There’s more to poker than chasing royals

Nov 27, 2001 2:40 AM

To those who play the game of video poker, they do so with one thing in mind ”” to hit the very elusive royal flush. Why? Because they’re gambling, and if they don’t hit it they almost always go home less a good portion of their paycheck and plus a giant headache. I’ve learned a completely different approach in the past five years. I have little trouble winning without a royal, and on the rare occasions when I do lose, there are no longer any headaches. By learning to appreciate all the intangibles the game has to offer, it’s been more than a good living for me. It’s also a lot of fun.

If you’re as interested in learning how to play as successfully as I do, you’ll first have to learn to control several aspects of your life. With the exception of a joyous outburst after lining up a royal, emotions serve no purpose while you play. Save the good feelings for your family when you show up at home with extra cash for the weekend. If you’re the type who’s familiar with never following through on your word, you have the quote “born loser” painted on your forehead. Imagine the respect you’ll receive as you educate yourself on always doing what you said you were going to do, while you finally figure out that it’s better to quit at certain pre-set goals than to foolishly pour your winnings back into the machines. As I always say, “if you play to the math ”” you’ll take a bath.”

I cannot stress enough how important it is to feel good both about yourself and how you approach the game, if you expect to be a consistent winner. If you find yourself caught up in the trap of playing for points or player’s club levels, you’re a certain loser. But if you take every advantage of the reason why slot clubs are there, and you play only the amount of time you set out to do before you began, you understand what intelligent play is all about ”” and you’ve learned how to enjoy other aspects of video poker. As the game’s top player and leading expert in how to get the most out of how a person plays, I actually receive very few comps. I play for the win, I refuse to allow casino management to follow my business, and unlike the others I do not require a myriad of free gifts to cover up an otherwise horrific losing year.

One of the more interesting benefits I’ve received from playing the game is that it has given me the opportunity to place a small bet on my home teams winning their sports championships. For the past five years, before each basketball, football, baseball and hockey season begins, I put twenty bucks on each of my home teams to win it all ”” Phoenix Suns, Arizona (GASP!) Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Phoenix Coyotes. Because these teams usually stink, a $20 bet comes with great odds. So when the D-Backs recently stunned the Yankees in the most exciting, heart-stopping World Series I’ve ever seen (thanks in great part to media MVP ”” relief pitcher B.Y. Kim), I’m suddenly ahead lifetime in the sports betting category. Unusual? Yes, but impossible to realize without the profits I earn from controlled video poker play.

Other areas also offer rewards not readily noticeable. While some are out trying to impress readers with their insignificant command of how often a 6-10 Straight Flush might appear, or bragging about all the casino jackets they collected at an average price of probably $3,200 apiece, I’m able to sit back and giggle at all this nonsense as I more enjoy teaching others the art of the game. We all have our priorities. In video poker, the first should always be to win. And if you do it correctly, you’ll appreciate everything that happens to follow.