Added: September 25, 2017
In Jacks or Better and other online video poker variants you need to play with optimum strategy in order to realise the high average returns. One aspect of the optimum strategy is resolving conflict hands. You are dealt five cards to start with and can replace any number of these cards. In some cases, by discarding certain cards you hope to end up with a higher ranking winning combination, but the chances of which are less likely. And by discarding certain other cards you hope to achieve a lower ranking winning combination that is more likely to occur. Such hands are known as conflict hands. Some commonly occurring conflict hands will be discussed here.
The following is a classic conflict hand in video poker - 3C, 3H, 4H, 5H and 6H. By discarding the 3C you can hope to get a straight flush, a straight or a flush. By discarding the 4H, 5H and 6H the player can hope to get three of a kind, four of a kind, two pairs or a full house. An analysis of the probability and payout of each kind of hand determines that discarding the 3C and holding the other four cards is the better option.
Suppose your dealt cards are 3C, 3H, 6H, 9H and JH. Here you are left only with the option of a possibly getting a flush if you discard 3C. Even then the optimum video poker strategy dictates that you should break the lower pair and discard 3C. However you may hold four cards to a straight instead of four cards to a flush as in the hand - 3C, 3H, 4S, 5C and 6D. Here you should hold the low pair and discard the other three cards.
Many conflict hands pit a straight and a flush. The classic case is four to a straight versus four to a flush such as the following dealt hand - 3D, 4D, 5C, 6D and KD. You can discard the KD and try for a straight or discard the 5C and try for a flush. The optimum strategy is to play for a flush in this case.
Another interesting conflict hand is the choice between three cards to a straight flush and four to an outside straight. The dealt video poker hand 3S, 8H, 9H, 10H and JD illustrates this. You should hold all the four cards to the outside straight rather than hold only the 8H, 9H and 10H.