Double Down Stud Video Poker

Double Down Stud video poker represents one of the simplest forms of the game that you can find in casinos and online. You only have a single decision to make, and it’s a choice that is pretty obvious most of the time. Even though the gameplay is pretty simplistic, it makes up for it by offering you the opportunity for maximum payouts that are much higher than your average video poker game.

One of the top reasons that people gravitate to video poker machines in a casino is ease of play. You can be up and running playing video poker, with enough of an understanding of it to play the game well within a few hands. It simply takes knowing a little bit about probabilities and the way winning poker hands are made.

Double Down LogoYet common video poker does require a little bit more strategic thinking than, for example, slot machines. And some of those strategic choices can be a little confusing. This is especially the case when you are dealt a hand where there are multiple possibilities of what could happen if you discard certain cards and then draw others into your final hand.

In the case of Double Down Stud video poker, a lot of that guesswork is taken away from you. You have just one decision to make when you play each hand, and that’s whether or not you’re going to double your bet. Since that decision is made when there is just one more card to be seen in your hand, the possible outcomes are greatly reduced from what you would find playing basic video poker.

Some people might prefer the harder decisions and challenges of basic video poker to this. But Double Down Stud video poker can draw others in with the possibilities of much larger-paying outcomes from a single hand. This is because the machine uses these higher payouts to compensate for the fact that there is no draw round and winning hands are harder to make.

Despite all of that, there is one main drawback that might make people reconsider playing Double Down Stud video poker. And that’s the fact that the overall payback percentage for even the highest-paying version of the game lags behind the highest-paying versions of more common video poker games like Jacks or Better. As a result, it’s harder for players to make money playing Double Down Stud video poker over the long haul.

In the following article, we will go over how to play regular video poker and then show the contrasts in playing Double Down Stud video poker. We will also look at pay tables for the game and see how those tables affect payback percentages. Finally, we’ll take a look at what some of the advantages and disadvantages of this game are so that you can decide if it’s the right game for you when you walk through those casino doors or prepare to play online.

Common Video Poker

Video poker is one of the most popular of all casino gambling attractions. That’s because it combines simplicity of play with other traits that actually make it beneficial to play. After all, slots are simple to play too, but it’s hard to even consider making a profit playing slots over a long period of time.

But you can hope to do that with video poker. That’s because the average payback for most video poker games comes close to, or even sometimes exceed, 100%. When you play the game for a long time, you can hope to either get close to all of the money you put into the machine back or perhaps even eke out a profit.

That is not the case with a slot machine, where payback tends to settle in around 92% on the average. And to make it worse, you have no way of knowing which machines pay out better than others.

With video poker, that can all be determined by looking at the payouts for each winning hand. That information is available in the pay tables, and combining that with the probabilities of making those winning hands yields the expected payout for each game.

On top of that, video poker is played far away from the hustle and bustle of table games. You can play as fast or as slow as you like and never have to worry about protocol or whether it’s proper to play the game a certain way. It’s just you and the machine, and yet you can still help control winning and losing by the choices you make, just as in table games.

You are basically getting the best of both worlds with video poker. That is also true about Double Down Stud video poker. But it goes about it a little differently.

To better illustrate Double Down Stud video poker, we must first explain the way common video poker games, like Jacks or Better or Bonus poker, work. Only then can you truly understand Double Down Stud and decide if you would like to play it instead of other forms of video poker.

