Double Aces and Faces Video Poker

Double Aces and Faces

Double Aces and Faces could be called the video poker game with 2 names. Depending where you play, it's also sometimes called Double Jackpot video poker. No matter which name is used, the game is the same.

Double Aces and Faces video poker is basically a variation of Bonus Poker which offers increased payoffs for a 4 of a kind made up of faces cards - the jack, queen, or king.

This page hopes to be the most detailed and comprehensive guide to Double Jackpot video poker on the internet. We've included a full overview of how to play, how the pay tables vary and affect the odds, and what kinds of strategies can increase your chances of walking away a winner. We include observations about where to find Double Aces and Faces, too.

The Basics of Double Aces and Faces Video Poker: How to Play

If you know how to play Jacks or Better or Bonus Poker, you're familiar with the basics of Double Aces and Faces already. We'll go into some detail about how to play anyway, for those who are just getting started in video poker.

Video poker games resemble slot machine games, but they use playing cards instead of arbitrary symbols like fruit or bars. The probability algorithm for the game uses a 52-card deck as its reference point, too.

As a result, you can calculate the probabilities in a video poker game like Double Jackpot with a degree of accuracy that's impossible to duplicate when calculating probabilities for slot machine games.

Here's Why:

The payback percentage for a gambling game is the theoretical return to the player over lots of trials. When we say long-term, we mean thousands of hands, not just hundreds of hands.

The math behind this calculation is easy - you multiply the probability of winning by the amount you'll win. That gives you the expected return for each potential payout.

On a slot machine game, you have no way of ascertaining the probability of getting a specific symbol. Cherries might come up 1/64 of the time, or 1/32 of the time, or 1/8 of the time.

But with a video poker machine game like Double Jackpot, the probability of getting a specific card is always 1/52. The probability of getting a card of a specific rank is 1/13. The probability of getting a specific suit is 1/4.

The payback percentages for video poker games are almost always better than the payback percentages for video poker games, too. A typical slot machine game might have a payback percentage of 94% or 95%. You'll usually run into video poker games where the payback percentage is 95% or more.

To play Double Aces and Faces, or any other video poker game, you start by putting money into the machine. The game comes in a specific denomination, just like a slot machine does. Quarter machines are common, and so are dollar machines.

The game converts the money you insert into credits based on its denomination.

Here's an Example

You're playing a $5 Double Aces and Faces game. You put $500 into the machine. You have 100 credits.

You then decide how many credits you want to wager on each hand. You can play for between 1 and 5 coins on each hand, but you should always play for 5 coins - the max.

The reason for this is tied into the pay table. Video poker games, Double Jackpot included, reserve their highest payout for a royal flush. This hand pays off at 200 for 1 if you bet 1, 2, 3, or 4 coins.

But if you bet 5 coins, a royal flush pays off at 800 for 1.

This is such a huge increase in payout size that it has a major effect on your overall payback percentage for the game. You should, therefore, always bet 5 coins per hand.

Once you've hit the deal button, which is also sometimes labeled "bet max", the game deals you a virtual hand of 5 cards on a video screen.

You decide which of those 5 cards to keep by pressing the "hold" button that corresponds to each card. Most modern games also have touchscreen technology, so you can hold cards just by tapping the screen, too.

Once you've decide which cards to keep and which to throw away, you press the deal button again. The game deals replacement cards from what's left in the deck. It then compares the poker hand ranking of your final hand to the pay table and awards your payout.

On most video poker variations, the major difference from game to game involves the payouts for the various hands. We go into more detail about that in the next section.

Video Poker Pay Tables: Odds and Probability in Double Jackpot Video Poker

Here's a typical pay table for Double Jackpot video poker. We'll go into some detail about why this pay table matters so much after you've had a chance to look at it:

Hand/Coins 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 of a kind - aces- 2, 3,4 kicker 400 800 1200 1600 2000
4 of a kind - 2s, 3s, or 4s - A, 2, 3, 4 kicker 160 320 480 640 800
4 of a kind - aces 160 320 480 640 800
4 of a kind - 2s, 3s, or 4s 80 160 240 320 400
4 of a kind - any other 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 pair 1 2 3 4 5
Pair of jacks+ 1 2 3 4 5

This is called a 9/7/5 Double Jackpot (or Double Ace and Faces) pay table. The 9/7/5 refers to the payoffs for the full house, flush, and straight, respectively. In this game, these are the payoffs that are usually adjusted by the manufacturers and casinos to adjust the payback percentage for the game.

