Player as advocator

Jul 9, 2007 4:23 AM

Did you ever wonder why analysts like me do what we do? I have a relatively unique skill for analyzing casino games. Rather than tell the world all about what I find, why don’t I just use the information for myself? Why did my father bother to tell everyone that there are video poker machines paying 101%+, instead of just playing them himself? Surely, it would’ve taken many more years for the casinos to figure out what was going on.

This debate rages on a variety of message boards on the Internet. Someone finds out about a good play, perhaps a full-pay video poker machine paying over 100% or near 100%. With comps and cashback, the opportunity is positive for the player. They post this information on a message board. Within 24 hours, countless professionals and semi-professionals swarm on the machines and the casinos quickly change the paytables.

What good did telling everyone about the play do for anybody, but the handful of players who were able to get to the machines in those first 24 hours?

Am I doing more harm than good by telling people how to play the games to maximize the payback potential? I don’t think so.

First of all, my goal is not to tell people about specific opportunities on a limited number of machines. My goal is to get people to play using expert strategy. This means picking the right machines/games, playing with the right strategy and knowing what to expect.

The situations I mentioned earlier are invaluable to the professionals, but I don’t consider my target audience to be those professionals. I’m trying to reach out to the millions of recreational players who want to have a fighting chance to win when playing, and at least minimize their losses.

Another reason why I think it is okay to teach players the right way to play is because I don’t consider it to be me against the other players or any player against the other players.

It is the players against the casino and vice versa. The more players that play properly, the better the whole team does. I guess this is why my father’s e-mail address was playerspal.

Sure, he made money selling his books — everyone deserves to make money for doing a job — but ,he also spent many hours answering e-mails and writing articles for magazines that gave away tons of free information. It wasn’t a gimmick. He knew that using the math behind the games was the ONLY way to have a fighting chance.

He wasn’t the only one. It’s not an accident that my father did the math behind the top games in the market — Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud Poker, Spanish 21. I’ve had the honor of adding to that list with Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The gaming companies and the casinos all know that the math behind these games is an absolute certainty.

They also know that despite great efforts on the part of my father, myself and countless other analysts and writers, only a small percent of player’s will actually use the strategies that have been created. Some people are just too lazy to use them. Some just can’t be bothered.

Our efforts are also hurt by a small number of people who try and convince the public that the math is only for classrooms and that it doesn’t apply in the real world. One has to wonder if some of these people are just hoping to misinform the public in a futile effort to keep the good plays for themselves.

After all, if I were a professional player (and I have acknowledged numerous times in my column that I consider myself a recreational player), whose livelihood depended on paybacks of greater than or nearly 100%, I’d be very concerned about the shrinking opportunities.

If telling the people about them will make them shrink even faster, then I suppose misinforming them of how to play properly might be the way to make the opportunities last just a little while longer. Of course, no one will likely ever call one of these people Playerspal.