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Triple Double Bonus Poker10 July 2001
One thing video poker players can count on is change. Just when you think you've sorted through the high-paying and low-paying games, settled on a few favorites and learned strategies, something new comes along.
The latest worthy game is Triple Double Bonus Poker, available on multiple-hand machines at Harrah's Joliet. A reader who first alerted me to the game via e-mail pointed out that Triple Double Bonus pays only 2-for-1 on three of a kind, instead of the 3-for-1 that's standard on Jacks or Better-based games.
That's a big red flag. A drop of a unit in our payback on three of a kind costs us about 8 percent of our long-term return.
But there's a big incentive to play, too. Four Aces, when accompanied by a 2, 3 or 4 as the fifth card, pays 4,000 coins for a five-coin bet instead of the 2,000-coin return on Double Double Bonus Poker. Not only that. Four 2s, 3s or 4s, when accompanied by an Ace, 2, 3 or 4, pays 2,000 coins for a five-coin bet instead of the 800 on Double Double Bonus.
With expert play, the full-pay 9-7 version of the game returns 99.6 percent in the long run. (The numbers "9-7" refer to one-coin payoffs on full houses and flushes.) That's a step up from the 98.9 percent return on full-pay 9-6 Double Double Bonus.
There's also a 9-6 version of Triple Double Bonus that returns 98.2 percent with expert play. Harrah's has the 9-7 game on $1 Triple Play/Five Play Poker games, and the 9-6 version on quarter machines.
The full pay table for the 9-7 game is: Royal flush, 250-for-1 (rises to 4,000 coins for five coins wagered); straight flush 50-for-1; four Aces with a 2, 3 or 4, 400-for-1 (rises to 4,000 coins for five coins wagered); four Aces, 160-for-1; four 2s, 3s or 4s with an Ace, 2, 3 or 4, 160-for-1 (rises to 2,000 coins for five coins wagered); four 2s, 3s or 4s, 80-for-1; four 5s through Kings, 50-for-1; full house, 9-for-1; flush, 7-for-1; straight, 4-for-1; three of a kind, 2-for-1; two pair, 1-for-1; pair of Jacks or better, 1-for-1.
Let's try a few sample hands.
Ace of clubs, Ace of hearts, Ace of diamonds, 2 of hearts, 8 of spades.
In most games, including Double Double Bonus, we would hold just the three Aces to maximize our chances of drawing the fourth Ace. But in Triple Double Bonus, the jackpot on four Aces with a low card as a kicker is so large that we have to go for it. If we hold just the three Aces, our average return per five coins wagered will be about 78 coins. By holding the deuce with the three Aces, we increase the average return to 97 coins.
Ace of clubs, Ace of hearts, 2 of diamonds, 2 of spades, 7 of clubs.
With two Aces or fewer, we do not hold a low-card kicker. Average return per five coins wagered is 10.17 coins on the pair of Aces, but drops to 9.29 coins if we also hold one of the 2s.
Ace of spades, Ace of clubs, Ace of hearts, 2 of diamonds, 2 of spades.
Just as in Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus, we break up a full house that includes three Aces. In Triple Bonus we also keep a deuce. The average return on Ace-Ace-Ace-2 is about 96 coins per five wagered, compared with 78 if we hold just the Aces.
Ace of spades, Queen of clubs, Jack of diamonds, 6 of diamonds, 3 of hearts.
In most Jacks or Better-based games, we're better off to hold two other high cards and discard an Ace when the suits are mixed. Even in Double Double Bonus, we hold Queen-Jack instead of an Ace. In Triple Double, the lone Ace gives us an average return of 2.28 coins per five wagered, better than the 2.21 on Queen-Jack.
Ace of diamonds, King of diamonds, Queen of diamonds, 6 of diamonds, 3 of spades.
We play this differently depending on the pay table. In the 9-7 version of Triple Bonus, with its 7-for-1 payoff on flushes, we hold all four diamonds, giving us an average return of 7.66 coins per five wagered that bests the 6.92 on the three-card royal. However, if flushes pay only 6-for-1, as on Harrah's quarter games, we hold Ace-King-Queen, with an expected return of 6.77 coins that bests the 6.70 for the four-card flush.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
Best of John Grochowski