Two Pair Holds in Deuces Wild

Posted On 05 Aug 2014
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Practically every casino that has video poker games will have some form of Deuces Wild (DW) game, but it’s a big mistake to assume that you can play all versions of this popular game the same way. Here are two excellent DW games, but you must carefully check to be sure you have the right game before depositing your money.


The best of the two is Full Pay Deuces Wild (FPDW) but it’s tough to find outside of Nevada and, even there, it’s in lower denominations (quarters) and getting scarcer. Not-So-Ugly Deuces (NSUD) can be found both in Nevada and elsewhere. True, you’ll have to be diligent to hunt this game down, but it’s worth the effort. Table 1.1 shows you the payout for each winning hand; make sure you have an exact match for everything on the table.


Table 1.1 Full Pay Deuces/Not-So-Ugly Deuces


Winning Hand/ 5-Coin Bet FPDW NSUD
Royal Flush/No Deuces 4000 4000
4 Deuces 1000 1000
Royal w/Deuces/Wild 125 125
5 of a Kind 75 80
Straight Flush 45 50
4 of a Kind 25 20
Full House 15 20
Flush 10 15
Straight 10 10
3 of a Kind 5 5
Expected Return (ER) 100.76% 99.72%
Variance 25.834 25.780


Once you’ve located your game, (although both are great finds, of course FPDW is better), you must use the correct playing strategy to get the expected return (ER) indicated. I recommend that you use Dean Zamzow’s tutorial software (WinPoker) for practice at home.


Some players aren’t interested in taking the time to play computer-perfect, but they would still like to get close to the ER indicated on my pay tables. (Be aware that the pay tables in the “see pays” page on the machine will indicate the payout for each winning hand, but will not give you either the ER or the game variance. Both of these figures can be found on removable pay tables in my book, “The Video Poker Edge”.) If you have found either of these two games and don’t know the perfect game strategy you should at least know the correct holds for two dealt pair. Be aware in one of the games you hold both pair, but in the other game you hold just one pair.


Holds for Two Pair: Notice that for FPDW 25 coins are returned for 4OAK and 15 for a FH (5-coin bets); for NSUD both 4OAK and a FH return 20 coins (5-coin bets). As a result of the different returns for these two hands you will hold just one pair (either one) for FPDW but you would hold both pair when playing NSUD. Because this is a relatively frequent hand it will be costly to play the two pair deal incorrectly.


Statistics: Just to give you some sense of the magnitude of making a mistake on the correct hold – dealt two pair consider the percent of the each game’s return for both the FH and 4OAK as indicated in Table 1.2.


Table 1.2 Full Pay Deuces/Not-So-Ugly Deuces


Percent of Return FPDW NSUD
4 of a Kind 32.47% 24.42%
Full House 6.37% 10.45%


You can see that a whopping 38.84% of FPDW’s return (32.47% +6.37%) of the 100.76% ER comes from the two hands impacted by the two pair hold. With NSUD 34.87% (24.42% + 10.45%) of the 99.73% ER comes from the FH and 4OAK hands. I’m certainly not implying that you’ll lose these percentages entirely, but you can not expect the indicated ER for either game unless your play is accurate. Making a mistake on the hold for two dealt pair will have a significant and negative effect on your theoretical return for these two games. Remembering the correct way to play this hand is so simple to do that nobody should make a mistake.


Be aware that I am only referring to these two games. You must learn the key plays for any of the many other deuces wild games you will find on the casino floor.


Linda Boyd – long-time table game player before turning to video poker, also writes for “Southern Gaming  and “Midwest Gaming and Travel” her book, “The Video Poker Edge”, includes free removable pay schedules and strategy cards for the most popular games. Look for her story in current editions of “American Casino Guide” (ACG) and her YouTube videos, also with ACG. The Second Edition of her book is available in both paperback and kindle. Available toll free at 1-877-900-book – bookstores or Square One Publishers.

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