Deuces Wild Video Poker

Deuces Wild video poker remains the most commonly found variation of so-called "wild" video poker games. You can play it, and understand how to play it well, with just a basic grasp of both video poker and what wild cards bring to the game. And the good news is that if you can locate the right machine or the right version of the game on a top legit gambling website, you can actually expect to make a profit off the game.

Video poker has grown from its basic roots as what was essentially a simulation of the five-card draw poker games that are often played informally by people at home. The initial video poker game was Jacks or Better, which was known for its steady play. Yet Jacks or Better gameplay can become stale, and there aren't a lot of opportunities for big payoffs.

Two types of games came along to change that scenario. Bonus games solved the problems of big payouts by rearranging the pay tables to reward certain hands in significant fashion so that jackpot-style payments were in reach. And wild card games were the answer to stale play since the opportunity to turn certain cards into anything in the deck meant that huge hands could easily be achieved.

Deuces Wild video poker stands out among the wild card games for the familiarity of its concept and the simplicity of the gameplay. If you've played poker recreationally, you know that deuces, or twos, are often made wild because they are normally the least desirable card to receive. Tacking that notion onto video poker didn't take much of a stretch for game makers.

With four wild cards in a deck of 52, Deuces Wild video poker puts hands that would be huge long shots in other video poker games right within the grasp of gamblers. It even creates a hand that couldn't be achieved without the wild cards: five of a kind. Getting one or more wild cards on the deal or the draw goes a long way to ensuring a solid payoff.

Yet those who play Deuces Wild video poker have to realize that they aren't simply going to coast to easy winnings due to the presence of wild cards. Pay tables for these games are adjusted so that common winning hands hardly pay out, if at all. Still, the payback for certain Deuces Wild video poker stands among the best in all of video poker.

In the following article, we'll take a look at video poker play and how Deuces Wild video poker compares to that with the use of the wild cards. We'll look at the pay tables you might find when encountering this game and how those tables affect payback percentages. Finally, we'll examine strategy for the game and talk about the benefits and drawbacks of this type of video poker.

Learning Basic Video Poker

Video poker is a game that is loved by the people who play it frequently. They rave about how it, in many ways, can be favorably compared to both table games and slot machines. It takes the best aspects of that entertainment and improves upon them.

When you play a game like Deuces Wild video poker in a casino, you can do so without any pressure from other gamblers or casino employees. It's like a slot machine in that respect. But the strategic elements of the game put winning and losing in your control, much more so than with slot machines.

On top of that, probabilities are major factors in video poker. You go into the game knowing that there are only 52 cards in the deck, and that total dictates the chances of your receiving specific winning hands. When playing slot machines, you have no idea what the probabilities of getting a winning spin might be.

Video poker allows you to know how much each machine will return to you on average, so there isn't any guesswork in that respect. Those payback percentages are very competitive compared to other games. In many video poker games, like Deuces Wild video poker, the edge for the house is minimal or nonexistent.

So, how do you play? Let's walk through how it all works:

  • Inserting Your Money: Putting money in a video poker machine will provide you with a bankroll. Most machines give you the chance to choose your denomination. Your bankroll will be determined by the amount that you put in divided by the denomination. (Example: $10 in the machine at a 25-cent machine would equal 40 coins or credits.)
  • Making Your Bet: Games like Deuces Wild video poker offer you the chance to bet between one and five coins per hand. You don't have to make a uniform bet, meaning that you have the ability to change the bet from hand to hand. But, as we'll explain later, it's a wise idea to bet the maximum five coins for every hand you play if you can swing it.
  • Seeing the Deal: Your goal when playing video poker is to make one of the winning hands that pay off, as determined by the pay table that you'll be able to see on the machine. You will receive five cards on the deal. In some cases, you'll have enough on the deal to be a winner, but more than likely you'll need some help from the draw round.
  • Making Your Decision: This is the point where video poker strategy comes into play during gameplay. From your original deal, you can keep all of your cards. Alternatively, you can discard any number of those cards, which will be then replaced by other cards from the original simulated deck. That means that you can't get two of the same cards in your final hand and you can't get one of the cards you discarded.
  • Scoring Your Hand: Scoring the hand is actually done by the computer. If you've managed to put together some combination of cards that will pay off, your credits will be rewarded. Otherwise, since your bet had already been deducted at the start of the game, a losing hand will mean that nothing gets added.
  • Continuing the Action: You can play as many hands as you like as long as you still have credits left in the machine. If you run out of money, you'll have to insert more to keep playing. Or, if you have credits left and want to quit, you can cash out and receive a ticket from the machine with your remaining money.

