold, and keep the highest ranked hand.

No Joker Strategy Chart
RANK PRE-DRAW HAND OPTIMAL DECISION
1. Natural Royal Flush or Straight Flush Hold pat hand
2. Four cards to a Natural Royal Flush Draw one card
3. Four of a Kind, Full House, or Flush Hold pat hand
4. Four cards to a Straight Flush Draw one card
5. Three of a Kind or Straight Hold pat hand
6. Three cards to a Royal Flush, K or Q high Draw two cards
7. Two Pair Draw one card
8. Three cards to a Royal Flush, A high Draw three cards
9. One pair of Kings or Aces Draw three cards
10. Four cards to a Flush Draw one card
11. Three cards to a Straight Flush, no gap Draw two cards
12. One low Pair Draw three cards
13. Unsuited K Q J 10 Draw one card
14. Three cards to a Straight Flush, one gap Draw two cards
15. Suited A K Draw three cards
16. Four cards to an open ended Straight Draw one card
17. Three cards to a Straight Flush, two gaps Draw two cards
18. Suited K Q, K J, or K 10 Draw three cards
19. Suited A Q, A J, or A 10 Draw three cards
20. A or K high Draw four cards
21. Suited Q J, Q 10, or J 10 Draw three cards
22. Discard all cards Draw five cards

Holding At Least One Joker Strategy

On occasions when you do hold a joker in your first five cards, the following decision-making chart should be applied:

One or More Jokers Strategy Chart
RANK PRE-DRAW HAND OPTIMAL DECISION
1. Four of a Kind or Better Hold pat hand
2. Four cards to a Wild Royal Flush, K high Draw one card
3. Full House Hold pat hand
4. Four cards to a Wild Royal Flush, A high Draw one card
5. Four cards to a Straight Flush, no gaps Hold pat hand
6. Flush Hold pat hand
7. Four cards to a Straight Flush, 1 or 2 gaps Draw one card
8. Three of a Kind or Straight Hold pat hand
9. Four cards to a Flush with either A or K Draw one card
10. Three cards to a Straight Flush or Wild Royal Flush Draw two cards
11. Three cards to a Straight Flush, one gap Draw two cards
12. Joker with unsuited K Q J, K Q 10, or K J 10 Draw one card
13. Joker with an A, or Joker with a K Draw three cards
14. Three cards to a Straight Flush, two gaps Draw two cards
15. Four cards to an open ended Straight Draw one card
16. Four cards to a Flush, no high cards Draw one card
17. Joker with a 6, 7, or 8 Draw three cards
18. Joker with 5, 9, or 10 Draw three cards
19. Joker with a J Draw three cards
20. Keep Joker only Draw four cards

Long video poker strategy charts like this may be daunting right now, but in reality applying these rules will quickly become second nature. Spend a few sessions secretly consulting the chart to guide your play, and before you know it, you won’t even need to glance down before deciding how to play the toughest decisions created by online Joker Poker.