Q. I am really struggling with a strategy on multi-hand Double Double Bonus and Triple Double Bonus. It relates to getting dealt three aces with a kicker on Five or Ten Play. There are people who hold the kicker, and I just can’t bring myself to do that.
Yesterday it cost me a large hit when I got the fourth ace but had dumped the kicker. That was on Five Play. Which is the right play?
A. Regardless of whether you’re playing Five Play, Ten Play or a single-hand game, the odds are the same on any video poker game with the same pay table. If you’re playing 9-6 Double Double Bonus, the best strategy for one hand also is the best strategy for five or 10.
The strategy that will get you the most out of Double Double Bonus is to do what you’ve been doing: hold three Aces and discard a kicker. But on Triple Double Bonus, you need to shift gears and hold the kicker, too.
Let’s explain the situation for casual video poker players. Assuming a five-coin bet per hand, four Aces returns 800 coins on either Double Double Bonus or Triple Double Bonus if the fifth card is a 5 or higher. However, if the fifth card is a 2, 3 or 4, the jackpot leaps to 2,000 coins on DDB and rockets to 4,000 on TDB.(tncms-asset)c829614c-02b6-11e7-a1fa-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
There’s also a jump with four 2s, 3s or 4s, with an Ace, 2, 3 or 4 as the kicker. The no-kicker pay is 400 coins, but with the kicker there’s a leap to 800 on DDB and 2,000 on TDB.
The reason Triple Double can pay bigger jackpots than Double Double is because three of a kind pays only 2-for-1 on TDB, vs. 3-for-1 on DDB.
Let’s look at a breakdown, using 9-6 DDB (a 98.98 percent return with expert play) and 9-6 TDB (98.15 percent) as examples. On both, we’ll use starting hands of Aces of clubs, diamonds and hearts, along with a 2 of spades and an 8 of hearts.
On 9-6 TDB, if you hold A-A-A-2, there are 47 possible draws. Forty-three leave you with three of a kind for 10 coins, three bring one of the other 2s for a full house and 45 coins, and one brings the fourth Ace for that 2,000-coin jackpot.
The average return is 97.13 coins.
If you hold just the Aces and draw two, there are 1,081 possible draws. You’ll stop at three of a kind on 969 hands, draw a full house on 66, four Aces without a low-card kicker for 800 coins on 35 and four Aces with the kicker on 11.
The average return is 78.32 coins, so the better play is to hold the kicker along with the Aces.
Similarly, if the hand was 2-2-2-Ace-8, average returns on TDB are 54.57 if you hold 2-2-2-A, and 45.01 on just 2-2-2.
On Double Double Bonus, the probabilities of drawing winners are the same, but the potential payoffs are lower.
Using the same starting hands as in the TDB example, the average return on DDB when holding A-A-A-2 is 59.19 coins, not as good as the 62.45 for holding A-A-A.(tncms-asset)5f913b6a-fd15-11e6-b8f2-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
In the low-card hand, the average return is 37.28 coins when holding 2-2-2 vs. 33.62 on 2-2-2-A.
The principle holds up at different pay tables and with different low cards in the starting hand. In Double Double Bonus, hold three Aces or three low cards and discard a potential kicker. In Triple Double Bonus, hold the kicker, too.