Deuces Wild is a fairly popular video poker game that is a mainstay in almost all Las Vegas casinos. Like Jacks or Better, it is played with a standard 52-card deck. However, the nuance to this game is that it is played with all 2s (deuces) serving as wild cards. This means that a deuce can be used as any card to help create a winning hand.
In the image below, the 2 (deuce) is paired with the two kings in order to make a winning hand: three Kings.
How to play Deuces Wild
Like Jacks or Better, the rules for deuces wild are pretty straightforward:
- Place your bet: Before the game begins, you must place a bet by choosing a coin value and the number of coins you want to wager. The number of coins you bet will determine the size of your payout if you win.
- Receive your cards: After you have placed your bet, you will be dealt five cards. You can choose to keep or discard any of these cards to try to create the best possible hand.
- Choose which cards to keep: Based on the cards you have been dealt, you must choose which cards to keep and which ones to discard. You can choose to keep all five cards or discard some of them and draw new ones from the deck.
- Draw new cards: After you have chosen which cards to discard, you will receive new cards to replace them.
- Evaluate your hand: Once you have received your new cards, your final hand will be evaluated based on the standard poker hand rankings, with the added feature that deuces can be used as wild cards to complete a hand. The minimum hand required to win is three of a kind.
- Collect your winnings (hopefully): If you have won a payout, you can choose to collect your winnings or use them to play another hand. Note, depending on the machine, it is popular for the software to assume you want to play another hand and preload the bet amounts to be the same as your previous hand. You don’t have to play another hand if you wish to cash out.
The payouts for Deuces Wild can vary depending on the casino or the video poker game variant, but generally, the payouts for certain hands can be higher than in other video poker games.
General Strategies For Deuces Wild
The first rule of deuces wild: HAVE FUN! No, but if you’re playing deuces wild (or video poker in general) as a financial investment you’re in the wrong place. All video poker games, even when played optimally carry some degree of house edge over the player. Nevertheless, there are ways to play better or worse based on the probabilities at play.
Some general things to keep in mind:
- Always hold onto any Deuce cards: In Deuces Wild, all of the 2s are considered wild, which means they can substitute for any other card to create a winning hand. Because of this, it’s always best to keep any Deuces that you’re dealt.
- Hold onto pairs or better: If you’re not dealt any Deuces, the best strategy is to hold onto any pairs or higher-ranking hands, as they have the highest probability of winning.
- Keep any four-card straight flush: If you’re dealt four cards to a straight flush, you should keep them and try to complete the straight flush, as it is a high-ranking hand in Deuces Wild.
- Keep any four-card flush: If you’re dealt four cards to a flush, it’s best to keep them and try to complete the flush, as it is a high-ranking hand in Deuces Wild.
- Don’t hold onto a single high card: Unlike other video poker games, Deuces Wild does not reward high cards. It’s better to discard a single high card and go for a lower-ranking hand with a better chance of winning.
- Consider the paytable (example below): Deuces Wild has different paytables that can affect your winning odds. Look for machines that offer a higher payout for a natural Royal Flush, as it is the highest-ranking hand in the game. The bottom paytable does not disproportionately reward the winner (notice the lateral increase across columns).
All told, deuces wild can be fun (especially if you win), but if you’re going to spend your time in the casino we strongly recommend playing table games such as Blackjack instead. Though it might be a little intimidating to walk up to the table at first, you and your wallet will thank us in the long run.