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HOME > Gaming > Double Bonus double fun

Double Bonus double fun

27 March 2014

By John Grochowski

Getting the most out of Double Bonus Poker requires one of the quirkiest, most finely detailed strategies in all of video poker. Yet if you just play 9-6 Jacks or Better strategy on 10-7-5 Double Bonus, the falloff is small, down to 99.63 percent from the 100.17 average return with a more specialized method of play.

Accounting for the idiosyncrasies is part of what make the game fun for me. Double Bonus, especially in the rare casinos that offer the full-pay 10-7-5 version, is one of my favorite games.

I received a reminder via e-mail from a reader who noted I’d promised to do a continuing series on strategies for different video poker games. It’s been a couple of months since I last did this, with Double Double Bonus Poker, after starting the series with Jacks or Better. So let’s get back on track with a look at Double Bonus Poker.

The “Double Bonus” part refers to payoffs on four of a kind. For a five-coin bet, you’ll get 800 coins for four Aces, 400 for four 2s, 3s or 4s, and 250 for four 5s through Kings. Those are double the quad payoffs of Bonus Poker.

To offset that, the return on two pairs is only 1-for-1, instead of the 2-for-1 you get in Jacks or Better or Bonus Poker. If you bet five coins and get two pairs, you’ll get your bet back, but no more. That makes an enormous difference.

If you play expert strategy on 10-7-5 Double Bonus, you’ll get two pairs on 12.47 percent of hands. Dropping the payback on so many hands far more than makes up for the increase on four-of-a-kind pays. Paybacks on other hands were increased to compensate.

In full-pay Double Bonus, full houses pay 10-for-1, flushes 7-for-1 and straights 5-for-1, each one step up for the 9-6-4 returns on full-pay Jacks or Better. With a 10-7-5 pay table, Double Bonus returns 100.17 percent with expert play. Extremely few players are good enough to get that return, and a couple of slot directors who have had the game tell me the games always made money, and served as an attraction.

Each unit you drop any of those paybacks decreases the overall return by a little more than 1 percent. Returns with expert pay are 99.11 percent with a 9-7-5 pay table, 97.81 percent at 9-6-5 and 96.38 percent at 9-6-4. I do not recommend playing Double Bonus if straights pay only 4-for-1.

The strategy recommendations that follow are for 10-7-5 or 9-7-5 Double Bonus. The full-pay game is increasingly rare. You won’t find the 9-7-5 in every casino, but you’ll find it most area with multiple casinos. When the flush payoffs drop to 6-for-1, strategy differences between Double Bonus and Jacks or Better decrease.

  • We chase more inside straights in Double Bonus Poker than in Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better. Part of it is the 5-for-1 return on straights. The 1-for-1 payback on two pairs also reduces the value of throwing away all five cards in a weak hand. The combination means that in a hand such as 3-4-5-7-10 of mixed suits, we’ll hold 3-4-5-7 instead of chucking the whole thing.

  • The increased return on flushes means we make more flush and straight flush draws than in other games. Given a hand such as 10 of hearts, 7 of clubs, 6 of hearts, 5 of spades, 2 of hearts, we hold all three hearts. In Jacks or Better, we’d go for a complete redraw.

  • The bonanza on four Aces makes us aggressive about chasing Aces, to the extent that dealt a full house with three Aces on top, we’ll discard the pair and go for the fourth Ace. This is a play that holds up in all games with four-Ace jackpots of 160-for-1 or better, including the popular Double Double Bonus Poker games and those with more specialized appeal such as Super Aces and Triple Bonus Poker.

  • Even though two pairs and high pairs, Jacks or Better, pay the same 1-for-1, we do not break up two-pair hands to hold a high pair by itself. The one-card draw for a full house is more profitable taking a long shot at four of a kind.

The full strategy table is too long and complex to detail in one short column. For those who are serious about the ins and outs of Double Bonus, I’d recommend getting video poker software such as Frugal Video Poker or Video Poker for Winners. Both allow you to change pay tables on games, generate strategy tables, and will give warnings if you misplay hands as you practice.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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