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how redd fixed his draw poker machines

We won’t go into too much detail here, although our main Video Poker article does delve into the full story if you are interested in hearing all about it. Long story short, as they say, a prize was added for a pair of “Jacks or Better”. This was a master stroke; sure, you only received your original stake back, but it no longer FELT like you were losing nine out of ten rounds. 

Jacks or Better still wasn’t perfect, however – a Royal Flush is extremely hard to hit – even the Poker pros you see on TV will often comment along the lines of “that was only my second ever royal” or similar when such a hand comes along. This was the next real issue with Redd’s Video Poker machines and the original Jacks or Better version of Video Poker.


a missed Opportunity 

Si Redd had offered his invention to his former employer – Bally – but they were not interested, believing the game had no future or potential. This didn’t stop them suing Redd for a 50/50 stake in his invention when it later turned out to be a massive success, however! 

After the success of Jacks or Better, Si kept on working on newer games – it seemed clear that the higher the variance, the more the players loved it. Double Bonus Poker heavily shifts big chunks of variance from the lower part of the paytable northward – commons hands such as two pairs, three of a kind, and straights have all had their returns chopped so that big payoffs can be accommodated for various four-of-a-kind combinations. 


double bonus poker paytable

Paytable for Double Bonus Video Poker

There are two common paytables in use today for Double Bonus Poker – the first, and better of the two is used by the Red Rake version of the game found in our demo above, the paytable for which is given below:

The difference between Red Rake’s paytable and the one used by Microgaming and almost every other developer is that they only offer 250 coins for a Royal Flush when playing with less than the maximum of five coins. This lowers the RTP% by a full one percent during any round played using one to four coins. 

I often refer to this as the “Five Coin Relic” - it’s a product of a bygone era that has no place in the modern casinos of today - particularly online casinos where there are no actual “coins” being used to begin with! No matter which variant of Video Poker you are playing, just be careful to study the paytable before beginning to play. If you notice that the payoff for a Royal Flush is set at 250 when betting a single coin and yet jumps up to 4,000 whilst playing with the maximum of five, be sure to tweak your bet size so that you always playing five smaller denomination coins rather than one single higher-valued “coin”.


before you play

All variants of video poker work in much the same way, and all variants of video poker are in turn based on traditional poker behind the scenes as well. If you’ve ever played any Texas Hold’em, Omaha, 5/7 Card Stud, or Draw Poker, you should already be familiar with the natural orderings of hands – Royal Flushes are the best possible hands, followed by Straight Flushes, Four of a Kinds, a Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, Two Pairs, a Single Pair, and finally a simple High Card. 

Double Bonus Poker includes all of these hands on its paytable with the exception of the high card, although some Four-of-a-Kind combinations are worth more than others. This makes Double Bonus much more fun than regular old Jacks or Better, as there are far more high-paying combinations to try and hit for larger wins.

A side effect of this is that the strategy, in turn, is also much more complicated than Jacks or Better as well. I’m not quite sure why it is, but there are even a handful of extra steps on the strategy card for Double Bonus Poker than for Double Double Bonus Poker – I’m not even going to try and speculate on why that might be, and will only stress even more the importance of learning the correct strategy for each variant of Video Poker you intend on playing for real money

A winning hand on Double Bonus Video Poker

how to use the double bonus video poker strategy card

Some hands in Video Poker leave little room for interpretation – for example, if you are dealt a PAT Royal Flush, the machine should hold all five cards for you, and all you must do is hit draw to collect your Jackpot. 

Over situations are not so clear cut, and the auto-hold on the machine will usually choose to hold cards that APPEAR to be the obviously correct choice when in many situations, they are not. This is where our strategy cards come in – work your way down from the top of the list, looking for the description which best matches your hand. 

The strategy card will list all of the different combinations which fall under that entry and let you know how many discards there should be if you have located the right entry. If you have everything correct, make your discards and with a little luck you may just improve on the re-draw! 

Note that the card is much easier to read in a horizontal aspect ratio, so be sure to download and print out our casino version here – it will make it much easier to use and understand.

Cheat sheet and strategy card for Double Bonus Video Poker

double bonus video poker final thoughts

Double Bonus Video Poker is still plenty of fun to play in 2022 and is just different enough from Double Double Bonus to warrant playing both from time to time. I do feel that regular Bonus Poker has potentially had its day now, but on the other hand, not everybody enjoys super volatile games and Bonus Poker is far more fun than plain old Jacks or Better without cranking up the variance to ridiculous levels.

Just keep in mind that whilst the rewards are worth it, the learning curve is accordingly steep – if I was going to go to the trouble of learning one of these highly complex variants from scratch today, I’d have to choose Double Double Bonus, even if the RTP% is that little bit lower. Those 2,000x hits when a Four-of-a-Kind drops with the right kicker are simply irresistible!

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Article by Chris Howlett

11 Years Slots Playing Experience

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