Official Dueces Wild Poker Rules

Deuces Wild is a version of video poker played by a single person against a machine that displays the player's cards on a screen. Unlike live poker which is played against other players, Deuces Wild simply pits you against the cards. Five cards are dealt from a 52-card deck. The ‘2' cards, known as ‘Deuces' is are wild card, and can take the place of any other card in a poker hand. The player tries to make the best possible poker hand, and may draw one time to try to improve their hand. Winning hands are paid according to a fixed payoff table, and the game continues.

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Winning Hands in Dueces Wild

Natural Royal Flush:
10-J-Q-K-A - all of the same suit.
Four Deuces:
2-2-2-2-9 – four Deuces plus any other card
Deuces Royal Flush:
T-J-Q-K-Joker - all of the same suit, with any one card replaced by a Deuce
Five of a Kind:
6-6-6-6-2 - four cards of the same number plus one Deuce.
Straight Flush:
6-7-8-9-10 - five cards in sequence, all of the same suit.
Four of a Kind:
3-3-3-3-6 - four cards of the same number.
Full House:
2-2-2-5-5 - three cards of one number and two cards of another number.
6-Q-5-10-J - five cards all of the same suit.
3-4-5-6-7 - five cards in sequence of any suit.
Three of a Kind:
8-8-8-J-10 - three cards of the same number and two unmatched cards.


Note that all hands shown above are just examples, and that a Deuce can show up anywhere in a straight, flush, three of a kind, or four of a kind. The only hand a joker can't play in is the Natural Royal Flush, the highest hand in Joker's Wild video poker.

Like other video poker games, Deuce's Wild gives you an edge over the other slot machines because you can calculate your odds of success, and employ a degree of strategy in determining the outcome of each hand. This makes the game more interactive and entertaining than just pulling the handle or pushing a button to spin the wheels of a standard slot machine.

If you've every played any sort of video poker, you'll see some very common features on a Deuce's Wild game. The screen will show 5 cards face down. There will be four “buttons” under the cards; one labeled Bet One , another labeled Bet Max , one marked Deal and a final button saying Cash Out .

Additionally, most games will show a running “balance” (how many virtual coins you have left to bet, this will go down as you bet and lose, or up as you win.) Also, a list of the winning hands and their payoffs will be displayed.

When picking your game, look for a machine that is multi-denominational; that is, you can select the value of the virtual “coins” that you play with. Most games offer 5¢, 25¢, $1, and $5 coins.


Here's How to Play:

  1. Put money into the machine (Let's start with $20.00)
  2. Select a coin value. (We'll pick 5¢, this gives us 400 virtual “5¢ coins” to bet)
  3. Press or click Bet Max . (I'll explain why you don't want to use Bet One later.)
  4. Your bet will be 25¢, and your virtual coin count will drop to 395.
  5. Your cards will automatically be dealt, appearing face-up on the screen.
  6. Let's say you see the following: 4-9-Q-9-2


  1. Choose which cards to keep by pressing or clicking the Hold button which appears on or below each card. In this case, we want to hold the three “9 's” and the wild ‘2' (Deuce.)
  2. Our hand is already a winner (3-of-a-kind) but we get one more draw to try and improve.
  3. Press or click the Deal button to throw away the Queen and ‘4' and get new cards.
  4. The cards flip and we see 7-9-J-9-2 – Nothing better, but we still have 3-of-a-kind.
  5. The machine pays off our winning bet: 1-to-1, and we bet 5 coins, so we get 5 more.
  6. Now our virtual coin count is up to 405.
  7. Press the Cash Out button and we get our money back, 405 nickels, or $20.25


How the Casino Makes Money

Like almost every casino game, Deuces Wild is a game of negative expectations. That means that over time, you will lose money to the casino.

Here's why. Let's consider the same hand we won earlier, 3-of-a-kind. The basic odds of getting dealt this hand on the first deal is 21.6% What that means is that a little more than 20% of the time, we'll be dealt that hand. Now, the actual odds are a little better, because remember, we get to throw away those cards that don't help us, like that Ace and 4. So let's say we only got two 7's on that first draw; we could discard 3 cards and have another 8.4% chance of drawing another 7 to get our 3-of-a-kind.

But, even in the best case, our odds are no more than 30% of getting any 3-of-a-kind, which is about 1-to-3. The casino pays us at a rate of 1-to-1, which means over time, we're destined to lose. Let me show you what I mean.

