ULTIMATE ACES BONUS POKER

The next of the ‘Ultimate Aces’ series of bonus video poker games is something of an ‘unholy hybrid’ of this bonus feature with the more traditional ‘Bonus Poker’ format. In fact, the next few of what I call ‘Bonus 2.0’ games we’ll discuss are Ultimate Aces/Bonus Poker mashups. The common feature of the ‘Bonus 2.0’ games is that the player has to pay an additional bet amount to ‘activate’ the bonus feature. Depending on the game, this can range from an extra coin (making a ‘max bet’ six coins) to a full additional bet per hand (making ‘max bet’ 10 coins per hand). While some of the ‘Bonus 2.0’ games have rules that materially impact gameplay and strategy (for example, the 6 card poker variations) many just offer another layer of bonus without altering the strategy. The game we’ll discuss today is an example of this.

‘Ultimate Aces’ is usually found in a multigame format that includes a variety of common rulesets. In Nevada casinos (and other land based casinos) the game usually includes Jacks or Better, several ‘bonus poker’ variations such as Bonus Poker and Double Bonus Poker along with a couple of Deuces Wild variations. We’ll cover each of the games individually since they each have a unique pay table and in some cases their own dedicated strategy decisions.

ULTIMATE ACES RULES

The ‘Ultimate Aces’ rules are the same regardless of which variation of the game you’re playing. The basic premise is that for an additional bet per hand the player gets a bonus on any hand with a dealt Ace. Since the game is typically found in ‘triple play’ form this means that max bet is 15 coins for three hands (5 X 3) plus 15 ‘bonus bet’ for three hands (5 X 3) equaling 30 coins per play.

Any time an Ace shows up on the first deal the player automatically gets a bonus on all winning hands. Note that you do not have to hold the Ace to get the bonus. The bonuses are random but the more Aces in a hand the higher the bonus amount. The bonus amount ranges from 2X to 10X. According to game manufacturer IGT the average bonus multipliers are as follows:

1 Ace: 3.4X
2 Aces: 4.5X
3 Aces 6.0X
4 Aces 7.6X

The Bonus Poker format offers a return of 98.11% with max coins bet. There are other pay tables available with a lower return but the 98.11% pay table is the most common.

ultimateacesbonuspoker

ULTIMATE ACES BONUS POKER STRATEGY

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. This game’s format helps remind you to hold the Ace when you have a choice between high cards but as we noted above you don’t have to hold the Ace dealt on the draw to get the bonus:

–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

A FINAL WORD ABOUT BONUS GAMES

Bonus games are fun but they are seldom a ‘good bet’ from a return percentage standpoint. That’s why casinos love them so much and manufacturers keep making them—it’s easy to make the player think he’s getting a lot of extra payouts through the bonus but when you do the math the game proves to be a big money burner. There are exceptions, but in general terms the more ‘out of the box’ the bonus format the less likely the game is to offer a ‘player friendly’ return percentage.

It’s easy to forget that you’re betting an extra 15 coins every hand. If you start to pay attention you’ll realizes that even on winning hands there are plenty on which you’re not ‘breaking even’. That’s the trick about this genre of game. They can be a decent bet in some circumstances but you have to be aware of how much you’re betting versus how much you’re winning.