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Hit & run poker!

Oct 28, 2003 4:59 AM

Recently, I’ve fielded a lot of questions regarding my short-term playing strategy that rarely fails to prove successful.

Specifically, my plan dictates that I choose to win (or lose) a certain amount on a single machine in any given casino ”” and then leave to start the process elsewhere.

In order to better understand the thinking behind my "win and leave" style of play, it may help to take you through my romp through Laughlin casinos ”” from which I’ve just returned moments ago.

Our destination was the Ramada Express, where my wife and I were going to begin three months of celebrating our 25th anniversary. Laughlin is a relatively easy location for this type of play, since all the casinos are within a close proximity of each other.

All play was based on winning a minimum of just $40, my overall goal was to win $1,200, and as soon as these goals were attained we would move on.

Our first stop was the Riverside, where I consider the casino secondary to all the other attractions Don Laughlin has offered up. At $1 Bonus Poker, we won $50 — but it took almost 20 minutes since we had a slow start.

Next we went to the other end of the "Laughlin Strip" to Harrah’s. Here we played $5 Bonus Poker, and after just three hands we walked out with a $75 profit. Not a lot to most people, but then again, most people do not walk out on the positive side of things.

Greed is the trademark of losers. And given the denominations I usually play, there’s always the chance of much bigger winners appearing at any time.

Our next stop was the Golden Nugget — in my opinion the only true luxury resort on Casino Drive. But we didn’t get to spend much time there, as our first hand at $5 Bonus Poker yielded a flush — and a win of $100.

Colorado Belle saw our next action. I chose a $1 Double Double Bonus game near the casino cage. Thirty minutes of play produced our first quad of the day — four 8’s. We took our $60 profit to the Edgewater, where we collected another seemingly easy $40 on a single $1 Bonus Poker machine.

Cindy was beginning to tire of the walking and short drives, so when we went into the Flamingo, I put our $325 profit, into a $5 Double Double Bonus machine in the high-limit area — hoping for a make-or-break session. And that it was.

After losing our winnings as well as another $500, we were dealt 444K4 — a tasty $2,000 winner. But this was Double Double Bonus poker. This was supposed to be a negative expectation game that the so-called experts say we’re crazy if we play. This was a game the experts said would take our bankroll if we were to play it throughout infinity.

Well, we were here only for a tick out of eternity, and being dealt a special quad in this game has always been special to me. There is nothing more exciting than drawing to such a dealt hand in a game with kickers, and in this case an ace graced our screen for a payoff of $4,000! Happily, we finally went over to the Ramada to check in.

Here we faced a dilemma, but it was of the welcome variety. Normally, I would immediately leave for home after attaining my trip goal, but this day was the beginning of nearly three months of celebrating, and we had a reservation at our favorite steakhouse in Laughlin. What I did was put my $1,200 win goal away, and the rest we would have a good time with on the Ramada’s machines.

But it did not turn out so good, as video poker can always bring even the loftiest of players back to earth. Before our late dinner we risked nearly $2,000, and the only machine we won on was $10 Bonus Poker. Our session began with quad 8’s and a straight flush on $1 Double Bonus Poker, but those were the last big hands we saw all night.

Our dinner was excellent as usual, and after a restful night we left early in the morning — a day earlier than expected. We still had our win goal of $1,200, and we left without a tear. After all, how many people who visited Nevada this weekend left with that much of a profit?

So why is it that I find it necessary to leave a certain casino after winning a pre-set goal? Why do I not simply move to another machine and begin again — or even start over with my current machine?

Some people think I have a superstition, or maybe I don’t believe a machine can win multiple times very often. Well, it’s none of these things, and I think you’ll agree my reasons for leaving after winning make sense if you play to win, and not simply play to play or play to foolishly pile up the points on your club card.

I greatly enjoy winning anything in a short session at a casino, and yes, it is entirely possible to do the same thing over and over — albeit there’s always a chance of being over zealous in your approach.

The satisfaction I feel as I walk out those doors and into the parking lot is extreme, all because I spent nearly seven years losing 80% of the time. I want to feel good about what I just did, and I want it to stay with me for as long as possible.

Today I’m not giving anything back that I don’t have to. Similarly, I like the variety of different places to play, and the more I spread my play around the less notoriety I’ll receive. It makes it all a whole lot more interesting, and it’s brought a new meaning to the phrase advantage player.

The one big difference? I win almost every time out, and more importantly, I know how to keep what I win. Truly, it is the essence of short-term romp-through-town type play.