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Ask the Slot Expert: Triple Double Bonus strategy is not impossible to learn

7 November 2018

Question: Triple Double Bonus strategy is not impossible to learn. The exception is 9/7, which is uncommon these days. Here you have the strategy of Double Bonus with the additional plays with aces, 2s, 3s and 4s. This is one of few games in which you keep a kicker due to the high payoffs for the four kickers and ace and four aces and kicker.

For example, when you're dealt A-A-A-3, you keep all four. Most throw away the 3.

I have made a lot of money on these machines. Also lost a lot due to their volatility.

Answer: Okay, maybe the strategy isn't impossible to learn, especially if you've already learned Double Bonus or Double Double Bonus strategy. And 9/7 Triple Double Bonus, which some casinos in Las Vegas still have many of, is the pay table to which I was referring.

The difficulty level of a strategy also depends on who created the strategy and the choices they made to simplify it. The strategy on the Wizard of Odds site has 52 entries, while another strategy I found online has only 39 lines. The latter strategy has a high pair of jacks, queens or kings higher than a three-card royal of ten-jack-queen. The Wizard's strategy lists the three-card royal above those pairs. Which is right?

Let's use the Hand Analyzer on the Wizard's site to analyze Tc-Jc-Qc-Jd-4h for 9/7 Triple Double Bonus. The three-card royal has an expected return of 1.49 and the pair of jacks has 1.33. The Wizard's strategy is more difficult, but also more accurate.

As you pointed out, one of the twists in the Triple Double Bonus strategy is knowing when to hold a kicker. You hold a kicker along with three-of-a-kind, but not when you have only a pair. Another twist is breaking a paying hand. For example, if your full house contains three aces, you hold only the aces. Similarly, if your two pair has a pair of aces, hold only the aces.

You mentioned that you both made and lost a lot of money playing Triple Double Bonus. Bob Dancer recently made an interesting observation about playing high volatility video poker pay tables. If you know (or suspect) that losses and winnings affect your casino's slot club's offers, and you have a choice between high and low volatility pay tables that pay back about the same, you might want to play the high volatility pay table. Because the pay tables have the same long-term paybacks, in the long run you'll end up at the same place. But your big losses playing the high-volatility pay table may generate some really generous offers compared with the middle-of-the-road offers you get each month playing the low-volatility pay table.

I've only played Triple Double Bonus a few times because I haven't learned the strategy well enough to not have to check my strategy card frequently. The first time was a quarter machine around Christmastime shortly after I had moved to Las Vegas. I had won a few bucks of free play, so I decided to see if I could hit something big on TDB. I held the three aces I was dealt and hit the Draw button. I got the fourth ace. The machine added to my credit meter but didn't stop after 800 credits. I double-checked my hand and finally saw the kicker. A nice Christmas and Welcome to Las Vegas present.


John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots