PH Casino Guide

Deuces Wild Video Poker Explained


The majority of video poker games, both on the casino floor and online, are based on the original Draw Poker game. However, there are also video poker games that have wild cards. Joker Poker is one of them. In this game the joker is wild. It can become any card in the deck. 

Deuces Wild has four wild cards. Each deuce (2) is wild. This gives a Deuces Wild player four additional chances to get a winning hand.

This article explains Deuces Wild video poker, how it differs from draw poker-base games, and how to properly prepare for and play this game. 

After reading this article, the player will have the knowledge and tools required to play Deuces Wild video poker effectively.

Table of Contents

  1. Description of Deuces Wild Video Poker vs. Jacks or Better-Based Games
  2. Pay tables
  3. Strategy
  4. Reasons to Play Deuces Wild Video Poker
  5. Reasons to Avoid Playing Deuces Wild Video Poker
  6. Summary

1. Description of Deuces Wild video poker vs. Jacks or Better- based games

As mentioned above, Deuces Wild games have four wild cards. Any of the four deuces (2s) in the deck can become any card in the 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!

In Jacks or Better-based games, high cards are more valuable than low cards. The same is true even in some “wild card” video poker games such as Joker Poker. 

However, this is not true in Deuces Wild. There are no “high pairs” or “low pairs.” A lone high card has no advantage and should not be held. 

In fact, in a major departure from Jacks or Better-based games, the strategy does not distinguish between high and low cards.

Four wild cards produce many more high-paying hands. Because of this, there are some major differences from the normal Jacks or Better pay tables. The next section, “Pay Tables,” explores this in detail. 

When changes are made to Jacks or Better-based pay tables, the changes normally are to the full house and flush hands – and sometimes four of a kind hands. 

Not so with Deuces Wild video poker. Almost any line of the pay table is fair game for changes. This fact creates many variations of the game. 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 (initially they were found almost exclusively in Illinois casinos)
  • Colorado Deuces (initially they were found almost exclusively in Colorado casinos). 

There is no need to remember all the fancy names, just make sure you take great care and look at the entire pay table when looking for a Deuces Wild game to play.

As is true with the standard Jacks or Better game, basic Deuces Wild games tend to have a high return and low variance. These attributes are important for making the bankroll last longer.

The return and variance of a game are not readily apparent, however.

Accurate return and variance information can be found on the internet or in gambler’s book stores. This information for several of the more popular games is also available on strategy charts that can be found online or in gambler’s book stores.

The best resource for this information, however, is a video poker program or app. These can also be found online or in gambler’s book stores. 

A program or app can generate the proper return, variance, and in many cases, a playing strategy for any game and pay table combination.

This information is necessary to play properly (meaning get the highest return). 

The playing strategy charts are very different for Deuces Wild games. Because deuces are so powerful, the playing strategy tables are grouped by number of deuces in the initial hand. 

Let’s take a look.

2. Pay Tables

Here are typical pay tables for a Jacks or Better and a Deuces Wild game. The payouts are based on betting five credits.

Jacks or Better (with 5 Credits Played)
Hand Pays
Royal Flush 4000
Straight Flush 250
4 of a Kind 125
Full House 45
Flush 30
Straight 20
3 of a Kind 15
Two Pairs 10
Pair of Jacks or Better 5
Deuces Wild (with 5 Credits Played)
Hand Pays
Royal Flush no Deuce 4000
4 Deuces  1000
Wild Royal Flush 125
5 of a Kind 75
Straight Flush 45
4 of a Kind 25
Full House 15
Flush 10
Straight 10
3 of a Kind 5

The non-common hands for each game are highlighted in yellow.

Notice the differences.

  • There are no high pair or two pairs winning hands
  • The lowest paying hand is a three of a kind – paying 1-for-1, not the 3-for-1 that is standard in a Jacks or Better based game.
  • Other paying hands that are found in Jacks or Better (the straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, and straight) are paid significantly less. 
  • There is a distinction between a royal flush that contains a deuce and a natural (no deuce) royal flush. The natural is paid at the standard Jacks or Better rate, where the “wild” royal flush is paid considerably less (4000 vs. 125 respectively).
  • It is possible to get a four of a kind plus a deuce. A new hand called a five of a kind was added to address this situation.
  • Because of their power, a hand containing four deuces is the second highest paying hand in Deuces Wild.
Video Poker

3. Strategy

Strategy charts for Deuces Wild are split into sections based on the number of deuces in the initially-dealt hand. The strategy charts are different for different pay tables (and for different Deuces Wild-based games). 

The following sample strategy chart is for the full-pay version of Deuces Wild and illustrates the format of all Deuces Wild strategy charts.

