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If it feels good ...

Nov 4, 2003 12:24 AM

Being a professional gambler has its ups and downs. For one thing, one of the major parts of my playing strategy requires that I leave town (whether it be Laughlin, Vegas, Lake Tahoe or Reno) immediately after winning a pre-set goal. And that means almost weekly travel to and from my close proximity state ”” Arizona.

The travel is worth the trouble because of the money, obviously. But as we all know, most people don’t win no matter what they try to do or how they try to do it. That’s why it’s so very important to approach the game in the exact opposite manner the casinos would expect and want you to.

Enter: Short-term, goal-oriented, romp-through-town type play. Why? Because casino executives are not stupid. They know the probability theories about video poker. And they know only too well that if any of this were even remotely capable of hurting their bottom line, every math major in the country would be involved in closing casino doors for good.

But we all live in a world of realism and not fantasy or wishes-come-true. That’s where I come in. I bring common sense to a game that heretofore has been manipulated by clever marketers as "beatable if you buy my products and play like I do."

I fill in the blanks where no one else ever has. I bring truth where there has been none. When I embark on romp-type trips to Nevada, I do so knowing I am going to win on over 95% of my visits. But some people remain skeptical and critical of how I do this. So on my latest trip I incorporated some changes that a number of readers wrote in about. My goal was to win $30 from every machine I played ”” or lose up to $750 trying. The results turned out to be, as is typical in nearly all of my video poker trips, quite interesting.

I began by stopping over at the Edgewater in Laughlin, where they were having a surprisingly nice Oktoberfest celebration in their giant activities tent. I occasionally play there because of the large number of multi-game, multi-denomination (up to $5) machines at the two main casino bars around the perimeter of the casino.

I grabbed a seat, put in $50, selected Triple Bonus Poker Plus, and on my fifth hand got four aces for $600. Normally I would leave at this point. But readers wonder why I do (which is only because of my own preference to leave every casino a winner).

So I began once again on the same machine and on the same game; $50 was lost on 50¡ this time. But on $2 Bonus Poker ”” and on a play that I have constantly converted throughout my career ”” I held a single ace over a 4-card straight and drew three more for a win of $800.

The math experts would say I’m giving up some meaningless, theoretical amount/hour, or it’s costing me this much to make that play. But I won with it, I’ve won with it many times before, and I hope to continue winning with it in the future. I’ve even had a royal with it. So who’s kidding who here.

This time I got up and left (after a stop in the tent of course). Tuscany in Las Vegas was my next stop. At the sports bar I very quickly hit four aces again on dollar "BP" ”” still my only type quad of the trip ”” and I left with a $330 profit.

At the Palms I finally hit a different quad ”” four tens on $5 BP for a profit of $220. But I then went to dollars and cashed out another $50. The Hard Rock contributed a mere $65 on two separate machines before I reluctantly left.

At Texas Station, three straight individual sessions on two machines netted a profit of $440 ”” helped by a rare straight flush on dollars. At Sam’s Town, I played a total of five sessions on three different machines and won every one, for an overall profit there of $690. My luck was a bit better than normal so far.

The next day I shot out to The Cannery. Here I quickly withdrew $30 and headed back over to Tuscany again. I remained undefeated as I scooped up another $35. Then it was time to go to the LV Hilton to meet an old buddy. He wasn’t having such good luck (at least while I was there), but I was ”” and I left with $400 profit from playing four machines.

But my winning streak came to a halt a Sam’s Town. Three straight losing sessions saw me depart with $1,900 of my winnings. I took my modest losing streak over to the Hard Rock once again for some feel-good play. I won $75 in two sessions and left with a smile.

The next day I gave Tuscany one last try. Three sessions on the same machine, and I lost $900. I attribute this to the fact that I couldn’t progress to $2 or $5 since they have none. I did get four 4’s on one of the sessions, but in a different casino I would have been on a $5 machine by that point. On my way home I stopped at Harrahs in Laughlin. It’s always good to end play on a winning note, and four 2’s on $5 BP gave me a $660 win.

So on this trip I deviated from my policy of winning (or losing) my goals at a casino and leaving immediately. It probably really had no effect on my overall bottom line, but I just didn’t feel as good as I do when I romp from place to place after a goal is met.

And it’s very important for me to enjoy what I’m doing when gambling. Oh, one other point: Slot Club Cards. I used them at Edgewater, Tuscany, Sam’s Town, LVH, and Texas Station. Those were the only ones I had with me. But guess what? Who cares? I play to win money and not to pile up the points! What about the food? Well here’s a new concept: I paid for it out of they money I won! And that’s the name of the game.