When push comes to shove, single-play wins by decision

Oct 16, 2007 12:35 AM

When Triple-Play video poker came out a number of years ago, it was the talk of the vp world. Insatiable players could now get three times the hands in as they regularly did, and that meant three times the fun.

Or did it?

Considering the fact that video poker players almost always have more fun traveling than arriving — meaning the anticipation of playing usually far outweighs the end result — triple-play video poker does mean triple the fun.

But guess what? It also meant more losses and quicker losing.

Here’s a hint: Casinos wouldn’t be putting in such a game if it didn’t mean more profits.

Sure, the potential jackpots can be higher and more exciting, but even when most people hit them, they continue to sit and play on. Winners always want to and overwhelmingly try to win more. That is a fatal flaw in nearly everyone’s game.

Triple-Play simply exploits that weakness.

But it didn’t stop there.

Soon Five-Play video poker arrived on casino floors, and shortly after that came the mesmerizing Ten-Play. And why not?

If casinos could get players to play more hands, everyone in the business knows that it only means more revenue. As a result, more profiting.

Here’s where I stopped and took a look at all the multi-plays. Was there really something to this that I wasn’t seeing?

I mean, I understand the bigger the bet the bigger the thrill for players, but it also meant they had to have bigger bankrolls and much thicker skin. As the number of hands increased on the screens, the more players would sweat.

I did multiple analyses on these three games with the purpose of tgiving them all a fair shot at being something I would play for profit. Triple-Play was out because even with a satisfactory deal there just wasn’t enough opportunity to hit the big winner.

Ten-Play, on the other hand, gave ample opportunity but would require a bankroll not meant for most video poker players. It also seemed to come with the poorest of pay tables.

That left Five-Play, and although the bankroll requirement is rather hefty even when starting at quarters, common sense-wise and mathematically it offered the best chance of coming up with a session-ending win before going broke.

I play it in a 25c/$1/$5/$25 progression format with a comparatively small win goal, and it has been a successful strategy for me the few times I’ve gone after the game.

The math people would be quick to say it doesn’t matter how many hands are on the screen. You have exactly the same odds of winning as in single-play. But they’re wrong.

Multi-plays depend heavily on the deal, and if you set goals and stick to them then a good deal before losing a carefully calculated, pre-determined amount of money can send you home a successful winner.

I know most of those who play these multi-plays are really trying to see how many points they can rack up, and they get a great big thrill out of seeing that occur.

Video poker players get the easiest comps in the business, and here’s a flash folks: The casinos aren’t simply giving them out in such big chunks because they enjoy losing their profits!

It’s difficult trying to make sense to a lot of players, who believe they can play these games at some type of creative advantage. Therein also lies the reasoning as to why Fifty-Play and 100-Play games are on most casino floors.

And to top it off, because of the perceived prohibitive amount of money needed to play max credits, most of these two monsters are readily available in 1c, 2c, 5c, and 10c formats. Guess who they’re after?

I’ll mention one other game here because I think it’s wrongfully on the wish list for many players.

Five-Play Multi-Strike is one of the worst games on any casino floor — at least for the player.

Sure there are anecdotal stories about the lucky guy or lady who somehow got the deal of a lifetime, but I can give you a thousand sad stories for every one of them. The bottom line is the game is for suckers, who would never have a pre-set plan on what to do and how to do it.

At the end of the day, single-play video poker remains the best game to play for serious, profit-seeking players.

Multi-plays for non-problem gamblers are a source of diminishing returns, but for those with an acute addiction they are just a faster way of satisfying a fix.

Casino managers aren’t stupid either. They learned that the lowest denominations get played the most because it’s easy to justify playing them, and that’s what most locals play.

Five-Play is my game, but you won’t often see me playing it.

I prefer one hand at a time, and with the complexity of my play strategies one hand is really my best deal. Of course, you’ve heard about the guy who was dealt a $1 Ten-Play royal, or the other player who was dealt quad Aces on 25c Fifty-Play Double Bonus Poker, and all the rest of the fantastic hits on these type machines.

But you never do hear of what happened the next eight hours. And you never will!