A few weeks ago, I wrote about full-pay deuces wild video poker and it's 100.6% payback. It has gotten harder to find 100+% payback machines, but this one can still be found in many of the casinos that cater to the locals (i.e. OFF the strip!) People are still amazed to find that such machines exist at all. As I've written many times, the casinos don't mind leaving a few of these around in lower denominations. This way they can say that they have positive payback machines, but they don't really have to worry about the professionals swarming on them.
Even if you are an Expert Player who can play at 800 hands per hour, you're dropping $1000 in the machine every hour. At 0.6% advantage, you can expect to win $6 per hour. It certainly beats losing, but no one is getting rich at $6 per hour. If you're willing to sit in a casino for 40 hours per week just as you would any other job, you might be able to clear $12,000 per year. Of course, you won't be collecting a regular paycheck. Some weeks you're going to lose and others you're going to hit the big payout. But, at the end of the year, should be fairly close to that $12,000. This will be your reward for playing roughly 1.6 million hands of video poker and putting into the machine a mere $2 million!
I'm not going to recommend you quit your day job and try this. In fact, I won't even recommend you give up looking for work, if you currently are, and become an professional video poker Player. For almost everyone reading this column, you are a recreational player and video poker is a form of entertainment. Some nights you win, some nights you lose. Depending how long you play for per session, you'll lose roughly 2 out of every 3 times you play. But, if you pick the right machines and learn the right strategy, your night out might cost you $20 and you can get some entertainment and a few drinks.
With a 100.6% payback, you would definitely be picking the right machine with Deuces Wild. So, the only other thing for you to do is to learn the right strategy. At first glance, the strategy table for Deuces Wild might look daunting due to its size, but when you look closely, you'll see it is broken down by the number of Deuces. If you make sure to learn it this way, you'll find it much easier to learn AND you'll be doing yourself a huge favor in terms of learning to play properly. Deuces is not a hard game to learn. It is just so vastly different from any other game, that people make lots of mistakes.
One of the most important things to learn is when to hold just the Deuces when drawing. it is so tempting to want to hold the best possible portion of a hand, but sometimes you simply box yourself into a corner by doing so. For example, if you are dealt the following:
2 2 6D 7C QD
You may be very tempted to hold the 4-Card Straight figuring that there are so many possible cards to complete the Straight (a 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 or 10). If you pick up a 6 or a 7, you'll have Quads. This is clearly superior to going for the 4-card Flush, which would require one of the remaining 11 (or 10 if the 2 was a Diamond) diamonds to make a Flush or a 6 or Q to complete the Quads.
The problem with either of these is that they completely eliminate the possibility of any of the bigger payouts while in essence targeting some of the lower paying hands. Further, we the two Deuces, we can do no worse than wind up with Trips, so it is not like we are giving up a sure winner. Proper strategy says that unless you have a Royal, Five of a Kind, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind or a 4-Card Royal, you hold ONLY the two Deuces.
When we take a closer look at the strategy, we find that we ONLY go for a 4-Card Straight or 4-Card Flush IF we have NO Deuces. Be very prepared when dealt Deuces in Deuces Wild to frequently play them 'bare' (hold only the Deuces). Of the 2,598,960 possible 5-card initial deals, 48 will consist of 4 Deuces (obviously, you're done when this happens). Three Deuces will occur 4,512. About 90% of these will be played as just the three Deuces. Two Deuces will happen 103,776 and nearly 75% of these will be played as just the two Deuces. A single Deuce will be dealt 778,310 times. About 45% of these will be played as the single Deuce. This is the 3rd most common hand in Deuces, following a Pair and a Razgu.
If you want to learn to play Deuces Wild, we have three different products that can help you. You can find the strategy tables for full-pay Deuces Wild in our book Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas ($5). We have the strategy table for full-pay Deuces Wild plus a variety of variations of full-pay Deuces Wild in Winning Strategies for Video Poker ($5). Lastly, we have our Deuces Wild Tipsheet ($2.95) which contains the strategy tables for 3 different Deuces paytables and has the most detailed information on the full-pay variety of any of our 3 sources. You can order any or all of these directly from us. Send a check or money order to Gambatria, P.O. Box 36474, Las Vegas, NV 89133