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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Double Double Bonus Poker: Question 5

4 January 2020

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.

The sample hands are all from emails actual that have been received.

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 thru 4 – 800 credits
• 4 Aces – 800 credits
• 4 2s, 3s, or 4s – 400 credits
• 4 5s thru Kings – 250
• Full House – 45 credits
• Flush – 30 credits
• Straight – 20
• 3 of a kind – 15
• Two Pairs – 5
• Jacks or Better – 5

What is the best hold for this hand? Ac, Js, Kc, 3s, 2d

This hand contains two cards of a royal flush (Ac, Kc), two high cards (Js, Kc), the ace and one high card (Ac, Js), three high cards (Ac, Js, Kc), and the lone Ace of clubs.

Which is the best hold?

Let’s see what the math says.

Although it is possible to manually calculate the average return of any hand, using a video poker program is a whole lot easier. The results below are from Winpok6.

Option 1: Hold the two cards of a royal flush (Ac, Kc).
Average return is 2.7172 for five credits played.

Option 2: Hold the two high cards (Js, Kc).
Average return is 2.2134 credits for five credits played.

Option 3: Hold the ace and one high card (Ac, Js).
Average return is 2.1684 credits for five credits played.

Option 4: Hold the three high cards (Ac, Js, Kc)
Average return is 2.1554 credits for five credits played.

Option 5: Hold the lone ace of clubs.
Average return is 2.1926 credits for five credits played.

None of the holds will recover the initial five credits bet, but the winner is holding the two cards of a royal flush - option 1.

Let’s examine why that is true.

Holding the two cards of a royal flush provides the opportunity for 6138 winning hands. They are:

• 4,914 hands containing a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces paying five credits.
• 711 hands containing two pairs paying five credits.
• 281 hands containing three-of-a-kind paying 15 credits.
• 47 hands containing a straight paying 20 credits.
• 164 hands containing a flush paying 30 credits.
• 18 hands containing a full house paying 45 credits.
• 1 hand containing four kings paying 250 credits.
• 1 hand containing four aces paying 800 credits.
• 1 hand containing a royal flush paying 4,000 credits.

The overall average return for this hold is 2.7172 credits.

Holding two high cards provides the opportunity for 6,038 winning hands. They are:

• 4,914 hands containing a pair of jacks, queens, kings, or aces paying five credits.
• 711 hands containing two pairs paying five credits.
• 281 hands containing three-of-a-kind paying 15 credits.
• 112 hands containing a straight paying 20 credits.
• 18 hands containing a full house paying 45 credits.
• 2 hands containing four kings or jacks paying 250 credits.

The overall average return for this hold is 2.2134 credits.

By holding the ace and jack you have 5,974 possible winning hands. They are:

• 4,914 hands containing a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces paying 5 credits.
• 711 hands containing two pairs paying 5 credits.
• 281 hands containing a three-of-a-kind paying 15 credits.
• 48 hands containing a straight paying 20 credits.
• 18 hands containing a full house paying 45.
• 1 hand containing four jacks paying 250 credits.
• 1 hand containing four aces 800 credits.

The overall average return for this hold is 2.1684 credits.

By holding the three high cards you have 400 possible winning hands. They are:

• 348 hands containing a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces paying 5 credits.
• 27 hands containing two pairs paying 5 credits.
• 9 hands containing a three-of-a-kind paying 15 credits.
• 16 hands containing a straight paying 20 credits.

The overall average return for this hold is 2.1554 credits.

Holding the lone ace of clubs provides 55,255 possible winning hands. They are:

• 41,322 hands containing a pair of jacks, queens, kings or aces paying 5 credits.
• 8,874 hands containing two pairs paying 5 credits.
• 4,102 hands containing a three-of-a-kind paying 15 credits.
• 287 hands containing a straight paying 20 credits.
• 329 hands containing a flush paying 30 credits.
• 288 hands containing a full house paying 45.
• 7 hands containing four 5’s thru kings paying 250 credits.
• 34 hands containing four aces 800 credits.
• 1 hand containing four 2’s, 3’s, 4’s with a kicker paying 800 credits.
• 10 hands containing four aces with a kicker paying 2,000 credits.
• 1 hand containing a straight flush paying 250 credits.

Even though there are several high paying hands possible with this hold, there is no royal flush since the king was discarded. The overall average return 2.1926 credits.

The best way to play this hand is option one - hold the two cards of a royal flush. This hold may not return the initial bet on average, but it is the highest paying of all the options.

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.

All of the questions on how to play the hands shown in this series, or any hand for that matter, are answered if the player asking the question has the proper playing strategy.

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 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