We talked about a game variation calledBonus Deuces Wild during our discussion of the different types of DW games that a player will encounter ‘in the wild‘. In this article, we’ll discuss the ‘Jacks or Better‘ version of the same game. The ‘Bonus Poker‘ family of games is very popular in land-based and online casinos. You’ll see it a lot at the so-called ‘locals‘ casinos in the Las Vegas area—those are the ones off the strip favored by local residents. These ‘locals‘ properties are typically where you’ll find the best video poker action in Southern Nevada.

In addition to ‘Bonus Poker’ you’ll also see Double Bonus Poker‘, ‘Bonus Poker Deluxe’, ‘Double Double Bonus Poker‘, ‘Super Double Double Bonus Poker among others. In fact, you’ll often see multiple variations of the ‘Bonus Poker‘ genre on the same multigame video poker machine. We’ll talk about all of the major ‘Bonus Poker‘ variations but we’ll start with the most basic ruleset.

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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 various types of ‘Bonus Pokeris the specific rules surrounding how these bonuses are awarded. As you’ve probably figured out by now the higher bonus for four of a kind hands means that the lower hands pay less than on a ‘full pay‘ Jacks or Better machine. Using the most ‘player friendlypaytable (the so-called 8/5 Bonus Poker table) this game will return 99.17% with perfect play.

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


The strategy for Bonus Poker is pretty easy to assimilate. It’s similar to basic ‘Jacks or Better‘ except it seeks to minimize the ‘lower paying‘ hands while giving a player a better opportunity to hit the 4K bonuses. One of the harder things for me to get used to playing bonus poker was holding the ‘Ace‘ when given a choice between high cards. In traditional JoB you’re discouraged from holding the Ace in that situation since it reduces the chance of drawing to a straight or straight flush.

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Any Four of a Kind
  • 4 to a Royal Flush
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • 4 to a Straight Flush
  • Two Pair
  • High Pair
  • 3 to a Royal Flush
  • 4 to a Flush
  • KQJ10 Unsuited
  • Low pair
  • 4 to an outside straight
  • 3 to a straight flush
  • AKQJ Unsuited
  • 4 to an inside straight w/ three high cards
  • Unsuited JQK
  • Unsuited JQ
  • KQ, KJ Unsuited
  • J10 Suited
  • AK, AQ, AJ Unsuited
  • Ace
  • KT, QT Suited
  • Jack, King or Queen
  • Discard Everything


When in doubt, be mindful of your ‘best case scenario’ hand from the draw you’re considering. Also, keep in mind that every ‘Bonus Poker‘ variation has its own strategy and hand hierarchy. Playing the basic ‘Bonus Poker’ strategy on a game like ‘Double Bonus Poker’ or Triple Bonus Poker might be better than nothing but to maximize your chances of a profitable session you really need to be using the right strategy for each specific game.