Double your bonus!

Aug 3, 2004 3:22 AM

Continuing our journey through the bonus poker machines, this week’s stop is Double Bonus Poker. Double Bonus doubles all the quad (four-of-a-kind) payouts found in regular bonus poker. Thus, four aces pays 160, four 2-4s pay 80 credits and four 5-Ks pay 50. Of course, these increased paybacks have to come at a cost. In the case of Double Bonus, the paytable has been rather radically altered. The full-pay version is shown in the accompanying table.

Double Bonus Poker Paytable

Royal Flush

800

Straight Flush

50

Four of a Kind (A’s)

160

Four of a Kind (2-4’s)

80

Four of a Kind (5-K’s)

50

Full House

10

Flush

7

Straight

5

Three of a Kind

3

Two Pairs

1

Jacks or Better

1

Besides the increased quad payouts, the other noticeable changes are the increase in payouts for full houses, flushes and straights, and the decrease in two pairs down to a push. As two pairs occur about once in eight hands, this reduces our payback by a whopping 12 percent! The increased payouts offset this completely, leaving the payback of Double Bonus poker at an unbelievable 100.1 percent, making full-pay Double Bonus poker one of the best games anywhere.

All of these changes take their toll on our strategy as well. To achieve this 100.1 percent payback, you’ll need to make the necessary strategy adjustments. Double Bonus poker has one of the longest strategy tables of any game. I’ll cover just some key points today.

The first significant strategy change is that three aces are played over a full house. The 160-coin payout on quad aces is enough to make us throw away the extra pair and go for the fourth ace. This only applies to aces. All other full houses are kept intact.

The next key point is to know not to make a change to the strategy. Do not discard two pairs in favor of any pair, not even aces. The expected value of two pairs is a bit higher than a pair of aces and significantly higher than all other pairs.

In jacks or better, we’ve all learned to play 4-card flushes over low pairs and play low pairs over 4-card straights. However, in Double Bonus the effect of the straight paying 5-1 is that 4-card straights are played over all low pairs, including two 4s. A 4-card straight with zero high cards is worth a little more than the low pair. If the 4-card-straight has one or more high cards, the difference grows.

Another cardinal rule of jacks or better is drastically changed in Double Bonus poker. In jacks or better, 3-card straights and 3-card flushes are never played. In Double Bonus, 3-card straights with two high cards are playable. So are all 3-card flushes. It should be noted that one high card still outranks 3-card flushes.

As always, the most important thing is to learn the strategy table and to practice, practice, practice before heading to the casino. Unlike Bonus Poker, using standard jacks or better strategy won’t cost you only 0.1 percent in payback. It will cost you far more, and in the case of this game, it’s the difference between a positive game and a negative game.