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 email 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.
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