Deuces Wild Video Poker Strategy Guide
Deuces Wild is the most popular video poker game other than Jacks or Better, and it’s the most popular title in the genre with wild cards. These wilds create layers of depth that make it one of the most complicated games in a casino, and that leads to a lot of room for learning proper strategies.
Introduction to Deuces Wild
The video poker genre is broken primarily into two sub-genres: One of those includes wild cards, and the other does not. Of the wild card sub-genre, Deuces Wild video poker is the single most popular title by far.
The popularity of this game largely comes from how much easier it is to hit made hands compared to the non-wild titles since about 7.7 percent of the deck is wild.
About a third of the hands you play in this game will include at least one wild card just on the initial deal, not even counting discards, so it’s clear that a higher level of action can be found with this game throughout your session compared to non-wild video poker games.
With that said, these wild symbols introduce a completely different level of strategy that can sometimes build on strategies used in non-wild card titles in the genre. However, trying to apply those non-wild strategies without adjusting properly will lead you to having a very bad time with a particularly high house advantage.
House Advantage and Payout Rates
As is the case with all forms of video poker, your exact available payout rates will depend on the pay table of the game in question, and several pay tables can be found. Here are a few examples along with the minimum house edge for each with perfect play:
- Realtime Gaming (Bonus Version) – 0.55 percent
- Playtech – 1.09 percent
- Realtime Gaming – 1.09 percent
- BetSoft – 1.09 percent
- BetSoft (Multi-hand) – 1.55 percent
- Net Entertainment – 2.03 percent
- Microgaming – 3.33 percent
As you can see from these examples, the payout rates and subsequent house edges can vary quite a bit for this game. It may be the single common casino game that has the widest variation overall.
Because of the variation found along these lines, it’s critical to select your games well before actually sitting down to play, and a failure to do so will hurt your bottom line more than making a lot of mistakes in the actual hands.
We do want to point out that there are brick-and-mortar machines that can pay out as much as 100.76 percent with correct play, but those pay tables cannot generally be found online with any major software provider.
Important Rules for Deuces Wild
The rules for this game are really straightforward. You get five cards, and you get to choose from those five cards to make discards to receive new cards. After your discards (or lack therof), your final five cards are compared against a table of five-card poker hands.
You will always be ranked on that pay table based on the best possible hand that could be made with your five cards. If you have a good enough hand (usually at least three of a kind in this game), then you will receive a payout as a prize.
All cards are their face value except for deuces, which are true wilds that can count as any card in the deck to make the best possible hand.
Note that because of the wilds, there are some different poker hand definitions than what you would see without them:
- A natural royal flush is a royal flush with no wild cards included.
- A wild royal flush is a royal flush with at least one wild card included.
- Five of a kind is self-explanatory but can be any combination of wilds and non-wilds that would lead to five cards of the same rank.
Aside from these three non-standard hands, which are all very easy to understand, the rules are intuitive.
Strategies for Deuces Wild Video Poker
Strategy in this game is based on how many wild cards you have in your starting hand. The majority of your hands will start with no wilds (about 67-68 percent of them), and most of the rest will only have one. When learning these strategies, start with learning the situations with no wild cards and work your way up.
Two or More Wild Cards
Very briefly, we’ll tackle all situations with two or more wilds. With four deuces, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you keep all four of them. With three wilds, you should stand pat if you have made a royal flush, and you should discard both of your non-wilds otherwise. That completely sums up how to play perfectly with three or four wilds.
With two wilds, you should stand pat if you have a made hand of four of a kind or better. That aside, you should discard all three of your non-wilds if you do not have four cards to a royal flush or four cards to a straight flush with both of your non-wilds being consecutive and of the 7-6 ranks or higher.
One Wild Card
If you’re coming from learning a non-wild card game, then playing with a single wild is the most difficult situation you’ll run into at first because it requires thinking about the game in a different way.
We’re going to list out hands here from strongest to weakest, and you should try to make the best hand you can from the list. We’ll explain what some of these terms mean down below.
- Four of a kind or better
- Four-card royal flush draw
- Full house
- Major straight flush draws
- Three of a kind
- Minor straight flush draws
- Three-card royal flush draw
- Three-card straight flush draw where both non-wilds are consecutive and ranked at least 7-6 or higher
If you can’t make any of these hands, then you should discard all four of your non-wild cards. That can be anti-intuitive for players who will want to instinctively keep a high card with the deuce to make a strong pair, but remember that all pairs have the same value in this game, which is none.
We reference a major and minor straight flush draw in this listing as well. These are both four-card draws, but the difference depends on how the non-wild cards are ranked. A major straight flush draw is when you have three non-wild cards that are all consecutive and that are ranked 7/6/5 or higher. All other four-card straight flush draws are of the minor variety.
No Wild Cards
If you’re familiar with strategy for a non-wild card video poker game, then this aspect of Deuces Wild strategy will not necessarily be easy to adapt to. This is because draws become much more valuable with the absence of one pair-based wins.
Much like in the above, we’re going to list out some hands from strongest to weakest, and you should choose the highest-ranking option you have on that list. If you don’t have a hand on the list, then yous should just discard all five of your cards and hope for the best.
- A royal flush
- Four-card royal flush draw
- Four-card straight flush draw (any)
- Three-card royal flush draw
- Any pair (rank doesn’t matter)
- Four-card flush draw
- Outside straight draw
- Three-card straight flush draw
- Inside straight draw
- Two-card royal flush draw
For clarity, an outside straight draw is when there are two cards that can make your straight (eg: JT98 can be completed by a Q or 7), and an inside straight draw is when there are only four cards that can make your straight (eg: T976 can be completed by an 8 only).
As you can see, the draws really dominate here, and knowing the order in which you need to pay attention to them, and how that relates to when you should keep a single pair, will really be the single most important part of this overall strategy that you can learn.
The main thing to remember with Deuces Wild video poker strategy is that everything is centered around the number of wilds you have in your hand. The way you play with one wild is different than playing with none. Aside from that, you also have to keep in mind that draws dominate everything when it comes to deciding how to play your hands, and keeping low made hands like one pair or two pairs is not a viable strategy at any point in this game.