Playing Deuces Wild video poker online is a little more complicated than playing Jacks or Better video poker. For one thing, you have to account for more variation from pay table to pay table. For another, the values of the hands—drawing hands and final hands—differ greatly because of the large number of wild cards involved.
If you’re just getting started with online Deuces Wild video poker, you should already know how to play Jacks or Better video poker. If you don’t know how to play Jacks or Better, go learn it first.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can get started learning how to play Deuces Wild video poker online with this post.
Side note: If you’re up for a challenge, there’s a fairly new game of online poker called Pai Gow Poker that’s worth checking out when you have a chance.
Are Video Poker Machines Random?
The first question some new online Deuces Wild video poker players might ask is this:
Are online video poker machines random? The answer is simple—of course they are. But let’s elaborate on that answer a little bit.
Online video poker machines, like all gambling machines, are powered by computer programs called “random number generators.” (You’ll often see that abbreviated as “RNG.”)
The way a random number generator works is this:
It’s a computer program that constantly generates numbers at a rate of thousands of numbers per second. When you press the “play” or “deal” button on an online video poker machine, the RNG stops on the number it’s generating that split second.
In games like online Deuces Wild video poker, each random number corresponds to a combination of 5 playing cards.
And since the probabilities behind a deck of cards are always based on a 52-card deck with 13 cards in each of 4 suits, is relatively simple for the programmers of the RNG to duplicate the probabilities you’d see from an actual deck of cards.
So not only are video poker machines random, they’re also predictably random in the sense that they have the same probabilities as a real deck of cards.
Choosing an Online Deuces Wild Video Poker Machine Based on the Pay Table
The most important thing that differentiates one video poker machine from another, besides the presence of wild cards, are the payouts for the various hands you might wind up with. The most basic kind of video poker, Jacks or Better, has no wild cards.
In all Deuces Wild video poker online games, the 2s are wild. But the variations in payouts for the various final hands can differ wildly.
Here’s one of the most common Deuces Wild video poker pay tables:
This pay table provides a skilled online Deuces Wild video poker player with a payback percentage of 98.91%.
This means that the house edge is about 1.09%, but it also assumes that you’re making the mathematically optimal play on each hand.
If you’re just playing by the seat of your pants, you might be giving up between 1% and 4% more in terms of strategy mistakes. That still makes online Deuces Wild video poker one of the best games available at online casinos, odds-wise.
With any gambling game, the payback percentage is less than 100%. That’s how the casino makes its profit in the long run.
But that’s not the only pay table for Deuces Wild that you’ll find. It’s not the best, and it’s also not the worst.
Changes in the payouts for those hands can have a dramatic effect on your potential payback percentage. And the higher the payback percentage, the better off you are as a player.
One pay table for Deuces Wild is called “full pay Deuces Wild,” and it’s going to make a liar out of me. Why? Because the payback percentage for full pay Deuces Wild is 100.76%, meaning you have an edge over the casino.
Of course, these pay tables are almost impossible to find, so my earlier generalization—that all gambling machines have a payback percentage of less than 100%–still holds for all practical purposes.
Here are the differences between the common pay table above and a full pay game:
This is counter-intuitive, because you have dramatically lower payouts for 2 of the more common hands, and you only have an increased payout for 1 hand—a hand which is theoretically harder to get than the 2 hands with the reduced payouts.
But once you’ve done all the multiplication and division, the payback percentage is better for this version of the game.
Another version of Deuces Wild is often called “Not So Ugly.” It has only 2 differences from the original pay table I posted:
The payback percentage for “Not So Ugly Deuces Wild” is 99.73%.
This pay table is hard to find, too, but it’s easier to find than full pay Deuces Wild. If you can find it, it’s worth playing.
But unlike Jacks or Better, which only adjust the payout on 2 hands—the flush and the full house—the payouts on Deuces Wild are often adjusted on multiple hands at one time, making it harder to differentiate between one game and the other.
These apps will often provide you with an appropriate playing strategy, too.
How to Play Deuces Wild Video Poker Online Like a Smart Player with a Strategy
If you’re just a recreational player like me, the smartest and easiest strategy to remember when playing Deuces Wild video poker online is to remember to never discard a deuce. If you remember that, you’ll be ahead of a lot of the fish in the casino already.
If you’re interested in taking your game up a notch, though, you’ll need to find a Deuces Wild strategy card for the pay table you’re playing. The correct strategy does depend on which version of the game you’re playing, too.
These strategy cards consist of a ranked list of hands. You start at the top and work your way down until you find the highest-ranked hand that matches the hand you have.
Those are the cards you’ll hold. You’ll discard the other cards.
These strategy cards always sacrifice at least some tenths of a percentage to make them playable. A full, completely accurate pay table would be too complicated to actually use.
Just keep in mind that if you’re using a video poker online strategy card for a game with a different pay table, you’re sacrificing some percentage points back to the casino.
If you’re a recreational player, that’s okay, maybe—but if you have hopes of being an advantage player, you’ll want to get as close to the optimal strategy as possible.
Online Deuces Wild video poker is a lot of fun and offers some of the best odds in the casino, usually—but that varies based on the pay table.
And yes, the game is completely random.
The difference in pay tables is what changes the expectation for both the player and the casino. The casino doesn’t have the ability to adjust the randomness or lack thereof for the game.
Once you can differentiate between pay tables, you just need to find an optimal strategy and start playing.