I thought it would be fun to write a series of posts about Double Double Bonus Poker. My recent post about video poker skills was popular, and that’s what got me thinking about this variation.
First there was Bonus Poker. This game took basic Jacks or Better and spiced it up by adding bonus payouts for various four of a kind hands.
Then, the sequel–Double Bonus. As the title suggests, this game took Bonus Poker’s boosted payouts for quads and doubled them.
But with the introduction of Double Double Bonus Poker, International Game Technology (IGT) outdid themselves. They designed one of the most enduring video poker variants ever. In fact, when most recreational players say they’ve just returned from playing “VP,” they’re probably talking about Double Double Bonus Poker.
The conceit of this game couldn’t be simpler. Take Bonus Poker’s use of premium payouts to four of a kind hands. Then add the poker concept known as “kickers.”
In this game, making four aces is good for a big winner–160 coins per coin wagered.
But if you happen to land a 2, 3, or 4 kicker–or the other card not contained in the quad hand–that payout soars to 400 coins per coin wagered.
I’ll get into the pay table details later in the series. For now know that Double Double Bonus Poker includes four distinct tiers for its four of a kind hands:
- Four aces with a kicker is the jackpot hand (second only to the royal flush)
- Four 2s, 3s, or 4s with an A, 2, 3, or 4 kicker
- Plain old four aces, four 2s, 3s, or 4s without a kicker
- Finally four 5s through Ks.
This expansion of the pay table puts 13 payable hands in play. Every deal of Double Double Bonus Poker is that much more exciting.. Jackpot hand pays are hard to earn in Jacks or Better and other traditional forms of video poker.
I’m talking about once in every 40,000 hands or so.
But during a session of Double Double Bonus Poker, players have the four aces and a kicker hand to shoot for. They also can anticipate the other four quad hands that award bonus pays.
You’ve probably tried Double Double Bonus Poker before, especially if you’ve found your way to this series of posts.
But even if you’re completely new to the game, I’ve got you covered.
This series of posts will provide players of all experience levels with useful information on the video poker classic. I’ll include with a walkthrough for beginners, a discourse on payback percentage and its meaning, and a full review of the rare 10 / 6 “full pay” table. I’ll also include details for the commonly found 9 / 6 version and the inferior versions. A guide to optimal strategy is also forthcoming.
I’ll even point you in the right direction to find the highest paying Double Double Bonus Poker machines anywhere in North America.
Get ready to bring your Double Double Bonus Poker game to the next level.
Double Double Bonus Poker Basics
I wrote this section for the new players who haven’t yet had the pleasure of playing Double Double Bonus Poker. In fact, I’ve aimed it at players who are new to video poker in general.
I’ll be covering the machine layout, how to get a game started, and other beginners’ lessons. If you’ve already built up some experience, skip ahead to the next post.
But for the rest of my readers, taking a moment to walkthrough basic video poker gameplay is a great way to get acquainted with need to know information.
First you need to find a machine.
IGT’s Game King model houses several video poker variants under one roof. Today almost all of them feature Double Double Bonus Poker. So search the floor for a Game King machine and park yourself there to begin the session.
Use coins, cash, or a casino credit voucher to deposit funds. Then shift to the onscreen menu to toggle between various games until you find Double Double Bonus Poker.
The machine will ask you to choose a coin denomination. This will be the unit you’ll be betting on each deal. Game King machines offer penny stakes, along with nickel, quarter, dollar, and even higher . Most beginners opt for the penny or nickel stakes while learning the ropes. Intermediate players with more of a bankroll prefer quarter stakes games.
Next you’ll select a pay table for your session. I’ll teach you all about how pay tables work for Double Double Bonus Poker two sections down the road. For now, remember the numbers 10 and 6.
These refer to the payouts per coin wagered when you make a full house and a flush, respectively. After clicking on Double Double Bonus Poker, the game will present you with a pay table grid containing five columns. It also presents the various payouts for all qualifying poker hands.
Unless you see 10 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush, you won’t be playing the full pay version. I’ll provide a more thorough lesson on this subject, too.
All you need to know now is that the 10 / 6 pay table offers players the best odds. The payback percentage is 100.07% if you’re using the optimal strategy.
