I have saved Double Bonus to the last, because I think it is the most difficult machine to play correctly. The high payoff for flushes (35 coins) means that three-card flushes come into play. The high payoff for straights (25 coins) mean that inside straights are more important, also. The result is there are a lot of things to think of when you a dealt your five cards. Here is the full-pay table:
HAND PAYS RETURN FREQUENCY
Royal Flush 4000 1.66% 1 in 48048
Four Aces 800 3.18% 1 in 5030
Straight Flush 250 0.56% 1 in 8841
Four of a Kind (5-K) 250 8.03% 1 in 622
Four of a Kind (2, 3, 4) 400 4.19% 1 in 1908
Full House 50 11.18% 1 in 89
Flush 35 10.46% 1 in 67
Straight 25 7.50% 1 in 67
Three of a Kind 15 21.65% 1 in 14
Two Pair 5 12.46% 1 in 8
Jacks or Better 5 19.23% 1 in 5
Loss 1 in 1.7
If you were to simply play the normal Jacks-or-Better strategy on a Double Bonus machine, you would be giving up about one half of a percent back to the casino. I have an expert strategy sheet for Double Bonus that has the complete strategy. Here is a summary of some of the differences between it and Jacks-or-Better:
If you have a pat full house with three aces, you discard the pair to go for the aces alone. Surprisingly, though, this is the only major modification that the four aces mini-jackpot induces. If you have two pair with a pair of aces, you still hold both pairs. If you have three high cards in different suits, you still save the lower two. I recommend that you save the single ace when you have ace-king, ace-queen, or ace-jack in different suits, but that is a very close call: it actually depends on what other cards you have. If you were to play it the other way, the net effect is negligible.
You save the four-card flush, not the three card royal flush, if you have a choice. I suspect this is the main reason that this game is the least likely to give you a royal flush (1 in 48,000).
You go for an outside straight rather than save a losing pair.
A “less than zero gap” three-card straight flush is also better than a losing pair, unless the pair is 2’s, 3’s, or 4’s. How can you have a straight flush with less than zero gaps, you ask? The hands are queen-jack-nine and jack-ten-nine. Remember, in my “gap method”, you count -1 gap for every high card you hold.
With inside straights, a lot depends on how many high Slot Gacor cards are in the straight. The three and four high card inside straights (ace-king-queen-jack, ace-x-x-ten or king-queen-jack-nine) are better than two-card royal flushes. The one and two high card inside straights (jack-x-x-seven, queen-x-x-eight, ace-x-x-four, or ace-x-x-five) are inferior to two-card royal flushes, but preferrable to saving a pair of non-suited high cards.
You must take into account three-card flushes, and this gets complicated. With two high cards in the flush, you go for the flush instead of the two-card royal flush, except for QJ. With one high card in the flush, you go for the flush instead of two non-suited high cards, except for QJ, KQ, and KJ.
You rarely discard five cards. If you have no high cards, inside straights and three-card flushes come back into play, in that order.
If you play perfectly, this game is very slightly in your favor. However, it is often possible to find dollar machines with this payoff. (Dollar machines for full-pay Deuces Wild or Jokers Wild have disappeared, as near as I can tell.) If you play a dollar Double Bonus machine, your expected return per hour is almost exactly the same as a Deuces Wild quarter machine. But, if the casino has a slot club, playing dollars will get you significantly more benefits. Beware, though, this is a very high variance game! If you do not hit fours of a kind, you will lose quickly. It is not that unusual to be down $1000 after an evening at dollar Double Bonus. Trust me on that.
Double Bonus Payoff Variations
Many casinos on the Strip in Vegas will make one modification to the payoff table: they will pay 45 for a full house, not 50. This does not affect the strategy, but it does affect the return of the game significantly–1.11% more for the casino. If I am playing one of these games, I have been known to do something that some people might find silly: if I hit a full house, I will pay myself the missing 5 coins. (Like many people, I keep my gambling money separate from my regular cash.) After an hour, this might mean I will have transferred $7 or $8 into the gambling funds. This helps remind me how small a 1% difference in return really makes, at least in the short haul. Compared to whether or not I have been lucky or unlucky in the session, the $7 or $8 seems almost inconsequential. Nonetheless, all of us who write about video poker–and I may be the worst offender–sweat over percentages that are much smaller. For example, I re-did my Double Bonus strategy because my first version had an error of 0.03%. I mention this only to help you keep a sense of perspective on this whole thing. The purpose is to have fun, not berate yourself for every mistake.