Video poker ranks among the most commonly played casino games in the world, with various factors contributing to its popularity. The game boasts a low house edge and can be beaten as long as players implement a good strategy and make optimal decisions. Both online and offline casinos have now introduced an impressive number of video poker variations to appease the growing appetites of fans of this game.
One of the most well-known members of the extended video poker family of games is Double Bonus Poker. Like many other video poker variants, this one, too, is a derivative of the commonly played Jacks or Better. The game also shares quite a few similarities with another Jacks or Better derivative, Bonus Poker, only it comes with a higher variance.
One of the main points of interest with Double Bonus Poker is that it offers twice as many credits for forming a Four of a Kind with Aces, which is also where the game gets its name from. Many players are quick to transition from Bonus Poker to Double Bonus Poker, but unfortunately, few of them pause to consider one key feature of this game – the doubled payouts for four Aces in Double Bonus Poker come at the cost of reduced payouts for Two Pairs, which is precisely what increases variance.
However, if one succeeds in finding a Double Bonus Poker game which offers full pay, they will be able to gain a slight advantage over the house. Add optimal playing strategy to the mix, and you will find Double Bonus Poker can indeed be a profitable option for video poker fans. The following article will outline some of the pivotal aspects of Double Bonus Poker and offer tips on basic strategy for smart players to follow.
The Basics of Double Bonus Poker
The rules of play in Double Bonus Poker are quite easy to comprehend. A full deck of 52 cards is in play and the game is based on the commonly played five-card draw. Players start by adjustive the size of their stakes per hand as there is the option to play one to five coins on each round. Once the bet is made, players are dealt five random cards that make up their initial hand.
Similarly to Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker, the objective is to determine which of the five cards are worth holding and which ones should be replaced so that you can form a winning hand. Then, the player will receive replacements for the discards and will be paid in accordance with the game’s paytable if they have completed a qualifying hand after the draw.
On winning hands, players are provided with an opportunity to increase their profits by taking advantage of the Double Up functionality, which is a feature the majority of video poker variants share. If players decide to give the Double Up functionality a try, they will be dealt five additional cards. The house card is dealt facing up next to four other cards that are facing down. The player needs to select one of the four face-down cards and if it is of a higher value than that of the house, the winnings from the last hand played will be doubled. If not, the profits will be forfeited in favour of the house. In most variants of the game, a tie results in a push and the player gets to retain their winnings on the last hand.
The Paytable and Hand Rankings in Double Bonus Poker
If you have ever played Bonus Poker, you will find the rankings of the winning hands in Double Bonus Poker are ultimately the same. Minimum payouts start at high pairs of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces while the hand that ranks the highest in value is the Royal Flush. Players are recommended to always bet the maximum number of credits per hand, which is five, because of the bonus payouts of 4,000 credits for Royal Flushes. The Royal is followed by the following hands, listed in descending order – Straight Flush, Four Aces, Four 2s, 3s or 4s, Four 5s through Kings, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and Jacks or higher.
While Double Bonus Poker follows the same rules and hand rankings as Bonus Poker, there are major differences between the two games when it comes to the payouts on certain hands, which is why players should always make sure they examine the paytable before they start. The payouts for all Four of a Kind hands are higher.
The bonus payout on forming a hand with four Aces is especially appealing to players. Most variants of Double Bonus poker offer a return of 160 credits per credit wagered for Four of a Kind with Aces. Four 2s, 3s, or 4s will net you a payout of 80 to 1 while Four of a Kind with 5s through Kings pay 50 to 1.
Beware that in many cases these premium payouts for Four of a Kind hands come at a costly prize because generally there are reductions in the payouts on other winning hands. The most important numbers players need to focus on when choosing a Double Bonus Poker variation are the pay-offs for the Full House, the Flush, and the Straight.
A full-pay game of Double Bonus Poker pays 10 coins (per credit wagered) for a Full House, 7 coins for a Flush, and 5 coins for Straights. One such full-pay variation is frequently referred to as a 10/7/5 game and is the best option for players because it allows them to actually gain the upper hand over the house thanks to the high theoretical return percentage of 100.17%, i.e. if optimal playing strategy is implemented during the sessions. In other words, full-pay Double Bonus Poker is actually a positive expectation game.
The downside is one has to look for such full-pay 10/7/5 games high and low. Most variants of Double Bonus Poker are short-pay, meaning that they offer either 9/7/5 or 9/6/5 pay-offs for the Full House, the Flush, and the Straight. This one-unit reduction in the payouts for the Full House has a significant impact on the overall player return which drops to 99.11% for the 9/7/5 variation. The 9/6/5 variant is even less profitable in the long term as it offers expected return of 97.81% only. There are even Double Bonus games where the payouts for the Straights are further reduced to 4 credits per credit wagered and it goes without saying these can cause players’ bankrolls to go down south at a very rapid pace.
Another thing to factor in when selecting a Double Bonus game is the payout for the Two Pair hand. In order to make up for the bonus payouts on Four of a Kind hands, many Double Bonus variations offer decreased pay-offs on low-ranking hands like Two Pair. Generally, Two Pair pays 2 coins per credit wagered but in Double Bonus, the payout is reduced to even money.
This reduction in the Two Pair payouts has an extremely negative impact on volatility. To put it in simpler terms, players will suffer more pronounced short-term swings when betting on Double Bonus Poker, especially in comparison to other video poker variants such as Jacks or Better and even the standard Bonus Poker. Note that volatility will increase even if the player incorporates advanced playing strategies. The result is far from pleasant as you will end up losing more money, and at a much faster pace, too – those who lack the bankroll to sustain them through these swings are risking to end up their sessions empty-handed.
