Full-pay Deuces Wild has a potential return as high as 100.76%. Need we say more? Maybe not, but we will anyway. The game is extremely popular due to the fact that it is one of the only casino games where the player holds an advantage over the house. Yes, you read that right!

Given that a full-pay Deuces Wild game can give players a 0.76% edge over the casino, you will probably want to know how this works. In this guide, we will explain how the best strategy makes this possible. All video poker enthusiasts will always advise choosing a machine with a high payout percentage. Players must also play with the best strategy in order to increase the percentage of returns.

There are some who are not interested in strategies (yes, those people do exist) and have other motivations for playing this game. After all, Deuces Wild is a really cool concept. In basic terms, any deuce (as in 2 of hearts, 2 of clubs) that you draw is wild. This means that they can help you put together a stronger hand. This game is truly one where the weakest of poker cards rules.

As with almost all video poker games, the royal flush is the strongest hand you can get in full-pay Deuces Wild. However, it is a natural royal flush (one without a wildcard) which is required for the highest payout of 800 coins, on a 5-coin bet. A wild royal flush is pretty modest at 25. Following a natural royal flush, four deuces – which is four 2s – is the strongest hand at 200 coins.

Putting together flushes, three of a kind, full houses, and pretty much every other combination is made easier given that 2s are wild. This is demonstrated in the pay table, which we will also cover below. If you are new to video poker, please read our short introduction to video poker below. If you already have a good grasp of the game and are just here for the juicy bits, please feel free to skip to the “Strategy” section.


A Short Introduction to Video Poker

It is no secret that video poker is one of the best games to play at the casino. Based on five-card draw poker, you will find video poker machines littered around pretty much every casino on earth. Many players who are committed to video poker typically are for one major reason: with a house edge notoriously lower than other games, it is often regarded as the smart way to gamble.

Traditionally, these games were favored by players who preferred to get their kicks without the distraction of other players. If you have ever been to a major casino – where loud and inebriated patrons make it all about them at the tables – you can understand why. It is a game you play alone, without a dealer or other players. As such, it can be played at a pretty fast pace.

The most primitive poker machines (which came to prominence in the 1970s) looked like old-school TV monitors with buttons at the bottom of a frame. The software wasn’t too far removed from the arcade game “Pong,” and the sounds were pretty dull. Nevertheless, the game caught on. Over the years, software improved, and the machines moved with the times, but that old-school charm is still very much there.

It goes without saying that the most common versions of video poker are Jacks or Better. This means that the lowest payout you can get is for a pair of jacks. Anything below a pair of jacks – such as a pair of 10s or a pair of 7s – will see you lose your bet. In games like Deuces Wild, this concept is turned on its head. We will explain how it all works in this essential guide.

What Are Full-Pay Machines?

If you are new to video poker, you will undoubtedly see or hear the term “full-pay” quite often in your quest to learn everything about this game.

The term has been commonly used to describe a machine – or version of a video poker title – which pays highest. On the opposite end of the spectrum, machines which paid lower were imaginatively called “short-pay.” This term is not as widely used these days by video poker experts or enthusiasts, however, as there are many different versions of video poker. Most of these variants return a high amount to the player.

The one thing you should always keep in mind when choosing a video poker title is the payback percentage – or expected return. The amount of money you can expect back from a machine (in the long-term) if you play the optimal strategy is how you should judge it. If a machine has a 96% payout, and you have a $1,000 bankroll, you might expect to lose $40 when playing with the best strategy.

In Deuces Wild, the potential return can be as high as 100.76%. This is, as stated above, clearly a huge selling point of the game. In order to avail of the maximum return, you must first use the best strategy to ensure you’re getting the best out of the game.

We will break down the strategy for Deuces Wild below, which will give you the information you need to have the best chance of winning. Before we do that, we will look at how to play the game.

How to Play Deuces Wild Poker

Depending on your experience with video poker machines, some things may appear a little strange at first. If you have absolutely no track record of playing video poker, you have to start somewhere. For players who know these types of games inside out, moving from one variant to another shouldn’t cause too many headaches. What bonds both the novice and the experienced player, however, is that they should both be using a strategy when playing.

In this guide, we will explain why a strategy is important. No one strategy will work for each and every video poker machine, as they will come with their own differences. As we previously mentioned, the majority of video poker games you can expect to find in a casino are based on Jacks or Better.

Deuces Wild is a different concept altogether, with the inclusion of the wild cards. The lowest hand you can expect a payout from on Jacks or Better is a pair of cards which are equal to or stronger than jacks. This is not the case with Deuces Wild. The lowest payout on this variant of video poker is three of a kind. It is crucial that you understand this before you play.

