Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes

Double Double Bonus seems to be the favorite video poker game across the country these days. It offers the excitement of great payouts, specifically quads (four-of-a-kind) Aces, 2-4’s increased with a kicker. But, the strategy is different from the standard Jacks or Better game. So, let’s look at Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes.

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Double Double Bonus

The name “Double Double Bonus” (DDB) video poker was assumingly created when Double Bonus wasn’t enough to satisfy players. However, Double Bonus wasn’t big and fast enough for those who played its predecessor, Bonus poker, which developed from Jacks or Better poker.

Pay Tables

There are a variety of paytables for DDB (Double Double Bonus). The best paytable is 10/6 DDB, which means the whole house pays ten, and the flush pays six coins times the number of coins wagered.

The Expected Return (or EV- Expected Value) for 10/6 DDB is 100.07%, giving the player a slight edge with perfect strategy. But before you get too excited, you should know the 10/6 pay schedule for DDB is as rare in New England as a year-round Dairy Queen.

The second best paytable is 9/6 DDB (a 98.98% EV) is available in many casinos at the higher $5 and above denominations – sometimes even at $1. Unfortunately, most quarter players are stuck with the availability of 9/5 or even 8/5 DDB games with 97.87 % and 96.79% payback, respectively.

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Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes

Here are some Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes. They are common because many players use a strategy similar to Jacks or Better. JOB strategy doesn’t give the player the best EV due to the difference in the payables. As previously mentioned, the importance of Aces, 2-4’s, and the diminishing of two-pair to even money urge changes from the JOB strategy.

How would you play the hand below? #1

Many players would hold the three Aces and the “4” kicker, hoping to draw the fourth Ace for a 2000-coin payoff. But that’s a common blunder. The hold with the most value is holding only the three Aces for a 3% higher EV.

Ok, let’s try another. #2

Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes

Another instance of Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes concerns “made hands.” Here is an example of a “made hand” – a full house dealt. Typically, you would keep the “made hand.” But, in DDB, that would be another blunder. In DDB, you should always break up a full house if your three-of-a-kind is A-A-A because of the high value of Aces in DDB.

Here are three more. What would you hold?


Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes


Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes


Common Double Double Bonus Mistakes

Hand #3 – This is a hand that most players blunder, especially if they are accustomed to playing Jacks or Better (JOB). In JOB, the correct hold is the two pairs; however, because of the higher value of the Ace in DDB, the correct hold for the above hand is the pair of Aces.

Hand #4 & #5 – Most players play these wrong. Here’s the rule. With one exception, you should hold a three-card royal flush over a four-card flush. If your three-card royal is composed of an Ace plus ten plus either J, Q, or K, the better hold is the four-card flush.

So, in Hand #4, you hold three cards to the Royal Flush. Then, with Hand #5, hold the four cards to the flush.

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You Need A Bigger Bankroll

Double Double Bonus has high volatility, resulting in most players losing their “bankroll” rather quickly if they are not lucky enough to hit one of the high payoff hands. In other words, most players play DDB under-bankrolled – one of the most common double bonus mistakes.

For example, suppose you were to play the 9/6 Double Double Bonus instead of the much less volatile 8/5 Bonus Poker (BP). Both games have roughly a 99 percent expected return (ER), but the variance for 9/6 DDB is much higher, and 9/5 is higher than that.

Let’s assume you have a $200 bankroll and want to play for two hours or approximately 1,000 hands.

Your chances of going broke for each game are:

  • 8/5 Bonus Poker – you will lose your $200 stake only 3% of the time – roughly 1 out of every 40 sessions.
  • 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker – you will lose your $200 stake almost 30% of the time – roughly 11 out of every 40 sessions.

The point is this: Video poker games that are highly volatile, such as Double Double Bonus, require more bankroll.

A Bonus TipDDB in Ultimate X

Many players, myself included, love to play DDB in the multi-line Ultimate X. With most multi-line video poker games, players should not deviate from using the base game’s perfect strategy. But Ultimate X is a different beast. It’s a volatile game, and if you play DDB as the base game, well, volatile + VOLATILE = VOLATILE!!! But this is a consideration if you like the excitement of a big chance/big payout game.

What would we keep in this example of DDB in Ultimate X?

Ultimate X gives multipliers to the next deal of that winning hand. The multiplier amount depends on the winning hand: winning pair = 2X, two pair = 3X, 3 of a kind = 4X, etc. The multipliers differ with base games – JOB, DDB, Deuces Wild, etc.

As mentioned previously, Aces offer a substantial payout. So, in regular DDB, just the Aces would be kept. But, in Ultimate X, the correct strategy is to keep the two-pair because of the 3X multiplier for each winning hand. (The exception is when the multipliers add up to 25 or more).


Double Double Bonus Video Poker is not an easy game to master. My suggestion is to practice for free at And for you video poker nerds out there like me, a subscription gives you more stats about your play.

Until next time.