Don’t let ‘negatives’ spoil your poker play

August 21, 2001 4:13 AM
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Where did the term “Negative Expectation” Vacation come from?

Well, because my critics like to complain about my play strategy being based on mostly negative (less than 100% return with perfect play throughout infinity) games such as Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker ”” and because I’ve done very well on them contrary to their theories ”” I chose this title for our recent vacation. But before that, there’s more”¦.

Over the 4th of July weekend at Sunset Station, on a multi-denomination DDB-only machine I received dealt back-to-back quad Aces. The first was hit to a 2-kicker on dollars for $2000. The next was dealt with a 4-kicker after I switched the machine over to $2, for $4000. And because I was in town only for a number of meetings and seminars, those are the only two hands I played over 3 days.

Actually, it occurred while I was trying to explain the deal and hold on a hand of DDB poker to someone who had recently read my book. It also turned out to be the absolute best examples of self-discipline (by quitting after winning) that I could have asked for. And it happened on the game most maligned by the pros, who constantly proclaim that a person has to be nuts to play this “fool’s” game which has a return of “only” around 98.5%. Yeah right, like a 100.17% game ”” with it’s GIMONGOUS advantage ”” is gonna make them rich faster than this!

Although I hadn’t thought much about taking a vacation, my wife Cindy has a regular job as an engineer at an aerospace firm, and she needed a break. Our motor trip to Seattle and the Oregon coast actually was planned several months earlier in order to get away from the Arizona heat. I touched up the schedule a bit so we would stop at Texas Station in Las Vegas and the beautiful Hyatt at Incline Village ”” a favorite getaway spot of ours ”” on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Good choice as it turned out, as we hit a dollar royal on a “very negative” 8/5 DDB machine at Texas Station on our first day while waiting to go to dinner.

On the way home we stopped at Atlantis in Reno and at the Flamingo in Laughlin. For the short times we played on this 10-day tour, we did extremely well. Even with an $800 loss on our final stop in Laughlin, we finished up $3700. That may not seem like a big deal to our high-rolling friends who have not yet figured out that losing $15,000 in a day just might possibly put them in the position of seeing their bankroll wiped out sooner than they expected, but it’s profit, and taking profit every time you play is the name of the game in successful gambling.

After a few days of rest at home we decided to take a quick jaunt to a beach we enjoy in L.A. From there we drove through the desert and stopped for a night at Mandalay Bay ”” where we played more negative games for a $350 profit ”” as well as for two nights at the Lake Las Vegas Hyatt, where our modest goals meant plus $95. The next day we did something I’ve tried to do for a while. We drove around town, stopping at 14 small lounges/bars/pubs, with a $20 win goal at each one. At the end of the day after winning at each stop, we had another $680 profit. On the final day, however, my wife was tired, so we went to a movie at Sam’s Town, and afterwards sat at a dollar DDB machine for four hours. Although ahead several times, we had no plans to quit at any goal, and we ended up losing $1,700. Now she sees why I always set goals and stick to them when I play professionally. There is no other way to win consistently. Besides, what better way to take a vacation than on negative expectation?