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Some important no-no’s when playing video poker

Oct 1, 2007 11:41 PM

So often we get inundated with advice on how to play the game of video poker.

The math people have their way and I have mine. We always let everyone know that we’re right. There are books, strategy cards, Internet instructional forums, computer programs — anything and everything that supposedly will make budding players see the light and bad players play better.

That’s all fine and dandy of course, and some people are making a bundle selling their views. I, on the other hand, chose a different path when I wrote my first book. I told players how NOT to play the game if they both wanted to learn how to make a profit as well as have fun playing the game for a change.

I’ve always found that to be the more effective and better course when teaching players right from wrong, and they’ve been listening. And, I’ve never accepted that it’s OK to sell strategy or to have to pay for the right of hearing one person’s opinion — which of course is done in many circles today. Rather, I believe it’s a far greater help to the players to be able to read, print out, and study my play strategies for free simply by going to my web site.

Players can be told day and night about the methods we use to attain success, only few ever retain everything needed to continually profit from the game. I spend a good part of each day I’m home answering questions which, unlike others, I do not charge for. But many times I get asked the same question by the same person, and that’s not an efficient use of anyone’s time.

What I’ve found is more and more players are retaining what I tell them NOT to do, and that’s usually simply because what I’m telling them makes a whole lot of sense. And when you think about it, you have to have sense to win, and you have to have sense to hold onto what you’ve won.

Here’s some of what I tell players NOT to do that’s helped many achieve success over the years. See how you as a player stack up against them:

”¡ If you don’t have a plan before going to the casino, then stay home.

Those who don’t care to develop pre-set win and loss stop goals will usually lose — and sometimes lose much more than they really intended. If you are prone to just sit there and play through your jackpots just because you cherish the accumulation of points, or the fact that the longer you play the sooner you’ll enter that mysterious door to the long-term, then you are a very good friend of the casinos.

 ”¡ One of the MOST important points — and I can never say this enough: DO NOT use casino ATM’s, casino credit, cash any type of check at casino cashiers, or borrow from household expense money in order to stay on and gamble more.

These are all tools of the casinos designed to take more of your money than you ever intended to give them in the first place, and using them are sure signs of losing players.

”¡ Never come into play without understanding and using whatever money management system works for you.

Some people set up so much in daily envelopes for gambling; some use little "cash cans" on the market these days that will allow you to place bills inside, but when the key is left at home the money has to wait until then to be accessed; some people leave a certain amount of cash in their room or their car just so they aren’t tempted to overspend; and it goes on. The method isn’t as important as the intent and execution of it.

”¡ Never play when fatigued, intoxicated, uncomfortable or ill.

Video poker is not a slot machine and requires concentration and choice. The game is tough enough without making errors in judgment because you have an upset stomach, mistakes because you can’t see right, or losing track of what you were doing because of distractions and wiping out a few winners.

”¡ Don’t be swayed by news of incredible jackpots you’ve heard about others hitting.

It may or may not happen to you. While it probably won’t, many a player has sunk their life savings into video poker machines in attempts to match the perceived good fortune of others.

”¡ If you’re lucky enough to hit that dream Royal Flush in the first hour of your first day of a 4-day visit — STOP PLAYING for the trip!

Think about it. How many times have you heard of people banging their heads against the wall because they did not have the discipline or sense to stop when they got ahead more than they ever thought they would?

There are plenty of other things to do everywhere. You just have to be willing to do them and be capable of fighting off the compulsion to keep playing when you know you shouldn’t. Certainly it is possible to hit another big winner, but overwhelmingly you will not. The funny thing is everyone knows this, but few ever show the ability to understand it.

”¡ Probably the absolute toughest no-no for players to comprehend is to play video poker on only YOUR terms, when, where, why and how YOU want to. This is no easy task, primarily because nearly every player is controlled by what their pretty little slot club card is saying to them.

Promotions, giveaways, specials, etc. etc. etc. are all there to take your money faster and to take more of it. Why so many intelligent players do not see this is one big mystery. And it gets exacerbated by the amount of sugarcoating placed on all the promos by those who believe it gives players a tiny advantage. Hint: Would casino managers EVER supply players with a known advantage? Game over.

”¡ Finally, don’t let the game take over your life. I used to have that problem and I can tell you first hand how great it feels to now be the one in charge of my play. Too often we see and hear about how many people moved to gambling towns just to be closer to the machines so they can play every day if they wanted to or could.

But when you read all the excuses they make for the move once they realize their lives have been changed for good by the game, it’s downright sad. Enjoy the game, keep your dignity, and above all — learn what not to do in order to do it right.