Let's say that you have $100.00 and you're betting $1.00 per hand. This is enough to bet for 100 hands. We know the odds of you getting 3-of-a-kind are 30%, so out of those 100 hands you should get 30 3-of-a-kinds. Now, since the payoff is 1-to-1, that means you'll win $30.00 off just those 15 hands. But you will have spent a total of $100.00 to win $30.00… And that's how the casino can afford to give you all those flashing lights and free drinks.

Now, the casino probably won't really make a whole $70.00 off you, because out of those hundred hands, you're going to get some other good cards besides your 3-of-a-kind; some straights, flushes, maybe a 4-of-a-kind. But regardless, the payoff will have been calculated to ensure that you lose money over time.

Just to illustrate my point, if video poker was going to allow you to win money consistently, the payoff on that 3-of-a-kind would have to be 4-to-1.


Best Betting Strategy

There is one chance at a better payoff in Deuces Wild , and it's the reason that we always want to Bet Max when placing our bet. This is the bonus payoff on the 5-coin Natural Royal Flush. Look at the following table, which is the payoff chart for the standard Deuces Wild game.

  1st Coin 2nd Coin 3rd Coin 4th Coin 5th Coin
Natural Royal Flush 500 1000 1500 2000 5000
4 Dueces 100 200 300 400 500
Dueces Royal Flush 30 60 90 120 150
5 of a Kind 16 32 48 60 80
Stragith Flush 13 26 39 52 65
4 of a Kind 4 8 12 16 20
Full House 3 6 9 12 15
Flush 2 4 6 8 10
Straight 2 4 6 8 10
3 of a Kind 1 2 3 4 5


Notice that the payoff rates are the same across the board with one major exception; the 5-coin Royal Flush. All the others pay off at 500-to-1, but the 5-coin pays off at 1000-1.

A Royal Flush is the best possible hand in poker. It looks like this: T-J-Q-K-A (all clubs, all diamonds, etc.) The odds of getting one of these are about 31000-to-1. But, if we do hit this big hand, we'd rather get the 5-coin payoff than any of the lesser ones.

Here's an example of how to bet this. Say I have put $25.00 in a multi-denominational machine. I want to place 100 bets with my money, so I have a choice; I can choose 5 cent bets and hit Bet Max each time (5 x 5 cents = 25 cents) or I can select the 25 cent bet and use the Bet One button.

Either way will pay me exactly the same if I win any other hand, but let's see the difference if I hit the Royal Flush. My one-coin, 25 cent bet (total bet = 25 cents) will pay me 500-to-1, so I'll get 500 quarters, or $125.00. Now, if I was betting a 5-coin, 5 cent bet (total bet = 25 cents) the machine will pay me 5000 nickels, or $200.00. Curiously, there is another bet the 5-coin is better for – the payoff on 5-of-a-Kind, which pays 16-to-1 for the 5 th coin, but 12-to-1 for all the rest.

Now, the basic betting strategy is to look at the first draw, and hold or discard cards as necessary to get the best winning hand off the second draw. Remember, always hold on to your Deuces!


Here's how it works:  


Deal: Trash hand (no pairs, no matching suits, no partial straight)

Hold: Nothing. Deal 5 more cards.


Deal : One pair (less than Jacks)

Hold : Both pair cards. Draw 3 more cards, looking for a 3-of-a-kind or better.


Deal : Two Pair

Hold : Both pairs. Draw 1 more cards to try to improve to a full house.


Deal : Three-of-a-Kind – ALREADY A WINNER!

Hold : 3 matching cards. Draw 2 more cards to try and get a full house or 4-of-a-kind.


Deal : 3 or 4 to a straight. This would be 3-4-6-7-K, for instance.

Hold : Straight cards 3,4,6,7. Draw to try to get the 5 for the straight.


Deal : 3 or 4 to a flush. This would be 3 spades, 4 hearts, etc…

Hold : Flush cards (spades, hearts.) Draw to try to get the remaining suit cards for a flush.


Unlike the other major variations of video poker, Jacks or Better and Jokers Wild , this game doesn't really force you to make sacrifice calls, like trading a half of a guaranteed winning pair in for the chance at a flush. With Deuces Wild , you can win consistently with the basic strategy outlined above.



Let's review. We know the basics of operating any Deuces Wild game, and are aware that all video poker games are negative expectation ; that is, if we play for long enough, the house will always win.

However, we've seen that by strategically picking which cards to hold and which to discard, we can improve our odds of making money in the short run.

And that's the big key; we're going to try to make our money quickly in Deuces Wild ; once we've hit one big hand, or several mid-sized ones, we probably want to walk away from the machine with bulging pockets.

Otherwise, statistics tell us that we'll end up losing it all back and paying the casino for those “free” drinks.


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