John Grochowski

John Grochowski

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. How would you play the following hands in Double Double Bonus Poker?

7 of spades, 8 of hearts, 10 of hearts, Queen of hearts, Ace of clubs, and 3 of hearts, 9 of spades, 10 of spades, Jack of spades and Ace of clubs.

A. In both cases, your best play is to hold three cards to a straight flush, though how close a call it is depends on the pay table.

In your first hand, 7s-8h-10h-Qh-Ac, the tricky part is that the three hearts are not consecutive. It’s a double-inside draw where you must land both the 9 and Jack of hearts to complete the straight flush. There’s only one way make a straight flush out of 1,081 possible draws.

However, those 1,081 draws also include 129 pairs of Jacks or better, 27 two-pair hands, nine threes of a kind, 15 straights and 44 flushes,

Factor all the potential payoffs and your average return is 2.58 coins per five coins wagered when you hold 8-10-Q. That’s an easy call over the next best draw, holding the Ace and discarding the other four, with a 2.33 average return.

Some players are tempted to hold the Ace and Queen together, but the long shot at four Aces with a low-card kicker for a 2,000-coin bonanza makes Ace a better play than Ace-Queen with a 2.20 average return.

It’s a closer call in 8-5 Double Double Bonus, where the flush payoff ls reduced from 6-for-1 to 5-for-1.The 2.37-coin average return on 8-10-Queen barely edges the 2.31 on the lone Ace. It remains much better than the 2.20 for holding both high cards.

The second hand, 3h-9s-10s-Js-Ac, gives you more chances to complete a straight flush. You can make the hand with 8-9 of spades, 9-Q of spades or Queen-King of spades.

That dramatically increases the value of holding three parts of a straight flush. In 9-6 DDB, the average return per five coins wagered is 3.54 coins on 9-10-J, 2.32 on the lone Ace or 2.20 on Ace-Jack.

Reduce the pay table to 8-5 and the lower flush playback means a lower average return on the three spades, but it’s still not a close call. The average return on 9-10-Jack of the same suit is 3.34 coins, far ahead of the 2.30 on Ace or 2.20 on Ace-Jack.

In both cases, the three-card straight flush with a high card is the best play available to you, but the decision is much clearer cut when the draw is open-ended rather than on the inside.

Q. I don’t know if this counts as a story for your back-to-back jackpots file, but my wife and I won simultaneous jackpots.

We were playing Wheel of Fortune games, right next to each other – the dollar three-reel games. I got a spin of the top wheel, and while it was still spinning, she got one, too.

Mine landed on the $1,000 space, and we high-fived. Then hers landed on the $1,000 space, too! That was more than high-fives. That was hugs and whoops and laughter and a story I’m sure we’ll be boring our friends with for years.

A. How about if we just make a subfile with couples or friends winning together? I’ll put this one alongside the couple who wrote to me when I first started winning about gaming. She’d won a slot jackpot while the husband was losing at craps. She suggested that he just come play the slot next to her, and then he won a jackpot too.

Congrats to you and your wife, and thanks for sharing!

Sign up to receive the area's top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.