The payback percentage for a Double Jackpot video poker game with this pay table is 99.24%, which means that the house edge is only 0.76%. (When you add the house edge and the payback percentage together, you get 100%, every time.) This makes this version of Double Aces and Faces comparable to one of the better games of blackjack, in terms of odds.

But keep in mind that this payback percentage assumes you're playing with perfect strategy. That means you must make the mathematically optimal decision on every hand. Any mistakes you make will lower that payback percentage.

How is that payback percentage determined?

It's based on a concept of expected return. The expected return on a bet is the chance of winning multiplied by the payoff when you win. In the case of a video poker, you have multiple potential prizes, each of which has a probability. You add the expected return for all the potential prizes to get the overall expected return for the game.

Here's an Example Using This Pay Table

A pair of jacks or better pays off at even money (1 for 1). You'll see that hand about 19.8% of the time. 19.8% multiplied by 1 is 19.8%. That's the expected return for that hand.

2 pair also pays off at even money. It doesn't show up as often - about 11.9% of the time. The expected return for that hand is 11.9%, so the total payback percentage for the game (so far) is 19.8% + 11.9%, or 31.7%.

3 of a kind, though, pays off at 3 for 1. The probability of winding up with that hand is about 7.3%. Multiply 7.3% by 3, and you get 21.9%. Add that to what we have so far, and you get a total of 53.6%.

You can make an interesting observation just knowing the expected return for these 3 hands, and it's this:

More than half of the payback on this game comes from just those 3 hands.

In fact, the 3 of a kind represents the highest expected return of any specific hand in the game.

A straight comes up a lot less often - about 1.5% of the time. With a payoff of 5 for 1, this adds another 7.5% to the payback percentage for the game.

And so on, until you get to the royal flush.

Like most video poker games, Double Aces and Faces is just a variation of Jacks or Better. The big difference lies in the payoff for the various 4 of a kind hands. In a standard Jacks or Better game, the payoff for a 4 of a kind is the same regardless of rank - 25 for 1.

The minimum payoff for a 4 of a kind in this game is 50 for 1, but it can be more if you have face cards - 80 for 1.

And if you have a 4 of a kind made up of aces, the payoff is 160 for 1.

These huge payoffs sound like they'd have a massive effect on the payout for the game, but these hands come up so seldom that they don't make much of a difference. In Jacks or Better, you'll see a 4 of a kind about 0.2% of the time.

That increases slightly when you adjust your strategy for Double Aces and Faces, but only to 0.22%.

But you're taking an expected return of 5.8% and converting it into an expected return of 16.9%. The expected return for this hand has tripled from one game to another.

But the payback percentage for the overall game is almost the same.

How Does That Happen?

Notice the payoff for a hand made up of 2 pair. The payoff for that hand on a standard Jacks or Better game is 2 for 1, and the expected return for that hand is 25.8%.

In Double Jackpot, the payoff has been halved. Also, you'll wind up with 2 pair less often, because you'll make strategy adjustments based on the differences between the 2 games. The expected return for 2 pair in Double Jackpot is only 11.9%.

That difference alone is enough to pay for these bonus payoffs on the 4 of a kind hands.

In fact, this is a standard way for a pay table to increase the payoff on a low probability hand. Bonus Poker games in general do this - they reduce the payoffs for 2 pair, a commonly seen hand, to "pay" for the increased payoffs for 4 of a kind.

Of course, this isn't the only pay table available for Double Aces and Faces, either. Like all other VP variations, you can find multiple pay tables.

Here's another example pay table for the game:

Hand/Coins 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 of a kind - aces 160 320 480 640 800
4 of a kind - Js, Qs, or Ks 80 160 240 320 400
4 of a kind - any other 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 7 14 21 28 35
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 pair 1 2 3 4 5
Pair of jacks+ 1 2 3 4 5

The only difference between this pay table and the other example pay table is the payoff for a straight, which has been reduced from 5 for 1 to 4 for 1. This reduces the expected value for that hand from 7.5% to 4.9%.

This also reduces the overall payback percentage for the game from 99.24% to 97.9%. The house edge jumps from 0.76% to 2.1%.

The implication of this is important to mention. When you're talking about percentages, the numbers seem small, but when you add them up over hundreds of bets, the effect on your bankroll is anything but small.

