Dad tops all games

May 13, 2008 7:00 PM

Winning Strategies by Elliot Frome | This week my family wouldíve celebrated my fatherís (Lenny Frome) 82nd birthday. It isnít one of the big round numbers (i.e. 75 or 80), yet for some reason, this one is hitting me a bit harder than some of the past ones.

Maybe it is because it has been 10 years since he passed on. Maybe it is because as much joy as my 15-month-old brings me, Iím sad when I think that he will never get to meet his grandfather (and vice versa). Maybe it is because Iím getting older and more reflective about life.

Over the past few months, Iíve come across a few websites that talked about the groundbreaking work my father did with regard to video poker (and other casino games). In describing his passing in 1998, many of these sites have said that his life was cut short, or that he died an untimely death.

As important as my fatherís work in casino math was while he was living, his untimely passing may have given us an even more important lesson.

As Iíve said many times, video poker is just a game. It is a form of entertainment for 99+ percent of the people who play it. Not even for someone like myself, who makes a living writing about it and analyzing games is it in my Top 10 for most important things in life.

Life is about family, friends and happiness. Video poker can play its part if youíre having fun playing and not ignoring your family and friends.

I say this to also dispel any misconceptions that Expert Strategy requires someone to play video poker all day and night in order to eke out gains on machines that pay 100.6 percent.

This is nonsense.

By now, we all know that the longer you play the more likely the theoretical payback is approached. But that doesnít mean that you have to, or should, play as much as possible. I would never endorse this. It basically goes against everything I believe.

On the other side of things, just because gambling is merely a form of entertainment doesnít mean you should go into it with your eyes closed. There is little doubt that winning is preferable to losing.

By playing the right games, knowing the right strategy and knowing what to expect (the three key components of Expert Strategy) your chances of winning will increase greatly. I added a fourth component to my fatherís three, which was to play a game you enjoy playing.

While my father didnít specifically add this into his strategy, I have little doubt that it was on his mind. If youíre not having fun, then it is not entertainment.

And, even if it is fun and entertainment, it should not be to the exclusion of everything else. My father used to call Las Vegas "Disneyworld for Adults." I donít think he was referring to the topless showgirls when he said that.

I think he meant that there is so much to do besides gambling that everyone should take advantage of it. Iím amazed when friends come home from Vegas telling me they didnít do much besides gamble! Virtually every major casino has a fabulous pool. They all have shows ranging from free ones to headliners. There is Fremont Street Experience, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and one of my favorites Ė the Ethel M factory!

Yes, there is more to life than video poker (or even blackjack!). My father taught the world about video poker. His untimely passing taught us an even more valuable lesson about life.

Nothing was more important to my dad than his family.