BLACK JACK BONUS VIDEO POKER STRATEGY

The final variation of ‘Bonus Poker’–for now at least, since video poker manufacturers are forever coming up with new ones—is also the most unusual. In fact it borders on downright bizarre. It would likely be relegated to ‘novelty’ status were it not found on many of the hugely popular ‘Game King’ multi game machines that are ubiquitous in Nevada and other casino jurisdictions.

First of all, you have to take the name literally. The game has nothing to do with the card game ‘Blackjack’, more appropriately called ’21’ in casino parlance. It involves the two ‘Black Jacks’ aka the Jack of Clubs and Jack of Spades. If you made the mistake of thinking that it’s a bonus game that involves 10’s and Aces you’re not alone. Until I started doing the research for this article I had been under that impression for many years.

The basic premise of all of the ‘Bonus Poker’ variations is that a player receives a ‘bonus’ for certain four of a kind draws. The difference between the many variations of ‘Bonus Poker’ is the specific rules governing these bonuses. In this game the biggest bonuses involve getting specific hands with a ‘Black Jack’ kicker. But as you’ve no doubt guessed by now the higher bonus for certain hands means that the lower hands pay less than on a ‘full pay’ Jacks or Better machine.

Let’s take a look at the Black Jack Bonus Poker pay table:

BLACK JACK BONUS VIDEO POKER PAY TABLE

blackjackbonus

BLACK JACK BONUS VIDEO POKER STRATEGY

In the first paragraph we talked about how ‘Black Jack Bonus Poker’ is a unique game bordering on bizarre. It’s so bizarre that there’s no standard strategy formulated for it like virtually every other video poker variation. The good news is that the return on this pay table—the most common one for the game—is decent. With perfect play ‘Black Jack Bonus Poker’ will return 99.4% under this pay table. There are a couple of other pay tables in existence but you’ll rarely if ever encounter them ‘in the wild’.

That’s brings us to another issue—without any standard strategy how can we determine ‘perfect play’. My best guess is this—note that the winning hands in this game are very similar to Triple Double Bonus Poker only with fewer ‘kickers’. But since the hand valuations are essentially the same we can retrofit that strategy:

–Royal Flush
–Straight Flush
–Any Four of a Kind with or without ‘winning’ kicker
–4 to a Royal Flush
–Three Aces
–Full House
–Flush
–Straight
–Three of a Kind (2-K)
–4 to a Straight Flush
–Pair of Aces
–Two Pair
–3 to a Royal Flush (KQJ)
–High Pair (JQK)
–3 to a Royal Flush (AKQ, AKJ, AQJ, KQT, KJT, QJT)
–4 to a Flush
–3 to a Royal Flush (AKT, AQT, AJT)
–4 to an outside straight
–Low Pair
–AKQJ Unsuited
–3 to a straight flush
–2 Suited High Cards
–4 to an inside straight w/ three high cards
–Unsuited JQK
–Unsuited JQ
–Ace
–J10 Suited
–KQ, KJ Unsuited
–KT, QT Suited
–Jack, King or Queen
–4 To an Inside Straight
–Discard Everything

FINAL NOTE ABOUT STRATEGY

One important thing to keep in mind is the value of the ‘Black Jack’ cards. It’s easy to forget since the game makes no distinction between them and the other cards like a Deuces Wild machine does by clearly marking the ‘wild’ cards. The other nice thing is that since Jacks or Better is a winning hand you can hold the random ‘Black Jack’ the same way you would any other high card.

A mistake people make in these ‘kicker’ bonus games is being too aggressive. While there are times when it’s advisable to hold the kicker (eg: three aces w/ kicker) it’s usually a negative EV play to hold a hand like this:

2H 2D JC X X

This is a game that requires a lot of active thought. You don’t want to ‘overplay’ when you’re dealt a Black Jack but you want to be mindful of their value. Keep that in mind for every hand and you can do very well at ‘Black Jack Bonus Poker’.