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Best of John Grochowski

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Double Double Bonus Poker "Variants"

21 March 2021

One of the video poker games I write about most is Double Double Bonus Poker. There are a couple of reasons for that.

I can focus on expert strategies at high pay tables with a fair amount of confidence players will be able to experience the games. Today, I'm going to switch gears and point out a few strategy switches for lower pay tables, but it's easier to find 9-6 Double Double Bonus than other full-pay games.

Casinos have tightened their video poker offerings over the years and in many markets games that pay 99 percent-plus with expert play aren't available. With a 98.98-percent return and high volatility, 9-6 DDB seems to be right at the upper edge of operators' comfort zone.

The other reason for my Double Double Bonus frequency is that the game is very popular as the most-played video poker game.

Of course, not every casino has 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker and players often must decide whether to settle for a lower-paying game or play something else.

If you should find yourself in a casino where the best game is 9-5 or 8-5 DDB, getting the most out of the game means making just a few strategy adjustments. The changes are driven by the drop in the flush payback, making straight flush and even royal flush draws less valuable.

There are just a few strategy adjustments on the 9-5 and 8-5 versions of DDB:

  • A pair of Kings, Queens or Jacks is more valuable than all three-card royals. In the 9-6 game, the only three-card royal with a higher average return than a high pair is the suited King-Queen-Jack. When the flush return drops, the pair is a better hold than that hand, too.

The flush return is important. If we hold suited King-Queen-Jack and don't get ultra-lucky and hit the royal, we still could draw a flush as well as other potential winners -- straight flush, straight, two pairs or high pair. Decreasing the payoff on flushes also decreases the potential payoff of a draw to three suited cards.

  • Unsuited King-Queen and Queen-Jack are more valuable holds than suited Jack-10, the opposite of the play you’ll find on the strategy sheet for 9-6 DDB. Again the depressed flush payoff is the key.

  • Unsuited King-Queen-Jack becomes a better play than holding the three-card inside straight flushes King-10-9, Queen-9-8 and Jack-8-7. You have a better chance at a straight open on both ends than you have of drawing an inside straight flush. And when the flush payoff is decreased .... well, you know the rest.

Some sample hands:

King of diamonds, Queen of clubs, Jack of hearts, 8 of hearts, 7 of hearts

King-Queen-Jack, or Jack-8-7? With the reduced flush pay, it’s King-Queen-Jack, with an average return of 2.45 coins vs. 2.36 on the three-card, double-inside straight flush draw.

Queen of clubs, Jack of hearts, 10 of hearts, 6 of spades, 2 of diamonds

The two-card royal Jack-10 is actually the third best play here, with average returns of 2.28 on Queen-Jack, 2.25 on Queen-Jack-10 and 2.23 on Jack-10. When you’re down into hundredths of a coin, a mistake isn’t going to cost you a lot, but this is the play for those who want the most out of the game.

King of clubs, Queen of clubs, Jack of clubs, Jack of spades 6 of spades

That three-card royal is tempting, and with a higher flush payback we’d go for it. But here the average return is 7.17 coins on Jack-Jack and 7.14 on King-Queen-Jack.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski