Video poker is known for three things- ease of play, high pay out percentages and fun variants. The game is easy to play because it’s essentially a slot machine with a card theme- you place a bet and see which cards are dealt, hoping to have a winning set of symbols. Then, an additional layer of play comes from the fact that you can keep or discard some of those cards.
The machine deals in replacements and then you get to see if you’ve improved your hand. Not only does this promote an element of strategy, but it also gives rise to the variants which make video poker stay popular. One such variant is Deuces Wild, a very popular form of video poker which adds a wild card in much the same way as symbols can be wild on slot reels.
In all other respects, this game plays out as standard video poker with hands of five cards being dealt on each bet, before discarding or keeping. However, the presence of the wilds changes the priority of your cards dramatically.
The name Deuces Wild refers to ‘deuce’ as poker slang for the number 2 playing card, so quite simply, all cards with a value of 2 are wild in this game. Being wild means that they can substitute for any other symbol. When the game calculates your best hand, it will always make the best hand it can using the 2 as something else.
For example, if you had a hand of 2, 7, 8, 8, 8, that would normally just award a three of a kind for the three eights. However, in Deuces Wild, the game would substitute the 2 for a 7, to create a full house (a pair plus three of a kind). Obviously, this version makes the game feel a little more surprising and open to sudden, unexpected wins, while also making the 2 far more valuable! There’s no reason to discard a 2 in this version of video poker and when one lands into your hand, you’re at a big advantage.
The hand rankings in Deuces Wild are slightly different to standard video poker. Usually you will find that there’s no prize for pairs, but there’s also a new hand combination called five of a kind. This happens when you have four of a kind and a 2, which being wild will change to match the other four and create this big new pay out. It’s also easier to get four of a kind in this version, because you can make it from three of a kind and a 2.
A hand of four 2s or four deuces is usually ranked above a standard four of a kind, in keeping with the theme of the game that 2 is special. A royal flush is generally still the top hand, but four deuces should be your aim when making a hand. After all, keeping deuces will always provide more ways to win than discarding them.
Deuces Wild has seen a lot of success as a variant for veterans of standard video poker. It provides a fun new spin on the basic game, without being radically different or requiring a lot of time to learn. New players also often choose Deuces Wild simply because they can focus on hunting down those 2 cards, with more complex strategies coming later. It’s easy to see why this game is popular and is linked with other, similar variants like Joker’s Wild.