Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker

Aces & Deuces Bonus Poker

Although many video poker players assume these games are more predictable than the average slot machine, some types of video poker are more volatile than others. Increasing payoffs in a game increases the chance the player runs out of money before hitting a big prize. That is volatility in a nutshell. The greater the reward you seek the more risk you take. For some people that is what makes the game more exciting.

The Ace & Deuce variation of Double Bonus Poker comes with all the risk and reward of the basic game. Players should also expect the complexity of Double Bonus Poker via competing pay tables and different strategies from what they may be used to in Jacks or Better or even simple Bonus Poker video games.

The "bonus" in Bonus Poker games is the addition of one more winning hands to the pay table. The "Double" means they pay double the prize in the normal Bonus game. The pay tables are adjusted on the lower end, where the more frequently occurring winning hands already pay low prizes. You'll see two pair drop from a 2-for-1 payoff to even money. There is no getting around that: this game forces you to be more aggressive.

Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker Video Poker Basics

The Bonus Hands In This Game Are As Follows:
  • Four aces deuce
  • Four deuces ace
  • Four aces or deuces (3 - king)
  • Four (3 - king) (ace or deuce)
  • Four (3 - king) (3 - king)

As in other types of video poker the different pay tables are identified by looking at the middle value hand multipliers. In this game those hands are full house, flush, and straight. All three may change from pay table to pay table. Hence, you'll see people talk about "10/7/5" games rather than"9/6" games as they do when discussing Jacks or Better. The best pay table in Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker is "9/6/4".

Because of the double payouts on the two highest bonus hands players will be more likely to bail on a possible straight flush in this game. And obviously deuces become more valuable cards in many cases.

How to Play Video Poker Games

Video poker games follow the same general pattern. You begin by placing an opening bet. In most games that is the only bet you will make per hand. Stud games allow you to make additional bets. Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker is a variation on five card draw so you only make one bet per hand.

The player bets 1 to 5 coins and clicks on "Deal". The game then deals five cards. The player chooses which cards to hold. If there is an obvious high value winner the game immediately acknowledges the win and pays the prize.

The player clicks on the cards that are to be held and then clicks on "Draw". The game either scores the hand if all five cards are held or it replaces the cards that are not being held.

The final hand is scored according to the pay table.

The pay table is the real magic in video poker. In most styles of video poker the pay tables provide enough information for astute and meticulous players to compute the probability distributions and expected return to player. You know from the type of game you choose if you are playing with a standard 52 card deck or a deck joker.

The expected return to player is defined as the percentage of wagers placed over an extended period of time (say a month or a year) that is paid back to the players. Whatever remains is deemed to be the "house edge". Playback percentage is calculated as if players make perfect choices in every game. In practice tired, drunken players and inexperienced players will make a lot of bad choices. Hence, casinos expect to retain more than the projected house edge on these games.

For that reason players often download or compute strategy cards to help them play the possible game.

In some video poker games playback percentage can exceed 100%.

That means the games are theoretical losers for the casinos. Although some people try to explain why the casinos would keep losing games on the floor their monthly reports to gaming commissions make it clear that they are not losing money.

The wise player never assumes a game will pay back more than 100% no matter what the calculators say. Video poker is popular because it's a more transparent game that demands some skill from players. It's not popular because it's handing out boatloads of cash. When you win that big prize you can still put it all back in, just as players may on other types of games.

How Does Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker Video Poker Affect Playback Percentage?

The math is a bit complicated. The nutshell explanation is that adding those bonus hands to the pay table and paying better prizes changes the distributions on the total payouts. In other words, these combinations are not more or less likely to be dealt or drawn than in a Jacks or Better game. The payouts are what change the playback percentage.

To include more high value prizes in the pay table the game has to reduce the prizes for the lower value "winning" hands. In fact, Ace & Deuce bonus poker technically does not add any new hands to the pay table. All it does is divide the "four of a kind" hands into five different types of hands. If compare the probability tables for Jacks or Better to Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker you'll see that most of the probabilities are very close to each other. If you add the five probabilities for "four of a kind" hands together their sum is 0.002386. In Jacks or Better the probability for any "four of a kind" hand is 0.002355.

Because most prizes are paid from the lower end of the pay table the extra prize values are covered by the adjusted distribution. That is the simple, intuitive explanation. It's enough to understand this game is not giving you anything extra. What the game does is collect more wagers to cover the cost of those higher payouts. They don't actually occur much more frequently than in Jacks or Better.

What the Pay Table for Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker Video Poker Looks Like

The following odds were computed by Michael Shackleford based on the highest pay table from the game. This is an illustrative example and the games you find in play may have different pay tables.

Royal flush 800 0.000024 0.019512
Straight flush 50 0.00011 0
Four aces + deuce 400 0.000026 0.010304
Four deuces + ace 400 0.000022 0.008802
Four (aces or deuces) + (3 - king) 160 0.000354 0.056573
Four (3 - king) + (ace or deuce) 80 0.000362 0.028988
Four (3 - king) + (3 - king) 50 0.001622 0.081082
Full house 9 0.010757 0.096813
Flush 6 0.01134 0.068042
Straight 4 0.012731 0.050923
Three of a kind 3 0.075372 0.226117
Two pair 1 0.123081 0.123081
Jacks or Better 1 0.212043 0.212043
Nothing 0 0.552156 0

Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker Video Poker Strategy Tips

The rule of thumb is that if you begin with a Jacks or Better strategy it will lower your expected return. Nonetheless, many players start there and make some minor adjustments based on their experience. There are several different ways to suggest strategy for this game. If you have a full strategy card to consult you can run down a list of more than 30 options.

The following strategy is simplified and therefore easier to remember. It sacrifices a few better opportunities, especially in the three card combos. For example, it would probably be better to hold a low pair or AKQJ unsuited than to hold three to a straight flush.

Hold A Royal Flush, Straight Flush, or Four of Any Kind.

Hold A Full House, Straight, or Flush Except When You Have:

  • Three aces
  • Four to a royal flush

Hold Any of These Four Card Combos:

  • Four to a royal flush
  • Four to a straight flush
  • Four to a flush
  • Four to an outside straight
  • Four to an inside straight with 3, 2, or 1 high card

Hold Any of These Three Card Combos:

  • Three of a kind
  • Three to a royal flush
  • Three to a straight flush
  • Three to a flush with 2 high cards

How important is strategy for this game? It's more important than in Jacks or Better because of the volatility. If you consistently settle for lower paying wins you'll lose your money faster. Depending only on random luck to hand you four aces or better is not the way to survive in this game.


Ace & Deuce Bonus Poker video poker is designed to test basic player skills. By dangling the promise of higher payoffs in front of the player the game encourages players to be more aggressive. Aggressive play can lead to more mistakes but the built in volatility will make it difficult for less experienced players to know if they are riding the roller coaster or falling out of the car.

In simpler games it's easier to leverage the more common low value hands to stay about even until the game deals you some nice cards. You don't have that option in this game. Merely settling for even money payouts means your bankroll has to eat every loss. The estimated distribution for nothing is about 55% in this game. You have to go for the better wins when you have the opportunities.

Don't expect to see opportunities to put together four of a kind very often. You will have more opportunities to upgrade to three of a kind, straight, flush, or full house on the draw.

This game calls for a combination of wits, patience, and a good memory or strategy card.
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