The thrill of Triple Double Bonus poker

Jun 10, 2003 5:59 AM

Triple Double Bonus Poker (TDB); can you say it five times without stuttering? Now, here’s a video poker game for you. It’s gambling the way gambling was meant to be. You win one of its multiple large-payout jackpots, and you can actually have a problem fitting all those C-Notes into your purse!

What’s in it for you as a player? Well, how about 2,000 credits for four 2’s, 3’s, or 4’s with a kicker, or 4,000 credits for four Aces with a kicker? Who needs a royal? And that’s not to forget the normal 800 credits for the Aces, and 400 for the four 2’s, 3’s, or 4’s.

But such excitement doesn’t come without a price: In this case it’s three-of-a-kind that takes the hit, paying just 10 credits each time, and you’ll see too many of them along the way. Most players’ pulses race whenever trips are dealt. In TDB, missing the quad on the draw is disappointment at the next level up.

TDB is one of the most widely misunderstood games in video poker. Ask any number of players about it and they’ll likely have a puzzled look on their face or they’ll flat out say something like "As soon as I see it only pays 10 for trips, I’m long gone."

Whenever I’m told that, I immediately know the player has no idea what it takes to win, or even cares about anything beyond the end-all point balance in their slot club accounts. Others will give me a set of facial contortions as they mutter their distaste for a game that, according to their book theories, will only pay 98%-99% with computer-perfect play throughout unending time.

The one thing they are doing correctly is not playing the game every waking hour of their life ”” as any casino would love them to do ”” regardless of the game. What they are missing out on, however, is what I and probably few others have discovered: Take the proper bankroll and a short-term plan, and you have a decent chance at hitting a huge winner on an otherwise fairly normal winning hand.

It’s understandable that most avid video poker players will shy away from any game that pays only 10 credits for trips. Why? Because nearly every player alive comes to casinos seriously under-bankrolled.

But that’s the nature of the beast. After all, to most, a bankroll is that which is left over after all the bills are paid, and only that which can be afforded to lose. Certainly there’s a faction who go at it on an almost daily basis, and their bankroll is as much or as little as they want us to believe it is for whatever reasons.

It doesn’t take too many brains to figure that unless you hit a big winner in TDB, those three-of-a-kinds are going to kill you off fast. Those with a few more brains can figure out that this is a very volatile game, and to defeat it on any given day without extremely early-on good luck, one must take along a very healthy bankroll.

I will not play it on a single-play machine, because I know that such a game has the ability to cause the casino a whole lot of damage on the deal. Two of my wins this year have been from playing 5-play TDB in the $5 denomination. During one session a fluke royal showed up on line #4, and nothing special was dealt to expect it.

But the other win saw four Aces on two lines — both unfortunately without the kicker — after holding three of them. In this case I tossed a kicker, and if I hadn’t, one of the quad Aces would not have been. The hand sent me home with a profit. No, I did not need TDB to win the $8,000, but I didn’t shy away from it at the thought of 10 credits for trips either.

Still, there are those who cannot understand why anyone would want to play this "negative expectation" game. I have to laugh at that, because I have a hugely positive EV from the game since I started playing it — which more than likely never would be the case if I chose to play it day in and day out.

While we’ve got gurus running around telling players they first should not be trying to win by playing any kind of short-term strategy, then telling some fairly educated individuals that there’s no way anyone could possibly win on a game that’s only 99% (compared to their 100.7% "sure-things") — there are some occurrences that might wake them up some.

Like the $5 ten-play TDB at Casino Royale that dealt a short-term player four Aces and a kicker for $200,000 this year. And there’s at least two other casinos having their fits with dealt TDB winning hands on multi-plays as we speak. It’s out there. You just have to go after it.

As you can see, some of the TDB jackpots can be staggering. That’s also the reasoning behind my love of the Bonus and advanced Bonus video poker games that reward high payouts for Aces and friends.

Jacks or Better will more often than not, keep you playing for a long time with little investment. But then what? So save your money, learn what cards to hold, understand what special plays are when playing in the short-term, and give TDB a try. Big money awaits, and it might as well go to you.