Now that we’ve introduced the basics of Deuces Wild game play and strategy we’ll get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how to implement it. The strategy below is designed for ‘full pay’ Deuces Wild but is a good starting point for learning the right decisions for the different pay tables and variations (about a dozen) that you’ll find at casinos throughout North America and online.

Note that there’s a major difference between the Deuces Wild strategy chart and the one you learned for Jacks or Better. In Jacks or Better, the decisions you’re making are the same at all times. That isn’t the case in Deuces Wild. The strategy chart and the decisions you’ll be making all depend on how many deuces (wild cards) you’re holding. This will make more sense when we get into the details of the strategy.

As a reminder of what we learned in the last section—that you’ll see clearly reflected in the information below—make sure that you keep in mind that anything you learned with Jacks or Better strategy is completely useless for Deuces Wild. For example, two pair is a useless hand, high cards are useless and above all ‘when in doubt, throw it out’ and draw a new hand.


Deuces Wild strategy decisions are determined not only by the hand you’re dealt but also by how many deuces you’re holding. The chart below will show the ranking of hands to hold in descending order. If a particular hand isn’t on the list discard everything and draw five cards.


Hold all four Deuces and collect the 1000 coin (with max bet) ‘mini jackpot’.


Hold the three deuces and draw two cards. The ONLY exception is if you’ve been dealt a pat Royal Flush. In that case hold all five and collect the 125 coins.


Hold any ‘pat’ Four of a Kind, Five of a Kind, Straight Flush or Royal Flush.

If you don’t have a pat hand hold the two deuces and draw three cards with the following exceptions:

–Four to a Royal Flush

–Four to a Straight Flush

These three exceptions notwithstanding, hold the two deuces and draw three.


With one deuce and no deuces the strategy gets a bit more complex. Not many situations to remember with four, three and two deuces but it’s important that you memorize the following decision hierarchies. Here are the hold strategies for a hand with a single deuce:

–Dealt 4 of a kind, 5 of a kind, Straight Flush or Royal Flush

–Four to a Royal Flush

–Full House

–Four to a Straight Flush

–Dealt Three of a Kind, Straight or Flush

–Three to a Royal Flush

–Three to a Straight Flush ONLY if you have two consecutive cards six or higher. So:

2W 7 8 X X

would be a playable hand and you should draw two to the straight flush.

2W 4 5 X X

would not be playable. You should hold the deuce and draw four cards.

–Any other hand not listed above is unplayable. Hold the deuce and draw four.


–Dealt Royal Flush

–Four to a Royal Flush

–Dealt Three of a Kind, Full House, Four of a Kind, Straight Flush

–Four to a Straight Flush

–Three to a Royal Flush

–Any Pair

–Four to a Flush

–Four to an Outside Straight

—Three to a Straight Flush

–Four to an Inside Straight

–Two to a Royal Flush J-Q high. In other words, 10-J, 10-Q, J-Q

–Discard all five cards and draw a new hand

The important thing to remember about playing a hand with no deuces. Don’t even THINK of playing it the same way you would a Jacks or Better hand. If you don’t have anything to work with you’re much better off drawing a new hand—knowing that four deuces remain in the deck—than trying to draw with only one or two outs to complete a low paying hand.


While games may share some commonality—particularly within a specific variation type (JoB, DW, JW) it’s important to remember that in theory every game should be approached with a dedicated strategy. To be sure, you’ll do better playing an ‘Illinois Deuces’ variation (we’ll learn about that in the next section) with the Full Pay strategy than you would just ‘winging it’. Even so, there are tactics and subtle strategy changes than give you an even better chance of turning a profit.