INTRODUCTION TO ‘JOKERS WILD’ VIDEO POKER

We’ll turn our attention now to another one of the ‘major’ video poker variations, Jokers Wild. Jokers Wild is essentially a ‘Jacks of Better’ video poker game with one Joker thrown into the mix as a ‘wild card’. That adds a degree of volatility and some high paying hands involving the joker but not to the degree found in Deuces .

For some reason, Jokers Wild lags well behind Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild in popularity among both serious and recreational players. It’s tepid reaction among sharp video poker players is understandable due to its relatively low return percentage compared to both of the aforementioned games. Full pay Jokers Wild returns 100.6% but most widely available variations return less. As for the lack of enthusiasm among recreational video poker players—it could be that players that want wild cards and action want more of it so they gravitate to Deuces Wild. Players that don’t want any wild cards and want to minimize variance favor Jacks or Better.

Jokers Wild video poker is played with a 53 card card deck and generally resembles a JoB machine at first glance. The only difference is the Joker ‘wild card’ added to the deck . The winning hands are also different—in Jokers Wild you need Kings or Better to have a winning hand. In fact, some variations are now ‘Aces or Better’ or ‘Two Pairs or Better’. In any case, here’s the Full Pay Deuces Wild pay table:

FULL PAY JOKERS WILD PAY TABLE:

joker-poker-video-poker

RANKING OF HANDS

The hand rank isn’t much different than a Jacks or Better machine and should be intuitive to anyone familiar with poker hands. The one wild card does produce a couple of high paying hands—we’ll discuss those in a moment.

Typically, it doesn’t matter if a hand is made with or without wild cards. So on a Jokers Wild machine you’ll be paid the same for a four of a kind made like this:

A A A A X

as one made like this:

A JW A A X

Like Deuces Wild, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. The first is the ‘Five of a Kind’ which pays the same as a ‘Four Deuces’ mini jackpot on Deuces Wild. That means any five of a kind will pay 1000 with max bet. The ‘Five of a Kind’ is just what it says—a four of a kind hand with a Joker.

Q Q Q Q JW

The other exception is the royal flush. A royal flush made WITH a Joker pays 500 coins with a max bet. A royal flush made WITHOUT deuces pays the jackpot of 4000 coins with a max bet. ($1000 on a .25 machine, $4000 on a $1 machine).

In the next section we’ll take a look at proper strategy on a Jokers Wild Video Poker machine. It’s easier for a ‘Jacks or Better’ player to pick up than Deuces Wild since there’s only one wild card instead of four. That also means that there are just two ‘situations’ that you’ll need to memorize the hand hierarchy for–WITH the Joker’ and WITHOUT the Joker’. Deuces Wild requires players to memorize the correct play for 1,2,3,4 and 0 Deuces.