Strategy Chart – Full Pay (25/15/9) – Deuces Wild

The strategy for Full-Pay Deuces Wild video poker is split into five sections:

  • The dealt hand has four deuces
  • The dealt hand has three deuces
  • The dealt hand has two deuces
  • The dealt hand has one deuce
  • The dealt hand has no deuces

The colors indicate the type of hand being sought:
Red – Royal Flush
Blue – Straight Flush
Green – Pairs, Three of a Kinds, Full House, Four of a Kind
Purple – Flush
Brown – Straight

The chart below is a simplified strategy for full-pay Deuces Wild. As you might expect, the more deuces that are dealt, the easier the strategy. 

  • Four deuces dealt – there is only one play
  • Three deuces dealt – there are only two plays
  • Two deuces dealt – there are only three plays.
2’s Dealt Save only the 2’s except hold…
4 4 Deuces
3 Wild Royal Flush
Any 5 of a kind – T, J, Q, K, A Only
2 Any 4 of a kind or Better
Any 4-card Wild Royal
Any Suited Connector 67 – 9T (that is; 67, 78, 89, 9T)
1 Any 4 of a kind or Better
4-card Wild Royal Flush
Full House
Any Fully Open 4-card Straight Flush (2-567 thru 2-9TJ suited)
3 of a kind
Any Straight or Better
Any 4-card Straight Flush (2-345, 2-456 suited)
Any 3-card Wild Royal – J, Q, or K High
Any 2 Suited Connectors (that is; 67 – 9T, Specifically – 67, 78, 89, 9T)
3-card Wild Royal-A High Exc. if the Discard is Same Suit or a T or Higher
0 Any paying hand, except always hold a 4-card Royal Flush
Any Open 4-card Straight Flush
QJT Suited
Any 4-card Straight Flush
Any 3-card Royal Flush
One Pair (Discard the Second Pair)
Any 4-card Flush
Any Fully-open 4-card Straight – not A High or 3 Low
Any 3-card Open Straight Flush (345-9TJ Suited) or 1 Gap 7-Q High Suited
JT Suited
QJ, QT Suited if you Discard the Same Suit or it is a 8+
Any 4-card Inside Straight Except A Low
Any 3-card Straight Flush
QJ or QT Suited

Notice that there are no holds for a single high card. Nor are there any holds for unsuited high cards. 

This is undoubtedly the hardest part of mastering Deuces Wild playing strategy.

It is very common to want to save a lone high card or two in Jacks or Better-based video poker games, but saving them does nothing for a Deuces Wild player. Once this tendency is overcome, a player can accurately play quite rapidly. 

The full-pay version of Deuces Wild returns 100.76 percent. When the return of a game is greater than 100 percent, rapid play pays off. The more hands that are played, the more the player will make on average. The major caution here is the hands must be played correctly in order to realize the player advantage possible in this game.

For more information on strategy charts and how to use them, go here: Video Poker Strategy (with Charts & the Basics) (

4. Reasons to play Deuces Wild video poker

  • It tends to have a high return.
  • It has a relatively low variance.
  • The playing strategy is relatively straightforward.
  • Thanks to the straightforward strategy and the fact that face cards are played like any other card (except those included in a royal flush), playing speed can be quite rapid.
  • Full-pay Deuces Wild has a return greater than 100 percent. 
  • Many other Deuces Wild games have high returns greater than (or very close to) 99 percent.
Video Poker

5. Reasons to avoid playing Deuces Wild video poker

  • Deuces Wild pay tables have more variations than any other type of video poker game. 
  • These variations can affect any line of the pay table.
  • Players must look carefully at Deuces Wild pay tables to ensure the actual return percentage.
  • Full-pay Deuces Wild is very scarce, although lower, but high return Deuces Wild games are available.
  • Some casino’s player’s clubs do not give points for high-return video poker games.

6. Summary

Deuces Wild video poker has several advantages over other video poker games available online or on the casino floor. In order to ensure the best results, players must be careful.

My recommendation for selecting a playable Deuces Wild video poker game (in fact any video poker game) is to select only games that return very close to 99 percent or above and have a variance under 30. These games give you a decent chance of winning (or coming out an overall winner if you count casino comps and bonuses) without a large bankroll requirement. 

Although most Deuces Wild video poker games have a relatively low variance, some have a variance as high as 100 – and possibly more. Remember, the higher the variance the higher the bankroll requirements. 

If you have an adequate bankroll and plan on playing a significant amount of time, the return becomes the major requirement to determine which game to play. 

Actually, the return and complexity of the playing strategy are both factors. A very complex playing strategy will tend to cause more errors in play. 

While most Deuces Wild games have a relatively straightforward playing strategy, some do not. Examine the playing strategy that is generated by your program or app to determine if the game is worth playing.

Again, one last caution – especially with Deuces Wild – make sure to check the entire pay table to make sure you are playing a game that shows a decent return. 

It makes no sense to play at a disadvantage from other games that may be in the casino. Vigilance always pays off.

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