Deuces Wild Video Poker Tips Most Players Don’t Know

Casino Video Poker Machine, Deuces Wild Video Poker Game Screen
Ask any experienced video poker about Deuces Wild and you’ll likely see their eyes light up. That twinkle is tied to Deuces Wild’s status as one of the best bets a casino gambler will ever find, provided the pay table is configured correctly.

I’ll get into the nitty gritty of pay table comparison down below, but for now, just know that a full pay Deuces Wild machine offers basic strategy players a 100.76% payback percentage. No need to adjust your screen either. Skilled players can really reap a long-term advantage over the house playing Deuces Wild.

Like I said, the details behind that advantage will be discussed later in the page.

When you’ve gotten your feet wet and want to learn how to play Deuces Wild perfectly, this page is the ticket. Whether you prefer to play on machines in your local land-based gambling hall, or on the computer or smartphone through the top-rated online casinos knowing a few simple tricks of the trade separates the best from the rest.

On that note, the list below highlights five crucial rules and strategies for Deuces Wild video poker that most players just don’t know much about.

1 – Mastering Deuces Wild Basic Strategy Really Is Easier Than You’d Imagine

You can call it the Rosetta Stone, Holy Grail, or Bible of online video poker, but basic strategy really is an all-important talisman used to understand the game’s fundamental mysteries.

Every variant out there, from Jacks or Better to Double Double Bonus Poker, has been broken down by statistical analysis to arrive at the game’s basic strategy. The basic strategy chart provides a key to making the most mathematically profitable discard/draw decision given every possible five-card starting hand.

In other words, no matter what devilish puzzle the machine’s random number generator (RNG) manages to deal your way, learning basic strategy provides a lifeline.

Let’s say you’ve been dealt something like the 2d-2h-Ad-Ah-Kh, giving you two main hands or draws to work with.

You could hold the deuces with the two aces to make a pat four of a kind, which is good for a guaranteed five-coin payout and a one-card draw at five of a kind and 15 coins.

Or you could hold the deuces with the Ah and Kh to give yourself a four-card royal flush draw. In this case, you aren’t guaranteed to win anything, but if you land another deuce, or the Qh, Jh, or 10h, you’ll complete a wild royal flush to scoop 25 coins.

Deciding between close calls like this is what strategic thinking in video poker is all about. And as you can see by using the Deuces Wild basic strategy chart below, holding onto the four of a kind is ranked just ahead of a four-card royal draw (when you have two deuces):

Three Deuces

STRENGTH STARTING HAND(S)/DRAW(s) OPTIMAL PLAY
1 Royal flush Hold pat hand
2 Straight flush Hold pat hand
3 Four-card royal flush draw Draw one
4 Four-card straight flush draw Draw one
5 Three of a kind, straight, or flush Hold pat hand
6 Three deuces only Draw two

Two Deuces

STRENGTH STARTING HAND(S)/DRAW(S) OPTIMAL PLAY
1 Pat four of a kind or better Hold pat hand
2 Four-card royal flush draw Draw one
3 Four-card straight flush draw Draw one
4 Three of a kind, straight, or flush Hold pat hand
5 Two deuces only Draw three

One Deuce

STRENGTH STARTING HANDS(S)/DRAW(S) OPTIMAL PLAY
1 Any pat four of a kind or better Hold pat hand
2 Four-card royal flush draw Draw one
3 Full house Hold pat hand
4 Four cards to straight flush Draw one
5 Three of a kind, straight, or flush Hold pat hand
6 Four-card straight flush draw Draw one
7 Three-card straight royal flush draw Draw two
8 Three-card straight flush draw Draw two
9 One deuce only Draw four

No Deuces

STRENGTH STARTING HAND(S)/DRAW(S) OPTIMAL PLAY
1 Royal flush Hold pat hand
2 Four-card royal flush draw Draw one
3 Three of a kind through straight flush Hold pat hand
4 Four-card straight flush draw Draw one
5 Three-card royal flush draw Draw two
6 One pair Draw three
7 Four-card flush draw Draw one
8 Four-card open-ended straight draw Draw one
9 Three-card straight flush draw Draw two
10 Four-card inside straight draw Draw one
11 Two cards to a royal flush; Q-J high Draw three

To use this chart effectively, simply assess your “deuce count” and use that particular subsection. Then, scan your five-card starting to see which hand(s) and draw(s) you currently hold. Finally, choose the option which ranks highest on the list to ensure you’re always playing perfectly.

2 – The Full Pay Machines Create an Edge for the Player

Most video poker players know that using basic strategy correctly in Deuces Wild can create a rare player edge.

But what they don’t know is that this player advantage of 0.76% over the house can only be attained using a specific pay table setup. When you play Jacks or Better, the “full pay” table uses a 9/6 alignment for full houses and flushes, respectively.