Explaining Wild Cards

The concept of wild cards brings a fascinating aspect to video poker play. In most video poker games, what you get is what you get, and you just have to hope that your luck and strategy work in your favor. Wild cards give you an extra added boost as they allow you to change the cards designated as wild into whatever card you need the most to make a winning hand.

In the case of Deuces Wild video poker, as the name makes clear, the four twos in the deck are designated as the wild cards. When you play normal video poker, getting a two in your hand isn't the most exciting thing. When you see one or more appear in your hand in this game, however, you'll likely get a serious boost of adrenaline.

Let's look at a sample hand to explain how the wild card works. Imagine that you end up with the following cards:

Two of Hearts, Two of Clubs, Six of Diamonds, Eight of Diamonds, Nine 
of Diamonds

In most video poker machines, this is a losing hand. But in Deuces Wild video poker, you can take the twos and turn them into whatever makes the hand the most lucrative to you. In this case, you can transform this hand into a straight flush, which is five consecutive cards of the same suit.

How? One of the twos can become the five of diamonds, and the other can become the seven of diamonds. That gives you a five through nine of diamonds.

Keep in mind that the machine will do the transforming of the wild cards for you after the draw round. In other words, it won't be on you to decide what the cards will become. Your machine will automatically change them into whatever you need to make the best hand.

You will have to strategize a bit when you get one or more twos on the deal. It's important that you can look ahead to all the possibilities with wild cards in play. We'll talk more about that in the strategy section below.

Checking the Pay Tables for Deuces Wild Video Poker

Video poker machines, as well as online versions of the game, include pay tables. These pay tables are crucial pieces of information. They'll tell you what to expect from the game in terms of payback, and they'll also help dictate what kind of strategy you should use in terms of holds and discards.

In terms of Deuces Wild video poker, you really have to be on your guard with respect to pay tables because there are a lot of them out there. You might walk into a casino and see two or more different versions of the game carrying different pay tables. It can make for a mighty confusing prospect.

Nonetheless, let's take a look at one of the versions that is relatively common so we can see how it affects gameplay.


1 coin

2 coins

3 coins

4 coins

5 coins

Royal flush






Four deuces






Wild royal flush






Five of a kind






Straight flush






Four of a kind






Full house


















Three of a kind







Let's first talk about how to read the pay table. Imagine that you made a four of a kind hand and bet five coins. Simply follow the "4 of a kind" row over to where it meets the "5 coins" column, and you'll see the number 25.

That means that you've won 25 coins for that hand. Keep in mind that the number does include the amount bet, so your profit would be 20 coins (25 minus 5.) To figure out how much money you made, multiply the number of coins won by the denomination.

Now let's take a look at some of the interesting aspects of a Deuces Wild video poker pay table. You might be aware of Jacks or Better pay tables and, if so, you're probably aware of some differences right off the bat.

On the one hand, the Deuces Wild video poker pay table includes a return for five of a kind. That hand can only come into play with wild cards since there are only four of each rank in a standard deck.

You'll also notice that there are a few hands that pay off in Jacks or Better that don't pay in Deuces Wild video poker. These include a pair of jacks or better and two pair. Quite simply, these hands are too easy to achieve with wild cards in play and would cause the machine to lose significant money over time if they paid back to players.

Finally, there is a distinction made between a wild royal flush and a royal flush. The difference is that a royal flush is achieved in the natural way (ten through ace of the same suit), while a wild royal flush occurs when a wild card helps the hand. Examples:

Royal Flush:

Royal Flush: Ten of Clubs, Jack of Clubs, Queen of Clubs, King of 
Clubs, Ace of Clubs

Wild Royal Flush:

Wild Royal Flush: Two of Spades, Jack of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, Two 
of Diamonds, Two of Clubs

In the example above, the wild royal flush is made by converting the three twos into the ten, jack and ace of hearts. As you might be able to guess, a natural flush is much harder to achieve. That's why it pays off so much more.

Payback Percentages for Deuces Wild Video Poker Variations

A payback percentage is a number that gives video poker players an idea of what they can expect from the machine that they are playing. Any casino game that contains set probabilities and payoff amounts will have a payback percentage that can be calculated. Video poker payback percentages come from taking the probabilities of receiving winning hands and combining that information with the pay tables.

