Double Double Bonus Poker

Double Double Bonus

Double Double Bonus Poker is a variation of Double Bonus Poker. In fact, you can trace the lineage of this game back to Bonus Poker and its father, Jacks or Better.

Jacks or Better video poker, of course, is the most basics form of video poker. Bonus Poker games resemble Jacks or Better closely, with a major difference - you get bigger payouts on 4 of a kind hands. These bonus payouts vary based on the ranking of the cards in the 4 of a kind. In Double Double Bonus, the kicker also affects how big the bonus payout is.

This page is meant to be the most comprehensives guide to Double Double Bonus Poker on the internet. We go into detail about the basics of gameplay - even if you've never played video poker before, you should be able to play a smart game of Double Double Bonus Poker using no other information than what we've included on this page.

We also go into detail about the pay tables, probabilities, and payback percentage for the game.

The Basics of Double Double Bonus Poker

If you've never played video poker before, you might be forgiven for thinking that a game like Double Double Bonus Poke is just a tricked-out slot machine with a playing card theme.

But the differences are bigger and more significant than that.

Both slot machines and video poker games use symbols on a payline. They also both use random number generators to determine which symbols come up in which combinations on any given "spin" or "hand".

But on a slot machine, the symbols and associated probabilities are determined arbitrarily by the slot machine manufacturer. You might have a cherry symbol with a 1/24 chance of appearing, a bar symbol with a 1/12 chance of appearing, and a wild symbol with a 1/48 chance of appearing.

You have no way of knowing what the probability of getting a specific symbol is. That's a crucial piece of information if you want to get an idea of the odds for the game, by the way.

The way you calculate the payback percentage for a gambling machine (or any other gambling game, for that matter), is to compare the probability of winning with the amount you win. In almost all casino games - besides slot machines - you know both the payoff and the probability of winning.

Here's an Example

In roulette, a single number bet pays off at 35 to 1. The odds of winning are 37 to 1. You have 38 numbers on a roulette wheel, so you have 1/38 probability of getting a specific number.

On a slot machine, you know what amount you win with various combinations, but you don't know what the probability of winning is.

Video poker, on the other hand, uses the same probability as a deck of cards. We know there are 52 cards in a deck. We also know that there are 4 suits with 13 ranks within each suit. The probability of getting a specific card is 1/52, a specific suit, 1/4, and a specific rank, 1/13.

Slot machines have opaque probabilities, but video poker games have transparent probabilities.

We prefer games where we have more information about our chances of winning.

You measure the odds on a gambling machine by looking at its payback percentage. We'll discuss that in detail in the next section, but for now, understand that the payback percentage is an estimate of how much money you'll get back, on average, every time you bet. It's a long-term expectation. The higher the payback percentage, the better the game.

Slot machines average a payback percentage of 94% or 95% or less. But video poker games average a payback percentage of 95% or more.

If you play well and stick with the games with the right pay tables, you can even find video poker games with a 99% payback percentage or greater.

As a result, we're big fans of playing video poker games instead of slot machines.

Video poker games like Double Double Bonus Poker also offer the player the chance to make meaningful decisions. The games are based on draw poker, so you get to choose which cards to keep and which cards to discard. Make good decisions, and you'll win more often. Make bad decisions, and you'll lose more often.

The gameplay for a video poker game like Double Double Bonus couldn't be easier, either. Let's break it down, step by step:

  • 1You choose a machine.

    Smart players account for the denomination of the machine, their knowledge of the strategy for the game variation, and the pay table.

  • 2You insert money, and the machine converts that money into credits.

    For example, if you're playing a quarter machine, and you insert $100, you're given 400 credits to play with.

  • 3You choose how many coins you're going to bet per hand.

    You can bet between 1 and 5 coins on every hand, but you should always bet 5 coins. The payoff for the royal flush is the big jackpot for the game, and it pays off at 800 for 1 when you make the 5-coin bet. If you bet 1, 2, 3, or 4 coins, you only get 200 for 1 or 250 for 1. That's a huge difference to your bottom line.

