There are over one dozen lesser deuces wild schedules around town, but knowledgeable players give them a wide berth. In today's column, I want to address how the strategy differs between these games.Bob Dancer is one of the world's foremost video poker experts. He is a regular columnist for Casino Player, Strictly Slots, and the Las Vegas Review-Journa land has written an autobiography and a novel about gambling. He provides advice for tens of thousands of casino enthusiasts looking to play video poker. Bob's website is www.bobdancer.com In each case, I start with the standard version because several writers (including myself) have written extensively about this game and many more players understand this game than the others. And any amounts used assume you are playing for quarters, which is the primary denomination that the standard game comes in.
Let's examine the pay schedules of three varieties of deuces wild. We are going to look at the best version of Standard Game (which is the best version around), and pay schedule that is 2nd Best and 3rd Best.
|Standard||2nd Best||3rd Best|
|Wild Royal Flush||25||25||20|
|5 of a Kind||15||16||12|
|4 of a Kind||5||4||5|
|3 of a Kind||1||1||1|
Hand 1: Qh Jh Th 8h 5c
Standard game: QJT - but it's close.
2nd Best Game: QJT8 - for sure. Not only is the straight flush higher, the regular flush is too.
3rd Best Game: QJT8 - and it is not close. The reduced value of the wild royal (compared to the standard game) affects the play more than the reduced value of the straight flush
Hand 2: As 4s 5s 8d 9c
Standard game - throw it away - this is the best play by 6¢. Normally straight flushes have more value, but here the use of a deuce is mandatory, so the value is a lot less than the standard 2-gap straight flush.
2nd Best Game - A45 - The higher value of the flush carries the day and makes this the best play by 2.7¢
3rd Best Game - throw it away, but it is a closer play than in the standard game. Why? Because throwing everything away isn't as valuable in a game worth 1.7% less.
Hand 3: 2d As Js 5h 7h
Standard game - 2AJ. This is a close play, but holding 2AJ is correct as long as neither of the other two cards is a spade or a ten or higher.
2nd Best Game - 2AJ. It is tempting to try 257 because both the flush and the straight flush pay more in this game.
3rd Best Game - 2 only. The lower value of the wild royal flush changes the play.
Now you might not regularly switch between these three games, but there are some general principles that apply to a variety of games. First of all, different pay schedules mean different strategies. If you play several different games with more-or-less the same strategy, you have no chance to beat the house.
Second, the reasons behind the strategy changes makes sense. When flushes pay more, you tend to go for flushes more. When straight flushes pay more, you tend to go for straight flushes more.
Third, you need a computer to know these strategy changes for sure. There are too many games for you to know them all. The math is far too difficult for most people to do in their heads, but is extremely simple for a computer. And even when you figure out the correct strategy, you need to practice. A big advantage of a computer program is it tells you when you make a mistake. When you make a mistake at home while you are practicing, it costs you nothing and you learn from the experience. When you make a mistake in the casino, it frequently is very expensive and you don't even know when you made it. In the casino you are frequently preoccupied with "Am I ahead or behind today?" rather than knowing whether or not you are playing correctly. Making less-than-the-best plays frequently may not affect today's score, will definitely catch up with you over time.
That's it for this week. Until next time, go out and hit a royal flush.
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