Here is how common video poker works:

  • Bankroll: You insert money into the machine to establish a bankroll. Your bankroll will be registered as credits or coins, and each credit is equal to the amount of the denomination of the machine that you’re playing. If you’re playing the game via a top gambling website, you will have to create an account and fund it to play video poker.
  • Betting: For most video poker variations, you will have the option of betting between one and five credits. Some newer games allow you to unlock certain features by betting even higher than that. In most cases, it’s recommended that you bet the maximum amount per hand since that will allow you to get the highest payout for a royal flush, which is the rarest and most lucrative hand in the game.
  • Deal: You receive five cards on the deal in most forms of video poker. The hope is that these five cards make up one of the winning hands as determined by the pay table of the machine. If not, you’ll still be able to improve your hand in the next step.
  • Draw: You have the opportunity to discard any or all (or none) of your cards so that they can be replaced with new cards. These cards will come from the same simulated deck from which you were dealt, meaning that you can’t get the cards you discarded or the ones you were dealt again. After the draw, the hand is complete, and you will be awarded credits if your hand was a winning one.
  • Playing Again: You can continue to play video poker as long as you have the credits to play another hand. If not, you will have to insert more money to continue. In addition, you can cash out any remaining credits and be issued a redemption ticket any time you want to quit.

It’s that simple. But here’s the thing: Double Down Stud video poker is even simpler than that. Let’s check out how this variation works in the following section.

Playing Double Down Stud Video Poker

You should be alerted to the fact that Double Down Stud video poker is going to be a little bit different by the term “Stud.” Most video poker games are based on the concept of the card game known as Five-Card Draw Poker.

In this game, you are dealt five cards, and then you have a chance to discard the ones you don’t want and have them replaced by others in the draw round, just like in the process described above.

But any time you see a game listed as “Stud,” it means that there is no draw round. The cards that you receive on the deal are your hand. There is nothing you can do to improve it.

That is the case with Double Down Stud video poker, but you are not completely helpless. And your strategy can help you to win more money than you otherwise would. Let’s take a look at the process for Double Down Stud.

The Bankroll

There isn’t any difference here than if you were playing regular video poker. You still insert money into a Double Down Stud video poker machine to get started playing. And you would still need to fund an online account to get started at a top gambling website.

The Initial Bet

Again, the same, but with one catch. Most Double Down Stud video poker machines don’t have the jump in payouts for the royal flush that occurs in normal video poker. Check your pay table to be sure, but you can usually get away with playing less than five credits without it affecting your expected takeout in the game.

The Deal

Here is where things get a little bit different. You will still be getting a five card deal in Double Down Stud video poker, but only four of the cards will be revealed. The fifth card will be hidden from you.

Let’s take a look at what a four-card deal might look like:

Jack of Spades, Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Hearts, King of Diamonds

When consulting a pay table for Double Down Stud video poker, you will see that having a pair of Queens constitutes a winning hand as is. And that’s before you even see that fifth card revealed.

More times than not, your hand in Double Down Stud video poker will not be a winning one, even after the fifth card is revealed. This is simply based on the probabilities of a 52-card deck.

Without a draw round to help you out, it’s difficult to receive five cards that just happen to make up a winning hand.

Luckily, there is a way to help you make up for this fact, as you’ll see in the next step.

Double Down or Not

Now, you are at the point where you have to make a decision. And that decision is a simple one: Would you like to double your initial bet or not?

Notice that there is no chance for you to discard the cards that you have. If you were playing a draw variation, you might consider dropping the jack and king and trying to build upon the queens. But you don’t have that opportunity in Double Down Stud video poker.

But you do have the opportunity to increase the impact of a good hand by doubling your bet. And that is where Double Down Stud video poker can help to compensate for the fact that it’s so difficult to win a hand. That, and the increased payments for certain hands, which we’ll get to when we get to the section on pay tables, make the game competitive in terms of payback.

Back to our sample hand: Should you double down here? Well, the choice is obvious in this case. It’s a winning hand even before the fifth card arrives, so you should try to maximize that as much as possible.

In most cases, the decisions aren’t quite that easy. But as you’ll see when we get to strategy, the decision-making process in Double Down Stud video poker is still easier than it is in regular video poker. For now, let’s finish out the hand by hitting the “Double Down” button.

The Reveal

Once you decide upon whether or not to double down and hit the corresponding button, the machine will turn over your final card. Let’s take a look at how it might play out.

Jack of Spades, Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Hearts, King of Diamonds, King of Spades

You were lucky enough to get two pair. At that point, you would look at the pay table and see how much the hand pays. Remember that you will then double that number since you doubled your bet.

