Football, video poker means WIN

Jan 7, 2008 4:35 AM

For years, I’ve been a proponent of if you’re playing serious video poker for a profit, then other games won’t mix in well.

The reason? Playing an intelligent strategy when going up against the video poker computers requires extraordinary concentration. Few distractions compliment that effort. Sports betting isn’t one of them.

And neither is a reliance on any other casino game to help a professional player through the dry spells. But in my case — and I didn’t realize this until just last year — because I usually end my playing year in summer or fall when I attain my win goals, there’s time for other games.

For me, since I’ve always been a strong NFL follower and a devout New England Patriots fan having grown up in Massachusetts. In 2006 I decided to give NFL sports betting a try. I study all the games and stats anyway week after week, so why not go after it?

It fits well. Last year, I reached my pre-determined yearly video poker profit goal in August, and this year that happened in late April. So since the NFL starts in the fall I had plenty of time to go after it. And while my approach to playing video poker seems a bit unorthodox and overly complicated to most or all of the gurus, math folks and critics, much of the same can be said about how I go after NFL games.

To start, I went 57 percent and won nearly $2,000 in 2006. It wasn’t a high dollar amount by any stretch, but a baffling percentage for a first year bettor to many who know the ins and outs of the game. This year has been different so far. Although I am not quite at 50 percent, I’m +45 units and $3,500 up. Again, not what most expected.

In video poker — which I’ll start up for-profit play again right after the Super Bowl — I’ve won nearly 87 percent of my professional sessions over the years. The money is commensurate with that type of percentage. Not so in sports betting”¦at least in my short experience. I’ve won less than half my picks thus far in 2007, yet I’m ahead almost double my rate from the year before.

Although I’m fairly new at betting sports, it can be a lot more frustrating and for a longer period of time than playing video poker. First, you’re not the one performing the task — the players are. All you’re doing is sitting in an easy chair hoping and praying the game will turn out in your favor.

You lose a game and it stays with you until the next one comes along. You win, and the enjoyment can easily be wiped out by the next bad game. Knowing that most successful bettors hover around the 50 percent mark, you can be sure of an almost even ride over the bumps throughout the season.

Video poker, on the other hand, affords the intelligent player with a lasting win if he or she knows how to set goals and do what they say they’re going to do. Unlike sports betting, a video poker player is ahead at some point during their sessions far more often than the latter. It’s then simply a matter of using one’s head.

There is a big difference between the two games. No casino game affords greater comps, gifts and freebies than video poker. So if you like gourmet meals, free rooms and shows, and a windfall of gifts especially at the end of each year, video poker is the game for you.

I’ve found that betting sports comes with a huge ego at times. In fact, that’s really the reason I got into it last year, and you have to have that ego if you want to either chat with or put up with the others in the game.

You also have to be prepared to be inundated with sales pitches by those who sell their picks while giving the perception that they are all extraordinary winners. This, of course, makes no sense to me. If they were really so successful then just bet more. Why try to take other people’s money if you’re so great at it? What kind of gambler buys information anyway?

At the end of the day video poker is a far superior game for my needs and wants, and a lot more fun. I’m a fan of the NFL first and foremost and I will always be that way. During my experience I’ve seen how at times, hoping to grind out a winning bet in a game can mean you’re going to have to root for your team to get beat.

That’s really not my cup of tea, and it’s why I generally stay away from the games that can have this type of conflict. It does cause a bettor’s head to spin at times.

Besides, whenever I want to get away from it all, there’s always that lonesome little world of video poker. Thank goodness for the deck of cards.