Deuces Wild Variations

by John Grochowski

Players, particularly the late video poker guru Lenny Frome, have given nicknames to some of these games, which I'll use here. The machine glass or screen isn’t going to say “Full-Pay Deuces,” it’s going to say “Deuces Wild.” It’s up to you to find the best versions. The only way to tell whether you have high-paying Not So Ugly Deuces or low-paying Colorado Deuces is to check the pay tables.

FULL-PAY DEUCES

Pay table: Natural royal flush 250-for-1 (increases to 4,000 coins for a five-coin wager); four deuces 200-for-1; royal flush with wild cards 25-for-1; five of a kind 15-for-1; straight flush 9-for-1; four of a kind 5-for-1; full house 3-for-1; flush 2-for-1; straight 2-for-1; three of a kind 1-for-1.

How to recognize: Zero in on the payoff on four of a kind. Full-pay Deuces pays 5-for-1 on quads. Virtually every other Deuces Wild game reduces that to 4-for-1. 

Characteristics: Returns 100.8 percent with expert play. Consequently it's rare outside Nevada and has never been approved in jurisdictions including Illinois and Indiana that prohibit any game with a theoretical return of more than 100 percent. Even in Nevada , this is almost strictly a quarter game. Every time a casino installs dollar machines, video poker pros play them to extinction.

COLORADO DEUCES

Pay table: Natural royal flush 250-for-1 (increases to 4,000 coins for a five-coin wager); four deuces 200-for-1; royal flush with wild cards 25-for-1; five of a kind 16-for-1; straight flush 13-for-1; four of a kind 4-for-1; full house 3-for-1; flush 2-for-1; straight 2-for-1; three of a kind 1-for-1.

How to recognize: The 13-for-1 payback on straight flushes is a dead giveaway. The five of a kind return of 16-for-1 also is higher than on most Deuces games.

Characteristics: Returns 96.8 percent with expert play. Enhanced payoffs on five of a kind and straight flushes don't begin to make up for the shortfall on four of a kind. It's better for the player if payback enhancements come lower on the pay table, as in Not So Ugly and Illinois Deuces. Colorado strategy puts extra emphasis on drawing for straight flushes.

NOT SO UGLY DEUCES

Pay table: Natural royal flush 250-for-1 (increases to 4,000 coins for a five-coin wager); four deuces 200-for-1; royal flush with wild cards 25-for-1; five of a kind 16-for-1; straight flush 10-for-1; four of a kind 4-for-1; full house 4-for-1; flush 3-for-1; straight 2-for-1; three of a kind 1-for-1.

How to Recognize: Like most Deuces games, pays only 4-for-1 on four of a kind, but has higher returns than the full-pay game on four hands: five of a kind (16-for-1), straight flush (10-for-1), full house (4-for-1) and flush (3-for-1).

Characteristics: Returns 99.7 percent with expert play. Probably should be considered the full-pay game for anywhere outside Nevada . Deuces don't get any better in most states. Strategy changes from full-pay game include holding both pairs in two-pair hands and holding four-card flushes instead of low pair.

ILLINOIS DEUCES

Pay table: Natural royal flush 250-for-1 (increases to 4,000 coins for a five-coin wager); four deuces 200-for-1; royal flush with wild cards 25-for-1; five of a kind 15-for-1; straight flush 9-for-1; four of a kind 4-for-1; full house 4-for-1; flush 3-for-1; straight 2-for-1; three of a kind 1-for-1.

How to recognize: Like Not So Ugly Deuces, raises full house to 4-for-1 and flush to 3-for-1, but leaves five of a kind and straight flush at same payoffs as full-pay Deuces.

Characteristics: Returns 98.9 percent with expert play. Strategy is similar to Not So Ugly Deuces. In fact, Not So Ugly can be seen as a variation of Illinois Deuces, which is a much older game.

MIDWESTERN DEUCES

Pay table: Natural royal flush 250-for-1 (increases to 4,000 coins for a five-coin wager); four deuces 200-for-1; royal flush with wild cards 20-for-1; five of a kind 10-for-1; straight flush 8-for-1; four of a kind 4-for-1; full house 4-for-1; flush 3-for-1; straight 2-for-1; three of a kind 1-for-1.

How to recognize: A good example of why you should check the entire pay table when choosing Deuces Wild machines. At a glance, Midwestern Deuces has the same enhanced payoffs of 4-for-1 on full houses and 3-for-1 on flushes as Illinois and Not So Ugly, but reduces wild royals to 20-for-1, five of a kind to 10-for-1 and straight flushes to 8-for-1.

Characteristics: Returns 94.4 percent (ugh!) with expert play. If Not So Ugly Deuces is a good, game, this is a truly ugly one, and I’ve been seeing more of them of late as operators try to squeeze a few more percentage points out of their video poker games. Avoid this one.


John Grochowski writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column on gambling, hosts a casinos radio show on WCKG-FM (105.9) in Chicago and is author of  the "Casino Answer Book" series from Bonus Books.

 

 

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