You can do all that on your own, or you can take the information from internet sources that have already done the work for you. In the case of Deuces Wild video poker, what makes this a little difficult is the sheer amount of variations that can be found. There are in the neighborhood of 25 pay tables that can be found if you look hard enough in casinos and online casino sites.

Your best bet to find out what you're dealing with in terms of the pay tables is to do a quick internet search to see what the percentage might be when you see a specific one. What you'll see is that certain hands are the ones that are adjusted most on pay tables, with the five of a kind and straight flush being the most common targets.

What we can tell you is that the payback percentage for the pay table above is 100.76%. That means that you can reasonably expect to walk away from this version of Deuces Wild video poker with a profit during an average session.

What does that mean?

Let's say you put $10,000 into a machine with that pay table. On average, you could expect to walk away from that machine with $10,076 on your ticket. That would be a $76 profit.

But you have to remember that this is only an average amount based on the probabilities and pay tables. Your experience might be different depending on your luck and skill level.

Still, anytime that a machine weighs in at above 100%, you should really stick to it. There aren't too many games that eliminate the house edge. Most other versions of the game will come in at under 100%, so you need to research their pay tables to see what your expectations can be.

Building Strategy for Deuces Wild Video Poker

When we talk about payback percentages, we are talking about totals that can only be achieved with "perfect play." That means that you're making the right decision every single hand that you play.

and pay tables contribute to what the right play might be for a given hand. Let's take a look at a sample hand of Deuces Wild video poker to see what all this means. Imagine that you receive the following cards on the deal:

Two of Clubs, Seven of Clubs, Seven of Hearts, Eight of Hearts, Nine 
of Hearts

Right off the bat, you'll notice the wild card, which is a great start for the hand. There are two other seeds forming as well. You'll need to choose between them.

On the one hand, the two sevens and the wild card give you at least a three of a kind, with the chance to improve that on the draw if you dump the eight and the nine. But you also have four cards to a straight flush, with four possible outs in the deck that will make that lucrative hand for you.

As it turns out, going for the straight flush is the slightly better play in terms of the probabilities and potential payouts. Keep in mind, however, that making the right choice will not always result in a winning hand. And you could make the wrong choice and come out a winner.

Imagine, with that hand, that the top two cards from the simulated deck on the draw are another seven and another wild card. That would give you five of a kind if you had kept the sevens. Meanwhile, a seven on the draw, if you went for the straight, would only give you a three of a kind for an even-money payout.

The bottom line is that if you played this hand an infinite number of times, going for the straight flush would return you more money than if you kept the three of a kind. Knowing that information will help you approach perfect play.

How do you learn that? Here are three ways:

  • Free Play: Most online casinos will let you play games for free if you have an account. You can play Deuces Wild video poker and get the hang of the wild card aspects of play.
  • Video Poker Training: Even better than free play, video poker training software will teach you what the right discards and holds are as you play. Simply set it up so that you're playing a Deuces Wild pay table. When you make a mistake, the game will let you know.
  • Strategy Charts: A strategy chart for Deuces Wild video poker will lay out all of the possibilities in terms of hands you might receive on the deal. You can consult the chart and compare your hand to it. When you see where your hand lies on the list, you'll know which cards in your hand are inessential and can be discarded.

Benefits of Deuces Wild Video Poker

  • Easy to understand gameplay
  • Excitement of the wild cards
  • Competitive pay tables

Drawbacks of Deuces Wild Video Poker

  • Low or no payoff for common hands
  • Lots of different pay tables to sift through
  • Absolute beginners might struggle with wild card concept

Strategy Tips for Beginning Deuces Wild Video Poker Players

  • Play the Max. A max bet is the only way that you can get the best payout for the natural royal flush hand. If you find it too expensive to play the max bet each hand, you should consider dropping down to a lower denomination.
  • Start It Over. Don't be afraid to discard your whole hand if a wild card doesn't appear. You might occasionally come up with a deal that doesn't include a wild card and yet has the seeds of something good. But the more chances you have to draw a wild card, the better.
  • Goodbye, Two Pair. Believe it or not, a two pair hand on the deal, with no wild card involved, won't do you a lot of good. It won't pay off on its own, and the only hand to which it can be improved on the draw, the full house, isn't that lucrative. You're better off holding just a single pair and looking for wild cards on the draw.


Deuces Wild video poker continues to be one of the most popular of the wild card versions of video poker. Seeing those deuces on the deal or draw will have your eyes lighting up with the possibilities. Just make sure to choose your pay table wisely before proceeding.
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