  • 4You press the "DEAL" button.

    When you do this, the machine deals you a 5-card hand. The game uses the same probability as if you were dealing yourself a poker hand from a real deck of cards.

  • 5You decide which cards to keep and which ones to discard.

    To keep a card in video poker, you can press the "HOLD" button which corresponds to that card. Or you can just touch the screen, although older video poker machines don't offer that option.

  • 6You press the "DEAL" button again, and the machine replaces your discards.

    The machine then compares your final hand with the pay table and pays you off based on the hand you wind up with.

It can be useful to think of Double Double Bonus and other VP variations as being a video game mash-up of solitaire and 5-card draw poker. The game resembles solitaire because you're not competing with other players or other hands. And the game resembles 5-card draw because you get a 5-card poker hand and get to discard cards.

It's appropriate to go into some detail about payouts and pay tables, and that's what we cover in the next section.

Pay Tables, Payback Percentages, and Double Double Bonus Poker Probabilities

Here's an example of a pay table for a Double Double Bonus video poker 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 5 10 15 20 25
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 first thing you should notice is the huge disparity between the payoff for a royal flush when you've bet 5 coins as opposed to the other options you had. That 4000-coin jackpot is the goal when you're playing almost any video poker game. Always bet 5 coins.

The next thing to notice is the multiple possible payouts based on 4 of a kind. In a standard Jacks or Better game, a 4 of a kind pays off at 25 for 1.

The reason this is a Bonus Poker variation is because you get bigger payoffs based on the ranking of the cards in the 4 of a kind.

And the Double Double comes into play when you account for the kicker to get even bigger payouts.

This is also a good example of how video poker differs from traditional poker. The hand rankings are roughly the same in general, but in a real poker game, you'd prefer a higher rank for your 4 of a kind. A hand with 4 kings would beat a hand with 4 deuces.

But in Double Double Bonus Poker, the hand with the 4 deuces pays off quite a bit more.

The pay table, by the way, is the crux of the game. Since we know the probability of getting certain hands, we can calculate the expected return for each of them. When you add all those possibilities together, you get the overall payback percentage for the game.

Here are some examples:

A pair of jacks or better comes up about 21.1% of the time. Since it pays off at even money (1 for 1), the expected value for that hand is 21.1%.

2 pair only happens about 12.3% of the time, and it also pays off at even money. That's worth 12.3%.

3 of a kind, though, pays off at 3 for 1. The hand comes up less frequently, only 7.5% of the time, but you get to multiply that by the payoff of 3 for 22.5%.

Those 3 hands combined make up 21.1% + 12.3% + 22.5%, or 55.9% of the payback percentage. All the hands above that make up less of the game's payback percentage.

The payback percentage for the Double Double Bonus game listed above is 98.98%. We always recommend that players stick with video poker games where the payback percentage is 99% or higher, but we're not going to quibble over 0.02%, either.

That's a common enough pay table for the game, but you'll see other, less favorable pay tables often. Here's an example of one of those:

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 8 16 24 32 40
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

The payback percentage for this pay table is only 97.9%, which is significantly lower than the first pay table we shared with you.

How Big a Difference Is It?

Let's project how much a player expects to lose per hour on each of the 2 games. We'll assume that the player is playing on a dollar game and making the full 5-coin bet. She's betting $5 per hand.

We'll also assume she's playing with perfect strategy, and that she's playing about 600 hands per hour (which is average).

We're looking at $3000/hour in action.

If you subtract the payback percentage from 100%, you get the house edge. On the first pay table, the house edge is 100% - 98.98%, or 1.02%. On $3000 worth of action per hour, that's a projected loss of $30.06 per hour.

On the second pay table, we're looking at 100% - 97.9%, or 2.1%. That's $62/hour in projected losses.

It's the same game and presumably has the same entertainment value for the player.

But one version of it costs $30.06/hour to play, while the other costs $62/hour to play.

