Ultimate Aces Poker
Ultimate Aces video poker is a variation where you get a multiplier to your payoff any time you’re dealt an ace as part of your hand. The size of the multiplier is determined by the number of aces you’re dealt—the more aces you get, the bigger the multiplier. You activate this feature by placing a bet that’s twice the size of what it would be ordinarily.
How to Play Ultimate Aces Video Poker
Ultimate Aces plays in most ways like other variations of video poker. In fact, you might consider this more of a way to increase the size of your winnings than to consider it an entirely separate game. Ultimate Aces is always based on another video poker game, often something like Double Double Bonus.
If you’re unfamiliar with video poker in general, here’s how it works:
A video poker game LOOKS like a slot machine, and, in fact, has a lot in common with one. Both games involve combinations of symbols and jackpots that are based on the combination that you wind up with. But one is a game of limited information, while the other provides significantly more information to the player.
On a slot machine, you’re presented with a pay table that shows how much you win for a particular combination of symbols. But those symbols aren’t based on anything in reality, and you have no way of knowing what the probability of seeing one of those symbols on a particular stop are. This makes it impossible for you to calculate the house edge or the payback percentage for the game.
With a video poker game, including Ultimate Aces, you also get symbols. You also have a pay table that shows how much those combinations of symbols are worth. But this time the symbols are based on something in real life—a deck of cards.
And in a true video poker game—as opposed to a pull tab machine—the odds of getting any particular card are the same as they would be if you were playing with a real deck of cards. In most games, this means any particular card appears 1/52 of the time.
Knowing this, you can calculate the odds of winding up with a particular combination (or “hand”). Since you know how much you can win with each hand, and you know the odds of getting that hand, you can calculate the theoretical return for the hand.
Here’s the other thing about video poker in general—it also applies to Ultimate Aces:
Your decisions matter. You start off with a 5 card hand, and then you get to decide which cards to keep and which cards to throw away. Some decisions make more sense than others mathematically. In fact, for every hand you’re dealt, there’s only one correct way to play it—the way that has the highest expected return.
Most video poker games, even the ones with the worst pay tables, offer a house edge of less than 5%. In some cases, the house edge is less than 1%.
You won’t find a slot machine with those kinds of odds.
Ultimate Aces Pay Tables and Strategy
Ultimate Aces is a multi-line video poker game. That means when you play, you’re dealt a hand, but it’s an identical hand on 3 different rows. (Other multi-line games might have 5, 10, or even 100 rows of cards.)
On your initial deal, the hands on all 3 rows are identical, but once you discard, the new cards that are dealt are dealt at random on each hand. So you will often wind up with 3 different results.
All video poker games allow you to bet between 1 and 5 coins per hand. But in order to be eligible for the best payout in the game—800 to 1 for a royal flush—you have to make the max bet (5 coins).
In a 3 line game, you bet 5 coins per line, or 15 coins total. Each line pays off separately.
In Ultimate Aces, you have to double the size of your bet in order to activate the multiplier function. So you’re looking at placing a bet of 30 coins per hand to play. Even on a quarter machine, where the size of the wager is 25 cents, you’re looking at betting $7.50 per hand just to play.
Something else to keep in mind is that the pay table is basing your payoffs on the original 15 coin bet—the other 15 coins are just the price you pay for getting the multiplier.
You do NOT have to keep any aces that you’re dealt in order to get your multiplier. The multiplier is earned on the initial deal, and it varies from 2 to 10 based on how many aces you’ve been dealt.
The size of the multiplier can vary, but it’s always based on the number of aces you get on your initial deal. Here’s a list of the average multipliers based on the number of aces you’ve received:
- 1 ace = 3.4
- 2 aces = 4.5
- 3 aces = 6
- 4 aces = 7.7
The rest of the pay table for this game is based on one of the other video poker games, whichever one the particular Ultimate Aces game you’re playing is based on. For example, Double Double Bonus is a common one. The multiplier is on top of the payoff for the hand.
Here’s the pay table for Double Double Bonus:
The payback percentage for a standard Double Double Bonus game with this pay table is 97.87%, but once you factor in the effects of the multiplier, you wind up with a payback percentage of 98.2%. This is a marginal improvement—not all side bets and variations with multipliers increase the payback percentage over the original game that you’re playing, but in the case of Ultimate Aces, it does.
And if you’re not familiar with the concept of a payback percentage, we’ll explain that for you in brief. When you multiply the probability of getting a particular hand by the amount it pays off, you get the expected return for that hand. When you add up the expected return for all the possible hands, you get an overall expected return for the game.
This overall expected return is also called the payback percentage. Over a large enough number of trials, the amount you’ll win back on each hand will eventually come close to resembling the expected return. Since this is expressed as a percentage, you can think of any payback percentage of less than 100% as being a game which favors the house.
Almost all casino games favor the house—video poker is a notable exception. But we don’t know of any Ultimate Aces variations which offer the player an edge over the casino.
Other games and variations which come in an Ultimate Aces version include the following:
- Bonus Poker
- Bonus Poker Deluxe
- Deuces Bonus Poker
- Deuces Wild
- Double Bonus
- Jacks or Better
- Triple Double Bonus
In terms of strategy, the same strategies apply to Ultimate Aces as they do to the original game. In other words, if you’re playing Ultimate Aces Double Double Bonus, you wouldn’t need to modify your strategy based on the multiplier—it’s just a bonus on top of the usual payoff, so no strategy changes are necessary. If you were required to keep an ace in order to get the multiplier, strategy would change significantly, but luckily, that’s not the case.
You can find the appropriate strategy for each game on our page devoted to that game. Video poker strategies are almost always presented as a hierarchy of hands. You keep the hands that are higher on the list, drawing to improve them where noted.
Can You Play Online?
According to IGT, the manufacturer responsible for this game, Ultimate Aces is available offline only. But VideoPoker.com does make available a free version of the game that you can play on their site. You can’t win real money playing it, though.
Here are some additional details about Ultimate Aces:
- The payback percentage ranges from 96.36% to 98.47%, depending on which version you’re playing.
- The highest possible jackpot is 120,000 credits.
- The game is not available with a progressive jackpot or with a tournament capability.
- Ultimate Aces is usually available in the following denominations: 25 cents, 50 cents, or $1.
Ultimate Aces is a fun video poker game perfect for players with reasonably large bankrolls. Since you’re looking at betting a minimum of $7.50 per hand and maybe as much as $30 per hand, you can run through your bankroll pretty quickly.
The payback percentages for this game are somewhat better than the payback percentages for the original games on which it’s based, but you can find games with better odds. But this is a fun variation and worth trying. It’s too bad it’s not available in a real money version online.