It would be pretty difficult to miss the pay table when playing Deuces Wild. It is right there in front of you! Located above the cards which are drawn, you will see, in descending order, the highest payout – for a natural royal flush – right down to three of a kind.

Once you have your bankroll set and have found a full-pay machine, you are ready to rock.

Your First Game of Deuces Wild

In order to avail of the highest maximum payout on Deuces Wild, you will be required to play with 5 coins, known as “Bet Max,” or sometimes, “Max Bet.”

This will ensure that you are eligible for the highest payout in the game, which is usually 4000 coins (80x your bet). If you opt for a lower denomination of bet, then this will affect your strategy, so keep this in mind. By playing at 1, 2, 3, or 4 coins, you are denying yourself the chance to win the highest payout on the machine.

The first step in your strategy for playing this game is choosing the right denomination. If you feel as though you cannot afford to play at five coins, you might have the option to lower the coin amount, which means that you can. Think about it: imagine scoring a natural royal flush when you are playing on one coin. Now, imagine how sweet it would have been if you were playing for five. Don’t be that guy.

The Deal

Once you have selected the “Deal” button, you will receive your first five cards.

As we mentioned above, Deuces Wild is a form of draw video poker, so you have a decision whether to discard or keep all, some, or none of the five cards on the screen. The aim of the game is to find the best hand from the cards you want to keep. You could be lucky enough to be dealt a strong five-card hand like a royal flush, four deuces, or the like, but if you are not, you must hold onto the cards that can make your final hand strong.

You will usually find that there is an “Auto-hold” function which you can play with on the game. This is a built-in feature of the system which essentially picks out the best cards in the hand for you. In certain cases, this feature can be turned on or off from the options menu, according to your preferences.

Have I Won?

Once you have played your hand, the software will automatically let you know if you have won or lost.

The pay table will flash – or in certain cases produce a highlight – on the combination you have won. For example, if you have four deuces in your final hand, the line on the appropriate section of the pay table will have a red line through it or will flash. There is pretty much no way to miss a win in this case, unless you are blindfolded and are blasting death metal through your earphones.

Your best bet is to be aware and attentive. Understand the game and pay attention when you are playing! You just might learn something you previously missed.

The Pay Table

When we look at the full-pay Deuces Wild pay table below, we can see that anything below four deuces is pretty modest in terms of payout.

The natural royal flush is by far the best-paying hand you can hope for. When playing with max coins, you can win 4000 coins, which is enough to get the juices flowing. This certainly makes it worth your while to read the best strategy – which we have laid out below – for a shot at the top prize.

Deuces Wild Video Poker Pay Table

When you compare the 9/5 Deuces Wild payouts to many other Jacks or Better variants, it is clear where the differences are. A standard pair of jacks or above will not be enough to win you anything at all. However, if you do get a pair of jacks or above and a 2, you will pick up even money on your bet. The 2 acts as a wild, so your two jacks now become three of a kind.

When playing other versions of Deuces Wild – such as Not So Ugly Deuces Wild, Ugly Deuces Wild, and 20/4/4 Deuces Wild – there will be differences in their respective pay tables. For example, Not So Ugly Deuces Wild (a common version played in Vegas) can appear to be more valuable than it actually is. While five of a kind, straight flush, and flush are paid out higher than a full-pay game, four of a kind pays less (at 4). This brings down the expected payout from 100.76% to 99.73%, giving the house a 0.27% edge over you.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to analyze the pay table in cases where you cannot find a full-pay game. There will be times when you don’t have the best option at your disposal. Hands which lower the smaller wins to increase the bonus payouts are the ones which will affect you most, given that these are the hands most likely to appear over the course of a certain number of games.

Deuces Wild Strategy

In video poker, strategies are devised according to the probabilities of hands occurring and the payouts for particular hands. Given that these are able to be calculated – as we know the number of cards in a deck – we can work out that the least probable hands are the ones which naturally pay out more. In basic terms, this is why you will win more for a royal flush than you will a pair of kings. In any video poker game, this principle underpins why – from a casino’s perspective – the game is profitable.

Some players will casually try their hand at video poker in the hope that they land the big payouts. Given that the royal flush is the ticket to riches, there are some that have no other motivation than landing that hand. This equates to every single game being a Hail Mary shot. A hope and prayer. Smart players could never justify playing this way, as it would mean for too many losses to survive a session.

In this case, a strategy comes in as crucial. In order to stand a chance of winning such an improbable hand, most games should pay something back. While Jacks or Better will pay evens in any game of its ilk, Deuces Wild pays back even money for three of a kind. If a player could, in theory, win this on most games, they would still be in with a shout. It is a little more complicated than that, so please read on, and we will explain how to use our Deuces Wild strategy.

