Loose Deuces Video Poker Strategy
Loose Deuces video poker is a variation of Deuces Wild that brings players into an atypical set of circumstances. High-paying hands are worth more in this game. That creates a situation where flushes and straights pay the same, and you need at least three of a kind for a payout. Read this complete strategy guide to Loose Deuces to make the most if this game.
An Introduction to Loose Deuces Video Poker Strategy
High-volatility video poker games are frequently those with the most difficult strategies to learn. That’s typically the case because they include elements like wild cards that make things more complicated. Essentially, you end up with more to know in situations where “common knowledge” can fail you.
This is the story of strategy for Loose Deuces video poker. It’s so different than standard games that it gets really complicated really quickly.
However, there is a plus side to learning strategy for this game. You can still find land-based versions of this game with a better pay table than what you can find online. That better pay table, found only in certain land-based machines, can actually pay more than 100 percent with correct play.
What the providers of those games are banking on is that very few, if any people, who come across those games will be able to play correctly. Instead, most people play it just like regular Deuces Wild, which leads to a lower payout percentage than what you can earn even online.
The Most Important Rules to Know, Strategically Speaking
We have a full coverage of Loose Deuces where we break down the individual rules. Additionally, we also cover what makes it stand out from other games there. However, we want to point out a few key things to keep in mind as you study this title.
- Wild royal flushes pay out a lot less than natural royals at a rate of 25x compared to 800x, respectively.
- You need at least three of a kind to get any kind of payout in this game. This drastically affects how you have to play pairs.
- Flushes and straights have the same 2x payout in every version of this title.
With all of that in mind, we’ll break up strategy for this game based on the number of wild cards you have. That’s the very first thing you should think about when playing these hands. This is because playing with two or more wilds is pretty easy, playing with one is pretty difficult, and playing with zero is moderate in difficulty.
Loose Deuces Strategy for Hands With Two Wilds
Playing with two wilds guarantees that you get some sort of payout. That’s because it’s impossible to finish the hand without at least three of a kind. With that said, there are a few different common scenarios you can run into, and we’ll break them down in the following.
Flush Draws and Straight Draws Are Meaningless
Suppose you have 227QA where the 7 and Q are the same suit, but the A is a different suit. In this situation, you may think that you should play for the 227Q flush draw. As it turns out, that is incorrect. Consider your average payout (as a multiple of your starting bet size) for the following two ways to play:
- Only Keeping 22 – 3.727x
- Keeping 227Q Suited – 1.723
As you can see, it’s a pretty huge drop. In fact, it’s actually better to only keep the queen than to keep the queen-seven combination. That pairing of 22Q for the three-card royal draw earns 2.828x, for example.
Even Straight Flush Draws Are Undervalued
Here’s the one that will get most players confused when it comes to playing hands with two wild cards. You shouldn’t even keep four-card straight flush draws. Consider the following payouts if you have 2267A where the 6-7 pairing is suited, but the A is not:
- Only Keeping 22 – 3.743x
- Keeping 2267 Suited – 2.532x
That’s incredibly anti-intuitive, and it’s the sort of thing that gets players in trouble all the time. Again, it plays on the theme we’ve seen repeatedly so far: Loose Deuces strategy is different than other games.
What You Should and Shouldn’t Keep
Generally speaking, you should always keep four of a kind. In a situation like 2266A, you should discard the A, for example.
However, you should never keep three of a kind. With something like 2248K with no relevant suits, just keep the pair of deuces. Once you know how these strategies work with two wilds, you’ll see that a lot of it is about knowing what not to do.
Loose Deuces Strategy for Hands With One Wilds
When you’re dealt exactly one wild, these are some of the most difficult hands to play. We don’t just mean the most difficult hands to play in Loose Deuces but also in all of video poker.
However, we’ll break them down in a way here that will make some sense out of the whole thing. Once you know what to look for (and what to ignore), they become much more bearable to play.
Once Again, Flush Draws Are Useless
The 2x payout for flushes really throws a wrench in a lot of what players will know of as “common knowledge” for video poker. We saw it with two wilds above, and we’ll see it with just one wild here.
