Double Bonus Poker is one of the best games you can possibly play while at a casino because it gives you an opportunity to actually beat the house and accrue more profits by applying optimal strategy. This is one of the very few gambling games to offer players positive expected value whenever they are betting on a full-pay variation.
Based on the rules of the common five-card draw, Double Bonus Poker combines simplicity, decision-making, and potential for amassing impressive profits. The game has found its way to the portfolios of numerous online casinos where it is commonly offered in desktop and mobile formats. Another factor that contributes to this variation’s popularity is that it awards extra payouts on certain winning hands, hence the name Double Bonus Poker.
As simple as the game is, you need to understand its basics and adopt a good strategy before you start risking your money. This is precisely what the following article aims at, to acquaint you with everything you need to know to become a profitable Double Bonus Poker player.
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Double Bonus Poker Rules and Play
There is no reason to feel intimidated by Double Bonus Poker since it plays according to straightforward rules that are easy to remember and understand. You get started by selecting the denomination and the number of coins you want to bet per hand. The denominations of the coins are different, depending on the online casino you play at but in most cases, you are permitted to wager between one and five credits on each hand. Players are in general recommended to go for the maximum of five coins since this would qualify them for the enhanced payout on Royal Flushes.
After you have adjusted the size of your wager, you simply need to click on the deal button to receive your starting hand of five random cards. Note that like most variations of this game, Double Bonus Poker is played with a 52-card deck, which enables you to calculate the odds of drawing to a specific hand ranking on the basis of the five cards you were originally dealt.
After the initial deal, you evaluate the cards you have and select the ones you intend to keep by pressing the hold button below each one. The same effect is achieved when you click on the desired cards. Once you have decided which cards you want to keep, you click on the draw button and the discards are replaced with new cards. You are awarded a payout if your final hand consists of two jacks or a superior pair.
Like most video poker variations, Double Bonus Poker gives you the option to double or quadruple your profits on winning hands with a gamble feature, also known as double-up. After each winning hand, the software asks you whether you want to collect the profits or increase them. If you choose to increase them, you are dealt five new cards – four are facing down but the first one is dealt face-up. The face-up card is the dealer’s and you must choose one of the remaining four cards.
If your pick ranks higher than the dealer’s card in terms of value, the profits are doubled. If not, you lose the profits on the last winning hand. You will again be asked to collect or quadruple the profits and can continue this way either until you choose to collect or until you eventually choose a card of lower rank than the dealer’s.
Hand Rankings in Double Bonus Poker
All hands that can earn you a payout are listed in the paytable of Double Bonus Poker. The hand of the highest rank is the Royal Flush whereas the smallest possible payout is offered for a pair of jacks or better, as we explained earlier. The other hand rankings in ascending order are two pairs, three of a kind (a set), straight, flush, full house, four of a kind (quads), and a straight flush.
This is where the similarities between Double Bonus Poker and other video poker varieties end. As we already said, there are extra payouts in Double Bonus Poker and these are awarded upon completing different types of quads. The most lucrative four of a kind consists of four aces and returns at a rate of 160/320/480/640/800, depending on the number of credits staked.
The second-best four of a kind consists of four 2s, 3s or 4s, with a payout ratio of 80/160/240/320/400 credits. Finally, we have quads of 5s through kings, which can earn you payouts of 50/100/150/200/250 credits. The optimal strategy for this variation differs from that for other video poker games, because there are extra payouts depending on the composition of your four-of-a-kind hand.
|Four of a Kind (Aces)||160||320||480||640||800|
|Four of a Kind (2s,3s,4s)||80||160||240||320||400|
|Four of a Kind (5s thru Ks)||50||100||150||200||250|
|Three of a Kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
Full-Pay Double Bonus Poker
Double Bonus Poker is the game of choice for many video poker aficionados and is definitely worth investing money into, especially if one finds a variation with a full-pay paytable. Such games offer you the best return on specific winning hands, not to mention here the casino practically holds no advantage over players.
When learning video poker, players are likely to come across the term “expected value”, which corresponds to the potential return a winning hand can earn you when optimal draw and discard choices are made. Both terms relate to the number of betting units you collect for every bet unit you have staked. When a game has a positive expected value, its return percentage exceeds 100%. When it has a negative expected value, its average return percentage would be below 100%.
It is estimated that full-pay versions of Double Bonus Poker come with a positive expected value of 100.17% which is to say one such machine would pay back more than the players have collectively staked on it. Therefore, out of every $100 wagered on a full-pay Double Bonus Poker game, it will give back $100.17 if the player uses perfect strategy.
Of course, these figures are correct only when you play optimally and follow the game’s strategy without any deviations from it. Another thing worth mentioning is that a positive-expectation game like the full-pay Double Bonus Poker does not guarantee you will win more – this is entirely up to you and your playing decisions. What one such game ensures, though, is that there is no house edge to get in your way.
Full-pay Double Bonus Poker games are easy to spot since you simply need to check the payouts for one-credit bets on some hands. Look for a game which returns 10 credits for a full house, 7 credits for a flush, and a bonus payout of 50 credits for quads consisting of 5s through kings. Unfortunately, such full-pay variants of the game are few and far between.
Most online casinos would offer reduced payouts for the full house of 9 to 1. In some games, there is even a reduction in the bonus payout for quads with 5s through kings. Such variants would typically return 45 units per unit bet instead of the full-pay payout of 50 credits. A variation of Double Bonus Poker with payouts of 50/9/7 for the above-listed hands has a return percentage of around 99.16%.
Strategy Tips for Optimal Double Bonus Poker Play
If you want to make the most of your Double Bonus Poker session, you are recommended to adopt optimal strategy that takes the game’s oddities into account. The enhanced bonus payouts on some of the hands should be taken into consideration, which is why you cannot simply resort to applying a standard video poker strategy.
As usual, the decision-making revolves around choosing which cards to keep and which ones to replace, so here are a few tips you can follow whenever you receive specific hands on the initial deal. Players are advised to always shoot for the bonus payouts for Royal Flushes and quads. For example, if you are dealt a pat full house consisting of three aces and a pair, the strategy requires you to keep only the set of aces and replace the pair. It is worth it to let go of the full house in an attempt to draw a fourth ace so you can collect the bonus payout of 160 credits. This would give you more value than winning 9 or 10 credits with the made full house.
In another hypothetical situation, you are dealt four cards to a straight flush and are wondering whether you should hold it over a high pair. The correct course of action in such cases would be to go for the straight flush draw even, if it is not open-ended, since it again gives you greater value than a pair.
Another example demonstrates what to do in situations when you are torn between drawing to a flush but already have a high pair, like so [Jc][Js][10s][2s][5s]. The basic strategy for a Double Bonus Poker game tells us you are better off keeping the high pair because it guarantees you a payout, albeit a small one instead of attempting to secure a larger payout by drawing to a flush.
Another question that may arise when you play Double Bonus Poker is what is better – keeping a made straight like [10s][Jc][Qc][Kc][Ac] or discarding the 10 of spades? According to the basic strategy for the game, the player is better off replacing the off-suited card, trying to complete their Royal Flush. A bonus payout of 4,000 credits with a maximum bet is more worth it than 25 credits for a straight.
All in all, Double Bonus Poker is considered a more volatile variation of video poker which means players will experience greater swings and will lose more often than they would win. That being said, when you do win and collect a bonus payout, the payout would be big enough to offset your previous losses, making Double Bonus Poker all the more exciting and worthy of playing.
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