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by Jerry "Stickman"

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack, video poker and advantage slot machine play. Frank Scoblete’s and Jerry “Stickman’s” book “Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker” presents dozens of video poker games and strategies for maximum returns. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at

This is the fifth article in a series. This month, Deuces Wild Video Poker games are examined. These games are explored for strengths and weaknesses, pluses and minuses. Hopefully you will use this information to make intelligent choices concerning video poker games you choose to play.


Deuces Wild games are distinguished by the fact that any of the four deuces can become any card in the normal deck – not just a card of the same suit, but ANY card of any rank or suit. For example, if a dealt hand consists of a jack, 10, ace, and queen of spades – plus the 2 of diamonds, the 2 of diamonds becomes the king of spades. The resulting hand is a royal flush!

Obviously, with four wild cards in the deck, many more high-paying hands occur. Because of this, changes were made to the pay tables that are common with Jacks or Better games. With Deuces Wild games:

  • The lowest paying hand is a three-of-a-kind – paying 1for1.

  • Other paying hands that are also found in Jacks or Better are paid significantly less.

  • There is a distinction between a royal flush that contains a deuce and a natural royal flush – the natural is paid at the common Jacks or Better rate, the “Wild” Royal is paid considerably less.

  • It is possible to get a four-of-a-kind plus a deuce. A new hand called a five-of-a-kind was created to address this situation.

  • Because of their power, a hand containing four deuces is the second highest paying hand in Deuces Wild.

Another fact concerning Deuces Wild, is there are more pay table changes in this set of games than perhaps in any other. In the Jacks or Better set of games, normally only the pay offs for a full house and flush are reduced. Not so with Deuces Wild. It seems that the pay for virtually any paying hand can be modified with this set of games. Perhaps that is why many Deuces Wild games have acquired colloquial and catchy names for their particular pay table. Some of these names are:

  • Full-Pay Deuces Wild (FPDW) – maybe not so catchy, but definitely worth seeking out to play

  • Not So Ugly Deuces – also called Not So Ugly Ducks (NSUD)

  • Peudo NSUD

  • Illinois Deuces (because initially they were almost exclusively found in Illinois casinos)

  • Colorado Deuces (because initially they were almost exclusively found in Colorado).

You can forget all the fancy names; just make sure you take great care to look at the ENTIRE pay table when looking for a Deuces Wild game to play. Many of the games referenced above will be covered in detail below. You will be able to see for yourself how pay table changes affect return, variance, and playing strategies.

And speaking of playing strategies, the playing strategy charts are very different for the deuces wild games. Because deuces are so powerful, the playing strategy tables are grouped by number of deuces in the initial hand. The other major difference in playing strategy is there are no high cards. With the exception of a royal flush, high cards have absolutely no meaning. This is probably the hardest part of Deuces Wild playing strategy, however, once this is mastered, play can become quite rapid.

FPDW – Full Pay Deuces Wild

Full Pay Deuces Wild was quite common years ago. Today, it is still available but somewhat difficult to find. When it is available, it normally generates no slot club points when played. The reason is simple – the return of this game with expert play is player favorable. That’s right … the overall return is 100.76 percent with expert play, and the variance is 25.8. To put the variance into perspective, the low-variance, full-pay Jacks or Better game has a variance of 19.5; therefore, this game has a decent variance.

The pay table for FPDW is shown below...

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