Trouble in guru paradise?

Nov 21, 2005 2:14 AM

Video poker is a fascinating game at most levels that people play. There is so much going on behind the scenes and screens that only a one-time player would never see or think about any of it. Truly, the game is more than just a card game.

When I first became involved with video poker back in early 1990, I was like a student who just couldn’t get enough. I read the experts’ books; I studied their programs; I listened to them; and I practiced until the cows came home. The gurus were my idols and the game was my future.

I think you all know what happened next. I hit a quarter royal on my very first short roll of quarters, and then I proceeded to lose consistently through 1996.

Expert play using the long-term strategy approach did me no good at all. Studying what the experts said they did and how they did it gave me nothing but a splitting headache.

After watching the money fly out of my pockets in more ways than one, I had had enough. It was time to either develop a successful a short-term strategy or drop the game cold turkey. The rest is history.

Fast-forward to late 2005. There are still around half-a-dozen gurus who still sell their long-term/optimal play strategy to those who want to believe the math models and probability theories will eventually pull them through.

But there is also me, and I have a growing following that I expect will surpass all others in the next few years. Why? Because I use a common sense approach and do not play as the casino expects me to play.

More and more players are coming to understand why chasing promotions do nothing but line casino managers’ pockets with so-called advantage players’ money, all the while inducing a severe addiction to the game.

Generally, since I came out with my book "The Undeniable Truth About Video Poker" in 2001, it’s been the gurus versus me. We’ve locked horns in columns, on the Internet and in the media. There has been a number of nasty exchanges, challenges and counter betting that have never come to fruition due to the various and convenient escape clauses incorporated by those who’ve needed to have them against me.

Advantage players, as most of them like to be called, seem to carry their own private safety net for such cases!

Recently, however, something happened that I predicted would occur quite some time ago. The famous names have been at each other’s throats. Accusations about unethical conduct and writings fly freely; past wounds that were previously private have opened up in public; and here’s a twist — jealousy seems to be running rampant.

It took some time, but those who have usually teamed up to discredit me have finally realized that’s not possible.

In a hilarious turn of fate, they now are claiming some of the same things about each other that I’ve been divulging for years. Can it get any sweeter?

But I’m not one to just simply generalize when it comes to this type of story, and I dug and dug until I figured out why it’s happening. And what I discovered didn’t surprise me one bit. Just as what I find is the root of all the criticisms about me, the same can be said when I’m not involved at all. The main word is, of course, jealousy.

Why jealousy? Well, I’m not one to side with a guru if you know what I mean, but in this case it’s a no-brainer. It seems others are making all sorts of accusations about Bob Dancer concerning issues such as working "both sides of the fence," perceived unethical past behavior, being more than straightforwardly harsh in his criticisms of other gurus and how they do what they do, etc. And as far as I know, much of it has been done on various Internet video poker forums — in front of thousands of their fans!

I guess all’s fair in love and war, but one thing I understand is other writer’s envy of my play strategy and results using it. And that’s exactly the same type of emotions fueling the fire against Bob.

But guess what? Although he and I hardly see eye-to-eye, this guy has actually EARNED his place in the video poker world by not only writing about his approach for years and telling all in his book — he actually walks the walk and plays the game at stakes his recent critics only wish they were able to afford.

While I do respect the contributions of all video poker experts and gurus regardless of whether or not I agree with them or if I happen to doubt the value in what they have to say, only one of them is truly dedicated to what he does.

They all know that too”¦that’s why this is such an intriguing story to me. Of course, as soon as they kiss and make up — which is inevitable since they are all marketing their products to a playing public — they’ll start up on me again. Let the fun resume!