Consider what happens if you have 257QA where the 5-7-Q combination is in the same suit:
- Keeping Only the 2 – 1.031x
- Keeping 257Q – 0.702x
Here’s one that will really bake your noodle, so to speak. If you were to only keep 257 here for the three-card straight flush draw, it actually has a better payout than keeping the Q along with it. It comes in at about 0.883x, which is much better than the 0.702x for the full flush draw.
Additionally, this goes without saying, but straight draws are even worse. That’s because they have fewer cards that can make the draw compared to flushes.
Two-gap Straight Flush Draws
A great heuristic to keep in mind for playing draws with one wild card in Loose Deuces video poker is to remember the power of the two-gap straight flush draw. What we mean by “two-gap” is that it has two missing cards between the highest and lowest cards in the group.
For example, 267T, 268T and 269T are all two-gap straight flush draws, and they all have the same value since the value of those cards as individual pairs is irrelevant. However, with that in mind, consider the following payouts for playing 267TA with a four-card two-gap straight flush draw.
- Keeping 267T – 1.277x
- Keeping Only the 2 – 1.026x
This is the draw you need to remember because all other four-card straight flush draws will be better than this. However, all other draws will be worse than this with one exception…
Three-card Royal Draws in Loose Deuces (With One Wild Card)
We’re going to make this really easy to remember. If you have a wild deuce that’s a part of a three-card royal, and the other two cards in the draw are not AK or AT, then it’s better than keeping the 2 by itself.
Here’s a fringe example to illustrate what we mean: 2AT63 with the A-T suited and the 6-3 off-suit.
- Keeping the 2 Only – 1.035x
- Keeping the 2AT Combo – 1.024x
A similar thing happens with 2AK pairings for the same reason. You get just under enough value from the straight flush possibilities for it to be better than discarding all four of the non-wilds. However, even though this is a complicated topic, it’s easy to remember with this heuristic.
Loose Deuces Strategy for Hands With No Wilds
When you’re dealt a hand without any wilds, which is in the ballpark of two-thirds of hands, things aren’t super complicated. However, you still have a handful of principles you need to pay attention to. This is especially important when dealing with situations where your auto-pilot can get the best of you.
Pairs vs. Flush Draws
The main idea behind playing these types of hands from a strategic perspective is to learn the most difficult spots. These are situations where you have two main ways to deal with a hand, but it’s hard to tell which you should choose. However, when you study these spots, they give you a lot of information about how to play. This information covers a wider range of hands than the spots you study as well.
For example, suppose you have an option between keeping a pair and keeping a four-card flush draw. Which should you keep in this game? Let’s suppose that hand is AAQT4. In that case, we end up with the following possibilities:
- Pair of Aces (AA) – 0.522x
- Four-card Flush Draw (AQT4) – 0.511x
As you can see, the single pair slightly edges out the flush draw. However, there’s something here that many players miss. More specifically, there’s a better possibility for playing the hand.
The three-card draw to a natural royal flush is worth 1.266x here.
What’s pretty crazy is that’s worth more than keeping a single deuce in relative terms. As a result, keeping the pair of aces or the flush draw would be incorrect with this specific hand. Again, we have the motif of not letting your auto-pilot get the best of you.
When to Discard Five
You’ll frequently be discarding all five cards in this game. A good example hand to use to remember how this works is AQJT3 where the A-Q set is suited, but the rest have different suits. Consider the following four ways to play:
- Gutshot Straight Draw (AQJT) – 0.340x
- Discard Five – 0.316x
- Keep Only the T – 0.276x
- Keep the A-Q Suited – 0.273x
The reason this is such a good reference hand to know is that it tells you the situations where you can discard five. It also tells you which spots are worse than discarding five overall.
The overall idea of strategy in Loose Deuces video poker is to not let your auto-pilot get the best of you. That’s because the basic principles often don’t apply in this game. However, this is probably harder to fight off for experienced players than recreational ones. In any event, if you follow the reference hands and guidelines we’ve laid out above, you’ll be able to play at a very high level.