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What Is a Double Up Bet in Video Poker?

One of the great advantages of playing video poker over the in-person version is that many video poker machines, online or otherwise, offer a wealth of tantalizing bonuses. One of the most common is the Double Up, which has been appearing on more and more video poker machines around the country. 

But how exactly does it work? It’s actually quite simple.

video poker game

What It Is

Known as Double Down or Double or Nothing, the Double Up bet is a bonus that allows you to take your winnings from a winning hand and bet that again on a draw of 5 new cards, whereby if you win, you will get double your previous payout, if you lose, you lose your previous payout. Some machines offer unlimited chances to play a Double Up bet, others only allow you to place one such bet.


How It Works

How it works is, in fact, very straightforward. This is all it takes: 

  • Win a hand on a video poker machine. 
  • Click on the “Double Up” or “Double Down” or “Double or Nothing” bet option. On some machines, this comes up after any hand, on others only on specific hands.
  • Five cards are dealt. Four are hidden, one if revealed. 
  • The revealed card is the dealer’s card, the four face-down cards are for the player to choose from.
  • The player picks one of those four cards.
  • If its value is higher than the dealer’s card, the player wins double their initial payout from the winning hand. 
  • If the value is lower than the dealer’s hand, the player loses the payout from their winning hand. 


A Simple Example

Let’s say that you play max coins on an 8/5 Bonus Poker machine and you hit a full house, which means your payout is 40 coins. You choose to place a Double Up bet on this win and four cards are dealt face down and the dealer’s hand is revealed to be a 9. You then make a choice from those four face down cards and you end up choosing a Queen. Your Queen is obviously higher than the dealer’s 9 so you double up on the original 40-coin payout, meaning you now have 80 more credits on the meter. Had you turned up, say, a 7, you would lose those 40 coins.


Should You Play It

There is some controversy around whether you should make use of these double-or-nothing bets. Those against it note that both the simplicity of it and the possibility of doubling your winnings can overshadow the reality that the fate of your carefully curated winning hand will come down to something that is based on pure luck. Also, on a psychological level, the temptation of making more money quicker can be a trap for many individuals, who will refuse to quit while they’re ahead despite the smartness of such a decision. 

On the other hand, the Double Up bet has a zero-percent house advantage attached to it. This is extraordinarily rare in any casino game, which actually makes it one of the safest bets you can make. Because the odds are not in either your or the house’s favor, you have a 50/50 chance of winning each Double Up bet. This doesn’t remove the randomness from this particular gamble, but 50% is certainly a much better blind-luck bet than the vast, vast majority of spins on the old slot machine.

So, should you Double Up or play it safe? Well, to quote Inspector Harry Callahan: “do you feel lucky, punk. Well, do you?”

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