Other than Jacks to Open, this poker variant has two more names. Whereas this one implies the requirement you must fulfill in order to open the betting round, the other two regard the game’s place of origin and the amount of money you can win. Due to the rules and restrictions this draw variation dictates, the sum in the pot can reach great heights. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that the game is also known as “Jackpots”. As for the origin of the game, the story is closely related to our subject.

Gardena Jackpots

Gardena Jackpots is the name that gives away the place of origin of Jacks to Open. The game first appeared in the city of Gardena, California, almost a century ago. It gained popularity fast and remained one of the favorite poker variants for decades, although it never caught up with some more popular ones. 

That small town offered a great number of public poker tables. In fact, the number was so big that at some point, there were more of them available there than in some cities famous for gambling. Even though the situation has changed since and Las Vegas and Atlantic City have established a reputation, you can still choose from a variety of tables in Gardena if you want to play their traditional form of draw poker.

Nowadays, within the territory of Gardena, there are two public poker rooms that provide a total of 74 poker tables. Just for the sake of comparison, a single casino in Las Vegas usually offers around ten poker tables. As you can see, Gardena still has high standards regarding the classic table game.

The two poker rooms I have mentioned are Larry Flynt’s Hustler Poker Room and Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Poker Room. 

The Rules of the Game

As in any draw poker game, you can dispose of some cards and request an equal number of new ones in Jacks to Open. However, there are certain characteristics that distinguish this variant and Five Card Draw, as the most prominent example of draw games. 

In order to be able to place a wager and open a betting round, you need to have a pair of jacks. That is precisely the reason for the name Jacks to Open. If your hand does not contain it, your only option is to check. However, once someone opens the round, you can choose whether to call or raise.

The lowest winning hand is a three of a kind, which is why it is commonly referred to as trips to win. The highest poker hand in this game contains five Aces. It is comprised of all four Aces and a joker assuming the role of an Ace. 

On some occasions, nobody gets to open the round because nobody has a qualifying hand. In such cases, everyone antes into the same pot and every player is dealt different cards.

Jacks to Open as a Home Game

Poker Plays Jack to Open

Just like Five Card Draw, Jacks to Open can be played as a home game. You just gather a group of friends and create a poker room atmosphere. Given that gambling at home tends to be less strict in comparison to gambling at a casino, the rules can become a little loose. If nobody manages to open the round after the first deal, each following deal lowers the criteria. Therefore, you can happen to be able to open the round with a pair of queens, kings, or Aces, respectively.

The Course of the Game

Once somebody manages to open a betting round, the game continues similarly to Five Card Draw. After the moves have been made and the second betting round is over, it is time for the showdown. The remaining players reveal their cards and compare their hands to see whose is the strongest. The one with the best combination of cards gets to collect everything from the pot.


As you can see, you do not need a bricks-and-mortar casino to play Jacks to Open. However, if you want to enter a real poker room and play the game like the old-school gamblers do, visit the city of Gardena. You will enjoy the true spirit of this game, as you will be playing it at its place of origin. Nevertheless, if you do not feel like traveling long distances for a game of poker, navigate the Internet and find a virtual poker room whose terms and conditions suit you best. Some of the benefits of the modern age include gambling among other things, so why wouldn’t you benefit from it?