We suggest that players treat gambling like any other entertainment expense and make decisions accordingly. Let's look at these 2 games from that perspective.

You're at a movie theater, and you can choose to watch the new Star Wars movie in theater A for $30.06, or you can watch it in theater B for $62. You'd clearly choose theater A.

But most gamblers don't bother to educate themselves well enough to know what the tickets cost. Many of them wander unknowingly into theater B.

Don't be one of them.

Where Does the Change in Payback Percentage Come From?

If you were paying close attention, you probably saw that the payoffs for the following hands were reduced by 1 coin each:

  • Full house
  • Flush
  • Straight

Those hands come up 10%, 11%, and 12% of the time, respectively. Reducing the payoff on each of those results in a net loss on your overall expected return of 1%.

Of course, those are numbers you won't see in the short run, anyway. Probabilities represent long-term expectations. The entire casino industry works on this basis, by the way. If no one ever won in the short term, no one would play. And if everyone won in the long run, the casinos couldn't stay in business.

And when we say long run, we're talking about thousands and tens of thousands of hands. You'll only see a royal flush, on average, once every 40,000 hands, for example.

Of course, to see even these kinds of returns, you must make the mathematically correct decisions. We'll discuss that in the strategy section.

Double Double Bonus Strategy

Double Double Bonus strategy doesn't differ much from other games. If you're familiar with the basic strategy for Jacks or Better, you're most of the way there.

But there are some differences.

Let's first talk about why there's a strategy in the first place.

Double Double Bonus is a game of decisions. You have 5 cards. You have 2 possible decisions for each card. This leaves you with 32 total ways to play each hand.

Each of those possible decisions has an expected return. The correct play (mathematically) is the one with the best expected return.

That sounds harder than it is. Most of the time, the right move is easily understood, especially if you've spent some time playing cards in your life.

Video poker strategy charts are organized into hierarchies of hand types. You start at the top and look for a hand that matches yours. Those are the cards you keep. In many cases, especially when you're dealt a pat hand, the right decision is obvious.

But not always.

Here's an Example Strategy List For This Game:

  • Royal flush -

    Of course, if you're dealt a royal flush, you've hit the jackpot. You'll naturally just hold this hand and thank your lucky stars.

  • 4 of a kind with aces, 2s, 3s, or 3s WITH an ace, 2, 3, or 4 kicker -

    This is the 2nd best pat hand you can hope for. You don't try to improve this hand.

  • 4 of a kind -

    This is a pat hand, yes, but you're going to often draw on that 5th card that isn't part of your 4 of a kind to try to improve your kicker. This is different from most video poker games where the kicker doesn't matter.

  • Straight flush -

    Another pat hand that needs no improvement. Notice that you won't draw to a royal flush with this hand even if you can. An example is a hand with the 9, 10, jack, queen, and king of spades. You might be tempted to discard the 9 and hope for an ace, but that's not the right move.

  • 4 to a royal flush -

    You'll always go for the royal flush over any other pat hand on the list, besides the ones already listed. This sounds like a lot to remember, but keep in mind that the 4 of a kind will never also be 4 to a royal flush. It's impossible.

  • 3 of a kind, aces -

    You are, of course, hoping to trade up to a 4 of a kind made up of aces, which is a big hand. Notice that you'll even break up a full house in favor of 3 aces to go for that 4 of a kind.

  • Full house, flush, or straight -

    These are all good hands and make up some of the bread and butter of the game. You will break up a pat straight or a pat flush if you have a chance at 4 to a royal flush, though.

  • 3 of a kind -

    Any other 3 of a kind falls into this category - we already talked about what you do with 3 aces.

  • 4 cards to a straight flush -

    No explanation should be needed here. This hand has a big payout, so it's worth drawing to if you don't have anything better.

  • A pair of aces -

    This is listed differently from other pairs, because even if you have 2 pair, you'll discard the other pair for the shot at 4 of a kind.

  • 2 pair -

    Unless one of them is a pair of aces - see above.

