Last week we looked at NSU at the penalty-free level. At that level, it's not a very complicated game. It is somewhat arbitrary, of course, exactly which hands have penalty card considerations andBob 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
which ones don't. Question 1 below lists one example of a hand that can be listed with or without penalty cards.
There are hundreds of appendix-level exceptions to general rules in NSU and most other Deuces Wild games. Mastering all of these is essentially impossible --- and not worth much if you did. The last four questions deal with examples of these exceptions.
Other than these last four questions, I believe that you should be able to answer all of the questions if you're playing to win and for money that's important.
Q1: What 4-card inside straights are more valuable than 'A34', 'A35', or 'A45' appearing in the same hand?
Q2: What 4-card inside straights are less valuable than 'KQ', 'KJ', or 'KT' appearing in the same hand?
Q3: List four different hands where the correct hold is '67', '78', '89', or '9T'.
Q4: One way to express cases when you draw five cards even though you started with a 'KQ', 'KJ', or 'KT' is any hand where you have two straight penalties and one flush penalty. List such a hand. This is a trivially easy question if you understand the terminology.
Q5: Starting from W 4h 5h Kh, which fifth cards make the correct play W'45'? (Hint: Including suits, there are three different cards.)
Q6: Starting from W 3c 4h 5h, which fifth cards make the correct play W'45'? (Hint: Including suits, there are seven different cards.)
Q7: List two different types of hand where W'T8' is preferred to a 3-card royal flush.
Q8: In most cases W'56' and W'57' have the same value. Good strategy cards, however, show W'57'-W'9J' > W'56'. List two different hands where this distinction is important.
Q9: For each of the following 4-card straights (W567, W678, W789, W89T, W9TJ, and WTJQ) list all fifth cards where the correct play is to hold the 4-card straight.
A1: 3456 and 3457 only. Actually, all inside straights have the same value (except A345, which has only half as much value and is never held in any version of Deuces Wild). The value of A-low 3-card straight flushes varies depending on the other two cards in the hand. The only time one of these straight flushes is inferior to an inside straight is when there is 3, 4, and 5 in the hand, where two of these are part of the straight flush and all three of them are part of the inside straight. There are four inside straights that can appear in the same hand as one of these straight flushes (namely, 3467, 3567, 4568, and 4578) that are definitely inferior to the straight flush draw. There are more than a dozen other inside straights that cannot be part of the same five cards as one of these straight flushes and hence it does not matter whether you include them above or below the straight flush draws on your strategy chart.
A2: All 4-card inside straights are more valuable than 'KQ'. 'KJ' without a flush penalty is better than J987. 'KT' without a flush penalty is better than T986, T976, and T876.
A3: The easiest cases are those with neither flush nor straight penalty, such as '67' AKQ, '78' 3AK, '89' 34A, and '9T' 345. There are other cases that also qualify. It's easy to verify whether or not you've found one with "Video Poker for Winners
" or other software.
A4: The only time you can have two straight penalties without there also being a 4-card inside straight in the hand is when there are both an A and a 9 in the hand. One example is Ah Kd Qd 9h 3d.
A5: Tc, Td, or Ts.
A6: 9d, 9s, Tc, Td, Ts, Jd, Js. If either the 9 or the J were suited with the 3, the correct play would be the deuce by itself.
A7: W Ah Kh Tc 8c and W Ah Th 8h Kc. Although the two sets of cards have the same five ranks, in one case we have 'AT' and in the other we have 'AK'.
A8: From W '56' "T8", the correct play is W"T8", but from W '57' "T8" the values of W'57' and W"T8" are identical. The same pattern applies to W '56' "J9" compared to W '57' "J9".
A9: Hold W567 if the fifth card is a T or J.
Hold W678 if the fifth card is a J or Q (any suit) or a K totally unsuited with other cards in the hand.
Hold W789 if the fifth card is a Q, K, or A (any suit) or a 4 totally unsuited with other cards in the hand.
Hold W89T if the fifth card is a 3, 4, 5, K, or A, assuming the K or A is unsuited with the T.
Hold W9TJ if the fifth card is 3, 4, 5, 6, or A, assuming the A is unsuited with both the T and J.
Hold WTJQ if the fifth card is a 4, 5, 6, or 7.
We'll be discussing a simplification to this rule in next week's column.
Last Four Hands
These types of hands are very difficult. The Dancer/Daily "Winner's Guide to NSU Deuces Wild" lists approximately 100 exceptions to the general rules and these hands are examples of those exceptions. I practice them every few months and have well over half of them down cold. Whether I ever am able to learn the rest of them before I forget some I've already learned them all remains to be seen.
L1: In Q4 above there was a rule about when to discard 'KQ', 'KJ', or 'KT'. There are four exceptions to this rule. List any one of them.
L2: There are another group of hands where you are dealt 'KQ', 'KJ', or 'KT' and you discard them all. There is one hand where you are dealt 'KT' with an offsuit J. What remaining two cards require you to discard all five cards?
L3: In Q3 above we discussed holding two-card straight flush draws. The easiest cases are those with neither flush nor straight interference. While flush interference is always sufficient to disqualify the hand, there are dozens of times when straight interference is allowed. Starting with '67' and a 9, there are three combinations of fourth-and-fifth cards that allow you to hold '67'. Name one of them.
L4: There is one 5-card hand where it is correct to hold 'AT'. Name all five cards.
AL1: Any of the following four cases is a correct answer:
|RF2 || ||flush penalty || ||suit status of A and 9
||hold 'KJ' only when the A and 9 are unsuited
||hold 'KT' whether the A and 9 are suited-or-not
||hold 'KT' only when the A and 9 are unsuited
||[never hold 'KQ' when any fp + Ap + 9p]
AL2: The fourth and fifth cards must specifically be a 3 and a 4, with one of these cards suited with the 'KT'.
AL3: Starting with '67' and a 9, if the other two cards are AJ, where the 9AJ are totally unsuited with each other, hold the '67'.
Starting with '67' and a 9, if the other two cards are KJ or QJ, hold the '67'. Whether the cards other than the '67' are unsuited with each other or not is not important so long as there is no 2-card royal flush or 3-card straight flush in the hand.
AL4: 'AT' 579, where all four suits are represented in the hand.
How did you do? I don't expect that many people aced this test. Players who have studied enough to get most of the answers correct, however, have practiced enough that they don't miss any of the easier hands. Players who miss most of these are likely making other errors as well.
Players have a very small edge these days. Studying enough so that you have the hands down cold is an important part of success.