Reading to win

Mar 7, 2005 4:44 AM

Let’s face it. There are millions of video poker players across the country, and even before most of them go into their favorite casinos, they have visions of winning money and being showered with gifts and comps simply for playing the game. Another way to put it is to say there’s a lot of sweaty palms out there just begging for a chance at the casino’s money. And oh, by the way, these players also want all the freebies that come with their play.

Isn’t anticipation great? Now you know why I always say that for almost every gambler, it’s usually far better to travel than to arrive. Certainly, there’s a faction bent on claiming that all of their comps, gifts, cash back, tournament invites, and smiles from their favorite casino hosts simply surpasses ANY amount of losses incurred anywhere at anytime. Such behavior, although understandable, is utilized by those most in need of help. But building irrational self-confidence or portraying a skewered public image that just isn’t there should never replace the truth when there’s gambling involved — and readers who depend on it.

By and large, regular video poker players understand what they’re doing and why. But a good percentage of them like to see what others have to say about the game that may or may not reinforce their beliefs in how they approach it. Not only that, but writers usually become a crutch and source of hope for those who just cannot find a way to beat the machines.

This is also why video poker has turned into one of gaming’s most thriving businesses in recent years. People discover the game whether on purpose or by chance, uch as wanting to sit at a bar for a drink or two. They start to play for a few moments and soon become hooked by the dynamics of choice it has to offer. And actually, the worse thing to happen is for them to win on their first attempt — which is exactly my own personal experience in 1990. I felt invincible after a quick win, but as an unprepared and overly aggressive budding player, I got clobbered and then some in short order.

So what did I do? Of course, it seemed irrational for someone with a head on his or her shoulders to just walk away from the game. For that reason, I went out and bought all the books, read all the stories, and used my practice software to death so I may become the premier mathematical player on the planet! I felt all the gurus were spot-on in their theoretical approach to video poker, and that somewhere down the twisting road the long-term fairy was awaiting me with a bucket of gold. After all, the math models promised I’d get there.

When I finally woke up in early 1996 and spent the better part of that year developing my common sense-based winning Play Strategy — which transcends the mathematics on which video poker is based, and understood multiple disciplines were needed to consistently beat the game, I was able to throw that probability theory crutch away for good. Gone was my reliance on what others had to say. No longer would I spend as many hours as possible banging away at the machines. And nevermore would I have to rely on misleading and incomplete advice from people whose livelihood depended on how many products or services they could sell to others.

After several years of playing part-time very successfully, I decided to share my message to others in The Undeniable Truth About Video Poker. I have yet to see another book that even comes close to what this one does when it comes to helping players understand what they’re up against and why. The only way to be recognized by the gambling crowd is to boldly offer up the truth about what they’re doing, get inside their heads as you humiliate them for playing the way they’ve been playing for so long, and do it all in a way that can easily be traced to simple common sense. This is what readers get in my book.

Others feel a need, for whatever unknown reason, to saturate the reader with the mathematical ramblings of what it would be like in the perfect world with the perfect machines and the perfect circumstances for the very perfect player. Obviously, the astute reader/player would instantly see a major flaw in that picture because, I’m sorry gurus, but the casinos thought of that first. Anything the so-called ”˜advantage’ players do as they scramble after every piece of cheese the casino marketing departments put out for them has been calculated long before anyone thought they were flawless. In reality, Mr. & Mrs. Perfect truly are Mr. & Mrs. Puppet.

I’m also aware that gaming readers like to read about other player’s experiences and not how to play this hand or that hand the way Einstein might if he were to live and play forever. It also makes no sense at all to state how making the correct hold pays 4.5 cents per hour more than making it another way. The only thing that matters is winning, and if someone is losing then you tell me how they’re "making $17/hour playing video poker" on this machine today and right now!

So many writers have fallen into the trap of yapping on and on about the perfect world, and how getting roped into all those dumb promotions out there is the ”˜smart, intelligent way to play the game’. How is that supposed to help anyone anyway? I’ve spent the past six years blowing holes in all the famous name’s theories. Long-winded books to the contrary aren’t what people want or need. That is, unless you’ve run out of money and have nothing else to do.