Balancing long, short-term goals

May 9, 2005 1:00 AM

I remember years ago when I was first introduced to video poker. My dad — a physicist by trade —and I constantly argued about how to play the game. He told me to go out and buy all the things on the shelves the so-called gurus of the game had to offer, and then come back to him for any questions.

You see, he lived in Las Vegas, and as a local retiree with a vast mathematical back ground, he felt he knew it all when it came to playing the game in the casinos. Like all locals, however, he only won on the few occasions where he got lucky — which wasn’t much.

But one thing he didn’t consider when he put me on his path was the fact that I had at least as much mathematics in my back ground as did he, and he did not raise a dummy. Sure, I went out and did what he said to do, I read all the theories and math model rhetoric, and I studied and practiced until the cows came home.

Then I even began to believe all the nonsense the others were selling, and went off on my own little crusade to beat the heck out of the video poker machines. I took advantage of all the casinos had to offer, and I felt I knew the secret to beating them at their own game.

That was in 1990. Nearly seven years later, a roomful of casino junk in hand, having been the recipient of hundreds of free rooms as well as even more gourmet meals, and most importantly — around $250,000 less in my bank account — I finally woke up from a very bad dream. But I woke up on the right side of the bed. I developed my own winning play strategy, I put it through many tests, and I have been successful with it ever since.

I’m actually to the point now that if I say I’d like to win a thousand dollars, nearly nine times out of ten I know I will do just that. But that does perplex the mathematicians no end.

I came to understand that the only true way to be a consistent winner in video poker was by approaching it as if each visit was a short-term session. While the math geeks keep on saying there’s no difference because all the short-terms simply add up into one long-term, I keep on winning and going home to enjoy it.

When I came out with my book The Undeniable Truth About Video Poker over four years ago, I was met with an array of skepticism and blinded reviews from regular players and famous names alike. They all said that with my approach, I’d be long gone in short order.

Today, after having made a living from playing the game like no one else has, I continue on — and with a following of thousands who now understand my message: no one will ever win consistently chasing perfection over the indefinable long term.

It simply is impossible. To do so would put every casino out of business, as it is only THEY who reap all advantages of the long-term. Sure, we have several folks out there selling paraphernalia and services and whatever will take in a buck, who claim to win using the methods that they sell. And certainly, extreme over-valuation of comps and gifts and freebies of all sorts play a major part in that ”˜advertisement’.

Let’s look at it this way: I do not sell trinkets that are meant to create a make-believe feel-good position out of losers, I have my five winning play strategies listed clearly on my site and available to everyone for free, my site advertises only my two books and does not ask for the visitor’s credit card number at every turn, I have no need to clutter my site with annoying pop-up ads and numerous ads for on-line casinos/casino bonuses because I make my money playing video poker, and I am the ONLY professional player who routinely meets with inquisitive players — again, free of charge — that want to learn how to play to win.

Why do I do all this at my expense while nobody else at any level of casino gaming does not? Take a guess. The point here is that I understand the short-term, and I understand just how to handle any good luck that comes my way. Winning happens to most everyone who plays, only mostly everyone who wins shovels it all right on back into the machines.

What’s wrong with the expert-play/long-term theory when all the gurus use mathematics to prove that it works on paper? For one thing, they like to call themselves advantage players yet the true advantage always is on the side of the casino. You can’t beat casinos at their own game. Everyone should know that — especially seasoned players.

At the end of the day, everyone who plays to win should eventually realize that we all play in short-term bursts, and if we don’t simply sit there for hours on end and play the same denomination, i.e., if we play with a reasonable plan — we will almost always win. Being a slave to the casino and playing exactly as they want us to, such as chasing the unattainable long-term and/or being roped in to their every promotion, we will almost always win. Are you a winner or a loser? The best part is it’s up to you.