Here's Why

:

You calculate your expected loss per hour on a game by multiplying the number of bets you make by the size of those bets. You multiply that by the house edge to get your expected hourly loss. Your actual results will vary wildly from this mathematical expectation in the short run. But in the long run, your actual results will eventually start to mirror your mathematical expectation.

Let's look at the expected loss in dollars on both these versions of the same game:

An average video poker player plays 600 hands per hour. We'll assume you're playing a dollar machine for the max bet, which means you're betting $5 per hand. That's $3000 per hour in action.

With a house edge of 0.76%, your expected loss is $22.80. That's not great news, but considering how much action you're getting, it's not bad news, either.

Increase the house edge to 2.1%, though, and your hourly loss skyrocket to $63.

What a difference a couple of percentage points make, huh?

But those aren't the only pay tables. You can also find Double Aces and Faces with the following pay tables and overall payback percentages:

  • 9/6/5 - 98%
  • 9/6/4 - 96.5%
  • 9/5/4 - 95.4%

Notice that the payout for the flush and the straight are the ones that are changed. The house edge on these games, and the expected hourly loss on a dollar game, look like this:

  • 2% - $60
  • 3.5% - $100.50
  • 4.6% - $138

It should be clear from these examples that choosing a game with the right pay table is an important part of your overall strategy for the game. We recommend sticking with games with a 99% payback percentage or better. In some casinos, you might only be able to find video poker games with a 98% payback percentage. That's still better than playing a slot machine, but you should be willing to shop casinos as well as pay tables within a casino.

Speaking of strategy...

Double Aces and Faces Strategy

All the payback percentages we've discussed so far assume you're playing with perfect strategy. When we say perfect strategy, we mean that you make the optimal decisions on every hand - the decisions with the highest expected return.

There are 32 ways to play every video poker hand. You have the option of holding or discarding each of 5 cards. That's 2 decisions for each card, but you have an array of combinations. Here's what the math looks like:

2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 = 32

In many cases, the correct mathematical decision will be obvious. Most of the time, for example, you'll hold the cards which make up a pat hand. (A pat hand is a hand that's going to pay out without improving.)

Obviously, you'd be a fool to discard any of your cards if you were dealt a royal flush on the deal. If you were dealt any 4 of a kind on the deal, you'd want to hold that, too.

But other decisions get trickier. What if you have 4 cards to a straight, but you also have a pair of jacks? Do you keep the pat hand, or do you hold on to the jacks and hope to improve to a 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind?

That's where strategy comes in handy. A video poker strategy table is a list of hands in order of how desirable they are. You start at the top and read down until you get to a hand that matches what you have. When you get to that point, you stop and hold on to those cards.

Here's what a somewhat simplified strategy list for Double Jackpot looks like:

  • Royal flush, straight flush, or 4 of a kind

    If you get any of these pat hands, you should hold on to them and take your payoff.

  • 4 cards to a royal flush

    Any time you have a 4 card draw to a royal flush, you should draw to this hand, even if it means breaking up a lower-paying pat hand. This will usually mean breaking up a pair of jacks or higher. For example, you might have a hand with the jack of spades and the jack, queen, king, and ace of hearts. If you keep the 2 jacks, you have a guaranteed even money payoff. You also have a chance to improve to a 3 of a kind or a 4 of a kind. But if you improve to a royal flush (which you'll do about 2% of the time), you'll get an 800 for 1 payoff. That's an expected value of 16 units, which is hard to beat.

  • 3 of a kind

    Not only is this a pat hand, but you have a chance of drawing to a 4 of a king.

  • Straight, flush, or full house

    These are also pat hands. The only time you won't hold on to one of these hands is if you can draw to a royal flush, which will sometimes be the case with a straight or a flush. For example, you might have the ace, king, queen, jack, and 7 of hearts. The correct move is to discard the 7 and hope to fill the royal flush. But with any other flush, you'd hold on to the flush.

  • A pair of aces

    Since the payoff is so much higher for a 4 of a kind made up of aces, a pair of aces has special value as a hand to hold on to. In fact, if you have 2 pairs, and one of them is a pair of aces, the correct strategy is to discard the other pair to give yourself a shot at the 4 of a kind.

  • 2 pairs

    But aces are the only pair you'd hold in favor of 2 pairs. If you have 2 pair, you hold on to it and draw to that other card, hoping to make a full house. Most of the time, you'll miss the full house, but you still have a guaranteed payoff on this pat hand.

