How far should you chase the elusive royal?

July 10, 2001 12:11 AM
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Ahh, the Royal Flush”¦what a great and satisfying hand to see lined up on the computer in front of you! But what does it mean to the ultimate results of a session or visit by the player, and what should we expect the impact of our royals to be at year’s end?

Well, this is yet another subject where for years I have never been able to understand what others were attempting to get across with their math models, so this time around you’ll get a clear picture, and in a format that actually applies to the normal recreational player.

To begin with, several nickel royals in one visit may be more than enough for that player to return home with a profit ”” let alone feeling on top of the world. The encouraging part to me is that a nickel player is a nickel player, and no amount of luck will usually change that. These people rarely are lured into quarters after a big day. Quarter players are another story. Many, including myself, have begun their video poker career at quarters, and when they feel tough enough to be able to sustain taking bigger chances due to their royals at that level, they jump right into dollars ”” more often than not with disastrous results.

Dollar players ”” whether graduates from quarters or not ”” usually do not go up to and stay at $5 play for long, as a good slap from a bad session usually cures their adventurous cravings. Multi-play machines have come along and done their part to combat this by making players feel more responsible with their lower-denominational play, which is exactly why twin caution flags need to go up whenever a player finds himself at these machines more often than they should.

Some people write that because the computers tell us a royal is predicted to pop out every 42,000 hands or so, they can “count” on seeing 10,15,25 or more royals during the year based on how often they play, and this will make them a winner. The computer is correct, but the rest of it is baloney. First off, when a player gets deep into one of those dreaded royal droughts near the end of the year, they alter their play either intentionally or through frayed nerves. It’s human nature to do so.

Or if the player hits a very large royal at the beginning of a year, not only will the casino court you to dump it all back in ”” which you will do unless you quit for the year ”” if you’re a regular, non-disciplined player (ie., compulsive player), you’ll be more than happy to do that without any help. Yes, the gifts will be showered upon you as the money goes back where it came from.

My particular history has shown a royal being hit approximately every 55,000 hands during my seven years of expert/optimal play, and a royal occurring almost twice as often since I changed my strategy to a more realistic one.

The claim that playing for a royal more often than not will yield an overall loser holds no truth for me. In fact, if I were smart enough to quit after each and every royal I received during my former years as I now do, I would have come home a winner more than six times as often. Therein lies the key. STOP, go home, and enjoy the experience. If you stay on, 90 percent of the time you will put it all back in, and then visit the ATM several times over. Does that ring any bells?