Choosing the best bonus poker game

Mar 31, 2009 5:08 PM
by Lenny Frome, GT Archives |

There is an interesting, high-paying class of video pokers, which can be described as Bonus Poker machines. They are all characterized as being Jacks or Better, having an 8/5 (full house/flush) pay table on a per coin basis. They all also have some embellished payouts for specific four-of-a-kinds (quads). Some may also offer a fairly large jackpot for ordered royals, running about 20,000 for 1 if only one sequence wins and 10,000 for 1 if either sequence wins. A few are progressives on quad winners or royals.

Considered the granddaddy of these machines, Aces and Faces pays 80 on aces, 40 on the three faces and 25 on the rest from two-10. Our instinct reminds us that we often hold a single high card or maybe two, which can become quads. Conversely, there is never any reason to hold one or even two small cards (remember this is a Jacks or Better format).

The second common variant pays 80 on aces, 40 on quads in twos, threes, and fours, and 25 on all ranks five through king. Since this was the original Bonus Poker we saw, we’ll keep that name here.

The more recent version, apparently trying to entice Deuces Wild fans over, pays 80 on deuces (not wild cards) 40 on threes, four and fives with 25 awarded on sixes through aces. We’ll call this Twos Bonus for lack of an official name.

Each variant has a few strategy tricks to boost the payback but this is of minor consequence at the bottom line. Including these, the overall frequency distribution of winners can be tabulated as follows where the figures denote the average number of hands between winners.

This tabulation confirms our instinctive expectation regarding the higher value of bonuses on high-card quads. It also points out that some of the gain comes from an erosion of royals and straight flushes.