  • A pair of jacks, queens, or kings

    Obviously, these are pat hands, but they also have the potential to make a 4 of a kind made up of face cards.

  • 4 cards to a flush

    At this point, you're looking at speculative hands - we've covered all the pat hands at this point. This is a relatively easy hand to draw to, as you 9 cards left in the deck which will complete your hand.

  • 3 cards to a royal flush

    This one's a real long shot, but you have the potential to fill so many hands that it's the next one on the list. You could hit a big pair, a 3 of a kind, a flush, or a straight. You'll rarely hit the royal flush, but when you do, it's a huge payoff.

  • 4 cards to a straight

    You're looking for an open-ended straight draw here, not an inside straight draw. An example of an outside straight draw is 3456. You can fill your hand with any 2 or any 7. That means 8 possible cards can make your hand. (An inside straight draw is like 3467, where you'd need a 5 to fill your hand. There are only 4 of those in the deck.)

  • 3 cards to a straight flush

    Now we're getting even more speculative, but this is still a better option than an inside straight draw.

  • A low pair

    Any pair of 10s or lower has the potential to become 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind, or even a full house. But there are other speculative hands that provide a better expectation. That's why they're higher on this list.

  • Super speculative hands

    After this point, you'll be focusing on super speculative hands like inside straight draws and 3-card and 2-card draws to bigger hands. The thing to keep in mind is that you want to pay a lot of attention to hands with face cards or aces in them, because of the potential for hitting those 4 of a kind hands.

The above strategy for Double Aces and Faces isn't mathematically optimal, because such a strategy would be unwieldy, overly long, and impossible to memorize. Practical considerations matter. We're confident that the above strategy will get you within a few tenths of a percentage of the optimal return for the game, though.

It's hard to overstate a couple other strategic considerations, though:
  • 1

    Finding good pay tables.

  • 2

    Using your slot club membership.

We've already talked about the importance of shopping for good pay tables, but let's talk about the slots club membership.

The players' club at the casino is the mechanism that the casino uses to incentivize their players. They do this by giving you a card to insert into the gambling machines as you play them. This card tracks how much action you're bringing to the casino.

The card does NOT track how much money you're winning or losing. The casinos don't want to incentivize you based on wins or losses. They want to incentivize you based on how much you play, regardless of whether you're winning or losing.

Remember that the casino is working in the long run, so the more customers they have playing more often, the closer their actual results are going to resemble the mathematical expectation. And since the casino has a mathematical edge on every game - including Double Aces and Faces - the more they expect to win the more you play.

The incentives take the form of rebates based on your play. Casinos calculate it as a percentage of your action. Often you get 0.1% or 0.2% back in the form of rebates, but casinos also often have periods where you can earn double or triple rewards.

Find a casino where you can get 0.3% back in rebates on your slots club card, and play when they're offering triple rewards, and you get to add 0.9% to the expected payback percentage for the game.

On a game like Double Jackpot video poker, with a payback percentage of 99.24%, adding 0.9% to your return can result in a game with an actual return of more than 100%. This means you're playing with an edge - albeit a small one - over the casino.

You won't be able to make a living playing video poker - at least, you probably won't - but wouldn't it be nice to enjoy a bit of gambling without having the math stacked entirely against you?

Even if you can reduce the house edge to less than 0.4%, you can enjoy some of the best odds in the casino.

The Moral of The Story?
Always join the slots club, and always play with your card inserted.

And don't be shy about shopping from casino to casino looking for the players' clubs with the best rewards.

Where to Find Double Jackpot Video Poker Online, for Free or Real Money

Double Aces and Faces, or Double Jackpot, is a relatively unusual video poker game. We don't know of any online casinos offering free or real money versions of the game.

But this game is so much like Bonus Poker or Double Bonus Poker - or any other member of that family of games - that you can get a similar experience playing any of those games. Just compare the pay tables to the ones we've shared here.

If you're looking for an online casino at which to play video poker, we recommend several reputable gambling sites. Our reviews are as comprehensive and even-handed as any you'll find on the web, too. Not all offshore casinos offer great customer service, so consider sticking with our recommendations. Most of them have excellent video poker selections, too.

Conclusion

Double Aces and Faces, which is also often called Double Jackpot, is a relatively obscure variation of Bonus Poker that's not widely available. With the right pay tables and strategies, it's a playable game with a payback percentage of over 99%. It also has the benefit of being easy to understand. If you already enjoy Bonus Poker variations, and if you come across this game, give it a whirl.

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