Bonus Poker is a popular variation on Jacks or Better where four of a kinds of a certain rank pay more than others. Read on to find out how these special payouts affect the house edge and ideal strategy, and where Australians can play the best real money Bonus Poker online.
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Online Bonus Poker Payouts
The basic rules and gameplay of Bonus Poker are identical to any other form of Internet video poker based on five card draw. This style largely resembles the ever-popular Jacks or Better format, but with a small yet significant twist in the way the payouts are arranged.
Here is the pay chart for Microgaming’s Bonus Poker title, as found at Royal Vegas Casino:
The bonus aspect comes from the fact there are three different payouts available when you hit a four of a kind – Aces pay 80 for 1, Deuces, Threes and Fours pay 40, and the rest pay 25. In Jacks or Better, by contrast, all four of a kinds pay 25 for 1 regardless of rank. Thus, Bonus Poker gives us a significant advantage – or so you would think.
Take a closer look at the chart above, and you will see that a full house pays 8 for 1 and a flush pays 5 for 1. Compare that to full-pay Jacks or Better poker, where the full house pays 9 and the flush pays 6. Believe it or not, this disparity has a far greater effect on house edge than the supercharged payouts for four of a kinds in Bonus Poker.
When playing five coins per hand (as is recommended with all video poker games), the house edge in Bonus Poker stands at 0.83 per cent. While this figure looks excellent when compared to other casino games such as roulette, baccarat and Australian pokies, it is a different story when stacked up against other Web-based video poker titles.
As you can see below, 9/6 Jacks or Better actually has a noticeably better theoretical return than Bonus Poker, with a gap of 0.37 per cent. However, BP does produce a more impressive probabilistic return than online versions of Double Bonus Poker (99.11 per cent), Double Double Bonus (98.98 per cent) and Bonus Poker Deluxe (98.49 per cent).
|Game||House Edge %||Theoretical Return %|
|Jacks or Better||0.46||99.54|
|Double Bonus Poker||0.89||99.11|
|Double Double Bonus||1.02||98.98|
|Bonus Poker Deluxe||1.51||98.49|
Bonus Poker Strategy Guide
The list below demonstrates the traditional strategy for 8/5 Bonus Poker. When in doubt about which hand (or partial hand) to hold, consult this chart and choose the highest ranked option.
For example: let’s say we are dealt Nine of Clubs, 10 of Hearts, Jack of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts. We have a completed straight, but we could also shoot for a royal flush. According to this strategy guide, we should discard the Nine and play for a royal flush.
- Royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind
- Four cards to a royal flush
- Full house, flush, straight
- Three of a kind
- Four cards to a straight flush
- Two pair
- High pair
- Three cards to a royal flush
- Four cards to a flush
- K Q J 10 off-suit
- Low pair
- Four cards to an open-ended straight
- Three cards to an open straight flush (one high card, one gap or less)
- A K Q J off-suit
- Any two high cards on-suit
- Three cards to an open straight flush (no high card, no gaps)
- Four cards to a closed straight (three high cards)
- K Q J off-suit
- Q J off-suit
- Three cards to a straight flush (one high card, two gaps)
- K Q, K J off-suit
- J 10 on-suit
- A K, A Q, A J off-suit
- Three cards to an open straight flush (no high card, one gap)
- K 10, Q 10 on-suit
- King, Queen, or Jack
- Three cards to a straight flush (no high card, two gaps)
- Discard all
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