And in Deuces Wild, you’re looking for the following 15/9/5/3 setup to score full pay odds:

Deuces Wild Full Pay Table (by Coins Wagered)

FULL PAY 15/9/5/3 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Natural royal flush 300 600 900 1,200 4,000
Four deuces 200 400 600 800 1,000
Wild royal flush 25 50 75 100 125
Five of a kind 15 30 45 60 75
Straight flush 9 18 27 36 45
Four of a kind 5 10 15 20 25
Full House 3 6 9 12 15
Flush 2 4 6 8 10
Straight 2 4 6 8 10
Three of a kind 1 2 3 4 5
Payback Percentage 99.67% 99.67% 99.67% 99.67% 100.76%

Be sure to bet the maximum of five coins per hand though, as wagers of one to four coins don’t count for the jackpot payout of 4,000 coins on a natural Royal Flush. Thus, betting anything less than the max reduces your payback rate to 99.67%, sending an edge of 0.33% back to the house.

3 – Adjustments to Full Pay Table Turn Deuces Wild Gold Mine Into a Landmine

At this point, you’re probably wondering why skilled players haven’t skinned casinos for all they’re worth, grinding full play Deuces Wild while applying basic strategy.

That’s a great question too, and the answer lies in the casinos’ ability to adjust any machine’s pay table as they see fit. Just like Jacks or Better enthusiasts know to avoid inferior 9/5 or 8/6 pay tables, diehard Deuces Wild fans have learned to avoid the pay tables below like the plague:

Deuces Wild Inferior Pay Table Adjustments

PAY TABLE 15/11/4/4 16/9/4/4 20/12 15/9/4/4 20/15/9/4/4
Natural royal flush 800 800 800 800 800
Four deuces 200 200 200 200 200
Wild royal flush 25 25 20 25 20
Five of a kind 15 16 12 15 15
Straight flush 11 9 9 9 9
Four of a kind 4 4 5 4 4
Full house 4 4 3 4 4
Flush 3 3 2 3 3
Straight 2 2 2 2 2
Three of a kind 1 1 1 1 1
Payback Percentage 99.96% 99.67% 98.94% 98.92% 97.97%

As you can see, anything less than the 15/9/5/3 full pay alignment creates a big hit to your payback percentage.

How big of a hit all depends on the pay table’s exact configuration, so steer clear of the substandard setups shown here:

Deuces Wild Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
25/15/11/4/4/3 99.96%
25/16/10/4/4/3 99.73%
25/15/9/4/4/3 98.91%
20/12/10/4/4/3 97.58%
20/12/9/4/4/3 97.06%
25/16/13/4/3/2 96.77%
20/10/8/4/4/3 95.96%
25/15/10/4/3/2 94.82%

Casinos nowadays spread Deuces Wild only rarely, and for higher stakes. But you can still find machines out there when you know where to look.

And thanks to the fine folks at vpFREE2, you’ll know exactly where to look after consulting their searchable video poker machine placement database.

4 – Not So Ugly Ducks Is a Great Game If Full Pay Machines Aren’t Available

While the full pay 15/9/5/3 machines are increasingly rare, you’ll still find plenty of Deuces Wild games using modified 16/10/4/4 setup.

Up Close Buttons on Video Poker Machine

Affectionately known as “Not So Ugly Ducks” (NSUD) within video poker circles, this form of Deuces Wild still offers players a 99.73% payback rate. That’s no player edge, I’ll be the first to admit that, but when you don’t have access to full pay games, playing Not So Ugly Ducks according to basic strategy only gives the casino a slight 0.27% edge.

That’s twice as good as the best basic strategy blackjack experts have it, so when in doubt, look for Not So Ugly Ducks to get your Deuces Wild fix.

5 – Online Casinos Offer Significant Six-Figure Scores on the Progressive Jackpot

While players on other software platforms are chasing 4,000-coin jackpots for landing the elusive royal flush, fans of Microgaming online casinos can win truly life-changing money.

Take the popular Microgaming-based site Casumo Casino for example, where players can compete for a progressive jackpot worth more than $100,000.

You’ll need to hit a natural royal flush in all diamonds, which is obviously a huge long shot, but when the cards cooperate, you can pay off your mortgage, travel the world, or enjoy the six-figure windfall however you see fit.

Conclusion

Deuces Wild video poker has blossomed from obscure offshoot to bona fide classic in just a few decades. The reasons why are easy to see too, what with highly strategic side challenging players on every hand, and that sweet player edge on full pay machines.

This game was specifically designed to reward skillful play, so know that you’ve learned about the five rules and strategies presented here, get out there and even the score against casinos everywhere.