Losing isn’t always necessary
. . . really!

August 28, 2001 2:42 AM
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What? The most compelling casino game ever invented ”” which also, not so coincidently, happens to be the most popular casino game ever ”” is a game most players lose at? Big surprise! You know, players do not have to continually lose playing the game they say they love to pass the time with, but they do. And why is that? Simply because they are totally unprepared for any of the numerous situations that may unfold during their session.

People walk into casinos all the time, sit at their favorite video poker machines, and have absolutely no plan. Even the so-called expert/professional players go in with no clear idea on just how they will react to large winners or long losing streaks, other than to keep on playing for the slot club points — a very dangerous practice indeed. But they do exhibit one noticeably different behavior from the standard player: during big winning hands, the pro may yawn at it, impatiently await payment, and immediately continue pounding away at the buttons on the machine next door. Your average Joe on the other hand stares disbelievingly at the hand, smiles while being paid, and then ponders whether to continue playing or go home. If Joe gets up to leave, there’s a good chance he’ll either stop at another machine on the way out, or drop by another casino before reaching home ground.

Either scenario I call a losing proposition. Why? The average player is reacting exactly how a casino expects him to, which in turn translates into a steady flow of profits into the casino banks. The expert arrogantly continues to sit at his machine counting on slot club cash-back to keep him slightly ahead, as his royal is ultimately poured back into the machine. Name something more foolish than that.

Perhaps it’s not easy for these players to deal with what I have spent years studying. Video poker is nothing more than a game of common sense based purely on mathematics ”” the key being common sense, because I believe it is humanly impossible to outperform any computer over any amount of time unless you are extremely lucky. Hand-in-hand with this concept, I have read several opinions saying that at any one point in time at any casino, at least 85% of the players are either ahead, have been ahead, or will be ahead at some time during their visit, but better than 90% of those patrons will go home losers. Video poker players may be even more of a radical fit into this equation.

Once I understood all of the above, it was clear to me the only way to consistently overcome the house advantage was to turn the tables and take advantage of what the house is offering up. Money management, while an admirable trait to have on your side, alone is simply nothing more than a classy way to hand your money over. But if you combine that with a pre-determined set of achievable goals that you will under no circumstances deviate from, as well as a firm plan on how you will operate at each machine, then you have an excellent shot at becoming one of the very, very few who win on a consistent basis. Learn how to handle good luck and you’ll learn how to make a profit. Either that, or you could become an expert at worrying about whether your slot club card is inserted so you can pay $200 for that “free” club sandwich!