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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Ace-High-High Hands in Double-Double Bonus Poker

7 March 2020

[Most video poker players in today’s casinos use a playing strategy that I call the hunch strategy. They examine the cards that are initially dealt and decide which cards to hold and which to discard based on what they feel is the right move. In other words, they play their hunches.

The hunch strategy can work well in most cases, such as with a hand containing a high pair and nothing else. But it can also get tricky. Video poker players who want to get the most out of every penny played through a machine know that what may feel like the best move many times is, indeed, not the best.

This is one of a series of articles that examine some holds that may not look like the best hold, but math proves otherwise. All hands are examined as they relate to several Jacks or Better-based games. Specifically, Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, and Double-Double Bonus Poker. And, since pay tables vary from casino to casino (and even within casinos), several popular pay tables are examined.

The term “popular” is taken to mean popular to the more savvy players – not popular with the casino. In other words, only those pay tables that give the player a decent chance to win or at least to play longer. Pay tables that return at least 97 percent to the player if the game has a low variance (meaning lower bankroll fluctuations), and close to 99 percent on pay tables for games that have higher variances.]

The sample hand examined in this article is one that contains an Ace-High-High unsuited. Winpok6 software was used to obtain the results using the specific hand which consists of:

Ace of spade, King of hearts, Jack of diamonds, 2 of diamonds and 8 of clubs. (As Kh Jd 2d 8c).

This hand contains three high cards (As, Kh, Jd) and not much else. Most players using the hunch strategy would save all three high cards hoping for a winning hand containing at least a pair of high cards. But is this the proper hold? By proper, I mean the hold that will return the most money to the player on average.

Let’s look at some specifics.

Double-Double Bonus Poker is a moderate to high variance game. This game is very popular due to a combination of factors.

It has a return of almost 99 percent.
There is an opportunity to score on several high-paying four-of-a-kind hand combinations.

Many casinos have this game with a decent pay table paying nearly 99 percent – and this is the pay table used for this article.

The 9/6 (9-for-1 for a full house, and 6-for-1 for a flush) version returns 98.98 percent with proper play.

Previous articles showed that the proper holds for this hand varied based on the game. The sequence from high to low return holds were as follows.

Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker holds:
Best: Kh, Jd
Second-Best: As, Kh – or – As, Jd
Third-Best: As, Kh, Jd

Double Bonus holds:
Best: Kh, Jd
Second-Best: As, Kh, Jd
Third-Best: As
Fourth-Best: As, Ks – or – As, Jd

Now let’s look at some specifics for Double-Double Bonus Poker.

Holding the three high cards (As, Kh, Jd) returns, on average, 2.1554 credits per the maximum of five credits played.

Holding the Ace along with EITHER the King or the Jack (As, Kh or As, Jd) returns 2.1684 credits.

Holding the King and Jack (Kh, Jd) returns 2.2134 credits. So far, holding the King and Jack is the best hold just as it was for the three previously examined games.

However, thanks to very high pays for a hand containing four aces and especially hands containing four aces along with a 2, 3 or 4, holding the lone ace is the best hold.

It returns 2.2577 credits.

By holding lone the Ace of spades, the following hands are possible.

One possible royal flush paying 800-for-1.

One possible straight flush paying 50-for-1.

11 possible hands containing four aces and a 2, 3, or 4 paying 400-for-1.

Two possible hands containing four 2’s, 3’s or 4’s with an Ace, 2, 3, or 4 paying 160-for-1.

33 hands containing four aces paying 160-for-1.

None of these hands are possible if the king and jack are held. While the probability of hitting these hands may be relatively rare, the large pays for them makes holding the lone ace the best hold for the game of Double-Double Bonus Poker.

So, now you know.

The next article in this series will look at the proper holds for special hands while playing Double-Double Bonus Poker.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com