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Proof or spoof: you decide!

Jan 27, 2003 11:04 PM

Almost every day I sit at my computer I find people who want to know about winning. People always want to know more. They want to know the right games, the right playing levels and/or strategy, how to win consistently, and how it is that so-called experts are able to say they win year in and year out when they cannot.

Of course, knowledge of theories, probabilities, expectations, slot club benefits, etc. is of no value at all in video poker if you don¡¦t win. The city of Las Vegas is filled with former math professors, retired gurus, relocated addicts, former pros with cleaned-out 401k¡¦s, underachieving wannabes, and disenchanted swamis who all thought 100.1% meant a small profit on every dollar of long-term strategy played. And who can blame them? Some read about it, some write about it, and others simply dream about it. The one problem they didn¡¦t see? The casinos thought of it first ¡X and they¡¦ve got the "long-run" embedded firmly into their back pockets.

Once those who contact me finally see through all the smoke and mirrors, they realize what I say is true: Few who play the game win consistently, and those who do only do so by experiencing extreme and consistent good luck.

My own formula for consistent winning is predicated on the well-known fact that I will only win when good luck comes along ¡X which happens at least once for every player nearly every time they play for two-three hours ¡X and I will only be able to show a profit for my session if I leave the casino immediately after good fortune shows its face.

Several of the famous names have criticized me for stopping play after winning and going home. Why? Since when is it unpopular to go home with at least a $2,500 profit ¡X or any profit ¡X at any time?

It¡¦s only natural that people ¡X including me ¡X wonder why and how "advantage" players come out and say they have winning years all the time. Why? Because I¡¦ve had so many of the rest of their group write to me saying they just can¡¦t seem to win after following the road paved by those who paint a rosy picture for the chief purpose of lining their pockets with green.

At any time of year it¡¦s common for one or more writers to matter-of-factly proclaim that they know of several hundred other "pros" that win, win, win. Of course, we¡¦re never told who these "winners" are, and of the very few who identify themselves, some have either another sales or identity agenda behind their incredible statements.

One thing we all know first and foremost is that the only personality who lies more than a fisherman is a gambler. Many of these positive EV players hang out together, are friends, or maybe even play together at the same casinos. (I¡¦d say they have other common interests, but consumed video poker players usually have none).

They play almost daily, and are most welcome by every casino they frequent ¡X obviously. But the one very common thread they all have is in perceived results. If there¡¦s a player who says he¡¦s a winner, do you think the other three sitting next to him will say anything different? And who will ever know if the first one is even telling the truth?

Yes, it is very contagious, and it doesn¡¦t take long for other local players who think 100.3% means they automatically win to be overcome by such a hypnotic effect. So when the end of the year comes around and the numbers just don¡¦t seem to add up, all those fabulous food comps suddenly turn into $79.95 buffet breakfasts, $147.45 BLT¡¦s, and $300.00 very healthy chicken fried steak dinners. Ladies and Gentlemen ¡K we had a loser, but now we do have an instant winner! And this goes on year after year after year.

Why can¡¦t we be sure who is telling the truth and who is not? Well, just how can anyone prove or disprove anything? These people know that, and they take full advantage of it. Anyone can say anything they want, and if they travel in a crowd or are on an Internet board with a group of similarly fevered players, not a soul will question anything they say. I profited over $187,000 in 2002 without comps or cash back since I do not use a slot club card, and I am not able to manipulate the figures as others do.

So how do I expect anyone to believe me? I¡¦m told some do and most don¡¦t, but in my case I¡¦m not selling strategy or my own notoriety. Beyond that, I play for myself and my family and not for them or their crowd. People who live by the virtue of common sense can eventually sort all the claims out. My main wonder is why anyone outside of this ¡¥advantage¡¦ player video poker clique would ever believe anything that they print. And guess what? Most don¡¦t. Oh, many do at first, but in time the feeling always passes.

My approach to all this is to figure out what makes sense and what does not. I look for reasons for players to proclaim themselves winners. I look for patterns. I study hidden agendas. And I do my own investigations at times. But most of all, I constantly talk to many advantage players and I know what¡¦s what. Video poker machines are in casino¡¦s inventories to take money from players, and the more they play the more they lose. Promotions, 2-for-1 deals, free cash envelope contests, silly scratch tickets, giveaways, and all the other slot club nonsense are there for 1 reason only: To reel in all the advantage-seeking, compulsive players that much more in order to take their money that much faster and that much longer.

You want proof? Simply stand on the Strip and look up at the fabulous string of hotels in either direction, or run around town off-Strip and see if the local¡¦s casinos are shutting their doors. You want spoof? See if any of these master players will provide proof