Should you Double Down when it's offered in Video Poker?


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If you play a lot of video poker, there's a chance that you've come across games that allow you to double down on wins. As the name implies, doubling down allows you to risk your win and go for double or nothing. In theory, this isn't a bad bet because you're not dealing with a house edge, which is pretty rare for casino games. But before you go doubling down on every video poker payout, it's worth asking if you should always take this bet.

As we just mentioned, the definite positive here is that the casino holds no advantage when you double down. If you risk a video poker win worth $100, you'll be playing for a $100 profit - with no house edge. And few concepts in gaming can be more simple than this.

However, the downside is that you're risking a guaranteed win for more money. This may not bother players who've got a deep bankroll and can afford to lose. But what about the average player who gets thrilled when they land a 4-of-a-kind. When you make a 5-coin bet in Jacks or Better, this hand pays 125 coins. To most players, they'd rather keep the 125 coins, rather than put it on the line for a double-or-nothing payout.

Another point worth making here is that your probability of winning is far less than 50%. Sure the odds on your money are even; but you only win about 45% of the video poker hands you play. And many of these wins are pushes for getting the lowest minimum payout.

If you're going to double down multiple times, you must also consider how your probability of winning subsequent hands is lower and lower. For example, if you only have a 25% chance of doubling down two times in a row and winning (0.50 x 0.50 = 0.25). So those who continue risking their money have a much smaller chance of banking wins in the short-term.

So from an overall perspective, if you're going to double down, it's a good idea to have a big bankroll when doing so. And even with a large bankroll, you still need to consider how much the wins mean to you before putting winnings on the line a second or even third time. But if you're not afraid of the risk and can absorb extra losses, taking advantage of these even-up double-or-nothing bets is worth it.