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Strategy tips for Double Double Bonus

By Henry Tamburin


A friend of mine used to play Jacks or Better but claims the game wasn’t “exciting enough” for him so he switched to Double Double Bonus (DDB). The reason is because unlike Jacks or Better, where all four-of-a-kind hands pay 125 coins (max coin bet), with DDB you’ll be paid more. The big payout (2,000 coins, half the payout for a royal flush) occurs when you are dealt four aces with a 2, 3 or 4 kicker. (The latter is the fifth card present in a hand that contains a four-of-a-kind.) In addition, four 2s, 3s and 4s with either an ace, 2, 3 or 4 kicker pays 800 coins; four 2s, 3s and 4s pays 400 coins; and four 5s–kings pays 250 coins. As you can see, you get paid more for four-of-a-kind hands compared to Jacks or Better.

I asked my friend if he learned the playing strategy for DDB and he looked at me like I was from outer space. He admitted that he was still using his Jacks or Better playing strategy when he played DDB and he thought that was OK. I told him it wasn’t and started to explain some of the reasons why but he wasn’t convinced. Therefore, I had him sit down in front of my computer, loaded up my Video Poker for Winners video poker training program, and had him play DDB just like he does in a casino. It wasn’t long before the software alerted him to a playing mistake that he made. As he continued to play, the mistakes started to become more frequent. This got his attention, especially when the program showed him how much (in dollars and cents) his playing mistakes were costing him.

My friend is not alone in making mistakes playing DDB. I would venture to say that the vast majority of players who play DDB (which is the most popular video poker game in the country) do not come close to playing every hand perfectly. What follows are some of the most frequently misplayed hands and the correct way to play them.

The hand contains two pair (As and 3s). In Jacks or Better, you would hold the two pair; however, in DDB, you should break up any two pair that contains aces and hold only a pair of aces and draw three cards. (The reason you break the paying two pair is the value of the ace is much greater in DDB vs. Jacks or Better.)

My friend held the three 4s and the 3 (kicker). Many players do the same; however, it is never a correct play to hold a kicker with any three-of-a-kind hand in DDB. Just hold the three-of-a-kind and draw two cards.

This hand contains three high cards of different suits, A-K-J. The general rule for DDB when you are dealt three high cards of different suits and one of the high cards is an ace is to just hold the ace and discard the other two high cards. (In Jacks or Better, you should discard the ace and hold the unsuited K-J.) However, if you are playing DDB and are dealt A♥ Q♠ J♦ 5♥ 8♣ the correct strategy is to hold the Q-J (same as Jacks or Better). The reason is because unsuited Q-J has three possible straights whereas unsuited K-Q and K-J has only two.

The hand contains a four-card inside straight. In Jacks or Better, you only hold a four-card inside straight when it contains three high cards (e.g., unsuited 10-J-K-A). However, with DDB, you should hold a four-card inside straight with no high cards when there is nothing else worth holding in your hand.

To be sure, there are other changes to the Jacks or Better strategy that need to be incorporated into your playing strategy for DDB (like keeping A-A-A over a paying full house, or going for the straight when you hold a four-card straight containing one high card over holding a low pair, but if the four- card straight has no high cards, then the right play is to hold the low pair). My recommendation if you want to play DDB is that you should learn the playing strategy for DDB. It’s readily available on strategy cards (Dancer/Daily strategy cards) and on the internet (link on the video poker page at

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