Are you serious
or recreational?

Nov 11, 2003 1:36 AM

As writers I believe we have a responsibility to clearly delineate exactly what it is we do, how we do it, and why we do it the way that we do. This is no game. We are setting the stage for players who are ready to put their hard earned money on the line with machines that can very easily become a nightmare come true.

And if we care at all about what happens to anyone who listens to us, then we are accountable to continually inform our readers how we play, how we’re doing on a regular basis with the methods we choose to use, and even what our overall feelings are about our actual results. As with anything important in our lives, constant and effective up-to-date communication can make all the difference in the world.

In my case, no one should ever have any question about my play, as I frequently write of many of my casino experiences along with all the details. I know, as a reader, players enjoy reading about other’s experiences far more than they do when reading about probabilities, math models, and the nebulous explanations behind optimal play and theoretical expectations.

It’s always easy to see how I separate my play between recreational and professional. Most of my trips to Nevada are for professional play ”” either with my standard Play Strategy, to play Multi-Strike Poker, Five-Play games, or on my increasingly enjoyable, and profitable, Romp-Through-Town style of play.

The stats on my site reflect only these visits. But whenever I travel with my wife Cindy to any of the locations throughout Nevada (I rarely play anywhere else ”” and NEVER at Indian casinos anywhere), or to simply meet with someone to discuss game approaches or anything else, any play is purely recreational. Certainly, when I’m not playing as a pro my results often show a loss. But even that statistic took a hit recently, as the second biggest profit-taking trip I’ve ever had came on vacation with my wife. You can plan on losing ”” as I always do when I’m on a schedule and often do not take along the proper gaming bankroll ”” but you just never know.

If one follows how I play, it’s easy to see that I do not spend very many hours in casinos like I used to during my losing, long-term strategy days years ago. Thus, it’s not all that hard to put in a good percentage of pro-type play.

My rules are easy: Whenever I have a schedule to follow ”” or anyone else’s schedule of any kind for that matter ”” my play is recreational.

Unless I’m able to do as I choose when and how I choose to do it, I’m at a less than 100% concentration level ”” and that means I’m not really playing for profit. A player cannot play at the discipline level required to win money when distractions come first.

Another instance of nebulous writing I believe occurs when we get the idea that video poker expert’s main thrust is to play for as many points as he can get ”” regardless of the cost. Multiple point days, room/food/and show comps, special promotion deals, bounce back cash goals, and those inane tournament invitations all appear to take precedence over the true reason people gamble: TO WIN MONEY!

The end-all of playing the game is not for the points, my friends. The sooner you realize the fluff behind all the rhetoric, the sooner you can be able to begin to understand the real way to approach the game to win money.

When it comes down to it, the true difference between recreational, serious, and professional players is in who wins consistently and who does not. Over the past few years, my bringing out this kind of thinking has had one or two known players publicly announce they now play for recreation only, where they previously gave us the idea they were hard-core pros.

Losing does have that kind of effect on people. Recreational play often means enjoyment without profit. Serious players generally play far too often for their own good, usually relying on faulty optimal-play information as sold by too many sources.

Professional? Well, there are a few, but there just aren’t the hundreds others will have you believe there are. But the bottom line of every video poker player is to win, and most don’t. And if they did, the casinos would no longer have the game. Thank God for long-term strategy.