Sensible video poker play means short casino visits

January 29, 2008 12:08 AM


One of the major keys to success if you have visions of becoming a winning video poker player, is to discover the secret of controlling how you do what you do when and where — and why.

Having been on both sides of the fence, I can tell you first hand it is NOT an easy task, regardless of how it initially sounds.

At the onset, the game is so intriguing to the card player that nothing else counts but each and every hand. Who takes time out at this point to actually think about what he or she’s really doing? Not a soul, and believe me, the casinos like it that way. They’re trying their best to get you on their hook, and you’re not fighting it.

Casinos thrive on lots of play, and they do their best to thoroughly entertain us to the max in all facets of their operation. Anyone who’s ever gone back after the first visit can attest to that fact. But those who make repeat visits have to be the ones savvy enough to understand all of what they’re getting into, right?

Well, it’s true they should be savvy, but most of them simply are not. After all, think of all the times you’ve walked into a casino, got ahead any amount during that particular visit, but kept playing because of the exciting confidence you momentarily gained. Then you lost it all back and more. And those miserable ATM’s.

So where’s the meat of the problem for losing gamblers? I’ll address that issue inasmuch as it applies to video poker players — although most gamblers will certainly understand. Casinos want and need players to stay as long as possible (aka, as long as their cash from "any and all accounts" holds out).

The very first lesson any new player should learn is how to leave on their terms.

Of course, overwhelmingly, they don’t learn a thing. They may know what’s best for their finances — or they may be trying to follow some obscure guru-taught method of how to mathematically beat the casinos. People think they supposedly have a "theoretical edge" over the machine they’re furiously pounding away at.

In any event, the compulsion to keep on being involved in all that excitement easily wins out for nearly every gambler.

Video poker is such a sensible game to play at casinos, only 99.9 percent of those you see playing it are not doing it right. I believe the last time a poll was taken the overall consensus was that winning money today was their reason for being there. Yet almost everyone loses today — and the majority of those players were ahead at one point another during their play.

Quite an anomaly, correct? Of course it is, only with all the bad information out there on the theories of how to beat the heck out of the casinos mathematically, most players have no chance at all.

On one side they’re fed calculations and sensible figures that say they should win because they have "the advantage" of a percent or two. On the other hand, they find themselves leaving the joint realizing that 1 or 2 percent doesn’t apply to them or their short visit — only over the life of the machine if no one ever makes a mistake in their holds.

So you see, the video poker marketing experts — and they truly are geniuses at their marketing efforts — have slyly concocted a scheme that applies long-term theories to how everyone plays in simple short-term sessions where anything can happen at any time!

And it does sell well, which is really the point of it all.

But fortunately for many intelligent players, I came along and spelled it all out for them for the very first time ever. The overwhelming message? If a player chooses to look at every session they play as a short-term event — and if they go in with a smart game plan with absolutely no greed involved — they will win more than they lose and more often than they ever have.

It’s kind of funny, but I spend a good amount of time combing the Internet for bits of info that supports my views and strategy. I never fail to locate that which accommodates.

Sometimes I read columnists who blatantly contradict themselves without realizing it as they try so hard to push their optimal-play agenda. Sometimes I simply add up all the sense in the thousands of e-mails that come my way.

Other times, I end up shaking my head as I read individual blogs and posts on video poker forums. Over the years I’ve been telling the video poker world that no one who plays multiple times a week for many hours — regardless of their method or type of machine — will ever win anything without continued extreme good fortune. Also, they won’t succeed without creating a winning year out of thin air consisting of whatever player’s benefits and value they choose to "toss into the formula".

Always, the optimal-play community cries foul as if it were some kind of gambling sacrilege to say such a thing. Yet it is true. After reading one of the Internet inputs of one of the famous names recently on how this person supposedly strings together year after year of nothing but winning, I find the truth for a change. I respect that kind of honesty, finally. Now if we could only get the rest of that band to beat the same drum.

Hopefully, the more people get to read my message the more they will learn about short-term play. Just remember to always try your best to play the best pay tables in the casino you like to play at. It doesn’t matter one bit if the long-term theoretical is 97 percent or 102 percent.

What matters are your game plan and discipline. I think my friends are beginning to learn that at last.