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Over the past couple of years, I have found myself playing more Deuces Wild and less Double Double Bonus Video Poker.

As a general statement, this is not surprising. Given it is coming from me who eschewed Deuces Wild for literally decades, it is quite surprising. I avoided Deuces Wild because it always seemed like Deuces avoided me. This is not something you can afford while playing. Simply put, the game hinges on getting Deuces. If the machine goes cold of Deuces, you are going to get killed. 

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It should be no surprise that most deals will not contain any Deuces. Around 66% of initial deals will not have a Deuce. The problem happens when you start getting hand after hand with no Deuces in the deal. The probability of getting five deals without a Deuce is 12.4%. The probability of getting 10 deals in a row without a Deuce is only 1.5%. 

But, if you play for a couple of hours, you are going to get these streaks for sure. They are painful. 

In Deuces Wild, 20% of the hands are a Razgu, meaning you throw all five cards. This compares to only 3% on a Jacks or better game. Having two or three in a row on a Jacks or better machines is almost unheard of. On a Deuces Wild machine, it’s par for the course. Hands without a Deuce in the deal do not on the whole work out for the player. 

Obviously, once in a while, the player will land the Natural Royal. But even being dealt a natural four of a kind leaves the player with an expected value of 5.85, depending on which version he is playing. 

Hands with a single Deuce in the deal will give the player an overall expected value of 1.03, which essentially means the breakeven point. These hands will keep you going. They account for around 30% of the hands, but 46% of them that are played as a bare Deuce will wind up as losing hands. 

Hands with two Deuces make up about 4% of our hands. If you play just the Deuces, the expected value is 3.27 for these hands and 54% will be the minimum Three of a Kind. Lastly, just under 0.2% of our hands will have Three Deuces in the deal. 

When you are not fortunate enough to have a Royal or Quints, the expected value will be a sizeable 14.9. But 80% of the drawn hands will wind up as Four of a Kind. A key point here is that you do not keep a Straight Flush with Three Deuces.  

Deuces Wild may be the most volatile of all the video poker games. You’ll remember when you went 10 hands without a Deuce, but probably won’t remember when you went five hands with a Deuce. The probability of that is only about 0.5% 

About the Author

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome’s roots run deep into gaming theory and analysis. His father, Lenny, was a pioneer in developing video poker strategy in the 1980s and is credited with raising its popularity to dizzying heights. Elliot is a second generation gaming author and analyst with nearly 20 years of programming experience.

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