Deuces Wild Video Poker Strategy

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The Video Poker game known as “Deuces Wild” is a variation of Five-Card Draw Poker played with wild cards—i.e., the four deuces. It follows the rules of basic Draw Poker and rewards the player for forming any hand with at least a three of a kind, which worth even money (1:1). Higher payouts are made for eight types of “premium” hands. On a “full pay” machine, the awards are: straight (2:1), flush (2:1), full house (3:1), four of a kind (5:1), straight flush (9:1), five of a kind (15:1), wild Royal flush (25:1), four deuces (250:1) and natural Royal flush (800:1).

As in all games of Video Poker, the objective is to win by meeting or exceeding the minimum threshold requirement, i.e., three of a kind. In this game, a losing hand—one containing less than three of a kind—can be expected on about 54%~55% of all deals. Any three of a kind paying even money—neither winning nor losing—will come up about 28%~29% of the time. That means only 16%~18% of all hands results in a premium hand and earns a profit.

Decisions Based on Deuces

Unlike Video Poker games played without wild cards, the strategy for Deuces Wild is totally dependent upon how many deuces are received on the initial deal. With four deuces, there is no choice but to hold them; the hand cannot be improved. With three deuces, the object is to catch the fourth deuce or a wild Royal flush, so discard any cards that do not serve that purpose, with the exception of five of a kind.

With two deuces, the priorities become more complicated. Always hold a wild Royal flush, five of a kind or a straight flush. Draw one card to four of a kind or any four cards to a wild Royal flush or any two consecutive suited cards. Otherwise hold only the two deuces and draw three cards.

With just one deuce, hold all premium hands valued at a full house or better. Also hold three of a kind, any straight or flush, unless the hand contains four cards to a potential Royal or straight flush. For hands less that three of a kind, hold three cards to a possible Royal or straight flush, otherwise hold the deuce only.

All Other Decisions

For initial hands that do not contain any deuces, “always keep the winners” when holding three of a kind, a full house, four of a kind, a straight flush or a Royal flush. Breaking up such winning combinations should not be considered. Hold any pair or any two pair unless it is possible to keep four to a Royal or straight flush or three to a possible Royal.

If neither a deuce nor a pair is dealt initially, the following list indicates what cards to keep in order of priority, from highest to lowest:

  1. 4 to a flush
  2. 4 to an outside straight
  3. 3 to a straight flush, spread 3-4 or suited 3-4-5
  4. 2 to a royal flush, jack highest
  5. 3 to a straight flush, spread 5 and suited 3-4-6 or 3-5-6
  6. 4 to an inside straight, except missing deuce
  7. 2 to a royal flush, queen highest
  8. 2 to a royal flush, king highest

Hands that do not fit any of the patterns described above are “garbage” and all five cards should be discarded. By following this strategy exactly, the player can expect a return rate of very close to 100%.

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