Anything’s Wild Video Poker
Most video poker games are variations of Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild. In the case of Anything’s Wild, we’re looking at a variation of Deuces Wild.
Here’s the difference:
You can choose any card ranking to be wild, but you have to choose before the cards are dealt.
So if you’re feeling like 3s should be wild, then you can make it so. Same thing for 4s, 5s, Qs, and even aces. In fact, you can choose anything to be wild.
If you were able to choose which cards were going to be wild after getting your hand, this would be a great game. But the reality is a little less exciting.
How to Play Anything’s Wild Video Poker
Anything’s Wild plays just like any other video poker game. You input money. You bet between 1 and 5 coins per hand. The computer deals you a hand from a 52 card deck. You decide which cards to keep and which to throw away. You get your new cards, and then you get paid based on the ranking of the hand you wind up with.
Since video poker uses the math behind a deck of cards, you can calculate the expected value of each hand and of each decision in each hand. This is a notable difference between video poker and slot machines. The payback percentage of a slot machine is a mystery because you have no idea what the likelihood of any particular symbol showing up is.
But in video poker, you know that each “symbol” represent a card from a 52 card deck. There are 13 ranks and 4 suits. Calculating the chances of hitting any hand is relatively easy—it’s just division. Multiply the odds of hitting your hand by the expected payout, and you have the expected value of that decision.
But in Anything’s Wild, as well as all other video poker games, you don’t do most of those calculations every time you get a hand. Many of the correct strategy decisions are obvious, but not all of them. Even if you make a few mistakes, though, you’ll almost always face better odds playing Anything’s Wild video poker than you will playing slot machines.
Anything’s Wild Pay Tables
Jacks or Better based games have similar pay tables, and so do wild card games, which all have similar pay tables to Deuces Wild games. Here’s a look at what kind of payouts you might expect during a game of Anything’s Wild, but keep in mind that other payouts are possible (and even likely).
- Royal Flush
- This is the top hand in almost every video poker variation, and Anything’s Wild is no exception. But the highest payout is reserved for a so-called “natural” Royal Flush—in other words, the payout is lower if you’re using a wild card to fill your hand. The payout for the natural Royal Flush is 800 to 1, but as with most video poker games, you have to bet the maximum number of coins (5) per hand in order to see that payout. In actual practice, this means a natural Royal Flush pays 4000 coins on a 5 coin bet.
- 4 Wild Cards
- This is the 2nd best paying hand in the game. It usually pays 200 to 1, although this might vary. You should always be making the max coin bet, so this hand will usually pay off at 1000 coins on a 5 coin bet.
- Wild Royal Flush
- This doesn’t pay nearly as well as the natural Royal Flush. You’re only looking at a 25 to 1 payout here.
- 5 of a Kind
- This hand is impossible in video poker games with no wild cards. It pays off 16 to 1.
- Straight Flush
- This hand pays off at 13 to 1.
- 4 of a Kind
- This only pays off at 4 to 1. It’s a lot easier to hit this hand when you have 4 wild cards in the deck.
- Full House
- This is one of the higher paying hands in Jacks or Better based games, but in a game with wild cards, it only pays 3 to 1 (or less).
- This one pays off at 2 to 1.
- This also pays off at 2 to 1.
- 3 of a Kind
- This is the lowest paying hand, and it pays off at even odds. Again, this is a function of having wild cards in the deck. 2 Pairs and a Pair of Jacks or Better are just too easy to hit for the casino to pay out on these hands.
Here’s what the actual pay table might look like on the machine:
This pay table will immediately look familiar to anyone familiar with a Deuces Wild pay table. And as with Deuces Wild, you could theoretically see a lot of variation in the payouts for various hands.
Odds and Payback Percentages
The payback percentage at video poker games, including Anything’s Wild, is a known quantity. That’s because we know the odds of getting each card, because the random number generator uses the same odds as a standard deck of 52 playing cards.
And if you know the odds of getting a given hand, you can calculate the expected value of any given decision. You just multiply the probability of getting a hand by how much it pays out.
The payback percentages vary based on which card you decide to make wild. That’s because making a 3 wild changes the odds of getting various hands, and so does making a 4 wild. We consulted Michael Shackleford’s site, WizardofOdds, about gambling math for the details on this game.
Once you’ve done that, you’re just playing Deuces Wild again.
The payback percentage for the pay table we’ve used as an example (which we borrowed from Shackleford’s site, too) is 96.7%. That’s the BEST possible payback percentage with the payouts listed above.
Change the wild card to a 3, and the payback percentage goes down to 96%.
Change it to 4, and it drops to 95.16%.
And so on.
If you’re someone who believes in hunches, you might want to try switching up the wild card based on your intuition. But if you’re not superstitious (and you shouldn’t be superstitious, in our opinion), just go with making the deuces wild.
Of course, the implication behind that is that the appropriate strategy for Anything’s Wild is exactly the same as the appropriate strategy for Deuces Wild.
Visit our page about Deuces Wild for a strategy chart.
Keep in mind a couple of big picture strategic items:
- Always make deuces wild.
- Always bet the maximum number of coins so you’re eligible for the big jackpot.
- Always hold on to your wild cards—you’ll never discard a wild card.
You’re way ahead of the game in terms of gambling strategy just by choosing video poker over slot machines. The payback percentage, even for the lower paying games, is almost always better than that of any slot machine game on the casino floor.
Where to Play Anything’s Wild Online
Most online casinos don’t offer a version of Anything’s Wild video poker that you can play for real money. But you can play for free here. You can’t win any money playing that version, but you can’t lose any money at it, either.
Anything’s Wild is a wild card video poker with a lot in common with Deuces Wild. In fact, if you’re playing the game optimally, it IS Deuces Wild. Choosing any other card to be wild is a strategic mistake that interferes with your ability to maximize the payback percentage.
Most of what you need to know about playing Anything’s Wild, once you understand the gimmick behind the title, can be learned on our Deuces Wild page. Almost all of the information on that page applies here as well.