It’s that simple. And because it’s so simple, Double Down Stud video poker is a game that you can play faster than basic video poker. Playing faster means that you can play more money through the machine, which means that you have the opportunity to get more casino rewards because of it, helping your profit margin in the process.

Double Down Stud Video Poker Pay Tables

We’ve spoken a little bit about pay tables throughout this article. Now we’ll take a look at the pay tables for Double Down Stud and what that means in terms of the payback that you might receive from the game.

When you look at a pay table, you’ll be able to see all of the winning hands that will pay you and how much those payments will be depending on how much that you bet. It should be the basis for any strategic decisions that you make in the game. Remember the example above, how you knew to double down because you knew from the pay table that you already had a winning hand before the fifth card was turned over?

Let’s take a look at a pay table that you might find in a casino or online when you run across Double Down Stud video poker.

This is the full-pay version of the game. That means that, if you play the game for a long period of time, it will return you, on average, more than any other version of the game.

Double Down Stud Video Poker Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 4000 8000 12000 16000 20000
Straight flush 100 400 600 800 1000
Wild royal flush 100 200 300 400 500
Four of a kind 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 12 24 36 48 60
Flush 9 18 27 36 45
Straight 6 12 18 24 30
Three of a kind 4 8 12 16 20
Two pairs 3 6 9 12 15
One pair (J-A) 2 4 6 8 10
All other (6-10) 1 2 3 4 5

Let’s start by talking about how to read the table. It’s simply a matter of going from the row of winning hands over to the column with the bets. For an example, go back to the hand we showed you earlier.

You’ll remember that you made two pair. Let’s assume that you wagered the maximum of five coins. You would follow the “Two Pair” row over to the “5 Coins” and see the number 15.

That would mean that you won 15 coins. But remember that you doubled down in that case. As a result, it means that you are dealing with double that amount for a 30-coin win.

Your initial bet was 5 coins, and you doubled that for a total of 10 coins. As a result, your profit was 20 coins, which is 30 minus 10.

Looking at this pay table without any context might not let you know why Double Down Stud video poker has a unique pay table. To that end, let’s compare that to the full-pay version of the most common of all video poker games. Here is the pay table for Jacks or Better video poker:

Jacks or Better Pay Table

Coins/Hands 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

You should be able to immediately see the big difference in this pay table when compared to Double Down Stud video poker. For every common winning hand between the two tables, the pay is much higher for Double Down Stud.

We’ve already hinted at why that is. When you have a draw round, as is the case with Jacks or Better and most other forms of video poker, the ability to make winning hands is greatly increased. In Double Down Stud, you really have just the deal to make your hand, so there has to be some way for the pay table to help you out.

As a result, Double Down Stud video poker is a game that people who love big payments are going to enjoy. Granted, you have very little chance of hitting a royal flush or some of the other big hands on the pay table. But a chance does exist, and you can walk away with much more money in a quick strike than if you were playing other types of video poker.

One other thing that you should note: Double Down Stud pays off for a pair of 6s or higher. Jacks or Better, as you can tell by the name, doesn’t begin paying out until you get a pair of jacks. This is another way that Double Down Stud helps to make up for the lack of a draw round.

Payback Percentages for Double Down Stud

The payback percentage is one of the key factors that experienced video poker players look at when they are deciding between machines. This is because it shows you what you can expect from a machine over a long period of time. And since making a profit is the goal of most gamblers, the games that give them the best chance of doing that are in high demand.

To explain payback percentages, think of 100% being the baseline. A machine with a payback percentage of 100% would essentially let a player break even after playing it for a long period of time. When you combine that with the bonuses that you can get from casinos for betting a lot at their establishment, you can possibly conceive of making a profit.

The problem is that few games measure up to that 100% standard. But if you can find a machine over 99%, you can usually expect to earn a profit from it over time, taking bonuses into account. The key to that statement is the phrase “over time.”

