Two Ways Royal Video Poker Strategy Guide
Two Ways Royal video poker can be found at BetSoft casinos or Playtech casinos, among others. It works much like Jacks or Better except that a two-to-six straight flush gives you a royal flush payout and is called a “Low Royal Flush,” which complicates the strategies involved and gives you a tremendous overall payout rate.
Introduction to Two Ways Royal Video Poker
Different styles of video poker have popped up with different pay tables, rules and gimmicks. One of the most unique variations of the game that does not include wild cards is Two Ways Royal.
The main idea behind Two Ways Royal is that a wheel straight flush, or 2-3-4-5-6 of the same suit, will give you the same payout as a regular royal flush.
This is a really interesting gimmick to base a game around because of the implications on strategy and the way it changes the value of the lowest ranked cards. It also has a particularly low house advantage with proper play, and it’s not that difficult to learn if you already know how to play Jacks or Better well, which is usually the video poker game that players are the most familiar with.
House Advantage and Payout Rates
There are two pay table versions that you’ll see online. Their characteristics are as follows:
- The Superior Version – 250x for straight flush, 200x for four of a kind
- The Inferior Version – 200x for straight flush, 150x for four of a kind
With the superior pay table, which is what you’ll find with the version of the game available by Playtech and BetSoft, you’ll have a payout rate of 99.8 percent with a house edge of 0.2 percent. This is pretty incredible and makes it the best-paying video poker game that’s commonly found online and one of the single best overall casino games in terms of having a low house edge that you can find anywhere, online or land-based.
The inferior pay table has a payout rate of 97.56 percent with a house advantage at 2.44 percent. This is obviously much worse, and we strongly recommend that players avoid this inferior pay table. It’s pretty easy to spot since the superior version has a 200x payout for four of a kind while the inferior pay table’s 200x payout is for a straight flush instead.
Note that for the sake of the strategies and rules described below, we’re going to assume that you’re playing the superior version.
Important Rules for Two Ways Royal Video Poker
First and foremost, this game uses the typical 52-card deck with no wild cards. In this way, it’s essentially the same as Jacks or Better, but there is one key difference:
2-3-4-5-6 of the same suit is called a “Low Royal Flush” on the pay table and has the same 800x win as a regular royal flush does, which is called a “High Royal Flush” in this game.
This single difference changes things quite a bit in terms of strategy in certain situations. Aside from that, the game plays pretty normally with payouts being given for pairs of jacks or better hands.
We want to point out that there is one difference between the BetSoft and Playtech versions of this game, which are the main software companies you’ll use for this particular title. The BetSoft version has the same payout rate no matter how many coins you play with, but the Playtech version requires you to wager five coins (no matter the size of those coins) to get the full 99.8 percent payout rate.
Strategies for Two Ways Royal
We’re going to break the strategies up for this game into three parts. First, we’ll look at the best hands you can get, and then we’ll look at how to play pairs compared to typical draws. After that, we’ll look at all of the worst hands that don’t hold a pair or any type of reasonable draw.
We’re going to define top-tier hands as two pair or better. There are a couple of things about these types of hands that are anti-intuitive, and because the payouts for them are so relatively large, you can actually lose quite a bit of value by playing them incorrectly.
Here are the basic guidelines to follow:
- If you have a full house or better, you always keep that hand.
- If you have a straight or flush, then you always keep that hand unless you have four cards to a hi or lo royal flush. If you do have that four-card draw, then you break your made hand and make a discard of one.
- You should not break up a made straight or flush just for a non-royal straight flush draw. However, you will break up a hand with a pair if you have four cards to a straight flush.
If you can remember these three guidelines, which aren’t all that difficult to keep in mind, then you will play everything better than a high pair 100 percent perfectly 100 percent of the time.
Pairs and Draws
The real “meat and potatoes” of Two Ways Royal strategy is learning how to play the different types of pairs and more typical straight and flush draws.
In the following, we’ll rank the hands that you can try to make from best to worst in terms of their average payout. What you want to do is pick the best-ranking hand on the list and go with that option. We’ll provide some examples down below.
- A high one pair
- Three-card draw to a hi or lo royal flush
- Four-card flush draw
- A low one pair
- Four-card outside straight draw*
* An outside straight draw is when two different card ranks can make your straight like how both a Q or 7 can finish the straight for a JT98 draw. The opposite is an inside straight draw that can only be completed with one card rank like JT87 can only be filled by a 9.
We want to note that a high pair in this game is a pair of jacks or above (ie: pairs that pay out on their own), and a low pair is when the pair will not pay out on its own like tens and below.
For an example of how this works, imagine that you have 246TT with a flush draw. You have three ways that you can play the hand: a pair of tens, a T642 flush draw or a 642 lo royal draw. The best-ranking hand on the list is the three-card draw to a lo royal flush, so that’s the option you take.
At the bottom end of things, you have situations that are pretty tricky to play because it’s often not obvious to see how to make the most from a bad situation if you don’t have at least a pair or one of the above types of draws.
We’ll offer some basic guidelines on what to look for in how you play your hand. Note that in the following, high cards are aces, kings, queens and jacks.
- If you have two suited high cards, that’s what you should go with every time.
- Alternatively, you should go with two off-suit high cards unless you have three consecutive cards to a straight flush otherwise.
- If you have three off-suit high cards, then you should keep the lowest two of them and discard the remaining three cards.
- If you do not have at least two high cards or three to a straight flush, you can also keep combinations of K-T, Q-T or J-T if they are the same suit.
- Absent that, you can draw to a single high card if you have one. Otherwise, just ditch all five cards, and hope for the best.
The guidelines we offer here should straighten out any confusion that you have about how these low-tier hands work. Perhaps unfortunately, they make up a significant percentage of hands that you’ll run into. However, a big part of getting the best payout rate possible is playing them as well as you can to make the most out of a bad situation on a consistent basis.
The situation with Two Ways Royal is that it’s an action-oriented style of video poker that does not rely on wild cards to create the pace. Along these lines, the strategies are not overly complicated to understand, and when you combine that with its really high payout rate, then this is definitely a title that’s worth learning how to play well if you’re into video poker strategy on any level.