Using the Deuces Wild Strategy

In Deuces Wild, the first thing to remember is the value of any deuce. This is a wildcard and will, therefore, help you put together the best hand possible (aside from a natural royal flush). If you have all of the other cards for a natural royal flush with a deuce, you will have a wild flush anyway. Discarding a wild flush in the hope of landing a royal flush is not advised in any case.

For this reason, the basic points of any Deuces Wild strategy are to never discard a deuce and never hold just one card unless, of course, it is a deuce. As with most strategies in video poker, you will play from a chart. Charts will help you to make a decision on what to do when faced with any potential discard/draw conundrum. The first step is to evaluate how many deuces you hold in a hand.

The best potential scenario will be at the top of the chart. Below, we will look at charts covering what to do when you have between zero and four deuces. Remember that you should start from the top of the chart (which represents the best scenario) and work your way down until you identify the best potential hand to play.

When Playing with 4 Deuces

  • Retain pat royal flush (royal flush on the first deal) – the highest hand on the pay table
  • Play 4 deuces. You have the second-highest-scoring hand on the pay table

When Playing with 3 Deuces

  • Retain pat royal flush (royal flush on the first deal) – the highest hand on the pay table
  • Play 3 deuces. With an additional pair, you will have five of a kind. If you don’t have a pair, discard the other two cards

When Playing with 2 Deuces

  • Retain pat royal flush (royal flush on the first deal) – the highest hand on the pay table
  • Retain pat four of a kind or better. A deuce will make this five of a kind
  • Retain wild royal flush
  • Retain five of a kind
  • Retain a straight flush
  • Retain four of a kind
  • Retain four to a wild royal flush
  • Retain four to a straight flush

When Playing with 1 Deuce

  • Retain pat royal flush (royal flush on the first deal) – the highest hand on the pay table
  • Retain wild royal flush
  • Retain five of a kind
  • Retain a straight flush
  • Retain four of a kind
  • Retain four to a wild royal flush
  • Retain a full house
  • Retain any four-card straight flush
  • Retain three of a kind
  • Retain a flush
  • Retain a straight
  • Retain four cards to a straight flush with a gap
  • Retain four cards to a straight flush with two gaps
  • With a deuce, retain ace, 3, 4 suited; ace, 3, 5 suited; or ace, 4, 5 suited
  • Retain three to a royal flush (without ace)
  • Retain three to a straight flush
  • Retain three to a royal flush (with ace)

When Playing with 0 Deuces

  • Retain pat royal flush (royal flush on the first deal) – the highest hand on the pay table
  • Retain four to a royal flush
  • Retain straight flush
  • Retain four of a kind
  • Retain full house
  • Retain three of a kind
  • Retain a flush
  • Retain a straight
  • Retain four to a straight flush
  • Retain three to a royal flush
  • Retain any pair
  • Retain four to a flush
  • Retain four to a straight
  • Retain a three-card straight flush
  • Retain 10 and queen suited or jack and queen suited
  • Retain four to a straight
  • Discard all

As you can see from the tables above, there are a number of hands which can be made when playing Deuces Wild. Following this information will prevent you from making errors which can eat into your bankroll. It is crucial to stick to the strategy if you are serious about increasing your chances of winning.

Deuces Wild: The Verdict
Any game which gives players an advantage over the house deserves special attention. As a player who now understands how Deuces Wild works, you can take pride in dedicating some time to playing a game where you have a serious chance of making that advantage work for you and your bankroll. It goes without saying that the favorable potential return of 100.76% is not a guarantee of success, however. If these machines were money makers, casinos would refuse to provide them.

Well, it is a fact that some casinos refuse to house full-pay Deuces Wild machines. In this case, it is always a good idea to do some research to identify the ones where they are present. As we covered above, playing other versions of Deuces Wild – such as Not So Ugly Deuces Wild, Ugly Deuces Wild, and 20/4/4 Deuces Wild – will mean forfeiting the positive edge over the house.

Regardless of your goals when playing Deuces Wild, it is crucial to be aware of the best strategy to play. If you truly want to play a game where you are not swimming upstream (in other words, playing against the house edge), this is the video poker variant for you. Using the tables above will undoubtedly help you attain a strong position which can really show when you are approaching the end of a session.

Not everyone will be motivated to learn the tables above, but we cannot stress enough just how beneficial they are. Think about it: knowing the best move when you are in a position where you would otherwise simply be pushing buttons would feel great, right? The size of your bankroll may remind you why.

When it comes down to the crunch, there are few video poker games which catch the attention more than Deuces Wild. It is a fun variant which can give you a potential edge over the house when you play smart. These two qualities combined should be enough to convince you to give it a shot.

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