Dear Mark: I have been practicing my Deuces Wild video poker skills, looking to accomplish that perfect play. The online casino I was practicing at today has the suggested card(s) hold feature by default. You can’t shut it off. Here is my problem. As you tell us, if dealt two deuces, hold them and no other cards. I agree that is the right thing to do, but this game holds the deuces and whatever card is in the next left-most position. Of course, I click to turn the hold off on that 3rd card before drawing, but I am wondering why the casino software does this… honest mistake? Different school of thought, or, is it a way to dupe the unwary player? Katt B.

Because you are playing at an unregulated online casino, Katt, it could be all three. Or, possibly a programmer who does not fully understand the correct playing strategy when the machine initially deals two deuces.

The essential thing to remember when playing Deuces Wild video poker is that the four two’s (deuces) in the deck are not just wild; they are unrestrained in power, and can be substituted for any other card, for any rank, in any suit.

You want to discard the remaining cards to make room for supplementary cards that could include an additional deuce or two. By drawing more deuces, you increase your odds of winning more video poker jackpots by making more combinations possible.

With your initial two deuces, the rule of thumb is to always draw three unless you find yourself dealt any of these keeper hands.

Wild royal flush


Straight flush


Four-to-a-royal flush

Consecutive suited cards, 6-7 or higher

Dear Mark: Please permit me one last comment re; Vegas “resort fees”, etc. The fact is, as you pointed out, Vegas has become a significantly expensive destination complete with $ 3.50 for a bottle of Pepsi, a $12 bowl of oatmeal, or a cold beer for $8. With this ‘new’ Vegas, Corporate America has brought about $20 cab rides, $24.99 breakfast buffets, the aforementioned “Resort Fees”, and 6/5 blackjack. Of course, this is not just limited to Las Vegas. Casinos all over the US benefit from spiking prices, while requiring gamblers to put their IRA into action just to be ‘comped’ a dinner. I’m glad there is someone out there like you ‘keeping it real’ for the novice gambler, and Vegas neophytes. With the demise of the Stardust, Sands, DI, Frontier, and many others, a new regime is firmly entrenched, and the Gen Xer’s, and most people under forty have zero clue to what an expensive place Vegas has become. S.S.

As my gaming career winds down, I am grateful that I was fortunate enough to have worked during that overused, but appropriately stated phrase, “the good old days,” – the Stardust, Sands, DI (Desert Inn), and Frontier notwithstanding.

Your final assertion, though, interests me the most; “…the Gen Xer’s, and most people under forty have zero clue to what an expensive place Vegas has become.” A eureka thought if ever there was one.

My Millennial son gets it, only because unlike most of his age group who grew up on McDonalds Happy Meals, he was weaned on the Crystal Bay Club’s coffee shop counter eating 99¢ breakfasts. It was near mayhem when they raised the price to $1.49.

So yes, I do buy into your belief that your typical Gen Xer is unaware of what WE had before corporate monetized every square inch of a casino property. I hope that your above commentary finds its way onto their 4-inch iPhones, because as you state, correctly, it seems to be happening everywhere.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Whenever you switch from Deuces Wild to Jacks-or-Better, the first four of a kind will be Deuces.” — Skip Hughes