My winning play strategy at work

January 15, 2002 4:44 AM
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Each week my computer gets loaded up with questions from those interested in really understanding what my approach towards consistent winning entails, while echoing that all too familiar chant of “I just can’t figure out why it is I continue to lose over the long term playing computer-perfect expert-play strategy.” “They say I should win but I don’t.” I answer every message, because those who send in these inquiries are the reason I wrote my book, run my web site, write this column, and distribute my play strategy at no charge to anyone who asks. Video poker can be a very frustrating game. My goal was to develop a true way to win all the time, re-educate myself on how to begin enjoying the game as it was meant to be enjoyed, and to share my discoveries with anyone who chose to wake up along with me.

One of the best ways I’ve found to relate to other players is by reliving casino experiences as they actually occur. If you’re a player you want to read about action ”” and not theories. You want to know how gambling actually works rather than how the book says it’s supposed to over an unclear amount of time that none of us ever have. That’s why today I will go over the details as I played during my first play-for-profit trip in 2002.

I left home in Scottsdale at 9 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 2 ”” arriving at Terrible’s around 12:45 a.m. LV time. Generally my trip’s play sessions take anywhere from several minutes to 10 hours or more. Although not crowded at this time of night, I don’t like to stay long at this casino because I’m not a smoker, and after about an hour I feel like I am. But this time my play results had me staying a very long four hours. Too bad, I thought, but Terrible’s has coin-less machines which are very convenient for my style of play, and I was in there to make a profit first before anything else. I play here fairly often, and I don’t use a slot club card because I don’t see how any professional gambler who is consistently successful would want to have the casinos follow their business anyway. Remember that the next time you read about someone who claims to play professionally, win thousands every year, and blabs about being showered with endless gifts and recognition from their “very good friends” in the casino VIP offices.

My profit goal is always $2,500 for any trip. Right off the bat I lost $100 on $1 Bonus Poker with no cash-outs. Before I played out my $300 on DDB poker, I had pocketed $255 in profit. Although I received four 2’s on $2 BP (soft profit of $400 ”” meaning it cannot be pocketed until I fully recover the $400 in dollar losses & what I’ve put in the $2 machine) I eventually lost my 400 credits at that level. The $5 BP game was a different story. Four 4’s ($1,000) and other smaller winners gave me $385 in profit (meaning profit after I covered the 400 credits at $1, 400 credits at $2, and whatever $5 losses I had) and my pocketed profit now totaled $640. That meant going back to the less stressful dollar games to begin again. After playing my 400-$1 credits and 400-$2 credits I had zero pocketed profit ”” although I had $220 in wins (soft profit). Once more, the $5 BP machine popped another $1,000 winner with four 2’s ”” along with several other cash-outs ”” completing this round with a $285 profit. At this point I’m up $925, I went to my hotel for some rest, then headed out to the Suncoast in Summerlin for the next round(s).

Again no slot club card, more coin-less machines, but 10/7 Double Bonus games up to the $2 level. I battled through my $400 in dollar credits to pocket $235 with three separate cash-outs. Then I lost those 400 credits as well as $800 in $2 credits, with $320 in soft profit waiting to be applied to pocketed profit if I could cover my 800 credits (400 in $1 / 400 in $2) in losses. Again I was saved by four Q’s and two other cash-outs on $5 BP, resulting in a profit of $220 from this round. Up $1,380, the rest of the evening saw me wavering between the $1 and $2 machines ”” the big winner being Four Aces on dollar DB poker for $800. Shortly after that I reached $2,540 in overall pocketed profit, and although I was worn down after nearly five hours at these machines, I did what my strategy dictates ”” leave immediately and begin the drive home.

One great feature of my play method is that every trip produces an excitingly different experience. Rather than pounding away at the buttons endlessly and aimlessly, I now play for a reason and within a very structured approach. There are times when I reach my goal similar to how I did on this trip ”” but in only four hours or less. There’s times I’ve hit a royal within the first hour. Much of the time I win by having a very lucky hand ”” sometimes a royal ”” show up in the higher denominations of DB or DDB poker that send me home, whereas if I simply remained at the same level ”” like most players ”” I would most probably play until all was lost or my head started bobbing. Remember, progressing with the intention of full recovery only has meaning if you are able to stop play once you reach your pre-determined goal, and are able to return to your base denomination or leave the casino if you’ve attained your overall goal. Five times out of 117 trips I’ve lost, at an average of about $7k/trip. And sometimes I play either in only the same casino or half a dozen of them. It’s the variety of what I do and how I do it that keeps the game interesting.

The bottom line is winning. We all want to win, and we all want to win every time we play. Anyone who says they don’t, or has figured out how to put a positive spin on a losing session is a bigger storyteller than any fisherman who has ever lived. My years of losing taught me this, and I’m sure there are many players who can relate to that. And it taught me we can learn to do just about anything we are determined to by finding a way to succeed. Setting short-term goals along with the unrelenting will to walk once attained are the keys. There truly is no other way to beat this unforgiving game, and no better way to take complete control over its very addictive tendencies.