  • JQK suited -

    This is, of course, 3 cards to a royal flush. It's speculative, but there's potential for improvement to 3 of a kind or a big pair. You could also hit a flush or a straight.

  • A pair of kings
  • TJQ suited -

    Like JQK suited, but not as good. If the 10 pairs, you don't get paid.

  • A pair of jacks or queens
  • 4 cards to a flush draw -

    This is a relatively easy draw to make. After all, you have 9 cards left in the deck which can fill your hand.

  • Any other 3 cards to a royal flush
  • 4 cards to a straight draw -

    The straight payoff isn't that impressive, but if it's an open-ended straight draw, you have 8 cards which can complete your hand. You don't draw to an inside straight here. The difference is where the missing cards are. 6789 is an open-ended straight draw. Any 5 or 10 will complete your straight. But 5679 is an inside straight draw - the only card that will make your hand is an 8. And there are only 4 of them in the deck.

  • Any other pair -

    You are, of course, hoping to hit 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind. You can also hit a full house with one of these pairs.

  • Inside straight draw
  • 3 to a straight flush
  • Speculative hands -

    Once you get this far down the list, it's time to make judgment calls. You should be more aggressive with draws that have remote possibilities of hitting one of the big hands with the big payouts above.

The strategy, as presented, isn't perfect, and you'll be losing a percentage point or so over a perfect strategy. But memorizing a perfect strategy would involve memorizing over 40 lines or strategy, which is unwieldy and probably not worth it for most casual players.

The more important strategy considerations here involve game choice and slot club membership.

If you choose a version of Double Double Bonus Poker with a lousy pay table, it doesn't matter how well you play each hand. The best possible payout percentage for the game won't be enough to make it worth your while.

Playing at a casino where the slots club pays off well is worth thinking about, too. Casinos use slot machine clubs to reward players who bring a lot of action. They assign you a card which you insert into the machine to track your play.

Some people who don't know what they're talking about think inserting this card interferes with the players' chances of winning. They don't understand that the best indicator of profitability on a gambling machine is time spent on the machine. The casino doesn't care if you're winning or losing in the short term. If you keep playing, they'll eventually make their money because of the house edge.

Here's How Most Slots Clubs Cards Work:

The casino rebates you a tiny percentage of your hourly action in the form of comped meals, hotel stays, event tickets, and travel perks.

This percentage usually averages around 0.2%, but with specials, it can be even more. Many casinos try to ramp up business during slow periods by offering triple points during certain hours. For example, a casino offering triple points between 1pm and 4pm is offering 0.6% instead of 0.2%.

You get to add that to the expected return for the game. In some cases, this can turn a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game - one where you have the edge over the casino.

This requires near-perfect play on your part, of course. It also requires a great pay table.

But don't quit your day job, yet.

Any edge gained this way is likely to be less than 0.2%. Which means projected winnings of $6/hour or so on the Double Double Poker games we've discussed on this page.

But in terms of getting the most for your entertainment dollar, being a member of the slots club is critical to your success.

Where to Find Double Double Bonus Poker

Double Double Bonus Poker is a common video poker variation. You can find the game at almost any casino online or off. If you're playing at online casinos, you can play free versions. The only drawback to the free version is that it's impossible to win any money when you're playing. (And honestly, isn't that the reason we're playing in the first place?)

Still, if you want to get a feel for the game, playing the free version is a fun way to practice.

We recommend several online casinos on our site. All of them have been vetted for honesty and good customer service. Most of them offer Double Double Bonus Poker, as it's one of the more common variations available.

Conclusion

Double Double Bonus Poker is a commonly-found variation of Bonus Poker, which is, in turn, a variation of Jacks or Better. The difference in this game and other Bonus Poker games is the extra payoff for a 4 of a kind with a certain kind of kicker.

Finding a variation of this game with a pay table that provides a 98.98% payback percentage is relatively easy, too. You just need to play with a strong enough strategy to realize this potential return.

In many casinos, Double Double Bonus Poker is the best option available.

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