A couple of months ago I received several requests from readers to highlight best strategies for different video poker games. There’s not space in a column like this to detail every nuance of every game and pay table, but I promised to at least hit the hot spots of commonly available game.
That started about a month and half ago with a look at Jacks or Better, the game on which most non-wild card video poker options are based. This time, let’s check out Double Bonus Poker.
Double Bonus Poker has been with us since the beginning of the 1990s, and it was a really important game in popularizing video poker. That’s largely because of the big payoff on four Aces. With a five-coin wager, four Aces bring an 800-coin return. You’ll also get 400 coins with four 2s, 3s or 4s, and 250 with any other quads. Compare that to Jacks or Better, where every four-of-a-kind brings 125 coins for a five-coin wager.
There’s a tradeoff, of course. Two pairs pay only 1-for-1, meaning you just get your bet back, while Jacks or Better pays 2-for-1. Because two pairs occur so often, that’s a huge difference, one that the quad payoffs alone can’t make up. So there are adjustments elsewhere on the pay table.
The full-pay version of Double Bonus Poker, which has become rare as casinos have tightened their paybacks, returns 10-for-1 on full houses, 7-for-1 on flushes and 5-for-1 on straights, compared to the 9-6-4 returns on full-pay Jacks or Better. With expert play, 10-7-5 Double Bonus pays 100.17 percent with expert play.
Easier versions to find have 9-7-5 (99.1 percent with expert play) and 9-6-5 (97.9 percent) pay tables. In the last few years, I’ve started seeing an increase in Double Bonus games that pay only 4-for-1 on straights. My advice is to avoid those games.
The full strategy table for Double Bonus Poker is lengthy, with a lot of subtle distinctions between hands. If you’re going to play much DB, I highly recommend practice time with software such as WinPoker, Frugal Video Poker or Video Poker for Winners.
Here are a few things to remember when playing 9-7-5 Double Bonus, the best version you’re likely to find outside the top video poker casinos in Las Vegas:
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