ULTIMATE ACES JACKS OR BETTER STRATEGY

We’ll continue to go through the ‘Ultimate Aces’ series of bonus video poker games. These games are from a genre that I call ‘Bonus 2.0’. The common feature of the ‘Bonus 2.0’ games is that the player has to pay an additional bet amount to ‘activate’ the bonus feature. Depending on the game, this can range from an extra coin (making a ‘max bet’ six coins) to a full additional bet per hand (making ‘max bet’ 10 coins per hand). While some of the ‘Bonus 2.0’ games have rules that materially impact gameplay and strategy (for example, the 6 card poker variations) many just offer another layer of bonus without altering the strategy. The game we’ll discuss today is an example of this.

‘Ultimate Aces’ is usually found in a multigame format that includes a variety of common rulesets. In Nevada casinos (and other land based casinos) the game usually includes Jacks or Better, several ‘bonus poker’ variations such as Bonus Poker and Double Bonus Poker along with a couple of Deuces Wild variations. We’ll cover each of the games individually since they each have a unique pay table and in some cases their own dedicated strategy decisions.

ULTIMATE ACES RULES

The ‘Ultimate Aces’ rules are the same regardless of which variation of the game you’re playing. The basic premise is that for an additional bet per hand the player gets a bonus on any hand with a dealt Ace. Since the game is typically found in ‘triple play’ form this means that max bet is 15 coins for three hands (5 X 3) plus 15 ‘bonus bet’ for three hands (5 X 3) equaling 30 coins per play.

Any time an Ace shows up on the first deal the player automatically gets a bonus on all winning hands. Note that you do not have to hold the Ace to get the bonus. The bonuses are random but the more Aces in a hand the higher the bonus amount. The bonus amount ranges from 2X to 10X. According to game manufacturer IGT the average bonus multipliers are as follows:

1 Ace: 3.4X
2 Aces: 4.5X
3 Aces 6.0X
4 Aces 7.6X

The Jacks or Better variation offers a payback of 98.42% with max coins bet.

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ULTIMATE ACES JACKS OR BETTER STRATEGY

Since the bonus is activated on the draw no strategy adjustment is necessary. The basic ‘Jacks or Better’ strategy rules are below. If you’re serious about playing video poker at anything above a recreational level it’s a good idea to commit the JoB strategy to memory. Drill yourself on it until you can make the right decisions in your sleep. It’ll help you as you pick up expertise on other game formats.

Royal Flush

Straight Flush

Four of a Kind

Full House

Flush

Straight

Three of a Kind

4 to a straight flush

Two Pair

Pair of Jacks or Better

3 to a Royal Flush (eg: 10 K A of Diamonds)

4 to a flush

low pair (2 through 10)

4 to an outside straights

two suited high cards (J Q K A)

3 to a straight flush

2 unsuited high cards (J Q K A)

Suited 10/J J/Q or Q/K

One high card

Discard everything