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Best of John Grochowski

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Expert play pays off in Triple Play video poker

13 August 2012

One of my true loves among electronic casino games is Triple Play Poker. I like that I can break even or better with one decent pay even if two hands are losers. I like that I’m paid three times over when I’m dealt a big winner. I’ve never been dealt a royal flush, but I have been dealt four wild deuces and gotten that 1,000-coin return three times over.

Problem is, it’s difficult to find a decent pay table on Triple Play if you’re not willing to bet the big bucks. So on a late July casino trip, I was happy to find a Deuces Wild game the late video poker guru Lenny Frome nicknamed “Illinois Deuces.”

With expert play, it returns 98.9%, and Blue Chip had it on quarter Triple Play games. Among the identifiers are 4-for-1 payoffs on both fours-of-a-kind and full houses, and 3-for-1 on flushes. But watch out. There are fooler versions out there that pay only 20-for-1 on four-of-a-kind instead of the standard 25-for-1.

The full pay table per coin wagered should look like this. Natural royal flush 250 (rises to 4,000 for a five-credit wager); four deuces 200; royal flush with wild cards 25; five of a kind 15; straight flush 9; four of a kind 4; full house 4; flush 3; straight 2; three of a kind 1.

This isn’t the best version of Deuces Wild. A version players call full-pay Deuces returns 100.8% with expert play, but I’ve rarely seen it outside Nevada, and it’s scarce there, too. Another game nicknamed Not So Ugly Deuces raises payoffs to 16-for-1 on five-of-a-kind and 10-for-1 on straight flushes. It returns 99.7% with expert play, and while not as rare as full-pay Deuces, it’s nowhere near as common as lower-paying versions.

Those nicknames aren’t the official names of the game, nor are they written on the game itself. The machines just say “Deuces Wild.” The nicknames are player shorthand, enabling us to tell each other which game is on the floor without listing the entire pay table.

Illinois Deuces isn’t a game you can beat in the long run -- few video poker games are. But it’ll give you a good run for the money, and I’ve been in many casinos where it’s the best electronic game in the house.

On quarter Triple Play Poker, the maximum bet is $3.75, three times the $1.25 on a quarter single-hand game. You make holds in a starting hand, then the draw is played out three times and you wind up with three hands.

Winners on the initial deal are a player’s dream. You know you’re going to get that payoff three times over, and sometimes you’ll improve the hand on the draw. I once had a trip saver of a hand when I was down several hundred dollars, but on the night before heading home was dealt four deuces. On a different casino visit, and afterward settled in for a little Triple Play. I was dealt four parts of a natural royal, then filled it out for a quick $2,000 -- minus the tax man’s share.

Those are hands to remember. Losing sessions are more frequent, of course. For a one-hour session, it takes $305 to keep the risk of ruin to about 5% when playing Illinois Deuces on Triple Play. On a single-hand game, the bankroll needs drop to $130.

I played for just over an hour, and cashed in for $102.50 after buying in for $100. I was down to $18.75 at one point, but came back with a couple of hands straight out of the Illinois Deuces strategy playbook.

In the first, I was dealt ace, king, 10 and 4 of hearts, along with a 2 of clubs. The wild Deuce makes that a flush. At 15 credits per flush, it would have been easy to take that pay three times to pad my depleted bankroll. But the expert play is to discard the 4, so queen or jack of hearts or any 2 would bring a wild royal flush. I wound up with two losing hands, but the middle hand was a wild royal for 125 coins.

On the other, I was dealt ace-ace-5-5-7 of mixed suits. On many Deuces games, the proper play is to hold one pair. But with full houses paying as much as four of a kind, it’s better to hold both pairs. I got lucky, filling in all three full houses and added 60 more credits to the comeback.

A little strategy, a little luck and finding the right game -- that’s a combination that gives you a chance.
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:

> More Books By John Grochowski