Ten commandments of video poker

Jul 30, 2007 11:40 PM

I play in a world where common sense is worth far more than any math model or probability theory; where playing with a plan and a goal with the proper amount of determination, discipline and bankroll far outweigh playing for the points, slot club status or entry into the exclusive club of expert-play losers; and where luck trumps skill every single time.

Because I’ve been able to be consistently successful over the past 10 years playing my style of common sense video poker, I’ve come up with a list of 10 realities that should help anyone lose less, win more, and just as importantly — enjoy what they are doing for a change.

1. Learn How To Play The Game. In order to play enjoyably and successfully you must first learn how to play the hands in the games you choose to play, mathematically correct. There are several great practice software programs out there that’ll help any interested player become very proficient in all the basic holds.

2. Understand Deviations. Once you’ve learned what the math models say, you must take it a step further. That means deviating from optimal-play holds whenever the opportunity presents itself — which is about 5% of the time. The models all dictate their holds based on seeing each and every hand in your single session tens of thousands of times, but chances are you’ll really only see it once or twice today. This is where my extensive work on risk assessment and maximizing the opportunities presented to you by the computer have helped me hit incredible winners in denominations far above the $2 level I’m comfortable playing at.

3. Don’t Spend Your Days Chasing Promotions. C’mon folks, does it take a genius to see that slot clubs put out constant specials to players all the time in order to increase their profit margin? Advantage players will always say how these plentiful promotions take "the other guys’ money" and not theirs, but we all know these are the players most definitely targeted because they are the ones who’ll bring — and lose — the most.

4. Don’t Worry About The Classroom. No, you’re not taking a test on the game when you’re in the casino, you’re GAMBLING! Money is being moved around when you’re playing, and it’s usually from your hands into the bill feeders. So if you want to get the machines to hand it all back with interest, use your head. For instance: Ever wonder why the casinos PAY gurus to teach long-term strategy with all it’s glorious theories on their properties”¦ yet the same casinos will not let me teach my methods FOR FREE?! Not one of them. Think about it.

5. Never Allow Your Slot Club Card To Dictate Your Play. Hands down, the single biggest mistake leading to the misery of losing that players make over and over again is in playing for the points instead of for the money. Think about how many times you were reeled in by this or that casino, just to get to a certain level in order to get a prettier card, a few meals, or a bunch of free-play next month.

6. Know Your Machine. Have you ever wondered why games like Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better are almost always in the upper left hand corner of the multi-game machines ”” while the more volatile games (Double Bonus, etc.) tend to be on the right? Take a good guess which ones grab people’s money faster, and then ask yourself if most people are right hand/eye dominant or not.

7. Be Computer Savvy When Playing. Are you tired of hearing the math people say "there’s no such things as hot and cold streaks in video poker games?" I know you are because we see them all the time — and most of them are cold, are they not? Then for goodness sakes, when you’re playing a game that just doesn’t want to produce winners, how can it possibly hurt to get up and move to another similar game or machine?

8. Don’t Let The Game Control YOU. Part of the reason for my success in video poker is because I no longer let the machines take over my life like they used to in my optimal-play days. It helps your game and concentration by building confidence and self esteem in many ways. Think about how it would feel driving up and down the Strip or all over town someday and not being roped in to any of the casinos any longer because of some daily "special".

9. Play On Your Schedule And Your Schedule Only. This is somewhat related to No. 8, however, it goes a step further in that you cannot play video poker properly and for-profit if someone or something is calling on you to be somewhere else or do something else. It is as simple as that.

10. Always Do What You Say You Are Going To Do — And Do It Right! There is no substitute for following through on a plan, sticking to your discipline, and only playing with your gambling bankroll without ever going to a casino ATM. And you may just want to study the Singer Play Strategies along the way.