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The best Jokers in Balatro to have a successful run

Balatro Jokers screenshot
Image: Playstack

Jokers are the be-all and end-all in Balatro. Without a good set of Jokers, you’re not going to get far in this poker-based roguelike card game. You see, Jokers add all different kinds of modifiers to your game, like multiplying your score, making certain hands more powerful or giving you extra money for playing particular cards. Not all Jokers are made equally though: these are the best Jokers you can use in Balatro.

We should note that this list isn’t exhaustive. There are 150 individual Jokers in the game, and even after spending 40 hours in it, there are numerous we haven’t yet seen. Many of the best Jokers that we’ve selected are great for starting off a game, while others become more useful later on.

Some Jokers also aren’t all that great on their own, but combined with another can be super-powerful. We’ve played hands in Balatro worth more than one million points, and that’s all down to having the best Jokers.

So: if these cards come up in your blind packets or in the shop, maybe you shouldn’t pass them by: perhaps consider adding them to your deck.

Related: Balatro review — A card game to beat all others

Blackboard Joker

Balatro Blackboard Joker

X3 mult if all cards held in hand are spades or clubs

Any ‘X’ multiplier can be game changing in Balatro, and since the Blackboard Joker is fairly common, it’s a great one to start with. It means you need to only have black cards left in your visible deck after playing a hand. In other words, get rid of hearts and diamonds by playing them, and you’ll get a X3 to any existing multipliers.

Egg Joker

Balatro Egg Joker

Gains $3 of sell value at end of round

Okay, the Egg Joker doesn’t really have any use in terms of helping you score highly with a hand of cards. But it is a great way to earn some money while you’re waiting for better Jokers to come up in the store. Each time you play, it will gain $3 in value, and so if you hold onto it for a couple of antes, you can sell it for over $20. It won’t completely change your game, but it’s better than having an empty Joker space.

Fibonacci Joker

Balatro Fibonacci Joker

Each played ace, 2, 3, 5 or 8 gives +8 mult when scored

We like Jokers in Balatro that can give us multiple mults! With this one, play a hand that has an ace, 2, 3, 5 and an 8, and you’ll end up with a total of +40 mult. When that’s combined with other mults, or a X mult, it’s very powerful indeed. The Fibonacci Joker is fairly common, too.

Fortune Teller Joker

Balatro Fortune Teller Joker

+1 mult per Tarot card used this run

The Fortune Teller Joker isn’t that useful early on in a game of Balatro. But towards the end, when you’ve used a lot of Tarot cards, it comes into its own. We’ve frequently used more than 30 Tarot cards in a run, and with one card giving us that high a multiplier, it’s very powerful indeed. Especially if we can combine it with a X mult.

Four Fingers Joker

Balatro Four Fingers Joker

All flushes and straights can be made with 4 cards

Flushes and straights are perhaps the most powerful hands you can play in Balatro – especially if you’ve levelled them up using Planet cards. And the Four Fingers Joker allows you to have a flush or a straight with just four cards instead of five, making it one of the best in Balatro. Find this card in a shiny or holographic form, and it’s even better.

Greedy, Lusty, Wrathful and Gluttonous Jokers

Balatro Jokers: Greedy, Lusty, Wrathful and Gluttonous

Played cards with diamond/heart/spade/club suit give +4 mult when scored

We wouldn’t recommend you use multiple of these in conjunction with each other, but they are a great starting Joker for stacking up your multiplier in Balatro. Whichever one you go for (presumably, whichever one shows up in the shop!) has the same effect: you’ll get +4 for every card played of that suit. If you can also cultivate your deck to be primarily that one suit, even better.

Misprint Joker

Balatro Misprint Joker

Gives a random mult with each hand, ranging from 0 to 22

There’s nothing better than a Misprint Joker showing up early on. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Jokers in early game Balatro: what other card can give up to +22 mult with no other requirements? The downside is that your mult is completely random. Sometimes it’s zero. It’s usually at least +2, though, so more often than not, you’ll get a benefit from it.

Mr Bones Joker

Balatro Mr Bones Joker

Prevents death if chips scored are at least 25% of required chips (self destructs)

Mr Bones is essentially a get-out-of-jail free card, and towards the end of a run in Balatro it can be a literal lifesaver. Have this in your deck, and you’ll automatically pass a round even if you fail. The card will disappear, though, so you can only use it once. You’d be pretty much invincible otherwise, and were would be the fun in that?

Popcorn Joker

Balatro Popcorn Joker

+20 mult -4 mult per round played

OK, the Popcorn Joker isn’t a great card overall. But it’s very common, so it’s handy to pick up in the early game: +20 mult for nothing is very useful, after all. We wouldn’t bother with it after the first few antes, but if it shows up in the shop early on, grab it. You’ll replace it with something better later on.

Ramen Joker

Balatro Ramer Joker

X2 mult. Loses X0.01 mult per card discarded

Off the bat, the Ramen Joker is one of the best in Balatro: it adds X2 to all your multiplier, with no requirements. However, every time you discard a card, it’ll lose 0.01 mult. In other words, after 50 cards discarded, you’ll only have X1.5 mult. But it’ll take a while to get there, and so this is a card very much worth picking up if it’s in the shop.

Shortcut Joker

Balatro Shortcut Joker

Allows straights to be made with gaps of 1 rank

Straights are great, but they’re often hard to pull off. With the Shortcut Joker, however, a run of cards don’t necessarily have to go in order to be a straight. Any two cards can have a gap of one, so 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 could be a straight, and so could 6, 8, 9, Jack, King. One of the best Jokers in Balatro, you can combine it with Four Fingers, making straights even easier to come by.

Splash Joker

Balatro Splash Joker

Every played card counts in scoring

You can play any five cards in Balatro, but only a set hand — i.e. a Pair, Two Pairs, etc. — will score. The other cards will simply be discarded. But with Splash, every card can be played. It’s great if you have a lot of upgraded cards in your deck, or cards which apply mults to certain values or suits.

Steel Joker

Balatro Steel Joker

Gains X0.25 mult for each steel card in your full deck

Undoubtedly one of the best Jokers in Balatro, we love Steel Joker. We love Steel cards, full stop, and so combining this Joker with a hand with multiple Steel cards can be very powerful indeed. You see, if Steel cards are in your hand, they’ll give you a X1.5 mult. Have just four of them in your deck, and you’ll have a X2 mult with this card. They don’t need to be in your active hand to make use of this card, either.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.