# Comparing Bonus Poker with Super Aces Bonus Poker

I recently came across a dollar 8/5 Super Aces Bonus Poker game and it’s been years since I played it. I know 8/5 Bonus Poker cold, and because the full house, flush, and straight are the same between the two games, the strategies must be similar. Still, they differ in the amount of the straight flush, quads, and two pair — all of which affect the strategy as well.

I thought it would be instructive to give you ten hands — three of which are played the same in the two games and the other seven are played differently. Even if you haven’t mastered both games, you might find it an interesting exercise trying to figure out which four are played the same before you look at the answers.

Don’t feel too bad if you miss a few. This is not a simple test. The table below highlights in yellow the differences between the two pay schedules.:

 8/5 8/5 Bonus Super Aces Royal Flush 800 800 Straight Flush 50 60 Four Aces 80 400 Four 2s-4s 40 80 Four 5s-Ks 25 50 Full House 8 8 Flush 5 5 Straight 4 4 Three of a Kind 3 3 Two Pair 2 1 Jacks or Better 1 1 Return 99.17% 99.94% Variance 19.5 63.4
1. Q♣ J♣ T♣ 9♣ 8♦
2. Q♥ J♥ T♥ Q♠ 3♦
3. A♠ K♠ Q♦ J♦ 8♦
4. K♥ J♠ T♠ 9♦ 5♣
5. T♠ 9♦ 8♣ 7♥ 7♠
1. Q♣ J♦ 7♠ 5♠ 4♠
2. K♦ T♦ 7♦ 6♣ 3♥
3. K♣ 2♥ A♠ 3♠ 5♠
4. A♥ K♠ J♠ T♦ 5♠
5. A♠ Q♦ J♣ 9♣ 8♦

1. Both games, QJT98. Even though straight flushes pay 60-for-1 in SAB, a dealt straight is more valuable than even the most valuable 4-card straight flush draw. If straight flushes return 80-for-1 or higher (as in Triple Bonus Poker Plus and White Hot Aces), you’d go for the straight flush.
1. BP: QQ.  SAB:  QJT.  Normally when the flush returns 5-for-1, a high pair is superior to all 3-card royal flush draws. But here we have the straight flush paying a bit more in SAB, so both KQJ and QJT so long as the fifth card is neither a flush nor straight penalty to the royal flush draw.
1. BP: QJ8. SAB: AKQJ. This is the most counter-intuitive example I could find. The choices are a straight flush draw (QJ8) and a mixed-suit straight draw (AKQJ). What is so strange is that the game that pays more for the straight flush (SAB) goes for the straight draw, and the game that pays less for the straight flush draw (BP) goes for the straight.

The reason for this apparent anomaly is the value of two pair. Holding QJ8 and drawing two cards, there are 27 different combinations that yield two pair. Specifically, there are nine ways to draw another QJ, another nine to draw Q8, and another nine to draw J8. This means there are 27 combinations earning an additional five coins apiece because BP pays 2-for-1 for two pair and SAB pays 1-for-1. This adds 135 coins (27 times 5) in the direction of going for the straight flush.

Holding the same QJ8, there is only one way to end up with a straight flush, namely drawing both the nine and ten of diamonds. While this does pay 50 coins less in BP compared to SAB, it doesn’t totally make up for the 135 coins that are added due to the higher return for two pair.

1. BP: KJ.  SAB: KJT9. When two pair returns 1-for-1, 4-card inside straights with two high cards are eligible to be held. When two pair returns 2-for-1, 4-card inside straights must contain at least three high cards to be eligible to be held.
1. Both games, 77.  While you do tend to hold 4-card straights and inside straights more when two pair pays 1-for-1, in SAB the only time you hold a straight draw over a low pair is when the draw contains at least one high card, namely KQJT, QJT9, or JT98.
1. BP: QJ. SAB: 754. The higher value of the straight flush and the general tendency to hold more straights makes the play on this hand differ between the games. Although there are straight draws from both QJ and 754, it’s much easier to end up with a straight drawing two cards than it is drawing three.
1. Both games, K. A flush penalty to KT means you hold just the king in both of these games.
1. BP: A35 SAP: A.  Because of the big value for four aces in SAB, ace-low 3-card straight flushes are never held in this game.
1. BP: KJ. SAP: AKJT. In BP, two suited high cards are always superior to any inside straight with three high cards. In SAP, you hold the inside straight over AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, and KJ if there is a flush penalty in the hand. In this case, the 5♠ is the same suit as the KJ, so that’s the flush penalty.
1. BP: QJ. SAP: A.  Even though QJ98 is eligible to be held in SAP (but not BP), the high value of quad aces makes holding the single ace superior.

So how did you do? Did you learn something?