Winning is the only important thing in video poker

April 08, 2008 7:00 PM
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The Undeniable Truth by Rob Singer | With all the commercialization that video poker has gone through in the past 10 years from the outside looking in (or vice-versa), it’s easy to see why so many novice to regular players have lost sight of the single most important aspect of the game – taking home casino money!

In case you’ve forgotten, the only reason the casinos are in business is to take ours.

Yes I know, some people like to believe the casinos are only trying to do us all a favor. They spin marketing efforts and slot club promotions into an easier way for players to withdraw more money than what’s normal. In the end, casino managers have nearly all the laughs. Yet, this irrational cycle always continues for advantage players everywhere.

While my views are controversial to others, my singular goal is to win money whenever I play at a machine. I’ve never allowed that to become diluted with what others have and I never will. There’s quite a difference playing as a professional and playing out of pure habit.

Do players truly understand what constitutes winning? Surprisingly, most do not. To begin, the vast majority of players are suckers who run into a casino whether from the local streets or another state. They lose whatever they have and then go home broke. "A good time was had by all" is what they’re likely to chirp. In reality, it was not.

The next largest group of players are our friends – the Advantage Players (AP’s). The one fitting word to describe them is "creative." Among its players are the math enthusiasts (those thinking they’re secretively flying under casino radar), the game’s famous names and gurus. A common link: They all believe they’re smarter than the casinos.

So let’s take a look.

Casino A is having a triple points promotion, Casino B is paying double for quad 6’s and royal flushes. Casino C is giving away a $500 camera to those who earn 20,000 points today only. So which casino would be the one to visit? All three, because the hook is out there and the temptation to gamble for all these goodies is overwhelming.

You’re thinking the casino managers must be raving lunatics for making it so easy for everyone and anyone to help wipe them out today! Well, if that were the case, don’t you think that by now, casinos everywhere would be shutting down? Heck, there wouldn’t be a promotion going on at virtually all the casinos every day.

Common sense, right? But slick AP’s have another agenda. They look at a machine’s theoretical payback through infinity, then apply value from today’s special promotion along with any other regular slot club benefits. Only problem is, they’re only playing it for a few hours. You see, that’s how long their bankroll will hold out.

But hold on, Amigo! So what if AP No. 1 lost $3,000 in cash chasing this stuff today? No problem. Because he put $50,000 worth of action thru the machines at a 1.8 percent edge, he actually came out ahead by $900 in value! There’s just no way to lose doing this, and none of them ever do! Only problem? The mortgage company hasn’t started accepting phantom bucks yet.

Have such players lost sight of the true purpose of playing? Absolutely. But that never stops their creativity talents. Because of all the slot club extras, etc., you’ll never find one who says they lose at year end! Well, almost.

One guru recently admitted to being a perennial loser at the machines for years when public perception indicated that wasn’t the case. Once slot club value was added in, presto-chango, we have a winner every year! And we can all rest easy knowing what we bought (and bought into) is still worth something.

The final group of players (by far the smallest) play with unwavering discipline and within a structured goal-oriented plan. They use the proper bankroll for their intent and thoroughly comprehend that no player will ever beat the casinos at their own math game. These are players who have been taught and trained by me. Players who have chosen to follow the general guidelines for winning that I’ve set down. They understand that money won directly from the machines is the only measure of video poker success.

And what does slot club value and marketing promotions mean to us? A lot. I accept any and all giveaways just like everyone else. The big difference is that I don’t need or use them to somehow manufacture a winner out of a loser. I understand how simple benefits can add staggering value to those in need, but I have no reason to inflate the fluff for public perception or anything else.

Too often we’ve seen where playing video poker for the points, the freebies, the extras or slot club status has become the end-all. That’s just what the casinos want. They’ll gladly trade receiving your $2,000 for $85 in comps and not mind if you win. That’s because all they have to do is lay out another similar promotion tomorrow to be right back in.

I teach to ignore all of it. Go back to the basics and play only for the money. You’ll start to like the track you’re on.