Double Double Bonus Poker Plus is a variation of Double Bonus Poker, which is, itself, a variation of Bonus Poker. That game, in turn, is a variation of Jacks or Better. If you can find the right pay table, AND if you can play with perfect strategy, this game has a payback percentage of 99.44%.
This page explains how to play video poker in general and Double Double Bonus Plus in particular. It also includes observations about the pay tables that are available and how the payback percentage for the game works. Finally, we include a strategy table for you to use next time you encounter this game.
To understand Double Double Bonus Poker Plus, you first have to understand the basics of video poker. We’ve covered that in detail elsewhere, but we’ll provide a broad overview here, too.
The first thing to understand is that even though games like Double Double Bonus Poker Plus LOOK like slot machines, they’re actually quite different. Those differences come down to 2 factors:
When you’re playing a slot machine, you’re putting money into a game and hoping to get a certain combination of symbols. That combination determines your payout on each bet. But you have no way to know what the odds of getting any particular symbol are.
But video poker games use the same odds as any deck of cards, so the math behind the combinations is relatively simple. We know that the odds of getting any specific card are 1/52, of getting a card of any specific rank are 1/13, and of getting a card of any specific suit are ¼, and so on.
If you know the payouts for the combinations and the odds of getting each of those combinations, you can calculate the overall payback percentage for the machine.
The payback percentage is the mathematical expectation over the long run for how much of each bet is returned to the player as winnings. It’s expressed as a percentage. For example, if you’re playing a gambling machine with a payback percentage of 99.44%, the casino expects you win $99.44 for every $100 you bet on the game, and they expect to keep $0.56 of each $100.
It’s important to understand that this number is an average you can expect to see in the long run—over the course of tens of thousands of hands. In the short term, anything can happen. That’s why gamblers sometimes leave the casino as winners. What we call luck is nothing more than standard deviation in the short run.
The other aspect of this game is that you get to make decisions which affect your math. In Double Double Bonus Poker Plus, you’re dealt a virtual hand of 5 cards. You get one chance to discard and keep various cards and replace your discards. Making the correct decisions in this stage of the game affects your overall payback percentage.
The poker hand ranking of your final hand is what determines your payout. The best possible payout is for a royal flush, which pays off at 800 to 1. The lowest possible payout is for a pair of jacks or better, which pays off at even odds in this game.
In fact, if you have to choose between a game where you can’t afford to play for max coins, you should find a lower denomination machine where you can afford it. You’re a lot better off making a 5 coin bet on a quarter machine ($1.25) than you are making a one coin bet on a dollar machine, even if the dollar machine has a better pay table.
Gameplay is simplicity itself. You input your money. You choose how many coins to bet and press deal. The machine deals you a 5 card hand on the computer monitor. You choose which cards you want to keep. Then you press the deal button again to get your replacement cards. Then the machine credits you with your winnings, if any.
We cover the payouts for Double Double Bonus Poker Plus in the next section.
All the Bonus Poker variations, including Double Double Bonus Poker Plus, offer higher than usual payoffs for 4 of a kind hands. Other than that difference, these games are basically just like Jacks or Better. The payoffs on some of the lower ranked hands are usually reduced slightly in order to enable the game to make the larger payoffs for the 4 of a kind hands.
In a standard Jacks or Better game, 4 of a kind has a payout of 25 to 1, which isn’t bad. In Bonus Poker, that payoff is increased based on the ranks of the cards in your 4 of a kind. Aces are worth 80 to 1. 2s, 3s, and 4s are worth 40 to 1. All other 4 of a kind hands are worth 25 to 1, just like in Jacks or Better.
In Double Bonus Poker, they literally double the payouts for these hands. So you get 160 to 1 for aces, 80 to 1 for 2s, 3s, and 4s, and 50 to 1 on all other 4 of a kinds.
Double Double Bonus Poker Plus takes it a step further and offers even bigger payouts, this time taking into account the rank of your kicker. In fact, this is one of the most distinctive aspects of Double Double Bonus Poker Plus, because kickers in video poker usually don’t make a whit of difference.
4 aces with a low card (2, 3, or 4), pays off at 400 to 1. With any other kicker, it pays off at 160 to 1.
A low 4 of a kind (2s, 3s, or 4s), pays off at 160 to 1 if the kicker is also a low card (ace, 2, 3, or 4). Any other kicker reduces the payoff to 80 to 1.
All other 4 of a kinds with an ace kicker pay off at 80 to 1. Any other combination with any other kicker pays off at 50 to 1.
The increased payouts for these hands increases the volatility of the game. You get paid off less on some hands more often to pay for these increased payouts. This mostly comes into play because of the reduced payout on 2 pairs. This hand normally pays off at 2 to 1 in other variations, but in Double Double Bonus Poker Plus, it only pays even money—just like Jacks or Better.
Here’s an example of a full pay table for Double Double Bonus Poker Plus:
That is an example of the best possible pay table for this game, and it has a payback percentage of 99.44%. Perceptive readers who are familiar with Jacks or Better will notice that this is actually slightly lower than the expected return on a full pay Jacks or Better game (which has a 99.54% return).
The reason for the slight difference is the reduced payoff for 2 pairs. This is a hand that comes up relatively often—about once in every 8 hands. Cutting the payoff for a hand that comes up that often in half has a significant effect on your overall return. That’s also the reason that the game is able to offer such large payoff on these 4 of a kind hands.
A 4 of a kind only shows up about once in every 500 hands. That means you’ll see one an hour on average, maybe a little more often. And of course, the specific 4 of a kind combinations with the large payoffs come up even less often than that.
The payback percentage is a function of 2 numbers—the payoff for the hand and the probability of getting that hand. You add up the expected return for all the possible hands, and you get the overall payback percentage for the entire game.
The pay tables for Double Double Bonus Poker Plus have something else in common with Jacks or Better, too. The variations that determine the payback percentage for this game usually involve adjusting the payoff for the full house and the flush. The pay table we used as an example is an example of a 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker Plus game. If those 2 hands paid off at 8 to 1 and 5 to 1 instead, the game would be considered an 8/5 Double Double Bonus Poker Plus, and the payback percentage would be 97.25%.
You can find Double Double Bonus Poker Plus games with worse payout structure than this, too. A 7.5 game has a payback percentage of only 96.17%.
Video poker strategy tables are organized as lists of hands. You start at the top of the list, comparing the hand you’ve been dealt with what’s on the strategy table. When you get to a hand on your list that matches the hand on your screen, you stop and keep those cards—discarding any others.
The strategy for Double Double Bonus Poker Plus is more or less the same as the strategy for Double Double Bonus. The only thing to keep in mind is that sometimes you’ll want to discard a kicker in order to try to improve to get a higher payout. For example, if you have 4 aces with a king kicker, you would always discard the king to try to get a lower kicker.
Here’s the strategy table. It’s not entirely optimal, but it should still get you within 1% of the optimal payback percentage for this game:
Double Double Bonus Poker Plus is a fun variation of Bonus Poker, which is based on Jacks or Better. The game is more volatile than the other variations, but the payback percentage on a 9/6 game is respectable—almost as good as full pay Jacks or Better. If you care more about occasional large jackpots than you do about the overall return to player for the game, Double Double Bonus Poker Plus might be the perfect game for you.