Deuces and Joker Wild Strategy From the Ground Up

February 20, 2015


It's well-known that Deuces and Joker Wild is by far the most difficult video poker game to learn well. The high density of wilds creates a ton of difficult situations that you have to learn how to play. Even with that being the case, you still have to start somewhere if you want to learn this game, and that place to start is with hands that have no wilds in them. We're going to walk you through some of the most important spots to learn that have no wild cards and show you how to choose between your best options.

Let's start with AdAhJh8h6h. Your main options here are a flush draw or pair. People who come from games like Jacks or Better are going to have a reflex here to go with the pair, but that's incorrect. Remember that no single pair hands pay out in Deuces and Joker Wild, so they're actually worse than a flush draw. The flush draw here is worth a return of 81.3 percent wild keeping the pair only gives you a return of 55.2 percent. This is a pretty significant difference.

Moving along to another spot, what if we have JJT98 with no flush-oriented suits. Your options are the open-ended straight draw or the pair. Again, the issue is that the pair does not pay out by itself. As before, the pair will give you a 55.2 percent payout. However, the open-ended straight draw is pretty bad because you only have eight outs to any payout (note that there's no way to have high cards that improve the draw). This means you'll have a 54.2 percent payout with the draw. A full percentage point of return separates the two plays.

Finally we have AhQhTh7h5s, and this is a bit of a trap hand. The key to this spot is to trap you into automatically going for the flush draw with its 81.3 percent payout. The correct play is actually to go for the three-card royal with AhQhTh, something that a lot of players will miss because they aren't paying close enough attention. The three-card royal pays out much higher with a 120.1 percent return, so you'll want to make sure to have a mental note to check for three-card royals when you're given general four-card draws no matter if they're to a flush or a straight.