That’s much higher than Jacks or Better’s 99.54% established by Jacks or Better. In fact, it makes Double Double Bonus Poker a positive expectation game for expert players.
The most commonly encountered pay table for this game is the 9 / 6 variety. This pay table offers a payback of 98.98%. It’s no Jacks or Better, but at nearly 99 percent, it still beats almost any other game on the casino floor.
But by choosing any of the inferior pay tables, you’ll instantly lower your overall payback percentage.
If you’ve located a 10 / 6 pay table, you’re on the right track. Now, it’s time to decide how many coins you’ll be wagering on each hand. Like I said, that pay table grid contains five columns – one each for a 1 coin, 2 coin, 3 coin, 4 coin, and 5 coin bet.
You’ll want to select the maximum bet of 5 coins every time. It’s a matter of simple mathematics. When you bet 1 coin on this game, the game will pay 250 coins for landing a royal flush. That payout doubles to 500 coins on a 2 coin bet, and increases to 750 coins for a 3 coin bet, and 1,000 coins when you wager 4 coins.
But for players who have the max bet of 5 coins put up, a royal flush magically increases to a 4,000 coin jackpot. That’s 800 coins per coin wagered. This incentive pay is only awarded when a max bet is in place. Anybody who bets between 1 and 4 coins in video poker is giving a huge chunk of their potential profit back to the house.
Obviously, betting the maximum amount is only advisable when your bankroll allows. That’s where coin denominations come into play. Don’t feel comfortable betting $1.25 per hand at the quarter stakes ($0.25 x 5 = $1.25)? Dial back the coin denomination to nickel stakes. Now, that same max bet will cost just $0.25 per hand ($0.05 x 5 = $0.25), instantly giving you a massive rebate.
Never let bankroll scarcity knock you off the max bet strategy. If you can’t afford to bet 5 coins using nickels, move back to penny stake if you can. Always bet the max to derive your full expected value from video poker games.
You’re playing Double Double Bonus using the 10 / 6 full pay table. You’ve decided on nickel stakes for a $0.25 bet per hand. Now we’re in business…
With the game now set up to your preferred configurations, press the “DEAL” button to begin your first hand. This will command a virtual dealer – really a random number generator – to dispense five cards from a shuffled 52 card deck. These five cards appear face up on the screen. They form your five card starting hand.
The object is to take these five cards, assess their relative value, and decide which cards to keep and which cards to discard. You can hold one, some, all, or even none of your five starting cards. To hold them, click the “HOLD” button underneath each card graphic. Clicking “HOLD” a second time will undo the last action. You can feel free to change your mind while making this pivotal decision.
Here’s an example:
You’ve been dealt Ac Ad 5d 5c 2c.
With this five card starting hand, you have plenty of possibilities to ponder. You hold two pair – with one pair of aces and another pair of 5s. You also have a three card straight draw with the A 2 5 combination. And you have a three card straight flush draw with the Ac 5c 2c.
This hand gives you a lot to mull over. In Jacks or Better, which pays out 2 coins per coin wagered for making two pair, the smart play would be to simply hold the pat hand (Ac Ad 5d 5c) and discard the deuce. This gives you a guaranteed payout, and a chance to hit another Ace or 5 to make a full house – and earn 10 coins instead of 2.
But the game of Double Double Bonus Poker is a different beast altogether, as those premium bonus payouts for making four of a kind – and especially four aces – complicates matters considerably.
I’ll let you think this one over for a while, so be sure to ask yourself what you might do holding the Ac Ad 5d 5c 2c before the draw. Then, during the optimal strategy discussion to come, I’ll let you know what the correct play is – and more importantly, why.
After you’ve held your desired cards and discarded the rest, clicking the “DEAL” button for a second time will add your replacement cards to the screen. You’ll get two new cards when you discard two, three for three, and so on. These replacement cards finalize your five card poker hand, and from there, it will be scored against the pay table to determine your payout (if any).
After that, you just need to click that “DEAL” button once more to start the process over again.
And with that, you’ve just learned how to play a hand of video poker. Now that the crash course is out of the way, let’s learn how to play those hands the right way.
More about Double Double Bonus Poker tomorrow.