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Best of John Grochowski

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The comeback machine

20 January 2019

Double Bonus Poker once was one of the games I played most, but I’d fallen out of the habit in recent years because pay table reductions had taken the fun out of the game.

In December, when I found a bank of machines with 9/7/5 (9-for-1 on full houses, 7-for-1 on flushes, 5-for-1 on straights) Double Bonus, a 99.11% game with expert play, I just had to give it a go. Other at the bank were playing 9/6 Double Double Bonus, a 98.98% game.

It wasn’t quite up to the 100.17% 10/7/5 Double Bonus that used to be my main video poker game, but it seemed like a breath of fresh air next to the 9/6/4, 96.38% version many casinos have adopted.

Just three hands into my session, I held a 5, 6 and 10 of hearts and discarded a 2 of spades and a 9 of diamonds. I drew two more hearts, and the meter racked up 35 credits with my five-coin bet and 7-for-1 payback.

The player to my left noticed and didn’t entirely approve.

“You got lucky there,” he said, “holding three low cards. I don’t think I’d ever make that play.”

I told him I wouldn’t on his Double Double Bonus game either, but with the 7-for-1 flush payback it was the best play available to me.

He nodded and went back to his own game, while I focused on mine.

It did take some focus getting back into Double Bonus because the strategy calls for plays that would be unusual in different games. Here are a few samples:

9 of clubs, 6 of clubs, 3 of clubs, 2 of diamonds, 10 of spades

In most games, it’s best to discard all five cards and get a complete redraw. But the 7-for-1 return on flushes means that in Double Bonus Poker, we’ll hold three cards of the same suit even if there’s no chance at a straight flush. Average return per five coins wagered in 9/7/5 DB is 1.82 coins if you hold the three clubs vs. 1.64 for the redraw.

Ace of spades, Queen of spades, 8 of spades, 5 of clubs, 2 of hearts

Even with two high cards, three suited cards can be worth our while provided one of the high cards is an ace. Average returns are 2.82 coins on A-Q-8 and 2.74 on A-Q.

Aces limit the number of possible straights. If the two suited high cards are K-Q, K-J or Q-J, it’s better to discard the extra suited card and leave open the possibility of a royal. But with an ace involved, the higher-paying option is to hold all three suited cards.

9 of spades, 9 of clubs, 8 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, 6 of spades

Hold one of the 9s, along with 8-7-6. In most games, we’d make the opposite play and hold the pair of 9s, but the 5-for-1 payback on straights drives a change. Average returns are 4.26 coins on 9-8-7-6 and 3.67 on 9-9.

If you find yourself at a DB game that pays 4-for-1 on flushes, hold the pair instead.

Ace of spades, king of spades, queen of spades, 8 of spades, queen of hearts.

There are three viable plays here: Hold the pair of queens to lock in a paying hand; hold the three high spades for a shot at a royal or hold all four spades. The 7-for-1 flush payback makes the difference. Average returns are 7.55 coins on the four spades, 7.23 on the pair of queens or 6.85 on A-K-Q of spades.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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