Aces and Eights is a spin-off of the common Jacks or Better format, where you must draw a pair of Jacks or higher to qualify for a payout. The difference here is that we get a bigger return on certain quads – namely with Aces, Eights, and Sevens. Let us show you how these rule variations affect our expected returns and ideal strategy compared to other video poker styles, as well as where we can play the best real money Aces & Eights games online.
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Aces & Eights Paytable
In essence, the payouts in Aces and Eights poker are much like any other form of online Jacks or Better: you need a high pair to get in the door, and there is a significant bonus on the royal flush when you bet five coins. The major difference is what gives this style its name, as four of a kinds made of Aces or Eights pay much higher than standard. There is also a lesser bonus on scoring four Sevens.
The chart below shows the pay rates for Microgaming’s Aces & Eights title, as found at Royal Vegas Casino:
House Edge vs Jacks or Better
So how does the online Aces & Eights pay chart affect the overall house edge compared to other Microgaming video poker releases? Take a look at the table below, where we have compared Aces and Eights with standard 9/6 Jacks or Better as well as Aces & Faces poker – a similar style which offers a bonus on all quads ranked Jack or higher.
Note that all pays are listed here ‘for 1’, but assuming five coins are played (which is always recommended). For example: if a royal flush pays 800 for 1, the total coin prize is actually 4000 for 5.
|Poker Hand||Aces & Eights||Jacks or Better||Aces & Faces|
|Four Kings, Queens, or Jacks||20||25||40|
|Four of a kind (other)||20||25||25|
|Three of a kind||3||3||3|
|Jacks or better||1||1||1|
|House edge||0.91%||0.46%||0.74%||Theoretical return||99.09%||99.54%||99.26%|
There are a few key points to focus on here:
- While A&E pays better on Aces, Eights, and Sevens, it pays short odds (20 instead of 25) on all other quads
- Where Jacks or Better pays 9/6 for the full house and flush respectively, the two bonus versions pay 8/5
- In the Microgaming version of Aces & Eights, there is also a bonus for the straight flush (70 instead of 50)
The short pays on the flush and full house all but outweigh the advantage we gain from the increased returns on four Aces, Eights, or Sevens – mainly because flushes and full houses come around much more often than four of a kinds do. Also, in comparison to Aces and Faces, the bonus on the straight flush in A&8’s is counteracted by the stingy returns on standard four of a kinds.
This leaves Microgaming Aces and Eights poker with an overall house edge of 0.91 per cent – so out of every $100 we bet, we could expect to regain about $99.09 in the long run. This is middle of the road by real money video poker standards, but a hell of a lot more attractive than most online casino games (read table games like American roulette and Caribbean stud poker, in particular).
Aces & Eights video poker strategy
One of the advantages video poker has over online pokies and other gambling titles is that we can use genuine gameplay strategy to keep the house edge as low as possible. Our simplified cheat sheet below ranks all the possible moves for Aces & Eights video poker depending on what cards are drawn on the initial deal.
The golden rule here is always stand pat on a paying hand, with one exception: four cards to a royal flush outranks a completed high pair, straight, or flush. So, for example, if we draw A K Q J all in Hearts and a Queen of Clubs, we should discard the offsuit Queen and play for the royal flush draw – even though that means breaking up a paying hand.
Aces and Eights strategy chart:
1. Royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind
2. Four cards to a royal flush
3. Full house, flush, straight, three of a kind
4. Four cards to a straight flush
5. Two pair
6. High pair (Jacks or higher)
7. Three cards to a royal flush
8. Four cards to a flush
9. Low pair (Tens or lower)
10. Four cards to an open-ended straight
11. Two suited high cards
12. Three cards to a straight flush
13. Two offsuit high cards*
14. Suited J K, J Q, or J 10
15. High card
16. Discard all
* If you have more than two suited high cards, choose the lowest two – e.g. with K Q J, discard the King.