Prepare to explore another draw game variant — Johnson and Jacks Back. This is a riveting poker variant that is a sum of two games: Five-Card Draw and Lowball Poker. Read on to learn the rules and help others master them as well.
The More Draw Poker Variants, the Better
Some gambling enthusiasts are under the impression that draw poker isn’t intricate enough for them. Oh, how wrong they are. This group of poker games is comprised of engrossing variants that feature even more engaging rules that give them a new twist. And if you want to expose yourself to this first-hand, you’ve clicked on the right article.
You need to look no further than Johnson and Jacks Back. We would liken it to Five-Card Draw and Ace-to-five Lowball. In fact, it does seem to be a mixture of these two variants. As you might have already known, they differ in some of their aspects — none more essential than the hand ranking. If you want to strike gold in the first one, then you should strive to obtain, say, a straight flush. For instance, if you have 7-8-9-10-J which are all of the same suit, then your hand might prevail over anyone else’s at that particular poker table.
On the other hand, the latter adheres to different rules which govern the hand rankings. Here, you’re not obliged to have a straight flush — you can triumph with the lowest cards. To be specific, your combination of A-2-3-4-5 will prove superior.
Now that we’ve gone over this let’s get down to brass tacks and introduce the captivating Johnson and Jacks Back.
The Perks of Having a Joker
It won’t be difficult to detect that this variant uses a joker. This card acts as a bug, and it’s more than convenient for you to have it in your hand. In other words, its appealing trait is that it can substitute for any card that you need to form a winning hand.
If draw poker uses the standard rankings, then you might utilize it to form a straight or a flush. But if you don’t have the cards which might help you combine these two hands, then you should perceive the bug as an ace. In contrast, most lowball versions distinguish the bug as the lowest card you need to form the best hand. Let’s go over one example that might clarify this for you.
Say that you’re twiddling your thumbs and waiting to receive your five cards. Lo and behold, one of them is the bug, which can effectively assist you in beating the other players. Apart from it, you also receive 4-3-2-A which means that you need a 5 to get the best hand in lowball poker. Well, this just might be the happiest day in your life — the bug can substitute for the missing 5, and you’ll win the pot.
A Crossover of Two Variants
As we’ve previously mentioned, Johnson and Jacks Back adheres to the poker rules from two games: Lowball and Five-Card Draw Poker. The course of the game is determined by one thing — whether anyone at the table has jacks or better. If they do, then it progresses like a standard Five-Card Draw. However, if no one gets this hand, then it transforms into a Lowball variant. The main difference being the hand rankings.
Playing with Jacks or Better
Before anything else, it would be best to play this game with a limited stake. This would set the maximum amount anyone could lose at the table. Also, it would impose a maximum sum for the bets. You could determine this as per everyone’s bankroll. And only once this has been agreed upon will you be able to proceed.
Furthermore, in Johnson and Jacks Back, you needn’t worry about placing small and big blinds, and you should center your attention on antes. It’s recommendable to play this game with them only. So everyone at the poker table, without any exceptions, needs to post an ante. This is a mandatory wager.
Once this has been done, players are dealt five cards face down. Each of them needs to examine their hands immediately and inspect if they perhaps boast jacks or better or not. Then, the initial round of wagering commences with the player to the dealer’s left who has an opportunity to either check or open. And let’s pretend that one of our imaginary players has gotten jacks or better. This means that they open the wagering and that the game proceeds as per the rules of Five-Card Draw.
What’s more, the remaining players have three options. Firstly, they can call the bet, i.e., they can match the amount. Secondly, there’s an option for folding, which prevents them from further participating in that hand. Lastly, anyone can raise the amount of the bet. Following this, those still going for the money can draw and discard any of the cards. Sometimes, there are players who wish to retain the whole hand, and they can “stand pat.”
Following the draw, the active players can wager once again. The one to the left of the dealer can commence this round. Lastly, there’s a showdown when more than one player remains in the game. The best hand wins the pot once all cards have been exposed.
Playing Without Jacks or Better
More often than not, no one gets jacks or better, and this marks the start of an interesting twist. Concretely, without this hand, the game switches to a lowball variant. If this occurs, then you should try your utmost to come up with the lowest hand and disregard any cards that might increase the value of it.
And the game proceeds similarly like the first one. After posting an ante, five cards are dealt. A poker player to the dealer’s left can then open the betting round with anything. Rarely, if ever, all participants check in this round. This means that the game would start from scratch — they would need to post another ante and get new cards. As this is a rare occasion, we’ll explain what happens when the first player decides to open.
Having examined their cards, the players engage in another wagering round. The rules allow them to draw and dispose of the cards they don’t need in order to get the best poker hand. Then, there’s another round in which they can wager. Ultimately, this is followed by a showdown, and the cards are inspected so that the lowest hand is determined.
As you can see, they receive the same number of cards in both cases, and everything transpires almost in the same way — except for the hand rankings.
Lowball Card Ranking
Firstly, bear in mind that pairs aren’t exactly what you should covet to obtain. In other words, they count against you. In case you have pairs and your opponent doesn’t, then they will beat your hand. And if both you and your opponent don’t have any pairs, then the dealer compares your cards according to your highest card.
Secondly, aces are always low in this poker variant. And most importantly, a flush or a straight don’t count in this game. Specifically, they don’t count at all. To illustrate how this work, we’ll go over some examples.
For instance, two hands are in the showdown. The first one has 8-6-4-3-2, and the other one has 9-7-5-4-3. The former would win because 8 is lower than a 9. As you already know, aces don’t have a high value. Therefore, 7-5-4-3-A prevails over 7-5-4-3-2.
In conclusion, Johnson and Jacks Back can easily become your favorite home game and others might concur with you. A true poker admirer should explore any variant that comes with a twist. This way, they might find out that Texas Hold’em is not the only poker form in the world.