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An Expert Strategy for Aces and Faces Video Poker

What is Aces and Faces Video Poker?

Aces and Faces is a variant of video poker which builds upon Jacks or Better. It is essentially a game of five card draw that offers enhanced payouts for certain poker hands, namely those that involve aces or the face cards (Jack, Queen, and King).

Getting Started

Before you start playing, it is important to know that you have to set your coin value and how many coins you want to play with. The number of coins significantly improves how much is paid out when you have winning cards. If you play with only one coin then you can theoretically win from 1 to 500 times your stake (from the lowest paying combination to the highest) whereas playing with five coins can win from 5 to 4000 times your stake. This is why it is better to use more coins, you can reduce the value if you are playing on a budget.

Aces and Faces is played with one deck with no jokers, that means that as soon as your hand is played, there are only 47 cards from the standard deck that are still available. After you are dealt your first 5 cards, you will have the chance to discard any cards you do not want, discarded cards are then replaced before you are paid based on the strength of the poker hand you have built. It is pretty simple to pick up and the game play is quite fast paced, but there are certain strategies you can employ to make sure you cut the house edge make the most of the cards you are dealt.

Poker Hands

If you have not played any poker before, then it is useful to learn the different winning hands such as Full House, Royal Flush and so on, here we will list the paying hands and which cards they comprise.

Jacks or Better

This is a hand that has a pair of Jacks or anything higher. In Aces Faces, this hand pays from 1x to 5x the bet (depending on whether you use one coin or five).

Two Pair

This is a hand where you have two pairs, for example a pair of 2s and Jacks, this hand pays 10x on a 5 coin bet.

Three of a Kind

This is a hand that has three matching cards, for example three 10s, the hand can pay 15x on a 5 coin bet.


This hand contains five sequential cards, this can be 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. They can be of different suits, and the Ace can come before 2, to make A, 2, 3, 4, 5 or it can come after the King to make 10, J, Q, K and A. This hand can pay 20x on a 5 coin bet.


A flush is a hand where all five cards have the same suit, whether they are face cards or numbers is not relevant. This hand can pay 25x on a 5 coin bet.

Full House

A full house is where there is a pair and three of a kind in the 5 card hand. An example of this would be two 5s and three 9s, this hand can pay 40x on a 5 coin bet.

Four 2s through 10s

This hand contains four matching cards, such as four 5s, this hand can pay 125x on a 5 coin bet.

Four J, Q or K

As suggested from the name, this is a hand that contains four of either J, Q or K, this hand can pay 200x on a 5 coin bet.

Straight Flush

This hand is a combination of a straight and a flush, if there are 5 sequential cards that all have the same suit, for example 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Diamonds. This hand can pay 250x on a 5 coin bet.

Four Aces

If you have four aces in your hand, the hand can pay 400x on a 5 coin bet.

Royal Flush

The highest paying hand in the game, the Royal Flush is a straight flush that is made of the highest cards in the game; 10, J, Q, K and A of Diamonds, Hearts, Spades or Clubs. This hand can pay 4,000x on a 5 coin bet.

Expert Strategy Guide

The Aces and Faces expert strategy is built on a list of possible hands in order of their achievability and potential payout. To use this list correctly, you have to start from the first and work your way down, if you can find a hand that matches the hand you have in the game, then you need to follow the instructions. If your dealt hand is a winning hand, then you do not need to do anything, and you can hold all your cards. When the hand in the list says "x cards, draw to a y", what this means is that you have a number of cards (x) that almost meet a certain hand (y). For example take 4 Card Draw to a Royal Flush, here you will have 4 out of the 5 cards needed, and if your hand matches this, then trying to get the Royal Flush will be your priority, you must hold the four and discard the fifth, and hopefully when you are dealt a new card in place of the fifth, you can make a Royal Flush.

Starting in order of priority, the possible hands are:

  1. Royal Flush
  2. 4 of a Kind
  3. Straight Flush
  4. 4 Card Draw to a Royal Flush
  5. Full House
  6. Flush
  7. Straight
  8. 3 of a Kind
  9. 4 Card Draw to a Straight Flush
  10. 2 Pairs
  11. A pair of Jacks or Better
  12. 3 Card Draw to a Royal Flush
  13. 4 Card Draw to a Flush
  14. Unsuited 10JQK
  15. Any Low Pair
  16. 4 Cards to a Straight Draw
  17. 3 Cards to a Straight Flush
  18. AKQJ unsuited
  19. 2 Card Draw to a Royal Flush
  20. 3 Cards to a Straight Draw
  21. KQJ, QJ, KQ, or KJ (unsuited)
  22. 3 Cards to a Straight Flush
  23. JT or QT suited
  24. Unsuited High Cards
  25. 1 High Card
  26. Discard Everything

In the list, you will almost always hold on to winning hands, the exceptions are the 4 Cards to a Royal Flush and the 4 Cards to a Straight Flush. The reason why is that they have much higher payouts, and if you have 4 out of the 5 cards then it is always mathematically in your favour to try and go for the highest paying combination. An example of a situation where you would play 4 Cards to a Royal Flush is if you are dealt a hand where you have 10, J, Q and K of Diamonds, as well as a 9 of Clubs. Now while this is a winning hand - it forms a straight that can pay 20x, it also matches the description of 4 Cards to a Royal Flush. You have to hold the 10, J, Q and K of Diamonds and discard the 9 of Clubs, and hope that the card that replaces the 9 will be an Ace of Diamonds. While it may seem illogical at first to discard a winning hand, and try to risk making a higher paying hand, the list is all calculated to reduce the house edge and give you a better chance of winning over time. The possibility to draw the Ace of Diamonds in that scenario are 47/1 (in that there are 47 remaining cards in the deck, and you want to be dealt that specific one). Let's say that you bet with $1 (split into $0.20 and played in 5 coins) and get the same hand 47 times. If you stay with the straight, you will make $940, but if you try to play for the Royal Flush and it comes once after 47 hands, then you will have made $4,000.

The list works to a mathematical model where you always use your dealt hand to the best of its potential.


With a list of 26 different possible hands, it may seem pretty daunting at first to learn, but this does get easier with some practice. There are no time limitations in Aces and Faces video poker, so you can always have the list to hand, skim through it from top to bottom, and find your hand relatively quickly. Once you start using the expert strategy you can reduce the house edge and achieve a theoretical payback percentage of 99.26% making Aces and Faces one of the best games in the casino.

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