A lot of video poker variations are fewer variations than an additional rule or an opportunity for some kind of bonus layered on top of an existing variation. Extra Action Poker is one of these games. The extra “layer” in this game is that if you’re dealt a hand with an ace (or a deuce, in some versions), you get to play bonus hands.
In many ways, Extra Action Poker plays just like any other video poker game. Here’s how such games work (in brief):
You insert money into the machine. Your money is converted into credits. Then you can decide how many coins you want to wager on the hand (1-5). You should always bet the max (5 coins), because this triggers a higher payoff for the highest hand in the game—the royal flush. (It pays 250 for 1 on any wager of fewer than 5 coins, but with a max bet, it pays 800 for 1.)
You’re then dealt a 5 card poker hand. You get to decide which cards you keep and which ones you discard and replace. After your discards are replaced, your poker hand is compared to the pay table, and you’re paid off based on the strength of your hand.
Multiple pay tables are available based on the variation you’re playing. Many of these are based on Jacks or Better, which is the basis for all such games. But you’ll also find games with wild cards, like Deuces Wild and Joker Poker. And a lot of games offer bonus payouts for 4 of a kind hands. (These games are called, appropriately enough, Bonus Poker games.)
Some video poker games also allow you to play more than one hand at a time. These are called multi-line games, and you get one hand for every bet you make. The starting hands for these multi-line games are always the same, but your discards are replaced independently on each line. You’re paid off separately for each hand.
Extra Action Poker is either played on a 3-line or 5-line machine. It’s available as a variation on top of the following video poker variants:
In order to trigger the “extra action”, you’re required to place a max bet and an additional bet of 5, 10, or 15 coins. Then if you get an ace (or a deuce, if you’re playing one of the Deuces Wild variants), you’ll get bonus hands based on how many extra coins you wagered:
There’s more to this game than just getting bonus hands, though. On each of those bonus hands, you’ll get the aces automatically held. (Or the deuces.)
You don’t have the option of holding other cards even when to do so would make sense from a strategy perspective. (For example, if you have 4 to a royal flush, you don’t get to hold the other cards to the royal flush held on your bonus hands.)
The additional bonus hands are dealt from fresh decks. The only difference is that the aces that were held (or the deuces) are removed.
The other difference is that the pay tables for the bonus hands are different from the standard pay table.
Those are the basics of how to play Extra Action Poker. As you’ve probably gathered, this probably isn’t a good game for beginners, as it assumes a certain familiarity with some of the intricacies of these other video poker games that it’s based on.
Extra Action Poker uses an existing game as its base. The pay tables vary, and the payback percentage on those games is the same as in the standard version of that game. For example, you might play on a machine with a 9/5 Jacks or Better pay table. The correct strategy and the payback percentage for that game doesn’t differ from the standard version of the game. (98.45% with perfect strategy).
Here’s the pay table for the bonus hands in Extra Action Poker if you’re playing in a game with no wild cards:
You’ll notice higher than usual payouts for a straight flush, 4 of a kind, full house, or a flush. This is because of the nature of the draw—it’s harder to draw for a straight flush or a royal flush if you’re only allowed to hold the aces. In regular games, you can hold 4 to a straight flush, but in the bonus hands on Extra Action Poker, you’re only allowed to hold the aces and nothing else.
The pay tables change when you’re playing a game with wild cards. Here’s the pay table for the bonus hands in a Deuces Wild game:
The payback percentage for the base game just mirrors the payback percentage for the standard version of that game. The payback percentages for the bonus hands vary based on how many aces you have, but there’s also an expected return overall for each of these hands.
In a non-wild game, the expected value is 99.3%, which is an excellent payback percentage. Our recommendation is to activate the “Extra Action” feature when it’s available.
In a Deuces Wild game, the overall expected value on the bonus hands is 99.1%. This is also excellent, although it’s not as attractive as the non-wild version of the game. If you have a choice between a non-wild game and a Deuces Wild game, go with the non-wild game. (We’re assuming you’re familiar with the correct strategies for each game.)
Your strategy for an Extra Action Poker game is the same as it would be for the base game. Since you don’t get to choose which cards to hold and/or discard on the bonus hands, the extra feature has no effect on your strategy decisions.
You’ll find detailed strategy charts for all the possible Extra Action Poker variations on the corresponding game page on this site. These all work in the same way:
You’ll be presented with a list of possible hands, organized from best to worst. You start at the top and read down until you get to a hand that matches what you’re holding. When you reach that hand, you stop and hold those cards.
Most of the advantage of these strategy charts comes from knowing what to do in hard situations where you have to make a choice between two seemingly equally attractive options.
Extra Action Poker hasn’t exactly taken the Internet by storm. We don’t know of any online casinos which offer this variation.
VideoPoker.com offers free versions of every video poker variation you can imagine, though, but they only offer free versions. You can’t play for real money there. It’s not an online casino site.
If you just want to get a taste for how this game works, that might be a fun site to try. But as a general rule, we ‘re opposed to wasting time playing gambling games with nothing on the line.
If you don’t have a chance of winning or losing money, the activity seems pointless to use.
Extra Action Poker is an interesting feature added on top of existing video poker games like Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild. The payback percentage on the bonus hands is excellent, and you don’t have to bother learning new strategies. As long as you know the strategy for the base game, you’ll be able to play Extra Action with no trouble.