Double Bonus Video Poker Strategy

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Double Bonus Video Poker, also known as 10/7 Video Poker, is a variation of “Bonus Video Poker,” which pays additional bonuses for certain premium hands. The “double bonus” refers to an increase in the bonuses paid for hands containing four of a kind. When the four-of-a-kind is Aces, the payout is increased to 160:1 instead of the customary 80:1 bonus. For four-of-a-kind with 2~4, the payout is 80:1 instead of 40:1, and for all other card values (5~K) it is 45:1 rather than 25:1.

Additionally, the payout for a full house is raised from 8:1 to 10:1, while the payoff for a flush goes up from 5:1 to 7:1 and for a straight it increases from 4:1 to 5:1. The trade-off for these bonuses comes from a reduction in the payout for two pair to even money (1:1) instead of the standard 2:1. A pair of Jacks is still worth even money (1:1), three of a kind stays at 3:1, the straight flush still pays 50:1 and the Royal flush payout also remains unchanged at 800:1 for max bet or 250:1 otherwise.

As in Jacks or Better, a losing hand—one containing less than a pair of Jacks—can be expected on about 56%~57% of all deals. A high pair (Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces) or two pair paying even money—neither winning nor losing—will come up about 31%~32% of the time. The premium hands make up the remaining 11%~13% of all hands.

The Threshold Decisions

It has been said that Double Bonus Video Poker is one of the few games that the player can obtain an edge if the optimum strategy is used. The additional bonus values also cause a slight shift in how the player should treat the initial five cards when dealt a premium hand (two pair or better). Although the basic rule of thumb is to “always keep the winners,” breaking up a winning combination is the proper play in a limited number of situations.

One of those exceptions is to keep three Aces from a full house and discard the pair, hoping to catch the fourth Ace. For straights or flushes, if four of the cards form part of a Royal flush, discard the fifth card and attempt to improve the hand to a Royal. Although the probability of success is just 1-in-47, the potential payout is 250:1 (or 800:1 at max bet), making the discard the statistically correct choice.

Also, when holding a high pair—Jacks Queens, Kings or Aces—it is proper strategy to keep the winners unless four of the cards form a suited run (such as Kd-Qh-Qd-Jd-10d) or an inside straight-flush draw (such as Qh-Qd-Jd-9d-8d). In such instances, discard the fifth card (the off-suit Queen of hearts) and attempt to improve the hand to a straight flush. Again, the potential payout (50:1) exceeds the odds of success, which are no less than 1 in 47.

All Other Decisions

For initial hands valued at less than Jacks or better, the double bonuses directly effect how the player sets priorities to guide decision-making. It is appropriate to always hold three or four cards to a Royal flush or four cards to a flush. Also keep four cards to an outside straight, even if it means breaking up a low pair. In all other cases, keep the low pair and discard the other three cards.

If no pair is dealt initially, the list below shows the priorities of cards to keep, from highest to lowest:

  1. A-K-Q-J unsuited
  2. 3 to an open-ended straight flush draw, when the number of high cards equals or exceeds the number of gaps
  3. 4 to an inside straight with 3 high cards
  4. Q-J suited
  5. 3 to a flush with 2 high cards
  6. 2 suited high cards
  7. 4 to an inside straight with 2 high cards
  8. 3 to an open-ended straight flush draw, with 1 gap, or 2 gaps with 1 high card, any Ace-low, or 2-3-4 suited
  9. 4 to an inside straight with 1 high card
  10. K-Q-J unsuited
  11. J-10 suited
  12. Q-J unsuited
  13. 3 to a flush with 1 high card
  14. Q-10 suited
  15. 3 to a straight flush draw with 2 gaps and no high cards
  16. K-Q or K-J unsuited
  17. Ace
  18. K-10 suited
  19. Jack, Queen or King
  20. 4 to an inside straight with no high cards
  21. 3 to a flush with no high cards

Any hand that does not fit one of the patterns described above is “garbage” and the player should toss all five cards. If this strategy is followed exactly, the player can expect a return rate of 100.1%~100.2%.

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