Video Poker spotlight

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Over the past couple of years, as the economy tumbled deeper and deeper into the longest recession since the Great Depression, many states have been turning to the ‘dark side’ to generate desperately needed revenue. That is to say that many states are either turning to, or expanding their offerings of – gambling.

Ironically, most states earmark these monies for education. While there are usually a few politicians on each side of the aisle that will raise a fuss, little by little they are realizing that casinos and lotteries are a great way to raise oodles of money with very few members of the voting public complaining.

While the left will complain that gambling is a tax that is regressive – I assume that this means when poor people play and lose it hurts their overall family budget far more than a wealthy person – and the right complains about how gambling is a horrible vice, the average person who partakes at least feels like they get something for their money.

If I go to a movie and get some popcorn, I can easily spend $30 for a couple. Going to the casino, by itself is free. So, if you lose $30 in 3 hours and have some fun along the way, what is the difference? In the case of the movie, the government might take $2 or $3 in fees. In the casino, they might take $5 or $15 in taxes, but casinos are so much more popular than movies, everyone winds up happy.

So, isn’t it about time that the politicians stop all the dancing around and just embrace gambling and recognize it as both a form of entertainment and a terrific source of revenue to pay for all things necessary (and probably a bunch of stuff not so necessary!). Not only do casinos generate direct tax revenue from gambling winnings, but they employ thousands of people who in turn pay income taxes and in turn buy all sorts of things that keep the entire country running. Most casinos are large corporations and we need to get the idea that they are mafia-run or seedy little places out of our heads.

Once we realize that gambling is not this horrible vice to be avoided but rather an entertainment industry to be lauded, we can move forward with an idea that my father and I have been pushing for more than two decades. It is time to name video poker – America’s National Game of Chance.

In the past, I’ve covered the argument for why this should be done. Video poker is immensely popular here in the U.S. The game has complete integrity. Everything is as it appears to be. Each card has the same probability of being dealt as the next card. Thus, everything that can be known about video poker is known.

Video poker requires a significant degree of skill to play it effectively. This is one of many things that separate it from slot machines or keno. Despite this level of skill required, learning it is readily available. There are dozens of books and numerous software programs to help you learn how to play. But the biggest reasons why now is the time to make video poker America’s national game of chance are the last two items – profitability and enjoyability.

Never mind casino locations, imagine if states were to allow video poker machine ‘parlors’ the way they allow keno parlors. Or, if supermarkets and bars could have video poker machines the way they do in Las Vegas? Several dozen machines scattered across small towns could easily raise tens of thousands of dollars for that town and perhaps build a new park for the kids or raise money for a sports league. All, without direct taxation of the players. All voluntary by those who choose to play. All while providing the player with a relaxing entertainment experience at a reasonable cost.

The campaign to make video poker America’s national game of chance was taken to a new level when my dad released a 200-page compilation of his best articles in 1992 entitled America’s National Game of Chance – Video Poker. While it is not quite the step-by-step guide that Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas is, nor is it a listing of strategy tables like Winning Strategies, it is a truly amazing compilation of opportunities to learn about the right way to go about learning how to play video poker – the Expert Strategy way. For a limited time, I’m offering up this book at 25% of its list price – that’s right $5 instead of $19.95 and that includes shipping and handling. Send $5 (check or money order) to Compu-Flyers, P.O. Box 132, Bogota, NJ 07603. Feel free to order as many you like as they make great gifts too!

About the Author

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome’s roots run deep into gaming theory and analysis. His father, Lenny, was a pioneer in developing video poker strategy in the 1980s and is credited with raising its popularity to dizzying heights. Elliot is a second generation gaming author and analyst with nearly 20 years of programming experience.

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