What it takes to bea video poker star

August 20, 2002 2:38 AM
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A "Video Poker Star." Now what exactly is that suppose to mean? Answer: Different things to different people, but the one common thread is it is imperative you be a winner ”” or much more precisely ”” it is imperative you give the impression of being a winner.

And what are the benefits of being a star? Notoriety, reputation, attention, and the ever-present feeling that you are needed? For some, yes. For others, it goes further, and from what I’ve been exposed to I’d say it goes so far it hurts.

We must remember that regardless of all the labels we’ve seen attributed to the game of video poker, it is first and foremost gambling. Some people don’t believe that, because they don’t want to believe that. You hear all kinds of alternative reasons why people play: "I’m a pro who supplements my income from the game; We are really only recreational players who enjoy playing every day; The game keeps my mind off of my real problems in life; I’ve moved to Las Vegas for the weather, and oh, by the way, I play video poker almost every day of the week."

I could come up with dozens more. But notice how none of these is negative. Why? Because this is information I’ve collected from some of the chat boards out there, and when people write to the public in the comfort of their homes, they have a tendency to paint a rosy picture of themselves, even if they know they are not being truthful. And when you get a number of them together on a forum, it becomes akin to a confidence-building scheme in which the only participants who are really getting hurt are they themselves. Everyone wants to be a star ”” in their own mind.

What about those who teach us the mathematics of the game, and why it is that we must have a basic understanding of what we are doing if we want to have even the slightest chance of winning? Hey, without them most players would never have the information they need to build their star.

There’s a very thick line between those who are in this business for a living, and those who want others to believe they could have done it too. I see it all the time. The writers publish an article on a subject, and suddenly the "stars" surface ”” either criticizing, dissecting, or trying to one-up what was said. What they never realize is that most of the interested public is intelligent enough to make their own decisions on what to follow or believe or what not to follow or believe.

There’s really a lot of frustration associated with video poker. Why? Most players are frustrated because they lose, and they do not want to or can’t lose. No other frustration is greater for the video poker player than the sky-high anticipation of going into a casino with a fresh wad of cash, and coming away after being beaten back into reality. It’s even more disheartening for some, as they have had to endure the constant ranting of how a few so-called "pros" win tens of thousands every year by following basic strategy.

I know I’ll be getting e-mails on this if I don’t bring it up: Do I believe I’m a star in video poker? I have to admit, when I wrote my book attacking long-term, expert-strategy, I wanted as much attention as possible in order to get my views out. It also seriously attracted the attention and ire of the gurus and experts. In that respect, I’m as guilty as anybody else in being a star. But the flip side is another story. My success in the game with my unique Play Strategy has caused considerable disarray among the faction that believes they are the only ones who know what it takes to win. I have no interest in such notoriety, but it is they who are creating it. The basics of my Strategy is available on my website for free, but I have not released the details of the one part that separates it from others of the past. Of course, the most important part of all this is that people determine what strategy is most comfortable for them. Have you ever heard anyone say that before? One thing’s for sure ”” it didn’t originate in the stars