In the previous sections, we’ve talked primarily about ‘full pay‘ Deuces Wild video poker and how to play using the proper strategy. In the next few sections, we’ll talk about some of the more common variants on Deuces Wild. We’ll explain some background, the differences in pay tables and/or gameplay and proper strategy adjustment.

We’ll continue our ‘geographic‘ video poker tour in this article with a discussion of ‘Illinois‘ Deuces Wild. We’ve talked about the other ‘state‘ variation–Colorado‘ Deuces—in a previous section. Both games have different pay tables, return percentages and require strategy adjustments to maximize your potential winnings.

Full pay Deuces Wild is getting tougher to find even in the extremely competitive Nevada market. You’ll have an easier time finding it in Las Vegas than elsewhere in the state. For the most part, you won’t find it on The Strip. The best place to look is the ‘locals casinos’–the Station properties (Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Santa Fe Station, etc.), The Palms, The Orleans, etc. You might have some luck in Downtown Las Vegas as well.

The point of this—even in Nevada you’ll frequently find Deuces Wild games that are less than ‘full pay‘. So even though these games might be called ‘Colorado‘ or ‘Illinois‘ Deuces Wild you’ll find them in other locations. If you have the option, you should go somewhere with better-paying machines. If you’re in Nevada you have the option. If you’re not, you might find that ‘Illinois Deuces‘ are the best game you can get. If you don’t have the option you’ll find the information for expert play below.

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Illinois was the second state in the country to legalize riverboat gambling with the first ‘boatopening in 1991. There are ten riverboats operating in the state as the Illinois Gaming Board limits the casino licenses to 10. In 2009, video gaming terminals were legalized in certain establishments (bars, restaurants, truck stops). These have exploded in popularity– today 4,500 establishments in Illinois hold a video gaming license with more than 18,000 video poker/slot games statewide. Note that this does not include the aforementioned 10 casinos.


The ‘Illinois‘ Deuces Wild is the second most popular variation found in United States casinos. This variation of Deuces Wild dates back to the 1990s at the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Illinois (now a Boyd Gaming property). If you’re playing outside of Nevada this is the game you’re most likely to encounter. Payback is better than ‘Colorado‘ Deuces at 98.9% though not as good as ‘full pay’ or ‘Nevada’ Deuces Wild.

The payout for Full House and Flush is higher than on Full Pay Deuces. The payout for Four of a Kind is lower. This may seem like a fairly reasonable ‘trade-off‘ but in reality, it isn’t—a Deuces Wild player will get more Four of a Kind hands than Full House and Flush hands combined.


In our overview of ‘Full Pay‘ Deuces Wild strategy, I made the point that you should never, ever hold a two pair with a few isolated exceptions. This is one of them. If you’re dealt a two pair in ‘Full Pay‘ DW the correct play is to keep one pair and discard the rest. In Illinois Deuces you want to hold the two pair and take a shot at the full house.

So if you’re dealt this hand:

10H 10D JC JS X

you’d hold both pairs and draw to complete the full house.

The increased payout for a Flush also requires a strategy adjustment. In ‘full pay‘ deuces the correct play is to break up four to a flush if you’re holding a pair. In ‘Illinois‘ Deuces you hold the four to the flush. So this hand:

3H 7H 9H AH 9C

Would be one where you hold the pair in ‘Full Pay‘. In ‘Illinois‘ Deuces, however, the correct play is to hold four to the Flush.


Best case scenario—be a smart shopper. If you’re in Nevada you definitely have other Deuces Wild video poker options with a better payout. ‘Illinois Deuces’ is better than most DW variations so if you have no other options these strategies will help you stay in the black.