Wheel Poker is a surprisingly popular ‘added bet bonus’ game that has been a common site in Las Vegas casinos and online for the past few years. Like many of the other ‘added bet bonus’ games it is offered in a number of variations based on more traditional rule sets. Overall, Wheel Poker has seven different variations with five ‘Bonus Poker’ versions and two ‘Deuces Wild’ versions.

If you’ve been reading our other video poker strategy guide by now you probably know what the deal is with most of the ‘added bet bonus’ games. The player is required to bet an additional stake ranging from one additional coin (as is the case with this series) to a full extra bet. Doing so activates a ‘bonus feature’. The majority of these games give a bonus on certain hands (often 4 of a Kind) though they vary widely in how they go about doing it. The ‘added bet bonus’ games are likely the most popular video poker variation on the market at the moment. Since they’re so popular and they allow video poker to compete directly for slot machine players they won’t be going away any time soon.

As is the case with most of the ‘added bet bonus’ style games you can play it as a regular ‘Bonus Poker’ game by simply playing only five coins per hand. Just because you can, however, doesn’t mean you want to do so. If you’re going to play this game—or any other ‘added bet bonus’ variation–you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t bet to activate the bonus feature. If you want to play ‘regular’ ‘Bonus Poker’ you’ll have no trouble finding a machine in any casino in the world or online. You’ll get a better payout that way. Besides, the ‘Wheel Poker Bonus’ game offers a decent payback percentage with max coins in of 99.57%


The ‘Wheel Poker’ bonus feature is very easy to understand which might account for some of it’s appeal. It has an animated ‘mini game’ feature that appeals to slots players and offers a decent payback percentage as well. The game is usually found on ‘MultiGame’ machines which include the 7 different game variations in 3 play and 5 play versions. The player wagers six coins per hand (5 + 1 bonus) meaning that he’ll bet 18 coins in the 3 play version and 30 coins in the five play version.

The bonus is activated when the player hits a natural 4 of a Kind (no wild cards). When this happens the player is immediately asked to press a ‘Spin’ button on the screen. A wheel (very similar to the wheel on the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ game show) drops down from the top of the screen. The wheel has numbers from 100 to 2000. The wheel spins and once it lands on a number that amount is added to the player’s win for that hand.


Since the primary objective in all of the ‘Bonus Poker’ variations is to maximize the number of 4 of a Kind hands you hit the strategy for the ‘Wheel Poker Bonus’ game is identical to the garden variety ‘Bonus Poker’ game.

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
–Three of a Kind
–4 to a Straight Flush
–Two 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
–KT, QT Suited
–Jack, King or Queen
–Discard Everything


With most of the ‘added bet bonus’ games I caution the player not to get so fixated on activating the bonus feature that he forgets to play proper strategy for the specific game. Since the strategy for activating the bonus feature and the proper ‘Bonus Poker’ strategy is identical in this case it’s not a concern here.