On the good side, Double Bonus Poker provides players with the opportunity to potentially scoop up some lucrative payouts whenever they form Four of a Kind hands with Aces that offer the premium payout of 160 to 1 and 800 credits for maximum bets.
|Double Bonus Poker Paytable|
|Four 2s, 3s, 4s||80||160||240||320||400|
|Four 5s – Kings||25||50||75||100||125|
|Three of a Kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
Double Double Bonus Poker
Double Double Bonus is yet another derivative of Jacks or Better and for the most part, resembles closely its cousin Double Bonus Poker. The game is played according to the same rules as players again need to select a denomination, adjust the number of credits they play per hand, and attempt to draw to a qualifying hand in order to collect a payout. Another similarity between the two “bonus” variations is the extra-high payout on Four of a Kind hands with Aces.
The biggest difference lies in the fact that the kicker (the irrelevant, fifth card in the hand) also plays a significant role in how much money you collect. Players who draw four Aces will be rewarded with 800 coins for a five-credit bet. Additional payouts of 2,000 credits are rewarded for hitting four Aces with 2, 3 or 4 as a kicker. If players draw four 2s, 3s or 4s and their kicker is Ace through 4 in rank, they will again collect 800 coins for their five-credit bet. The other payouts coincide with those in standard Double Bonus.
Again, it is of essential importance to check the paytable before you proceed to bet on Double Double Bonus Poker since what some variants offer is far from the full pay. The optimal variant of this game is said to pay 10 credits for a Full House and at least 6 credits for a Flush.
|Double Double Bonus Poker Paytable|
|Four Aces with 2, 3 or 4||400||800||1200||1600||2000|
|Four 2s, 3s, 4s with A-4||160||320||480||640||800|
|Four 5s – Kings||50||100||150||200||250|
|Three of a Kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
Strategy to Follow in Double Double Bonus Poker
It makes sense the basic strategy for Double Double Bonus differs from that for the other variation. In Double Double Bonus, players are recommended to keep only the Ace whenever it is accompanied by two high cards of different suits. The value of the Aces in this game is not to be underestimated. Even if you are initially dealt a Full House, the best thing to do would be to break your pat hand and keep only the Aces (if there are any) in an attempt to draw to a Four of a Kind. Aces are the most valuable cards in this game because they can potentially earn players the bonus payout.
In the same vein, when receiving two Aces with a 2, 3, or 4 on the initial deal, the smarter thing to do will be to discard the low-value card instead of trying to eventually use it as a potential kicker. The same applies in cases when players receive a Two Pair with Aces and two other paired cards – the mathematically correct thing to do would be to hold only the Aces. The huge bonus payout is well worth the risk, is it not? Besides, even if you fail, you can still manage to complete a Three of a Kind and collect a payout.
Double Bonus Poker
Full-Pay Deuces Wild
Aces and Faces
Pick’em Video Poker
Video Poker for Real Money
Basic Strategy in Double Bonus Poker
Finding a paytable that is worth your money and efforts is only one of the conditions when it comes to beating the house at Double Bonus Poker. Many players who transition from Jacks or Better to Double Bonus make one crucial mistake – they fail to introduce suitable adjustments in their playing strategy. This is, indeed, a major omission because the huge bonus payouts in the Four of a Kind hands call for such strategy adjustments to be made.
Recognising the proper draw decisions in this game is a bit harder when compared to other video poker variations. This is explained with the fact players need to beware for certain hand combinations which they would otherwise not keep in the other games. Also, it should be mentioned that it is possible to implement the strategy for 9/6 Jacks or Better when playing full-pay Double Bonus Poker, but this would lead to a reduction in expected return from 100.17% to 99.63%.
To avoid this, players should at least follow a basic strategy that takes into consideration the specifics of the Double Bonus paytable. Here are a few handy tips to start with. It makes sense one should always hold strong pat hands, such as Straight Flushes, Royal Flushes, and Four of a Kind. Pat Flushes, Straights, and Full House always should be kept as well.
However, there is an exception to the above rule in cases where players receive a pat Full House with three Aces on the initial deal. In this variation of video poker, it makes more sense to break the Full House, keep the three Aces, discard the pair, and attempt to draw a fourth Ace for Four of a Kind and a hefty bonus payout. The odds to complete the quad are only 2 in 47 but the bonus adds a greater value to this hand.
Another deviation in the strategies of Jacks or Better and Double Bonus concerns high pairs when receiving a four-card, open-ended Straight Flush on the deal. In Double Bonus poker, the mathematically correct thing to do is to discard the high pair and try to fill out the Straight Flush since the latter pays the impressive 250 credits on maximum bets. In comparison, the high pair will only secure an even-money payout for you. This is valid even when it comes to inside Straight Flush draws, which are still worth the effort over playing it safe with the high pair.
When holding four-card Flushes which contain a high pair, the optimal play would be to keep only the high pair. When the initial deal results in a pat Straight, it would be better to hold the Straight instead of making any attempts for improvement by replacing the one-off suit card to complete a Straight Flush. If you are only one card away from the coveted Royal Flush but at the same time, you are already holding a pat Flush, the adequate course of action would be to take the risk and try to draw to the Royal.
The above-listed recommendations are suitable mostly for Double Bonus rookies as they are simpler and would allow for making quick, yet proper decisions in the process of learning the game. One players have mastered this beginner strategy, they can transition to intermediate techniques and later on, to advanced expert strategies.