You always remember your first love.
Growing up in Las Vegas, I couldn’t wait to turn twenty-one. It wasn’t about drinking. Let’s be honest, by the time high school was over, the excitement around drinking had pretty much worn off. It wasn’t being old enough to go to clubs. That’s never been my scene in the first place. I wasn’t even necessarily thrilled about the table games. At that point in my life, I was pretty intimidated to sit down at a table and show I didn’t know what I was talking about.
What I was excited about were those machines in every supermarket, every gas station, and even the airport. I tried a few of the various games. There were Deuces Wild, Blackjack, and some kind of Keno game. None of them grabbed me quite like MY game though. Double Double Bonus Poker.
I remember the exact machine that I first played on. It was the second machine, by the window at the Chevron on the corner of Spring Mountain and Jones. It was before work that day, and I had a cruise coming up that I was desperately attempting to save money for. I decided to put $20 in the machine; I was betting a dollar a hand. I didn’t know to play max bets at the time.
I was dealt a pair of kings, then a couple of jacks, two pairs of 5’s and 3’s. I just kept pushing. Whatever the hand I was dealt, I always just won my money back but wasn’t making any progress. Then it happened. I was dealt my next hand, and I heard that familiar “ding” that the machine sounds when you have been dealt a winning hand.
It was four Ace’s and a 2. I know now that 2 is called a “kicker, ” and this hand is the reason that Double Double Bonus Poker is interesting. I held all of the cards and quickly learned that I had just won 1600 credits. I was over the moon! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! I was sure that I had just won $1,600.
Well, it was a quarter machine, so when I got my payout, I learned that it was actually $400 instead. For a brief moment in my mind, I had no longer won big; I had lost $1200. After thirty seconds or so I was able to readjust my mind and reappreciate the fortunes that had been bestowed upon me.
It was a brilliant first impression and started a gambling love affair that endures to this very day.
Four of a Kind
What I stumbled upon that day is what coincidentally makes Double Double Bonus Poker stand out from other video poker games. The Four-of-a-Kinds are all paid out higher than the similar “Jacks or Better” video poker, but they also have these things called “kickers” that increase the Four-of-a-Kind rewards significantly.
The kicker is a specific fifth card in the same hand as your Four-of-a-Kind. For instance, four Aces alone pay 160 credits for every one credit wagered. But that same four Aces dealt with a 2, 3, or 4 pay 400 credits for every one credit bet. This payout is half of a Royal Flush, which is excellent when you understand the odds.
A Royal Flush, which pays out 800 for every one wagered, occurs once every 40,000 hands. But four Aces and a kicker is actually dealt once every 16,000 hands. So that reward of 50% of the Royal Flush winnings presents us some excellent value for the odds.
For instance, there are times when you will be dealt a full house made up of three Aces and two 9’s. Instead of collecting on that Full House, you are better off holding the Aces and getting dealt two new cards. You are guaranteed the 3 to 1 payout, and you’re playing for the Four-of-a-Kind that’s a much more significant win than just the 9 to 1 for the Full House.
The Reno Airport
The second stage of my love affair with this particular poker game was built at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. I still don’t know if this one machine was faulty or if I just had a string of lucky coincidences. It was one of those Game King machines where you could pick your game, which of course I did, Double Double Bonus Poker.
At that point in my life, I was flying a ton. I was in Reno for college, but I was coming back home to Vegas a couple times a month at least. There was this one machine in front of gate B-4, and I swear to you I won money on this machine every single time I played.
The equation always had to be the exact same. I had to play a twenty dollar bill. Any more or any less and I would lose my money. But as long as I played a twenty and maxed out every single bet, by the third or fourth hand I would be dealt Four-of-a-Kind. There was never a kicker, and the Four-of-a-Kinds were usually face cards. Those only paid 50 to 1, but that kind of money was astronomical for a college kid!
After a few months, I just started calling it “withdrawing my vacation money” every time I was in the B terminal at the airport
Now that I’ve pontificated about my love for Double Double Bonus Poker and shared a few of my lucky tales, I want to send you on your way with some helpful tips. Most of the strategies are the same as conventional Jacks or Better Poker, but I’ll go over some of the hands that are played differently for Double Double Bonus.
Hopefully, the game will treat you as well as it has me!
- When dealt three Aces, a kicker, and random 5th card, only hold the three Aces and draw two cards.
- If dealt two pairs, and one of the pairs is Aces, hold only the Aces and draw three cards.
- If dealt a Full House with three Aces and a pair, hold only the Aces and draw two cards.
- If dealt two pairs, one pair is Jacks or Higher, only hold the high pair and draw three cards.
The Wrap Up
There is no game that I’ve spent more time playing than Double Double Bonus Poker. While it is considered a volatile form of video poker, I find the allure of the kickers and the high payouts for quads more exciting than any of the other games.
Maybe it’s just that I had such a miraculous first impression. Perhaps a faulty airport machine gave me a false sense of reality when it comes to this game. I’m not sure, but what I do know is that it’s probably the most successful relationship I’ve ever had, with no sign of slowing down!
There are only a few slight changes to the strategies when playing Double Double Bonus versus Jacks or Better, but those subtle differences matter.