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Double Pay and Three Card Draw Poker

17 January 2002

A couple of weeks ago, I was playing a little video poker when the casino slot director stopped by.

"Have you seen our new video poker room?" she asked. "We have Double Pay Poker and Three Card Draw Poker. You ought to check it out."

I assured her I was on my way to see it. "You tell me if there's anything there you don't like," she said.

What I found were a couple of fascinating variations on video poker. Double Pay Poker, available in three-hand, five-hand and 10-hand versions, layers a hand of stud poker atop the usual game of draw, with payoffs on each. Of course, to get that stud-draw combination, the player risks twice as much. The maximum bet on a three-hand version of Double Pay is 30 coins instead of the 15 on regular Triple Play Poker. Double Pay, yes, but it's also double wager.

How does it work? Let's say you're playing Triple Play Double Bonus Poker on a Double Pay machine. The initial deal shows you three hands. Each hand pays off according to a stud poker pay table that starts at 1-for-1 for a pair of 5s through 10s and tops out at 12,000-for-1, or 60,000 coins for a five-coin bet, for a dealt royal flush.

After the machine displays the stud poker payoffs, the game reverts to five-card draw. The player ignores the second and third hands, and chooses which cards to hold from the first hand. Those cards are then held in three separate hands, and when the draw button is pushed, the player gets three separate draws, just as in Triple Play Poker.

The best hands from the player come when winners are dealt on the bottom hand. Then, you not only get the payoff on the stud poker hand, you're assured of winners on all three hands of draw poker.

Stud payback percentages mirror those on the draw portions of the games. I played a 9-7-5 version of a Double Bonus game, meaning that on the draw portion, full houses pay 9-for-1, flushes 7-for-1 and full houses 5-for-1. The stud poker pay table also rated out at 99.1 percent, with a top jackpot of 60,000 coins for a royal flush. You don't need to play at expert level to get the stud paybacks--there is no strategy to video stud poker--so those who do not play at expert level are likely to get a higher overall payback percentage on Double Pay than on Triple Play.

The other intriguing video poker variation, Three Card Draw, is dealt from four electronic decks. I tried both 7s or Better and Bonus Poker, both available in three-hand, five-hand and 10-hand versions. The big jackpot is on three Aces of spades, which pays 4,000 coins for a maximum-coins bet.

The full pay tables, per five-coin bet on a given hand, are as follows: 7s or Better: three Aces of spades, 4,000; three suited Aces, 800; suited three of a kind, 400; suited Ace-King-Queen, 400; three Aces, 125; straight flush, 60; three of a kind 25 on the quarter or 50-cent games, 30 on the dollar games; straights, 15; suited pair, 10; flushes, 5; pair of 7s or better, 5.

Bonus Poker: three Aces of spades, 4,000; three suited Aces, 2,000; suited three 2s, 3s or 4s, 800; other suited three of kinds, 400; suited Ace-King-Queen, 250; three Aces, 100; straight flush, 60; three of a kind 25 on the quarter or 50-cent games, 30 on the dollar games; straights, 15; suited pair, 10; flushes, 5; pair of 7s or better, 5.

My current software won't handle four-deck, three-card games, so I can't give you payback percentages for Three Card Draw just yet. I can point out a couple of things to watch:

** Video poker players who are used to flushes outranking straights will have to be careful to note that here, straights pay more than flushes. Let's say your initial hand contains a 2 and 6 of spades along with a 5 of hearts. The remaining 205 cards include 50 spades that would complete a flush, along with 16 7s and 16 4s that would complete a straight. But completing the straight pays 15 coins, while the flush pays only 5. It's a much stronger play to hold a two-card straight than a two-card flush.

**Low pairs are better than two-card flushes, but not as strong as two-card straights. Let's say you start with a pair: 2 and 6 of spades and a 6 of hearts. In those remaining 205 cards, you still have 50 that will complete a flush, and 14 6s that would turn your low pair into a paying three of a kind. Those triplets pay 25 coins on quarter/half dollar games and 30 on dollar games. Per 205 hands, your expected return for holding a low pair would be 350 coins on quarters/halves and 420 coins on dollars. The return on the two-card flush would average only 250 coins per 205 hands.

**Watch for suited combinations. If we're dealt two 6s of spades and a 2 of spades, the 6s by themselves are worth more than the flush.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski