In the previous section, we talked about the basics of gameplay and strategy for ‘Jokers Wild’. In this section, we’ll get into the ‘nuts and bolts‘ of the strategy. For some reason, Jokers Wild video poker lags behind Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild in terms of popularity. It’s a decent game with a payback percentage that rivals or exceeds JoB or DW but it just doesn’t capture the imagination of recreational or professional players.

That means that you might have a harder time finding ‘Jokers Wild‘ video poker outside of Nevada or online. Jokers Wild is included as one of the games on the ubiquitous ‘Game King’ multi-game machines. Most online casinos have a JW offering as well. In other North American casinos, your mileage may vary. I stopped recently at a Native American run casino in Oklahoma and found one bank of Jokers Wild machines, though there were plenty of ‘Jacks or Better‘ and ‘Deuces Wild‘. It can be found but might take some effort.

The strategy for Jokers’ Wild is something of a hybrid of ‘Deuces Wild‘ and ‘Jacks or Better‘. The nice thing about learning strategy for JoB is that it never deviates based on the cards you have been dealt. DW strategy is more complex, but the ability to tailor the optimal decision making for different hands is part of the reason that it is such a favorite of ‘sharp‘ video poker players.

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There are some strategic adjustments that need to be made if you’re playing a machine that pays on ‘Aces or Better‘ or ‘Two Pairs‘ instead of the standard ‘Kings or Better‘. We’ll address these in a subsequent section.

The two situations in Jokers’ Wild are hands ‘with‘ a Joker or ‘without‘ a Joker:


  • Natural Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • 4 to Natural Royal Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Four to Straight Flush
  • Three of a Kind
  • Straight
  • Three to a Royal Flush, King or Queen High
  • Two Pair
  • Three to a Royal Flush, Ace high
  • Pair of Kings or Aces
  • Four to any Flush
  • 3 to straight flush, no gap
  • Low Pair
  • 3 to straight flush, any
  • Suited King/Ace
  • Suited Ten/King, Jack/King, Queen/King
  • Suited Ten/Ace, Jack/Ace, Queen/Ace
  • Ace or King
  • Suited Jack/Ten, Jack/Queen, Ten/Queen
  • Draw all five cards


  • 5 of a Kind
  • Joker Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Four to Wild Royal (King High)
  • Full House
  • Four to Wild Royal (Ace High))
  • Four to Straight Flush, No Gap EXCEPT A23, 234
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Four to a Flush with Ace, King or Ace/King
  • 3 to straight flush (no gaps)
  • 3 to Royal Flush with Ace, King or Ace/King
  • 3 to Straight Flush (Any)
  • Joker + Unsuited TJK, TQK, JQK
  • Joker + Ace
  • Joker + King
  • 4 to Outside Straight
  • Four to a Flush (No High Cards)
  • Keep Joker, Draw Four Cards


While games may share some commonality—particularly within a specific variation type (JoB, DW, JW) it’s important to remember that in theory every game should be approached with a dedicated strategy. With a Jokers’ Wild machine you’ll not only encounter different pay tables but different winning hands (Kings or Better, Aces or Better, Three of a Kind). Be ready to make adjustments from this strategy ‘on the fly’ if you run into a variation that necessitates it.