If you only play Double Down Stud video poker, or any form of video poker for that matter, for a short time, luck will have much more of an effect on your outcome.

You could get a huge hand right off the bat and get a big profit out of it. Or you could lose the first ten hands that you play.

The payback percentage shows you what you can expect to make if you play the game for a long time, once all the luck of good and bad hands even out. And, unfortunately, Double Down Stud video poker lags a bit in this department. For the pay table listed above, the expected payback comes in at about 97.7%.

That falls well below that 99% threshold. As a matter of fact, it lags well behind the Jacks or Better game with the pay table listed above. Full-pay Jacks or Better returns 99.54% to the player.

The other concerning thing is that 97.7% that we listed is for the highest-paying version of the game. You will find other versions of Double Down Stud video poker that pay less for certain winning hands, thereby bringing the payback percentage down even more.

That means that you are really dropping to a level where your payback can start to be affected even if you’re only playing for a relatively short time.

Still, payback percentage isn’t everything. If you’re a recreational player that only plans to hop on and off a machine for a little bit of time here and there, there is a lot to like about Double Down Stud video poker. After all, jackpot-hunters can conceivably walk away with much more on a single hand than those playing Jacks or Better or most any other kind of video poker with a draw round.

Basically, it will come down to what you’re seeking from a game. If you’re one who really wants to grind out winnings and maximize your potential profits by playing video poker on a regular basis, you might want to skip Double Down Stud. On the other hand, you might prefer it if you really are just in it for the chance to come away with a major score, even if it’s a long shot.

Strategy for Double Down Stud Video Poker

Another big advantage that Double Down Stud might hold for the casual player is the fact that the strategy is much easier than most other forms of video poker. When you have a draw round, you have to consider five cards in your hand and the probabilities of doing better than those cards when you get a chance to discard.

Of course, some people will gladly take on the tougher strategy for the chance at a higher payback percentage. Yet Double Down Stud video poker makes things very easy even for video poker beginners. All you really need to know is how winning poker hands are constructed and you should be all good to play the game at a high level.

The payback percentage listed above is for someone who plays the game perfectly without making any mistakes. It’s much easier to do that playing Double Down Stud video poker than other games under the video poker banner. As a result, those people playing Jacks or Better or other draw poker games have to either study hard on how to play, or else run the risk of falling below potential payback percentages for each game.

In terms of Double Down Stud video poker, you’re obviously going to Double Down on any four-card deal that already constitutes a winning hand. Aside from that, you should double your bet for any hand where the four cards are just one shy of making a flush of any kind. In terms of a possible straight, you should double down only when you are dealt four consecutive cards, such as 3-4-5-6.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. You need to realize, however, that playing each hand correctly won’t necessarily mean that it works out in your favor. After all, it’s obvious that you should double down with four cards to a royal flush, but the fifth card might be a low card from a different suit, meaning that you would lose your doubled bet.

One thing that you should never do when playing Double Down Stud video poker is to try and guess which cards are going to come up based on previous hands. An example of this might be someone who decides to double down on, say, a hand with a pair of twos. They might do this because it’s been a while since they’ve seen the other twos in the deck and think that they might be due to appear.

You have to remember that the simulated deck within the machine is constantly being shuffled by a random number generator. Your result in one hand has nothing to do with what might have happened in other hands that you’ve played. In other words, never bet due when playing Double Down Stud video poker.

Double Down Stud Video Poker Pros and Cons


  • One of the easiest versions of video poker to learn for beginners
  • Not much strategy to learn
  • High payouts dwarf the high payouts of other video poker games

  • Some people might prefer more complicated strategy
  • Poor payback percentages on the whole
  • No chance to improve your hands with a draw

Conclusion on Double Down Stud Video Poker

Experienced gamblers who play Double Down Stud video poker, either in a casino or on a real money online casino, might find it a bit too tame for their tastes. They might change their opinion if they luck into a big hand and can double their winnings. Beginners, meanwhile, will likely love the way this game makes video poker so easy for them to learn.