Ways to cut costs in video poker

Dec 2, 2008 5:11 PM

Winning Strategies by Elliot Frome |

Here I sit on Black Friday working on my article. It makes picking my topic easy.

All over the country, people got up at the crack of dawn to run to a variety of stores, to save some money on holiday gifts. My teenage son waited all night at the local Best Buy to get some PCs he hopes to quickly ‘flip’ for a profit.

So, if people go this nuts to save money at the local Wal-Mart, why are they so willing to walk into a casino and play any machine before them? I heard one story today that a security guard literally got trampled to death when the store opened its doors and hundreds of people ran this man to the ground. No one even paused to help him.

So, people are willing to harm another to save a few hundred dollars and then if they wander into a casino, they are willing to give it right back without even much of a thought!

If waiting all night in line and spending $2,000 for what would otherwise cost about $2,500, you’ve saved $500. Now, if you take a vacation to Las Vegas for a week and play an average of five hours per day, play a quarter machine at full-coin and play about 800 hands per hour, you’ll actually wager $35,000 over the week.

If you play full-pay Jacks or Better with its 99.5 percent payback, you’ll lose on average $175. Considering this accounts for 35 hours of entertainment, your cost per hour is pretty reasonable. If you can become an expert at some of the Deuces Wild games paying over 100 percent you can find that in the long run, you should actually make around $200 to perhaps $500 over the week.

Say you arrive in Las Vegas thanks to the $500 you saved on Black Friday. When you head to the casino, you don’t find the 9-6 paytable of full-pay, but a somewhat short-pay 8-5. The payback of this paytable is 97.3 instead of 99.5. So, the expected loss, in the long run, goes up to $945! This is $770 more than the full-pay machine.

If you spend hours on Thanksgiving looking through the sale flyers, and scouring the Internet for bargains, why would you walk into a casino and pay any price? You can shop around for the video poker paytable offering the best price. Shopping around for the best video poker machine is actually more profitable than searching the sale circulars.

The examples I gave in this column are for quarter machines. Multiply by four if you are a $1 player. The money you save may just buy a new TV.

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