The many faces
of winning at vp!

Nov 18, 2003 1:13 AM

The excitement, variety, and consistency of winning are the foundation of short-term play. That is why when you read my columns you will never see monotonous math-laced rhetoric, where theories and what-ifs dominate with overwhelming illogic.

Instead, I prefer to take you along on as many of my actual experiences as possible, so you can begin to feel the ease at which I’m able to scoop up the money, sometimes almost at will.

Every time out is interestingly different, and there is never any of the marathon, zombie-like sessions I used to play. The latest was a Laughlin to Las Vegas romp, mixed in with a training session that had twists and turns like no other.

I left Halloween night after a fun evening of passing out candy and scaring the many children who came to our door. That’s my first real advantage: I rarely make the 4½ hour drive when everybody else from the Phoenix area does.

I also try to stick with easy-in, easy-out casinos, and Laughlin has plenty of those. I used to struggle all the time making my first priority finding casinos with the winning pay tables ”” as directed by the famous "experts." Not so any longer. I control what I do and how I do it, and my chances of beating any machine anywhere at any time are sky high. I took a bankroll of $9,000 this time, willing to lose it going after a win goal of $1,500 in increments of at least $50 per session. The challenge was there and I was ready.

The Riverside saw me first. Oops, I found I forgot my slot club card when I was looking for it, but who really cares about that anyway. What surprised me was an unusual 9-K SF on dollar BP when I held just a Queen, and I left with a $200 win. My next stop was my old friend the Ramada Express, and I had my card. Good luck was not with me until four 4’s on the $10 BP machine. I walked out with a W2G and $500 of their money. Then I drove over to the Edgewater, inserted my One Club card, and a series of full houses on three $5 BP sessions allowed me to take $400. Wow, $1,100 in just three stops, but I never close the book before reading the last page.

Because of that, I chose to leave for Las Vegas. I went into the Fiesta-Henderson and lost $300 at one of the bar machines. But at the $5 BP floor machine I hit four Jacks for another $200 win ”” and I probably even racked up some meaningful points!

Over at Sam’s Town, I again had my card, and chiseled away at two sessions for a profit of $100. That’s 5 for 5, and I was nearly finished with the final chapter. I only had $100 more to go before my professional play was over for the trip.

But fate decided to make my Nevada visit a whole lot different, as it so often and without warning does. My old nemesis Tuscany grabbed $600 with no quads. But I did get 2,000 points! Now, do you see how dumb it is to get goose bumps when you watch the point total climb? So I thought it was time to go to a place I’ve never lost ”” the Palms.

That streak abruptly ended as I limped out carrying $2,400 less than I strutted in with. I was now down $1,600. And oh yes, did I rack up the points there! I probably even could have asked for and received a free lunch, but I gave up the $2,400 BLT in 1996.

I was now in unfamiliar territory. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t finished playing, but I had a personal short-term strategy-training meet to make at the place where I was staying, the Hard Rock. The lady was from Dallas, and she makes in her own words "two or three losing trips a year" to Las Vegas. She wanted to change that, but she also said she was afraid of playing as high as dollars. This was her first Singer lesson: scared money never won a dime.

After coming to an understanding on that rather important issue, I offered to use my money in this session, but she wanted to use her slot card that she was proud to remember to take along, and I had no problem with that.

We sat at a multi-play machine that had nickels through dollars on it. She wanted to win a simple $40 and call it a day (for some people that’s what makes them comfortable, and that’s always OK with me). She dealt, held, and I drew. We blew through $20 in nickels with no quads, and then the same with $100 in quarters.

But on the very first hand in dollars the machine blew her mind. She held two suited high cards and I drew the other three for her first royal fush ever on dollars — only because she’d never played them before. However, the experience did cause a dilemma to follow.

As I stated, we were using my money but her card. So when it came time to sign the W2G it was printed out in her name. Was it her taxable or mine? Who’s money WAS it anyway?

These were two very interesting questions for basically two strangers who have never previously met or even talked, to ponder. If it were to be her win then it would have been something beyond her wildest dreams for this visit. If it were mine, I would have been happy to surpass my trip win goal. One thing we had no say in was the W2G. That was hers. But does that mean she automatically gets the money? After all, she’d have nothing without my bankrolling the play.

I was tired, but we sat and had a drink at Viva Las Vegas lounge to talk it over. It turns out this was a very reasonable woman. She was rightfully concerned about paying taxes on the win in April, and she told me I could have the win if I gave her $200. I have no idea of her family’s tax situation, but I decided $500 would be better. She accepted, gave me the remaining Ben Franklins, and we parted ways. How nice of her, how lucky we both were to have understood each other, and how very interesting this whole situation was.

The excitement clouded my mind a little. For no reason I went over to Terribles and won $200. No I did not use a card. But back at the Hard Rock, still in a sleepless daze, I poured in $500 with no return.

After six hours sleep I went home. I had my $1,500 win, and the most storied of teaching sessions I’ve had to date. As I drove (at this time of night) the lonely road between the Hoover Dam and Kingman, I glanced to my right and saw the lights of Laughlin trying to light up the clouded night sky. At the same time and directly under that view, my passenger’s side mirror clearly showed the bright lights of Las Vegas eerily cutting through the clouds where Laughlin’s just couldn’t succeed. A fitting closure to my departure from Nevada. Just as in all of my trips there, I never know the true look of what’s coming, or going. But I do know that I am blessed for being able to do this in the way that I do it. I also know there will be many more faces of video poker play awaiting in my future. And I am ready.