Some strategists live (and die) by the math

Jun 18, 2001 1:22 AM

As the debate rages on about which strategy is more reliable - long-term or short-term - I get lots of interesting comments from players who say they have years of experience in playing video poker under their belts. I find for the most part people really do not have a proper understanding of what short-term strategy really is, while those who subscribe to long-term strategy discover that it is much better to travel than to arrive. Just pick up any gaming magazine having contributions from virtually any video poker writer but me, and you’ll see them say how they expect to lose many more sessions than they win while they chase that tiny win percentage that rarely surfaces. It is a study in pure illogic.

Long-term expert play strategists live by the math and die by the math. While I play unrelated sessions every time I take a trip to Nevada, these folks believe they are in some sort of continuation zone, where the in-between is not only ignored but is labeled non-existent. There is nothing wrong with a personal constitution to play only those machines with a theoretical return of over 100% throughout infinity - in fact, it’s the smart thing to do for any of us if we can find these rapidly disappearing games - but there is also a required very strong reliance on the casino’s most profit-generating device of all time”¦the slot club card. If the above was a study in illogic, we have now entered an area void of any and all common sense.

A very significant aspect of playing long-term strategy is in how it treats royal flushes or any other large payout hands. Get one, and if you waste time celebrating you are said to be losing money. Get up and go home, and the experts criticize you for wasting your time when you could be playing deeper into the term. Why is this? Because these strategy players like to think they are making X amount per hour of play, and every hour away from the machine is a non-productive hour. Does that make sense to you?

If the above identified efficient use of one’s playing time can be believed, and if royal flushes are theoretically expected to pop out once every 40,000 to 45,000 hands or so to those who play mathematically perfect, why not utilize your time at home more efficiently also? Simply buy one of those video poker computer programs, play about 50,000 hands risk-free, and if you do not see a royal, run right on over to your favorite casino. Certainly your chances of hitting one have now increased! Is there any difference at all in playing at home or inside a casino? Does not the continuum remain in place regardless where you choose to punch the buttons?

That is why I developed my strategy solely around the short-term. When critics say my many short-terms will always add up to the long-term, they neglect to realize the difference between simple short-term sessions and goal-oriented short-term strategy. If pre-determined goals are set and then reached, all previous play is expunged as I head into the next session. There is no need to dwell on yesterday, and no need to worry about tomorrow. It is as steady a system as I’ve seen in the world of gambling.

One of the key traits of playing such a strategy is that the player never gets bored. Playing for and reaching goals is as good a feeling as there is in professional gambling. Knowing that whenever a royal flush appears, your goals are immediately surpassed and it’s time to go home for the week is extremely satisfying. I compare it to reading about video poker strategy. Do you want experiences, new ideas, reasonable advice, and sensible criticism, or are you satisfied reading articles filled with difficult practice hands, laced with confusing mathematical methodologies, and capped with the endless tooting of the horn. I chose the fun way. You can too.