The goal is to play and win every day

Jun 17, 2002 10:52 PM

Let’s face it: No casino game is more popular to those who live in Las Vegas than video poker. It’s in all of the casinos, it’s usually the main game at hundreds of local bars around town, and you can play it at the airport, the grocery store, gas stations, and convenience stores. There’s no shortage facing any type of player. But there is one very big problem, and I get e-mails about this all the time from those not afraid to tell the truth: Very few players win anything at all. And guess what? It’s no big surprise to me ”” and it shouldn’t be to them. After all, if it were that easy to beat as some writers claim it to be, it wouldn’t be a casino game, now would it?

One of the chief reasons I am told why nearly every player loses is because they just do not know when to stop ”” not at what point they have won the most or may have lost the least (which no one could reasonably know) ”” but at what point it is best for the individual to call it quits for a session. And since locals can play a heck of a lot of sessions each week, not going in with a plan can cost an awful lot over time. I hear stories of bill-shuffling, repossessed cars, and general financial discomfort all the time. Nowhere in the country is there more per capita bankruptcy filings, drinking problems, or the inability to smoke that final cigarette. Maybe not so coincidentally, nowhere do we find more video poker readily available. Sure, it is by nature a very addictive game. And yes, the casinos have cleverly devised the slot club card to make sure players feel they’ve won ”” even if that "free" Reuben sandwich and diet coke really cost them $350. Every local who plays will readily admit that ”” at least in private and if only to themselves. But there is a way to keep away from the unpleasant side of the game for those interested and with just the right amount of discipline.

The very first change to make is to clear the mind from all the baloney you read about how slot clubs were created to benefit the player. Being comped freebies and receiving offers is one thing, but almost everyone alive can simply go to a restaurant, show, store or hotel and buy the same things at one-tenth of what they paid for them through casino marketing promotions. Nothing is ever given away for free. No slot club would survive if that were the case. How hard is that? The sooner you stop being mesmerized by all the mailings, the sooner you’ll be able to see things the way they really are. Using a slot club card for play based on a plan is the only way to turn the benefit programs in your favor. Even the famous writers who seem captivated beyond belief by what they receive "for free" are always complaining about the ”˜secrecy’ involved in slot club operations or in their methods of handing out the comps. You can do one of two things: Either accept what you receive based on the play YOU wish to give the casino, or continue to be roped in to all of the sucker promotions whenever THE CASINO wants more of you money. Not much of a choice in my book, yet many players follow the ranting and raving of those who love to feel special by applying huge values to all of their benefits. It truly is the difference between intelligent play and a very stupid approach.

Because I wanted to prove to myself that locals could indeed win on a regular basis, I decided to run a test here at a local Indian casino in Scottsdale ”” Casino Arizona. It’s a very modern facility and completely coin-less ”” perfect for my purposes. My goal was simple: To play 50 sessions only on ACES Bonus Poker where I would take in $200 each time and try to win $5. The machines I played were only multi-denominational, ranging from 25c/50c/$1/and $2. Sometimes I began at quarters and other times I started at 50c. I played a small progression, and whenever I won at least $5, I collected my winning ticket, cashed it in, and went home. I went in 42 times, playing 40 individual sessions, while the final 10 were played in two blocks of five sessions each (I got tired of going there). I NEVER play professionally at any of the casinos run by the tribes because I am bothered by the answers I get when I attempt to understand the regulation policies.

My results were as follows: I won my goal 48 times and lost the $200 bankroll twice. My average overall win was $19.12/visit, and my total take was $956. I hit four Aces only once, but it was on the $2 game (which takes a maximum of four coins). I had four 4’s on dollars once, and two other non-special quads on 50c. The pay tables are very poor. In Nevada, ACES BP pays 3:1 for three-of-a-kind, but here they only pay 2:1 (except on $2, which for some reason does pay 3:1).

My point? That winning with this a method of pre-set goals is a very real possibility for the local who previously felt he had to sit for an hour or two or more whenever inside a casino trying for the royal. If I could win at a casino with poor pay tables and on machines that I cannot verify are truly random, it should be a bit easier on the games in Nevada. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but if I were to live in Las Vegas I certainly would come up with a Play Strategy similar to this one. It’s not much of a choice the way I see it: Either go in to lose or go in to win. And if you choose to win, you’ll find you have a lot more time for yourself and your family. And more money too.