Gambling Tips > Poker

Facts About Double Bonus Poker

By Henry Tamburin


Many players play Double Bonus poker; however, few understand the basic facts about the game. Which is the point of this article: to share with you some facts about Double Bonus so that you can become a smarter player.

 

Fact number #1: The game gets its name because it pays exactly double the payoff for four-of-a-kind hands compared to Bonus Poker (see Table 1). The greater payoffs for four-of-a-kind (especially the four aces) is what attracts players to play Double Bonus.

 

Fact #2: To fund the premium payouts on four-of-a-kind hands, the return for two pair is reduced from 2 for 1 to 1 for 1 (or even money). This reduced payout affects the game’s volatility compared to Bonus Poker (and Jacks-or-Better). In layman’s terms, increased volatility means you can expect a much greater swing in your bankroll in the short term when you play Double Bonus compared to Jacks-or-Better or Bonus Poker (even with perfect strategy). It also means you will lose more quickly playing Double Bonus but on the positive,  you have a shot at some big payoffs if you hit the four-of-a-kind hands that pay a premium. If you don’t do the latter during your playing session, expect your bankroll to head south very rapidly.

 

Fact #3. There are many different pay schedules for Double Bonus. I’ve listed a few of them in Table 1 (along with the benchmark full-pay Jacks-or-Better and Bonus Poker pay schedules). The key numbers to focus on when you evaluate the pay schedule for a Double Bonus game is the per coin payoff for the Full House, Flush, and Straight. The best DB game pays 10 coins for the full house, 7 for the flush, and 5 for the straight (known as a full pay 10/7/5 game). This game has an ER of 100.17%, one of the few video poker games where a player can gain the edge over the casino solely with perfect playing strategy.

 

Fact #4:  The most common per coin payoff for the full house-flush-straight for Double Bonus is 9/7/5 and 9/6/5. Decreasing the full house payoff by one-unit results in a 99.11% ER for the 9/7/5 game. The 9/6/5 game has a dismal 97.81% ER. Any Double Bonus game that only pays 4 for 1 for a straight has an even lower ER and should be avoided. Note: Unlike Jacks-or-Better or Bonus Poker games that can be characterized by two numbers representing the per coin payoff for the full house and flush (e.g., 9/6 Jacks-or-Better and 8/5 Bonus Poker), with Double Bonus games, you need three numbers representing the per coin payoff for the full house, flush, and straight.

 

Fact #5: The playing strategy for 10/7/5 and 9/7/5 Double Bonus is similar. However, it changes when the flush payoff drops to 6 for 1. In general, the straight flush and flush draws are less valuable in the latter game.

 

Fact #6. Recognizing all the different hand options in Double Bonus is harder than it is compared to playing  Jacks-or-Better or Bonus Poker. That’s because you need to look for hand combinations in Double Bonus that you wouldn’t normally keep in the other games. For example, which cards would you keep in this hand if you were playing Double Bonus?

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The correct cards to hold is the Ace-2-3-5, (which is a four-card inside straight containing one high card, a hand you would never hold in Jacks-or-Better ... instead, you would hold the 3-5-7 in JOB, which is a three-card straight flush with two gaps). One way to master your skills at recognize all the different options in a hand when you play Double Bonus poker is to practice playing the game on your computer at home using a commercially available software training program (my recommendation is Video Poker for Winners).

 

Fact #7. You can use the 9/6 Jacks-or-Better playing strategy when you play 10/7/5 Double Bonus poker, but the ER will drop from 100.17% to 99.63% (which is still slightly higher than the 99.54% ER for 9/6 Jacks-or-Better). However, if you do so, remember that even though the ER is close between the two games, the volatility is not (the volatility of Double Bonus is greater). My suggestion is if you are going to play Double Bonus frequently is that you should learn the basic playing strategy for Double Bonus to get the ER over 100%. The latter strategy is readily available. You’ll find it on the video poker page at www.wizardofodds.com, on www.vpgenius.com, and on the commercially-available Double Bonus strategy card (developed by Bob Dancer and Liam Daily).

 

Fact #8. When you play Double Bonus, even with perfect strategy, expect to lose more sessions than you win. You’ll average one royal flush every cycle of 48,000 hands, and when it comes, your big payout will make up for your losses. Note: Since the royal flush contributes 1.66% toward the 100.17% ER for the game, between royals you are playing a game with only a 98.5% ER.

 

Fact #9. You can find Double Bonus poker games in denominations over a quarter (especially in Las Vegas). This is not the case with full pay deuces wild, which is another video poker game than you can play with an over 100% ER with perfect strategy.

You can find out which casinos offer Double Bonus in different regions of the U.S. by going to  www.vpfree2.com. Click on Games then use the drop down menus to select Double Bonus and the region.

 

Table 1
Double Bonus Per Coin Payouts

 

10/7/5 DB

9/7/5 DB

9/6/5 DB

8/5 BP

9/6 JOB

Royal Flush

800*

800*

800*

800*

800*

Straight Flush

50

50

50

50

50

Four Aces

160

160

160

80

25

Four 2s. 3s. 4s

80

80

80

40

25

Four 5s-Ks

50

50

50

25

25

Full House

10

9

9

8

9

Flush

7

7

6

5

6

Straight

5

5

5

4

4

3-of-a-Kind

3

3

3

3

3

Two Pair

1

1

1

2

2

Jacks-or-Better

1

1

1

1

1

ER

100.17%

99.11%

97.81%

99.17%

99.54%

* 4000 coins with max coins wagered. Always play max coins to get the benefit of the bonus payout for the royal flush.