Winning’s an art, not a science!

Apr 17, 2003 2:18 AM

In the world of the video poker, good play consists of setting reasonable goals, losing a comfortable pre-set limit, or walking away with a satisfying win of a few dollars to many thousands or more.

It is a concept built on discipline, and an ability to outthink, outsmart, and outplay institutions that have always believed that their long term advantage over the masses would never have been deciphered.

The bulk of players, however, have been misled or has misled themselves into accepting that it’s OK to lose 70% to 80% of the time, of course with the promise that the many small losses will hopefully be overcome by a few big hits.

I think most of you know by now that I firmly fit the side of the balance sheet where common sense reigns.

My professional play has been extremely successful through the adaptation and commitment to rules that are strictly adhered to every time I play, while my recreational play is successful in taking small, very short-term profits from time to time.

Yet when I do play for the fun of it all, those separate results are always unprofitable at the end of each year ”” mainly because I may sit at a quarter or dollar machine for several hours waiting on someone or something that defines my schedule for that particular time.

There’s plenty of support for the "other side." Just recently I read where one of the more famous long-term advantage players blamed their losing year on the fact that they just didn’t get enough play in at the multi-plays that they were chasing.

Another very knowledgeable "advantage" player recently wrote about winning a million dollars in a 6-month span at high stakes video poker. It was meant to be a testament to extraordinary winning, but such apparent scientific play has an obvious other side to the story.

As blinding as this person’s winning may seem, do we live in a 6-month world? Do we suddenly stop playing high-limit games, or maybe more appropriately, are we able to stop?

Certainly, $1.1million over 18 or 24 months in video poker is far more impressive because of the amount of time entrenched in such a satisfying winning streak, is it not? And would it not give much more credibility to the long-term theory, especially for those in the video poker business?

The bottom line here is that at the end of the day, for every player everywhere, luck is the determining factor of their video poker fate. When you rely on science to pull you through because you have read the books and practiced until the keyboards wear out, you do nothing more than fall into the rut of having to play too much for your own good ”” financially and physically.

And then, your profitability remains in the hands of the gods of luck. That is why I chose to step back and look at all this nonsense from a sensible point of view. Understanding the mathematics of the game is a solid base from which to form your foundation of a winning strategy. But just as the casinos did not stop at that goal (more profit-making slot clubs were formed with enticing offers to addicted players), a winning player must use his or her human ability to overcome the force of the casino. Approaching the game as an art rather than a science has done that for me.