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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Double Double Bonus poker: Question 1

2 November 2019

I regularly receive questions concerning how to play certain video poker hands. A previous article gave some basic information about the game of Double-Double Bonus video poker. If you are not familiar with this game, take a look at it before continuing with this article.

All the answers in this series are based on the following pay table. The pay numbers are totals for five credits bet on the hand.

• Royal Flush – 4,000 credits
• Straight Flush – 250 credits
• 4 Aces w/ 2, 3 or 4 – 2,000 credits
• 4 2s, 3s or 4s w/ Ace through 4 – 800 credits
• 4 Aces – 800 credits
• 4 2s, 3s or 4s – 400 credits
• 4 5s through Kings – 250
• Full House – 45 credits
• Flush – 30 credits
• Straight – 20
• 3 of a Kind – 15
• Two Pairs – 5
• Jacks or Better – 5

One of the most common questions concerns a hand that has three aces and a 2, 3 or 4.

There is a very logical reason for this.

A hand containing four aces without a 2, 3 or 4 pays 800-for-5. A hand containing four aces and a “kicker" of a 2, 3 or 4 pays 2,000-for-5. That is two and a half times as much. With that much riding on the decision, is it better to keep a kicker with the three aces or is it better to just keep the three aces?

Let’s assume the dealt hand contains Ac, Ah, Ad, 8s and 2s. Although it is possible to manually calculate the average return of any hand, using a video poker program is a whole lot easier. The result below are from Winpok6.

There are really only two options of holding cards.

Option 1: Hold the three aces and the 2 of spades.
Average return is 59.1489 credits for five credits played.

Option 2: Hold just the three aces.
Average return is 62.4468 credits for five credits played.

Clearly the best option is option 2. But why is that the case?

If you include the kicker along with the three aces, you are limiting the number of winning hands that can be made. There is a total of 47 possible winning hands if you hold the kicker with the three aces. They are:

• 43 possible hands with three of a kind paying 15-for-5.
• Three possible hands with a full house paying 45-for-5.
• Only one possible hand with four aces and a kicker paying 2,000-for-5.

However, by holding only the aces, there are 1,081 possible winning hands. They are:

• 969 possible hands with three of a kind paying 15-for-5.
• 66 hands with a full house paying 45-for-5.
• 35 possible hands with four aces paying 800-for-5.
• 11 possible hands with four aces and a kicker paying 2,000-for-5.

Some readers may ask how it is possible to have 35 hands that have four aces when there is only one ace left in the deck. The answer is simple. There may only be one ace left in the deck, but there are 35 other cards in the deck that don’t make a hand of four aces and a kicker.

The numbers are clear. The best way to play a hand containing three aces and a kicker is to hold just the three aces. This allows many more opportunities to score a hand containing four aces or four aces with a kicker and improves the overall return of this hand.

Please keep in mind that the answer(s) above are based on the specific pay table shown. It is possible that different pay tables will result in a different recommended hold.

If you are serious about playing video poker and play a moderate amount, it will pay to learn the proper playing strategy for the specific game you are playing (if you do not already do so). To do this, find the playing strategy online. Playing strategies for many of the most popular games and pay tables are available there. Playing strategies for games and pay tables that are not available online can be generated by video poker programs and apps available for purchase either online or from a smartphone app store. Consider purchasing one of these to give yourself the best chance of winning.

While the phrase “it is better to be lucky than good” has some merit, the more video poker you play, the less luck is involved and the more the math of the game reigns. Take advantage of that.

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, 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