Casino Beat: Deuces Wild Bonus

Got some free play you don’t know what to do with? Deuces Wild and Deuces Wild Bonus are fun alternatives to Jacks or Better poker. But there are some subtle differences in strategy when playing to win the bigger jackpots.

Our free play days are usually on the weekend.
Our free play days are usually on the weekend.

Just about all the local casinos in Las Vegas these days are mailing out calendars to club card members enticing them with free play offers. If you want to use your free play, but don’t like slot machines that feature random spinning hieroglyphics, try a poker game which requires some skill and thought. Even if your free play offer is only for five dollars (like the ones my wife and I get) on a dime machine that’s worth ten spins at max bet and on a nickel that’s worth twenty spins at max bet. (the max bet is usually 5 units, but sometimes it’s 10 so be careful.)

With a top pay-out of four thousand (4,000) units or more on most poker machines, sometimes those free play offers can put some extra jingle in your pocket.

Who wants to say “‘Tis the season!” first?

Two of the most popular slot poker games are Bonus Poker and Double Bonus Poker. Both of these games are basically Five Card Stud. They each use a standard 52-card deck and require the player to get a pair of Jacks or better to win. Five cards are dealt, the player chooses which cards he wants to keep and discards the rest. It’s pretty straight forward. A pair of Jacks or better and you win your bet back. Two pair, three of a kind, straights, flushes, full houses, four of kind, straight flushes and royal flushes each pay progressively more. (a royal flush typically pays 4,000 units and sometimes more if the game is a “progressive” game where the jackpot keeps building until someone hits it.)

Five of a Kind only looks good in regular Deuces Wild.
Five of a Kind only looks good in regular Deuces Wild.

A variation on this basic Five Card Stud game is Deuces Wild and Deuces Wild Bonus, where, as you may have guessed, deuces are wild. Since there is more likelihood of hitting a winning hand with four wild cards in the deck, the difference is that it takes Three of a Kind instead of Jacks or better to win. The other difference is that the pay-out scale in Deuces Wild is usually weighted towards the two or three best hands, with all the other winning hands paying a more modest multiple of your initial bet (see the attached pay-out scale for a standard Deuces Wild game). More hands generally win, but fewer hands have a nice pay-out. For instance, a distinction is made between a Royal Flush made without deuces (the top jackpot) versus a Royal Flush made with deuces. A Royal Flush made with deuces is the third prize in standard Deuces Wild and the sixth (6th!!!) prize in Deuces Wild Bonus.

This is a key reason why a player’s basic strategy should be adjusted from a standard Five Card Stud Jacks are Better game when playing Deuces Wild. Instead of keeping face cards over a low pair (i.e., 3’s-10’s) like you would in Jacks or Better, you keep the pair and go for a match, hopefully catching a deuce also for Four of a Kind. They call it Deuces Wild for a reason. The machine is programmed to throw deuces. If you’re on a Deuces Wild machine that isn’t throwing a lot of deuces get up and walk away because there’s only three hands worth hitting in Deuces Wild and they are the Royal Flush without Deuces (800-to-1 but very, very rare), Four Deuces (200-to-1) and the Royal Flush with Deuces (25-to-1). Five of a Kind only pays 15-to1 and Four of a Kind only pays 4-to1. You’ve got to go for the deuces even if you’re dealt another pair in Deuces Wild. Unless you’re dealt four to the royal, if you get dealt two deuces, throw the other three cards away and go for four deuces!

Deuces Wild Bonus Poker has more big jackpots than regular Deuces Wild
Deuces Wild Bonus Poker has more big jackpots than regular Deuces Wild

A nice variation on Deuces Wild is Deuces Wild Bonus Poker because more hands have bigger jackpots. If you plan on just playing a couple dozen hands to try your luck, in Deuces Wild Bonus hitting a Royal Flush with Deuces pays the same 25-to-1, but Five of a Kind pays a minimum of 20-to-1 for five sixes through Kings, 40-to-1 for five threes, fours or fives, 80-to-1 for five aces and 400-to-1 for four deuces plus an ace! So the strategy in the Bonus game is to hold two deuces with another pair (especially a pair of aces!) to go for a better paying Five of a Kind.

Four deuces with any other card pays 200-to-1 just like in regular Deuces Wild and a Royal without deuces pays the same whopping (but rare) 400-to-1. So the better pay-outs for Five of a Kind in Deuces Wild Bonus Poker is why I prefer it over the standard Deuces Wild game when using my free play.

WEEK #13 NFL picks:

Jake Delhomme and the Panthers falling apart last week against the Jets ruined what otherwise would have been a perfect 3-0. (I was 10-3 in the Station Casino Great Giveaway contest though.) No more backing marginal teams. There’s only four weeks left to go. We know who the good teams are now. Right?

Texans +1 at Jacksonville
Vikings -4 1/2 at Arizona
Cowboys +1 at NY Giants
Saints -9 at Washington

Last week: 2-1
Season-to-date: 22-20-2


2 responses on “Casino Beat: Deuces Wild Bonus

  1. Wow, that’s some amazing detail about those perplexing video poker games. I may have to print this out and carry it with me — like a “cheat sheet”



  2. Hey, Eric — Thanks for this. You’ve answered quite a few questions I had about how those games work. I’m not a player, but I really enjoy knowing how the games operate.

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