Hold on to what you win!

Dec 9, 2003 2:43 AM

If you’re a video poker player, you’ve been down this road many times before ”” but you likely will travel it less after today: You’re at one of your favorite casinos playing one of your favorite machines. Things aren’t going so well as you feed one twenty after another into that hungry feeder. Even your points aren’t piling up as fast as you thought. Then, suddenly, you start to hit some winners. Then some more, and some are big. Out of nowhere, you’ve not only recovered the $80 you just lost, you’re up by another 875 credits. You now KNOW the reason for getting up this morning!

So what’s a player to do? Why, according to nearly every so-called expert, you keep on playing! Certainly, taking home several hundred dollars more than you walked in with is NOT an option.

No, you don’t get up and leave until you’re either falling asleep at the keys, your spouse comes in and drags you out, or you’re completely broke! And even if you do hit a royal flush, all that means is you get to sit there longer and continue to pile up the points.

Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? Well, don’t be surprised to learn you aren’t the only player who succumbs to this type of nonsense.

I know I have ”” many times ”” up until that blessed day in early 1997 when I woke up and started using my own Play Strategies instead of playing follow the so-called leader.

When I first discovered what was wrong with all the video poker hype, I set a goal to work the entire issue ”” and not stop ”” until I came up with both a common sense explanation of what was going on, and a successful way to play the game for anyone who made the commitment to do so. I’ve been fortunate to succeed on both counts.

Consistent winning is of course a whole lot of fun. But one of the most difficult things to do in video poker is to quit when you’re ahead. Critics claim we do not know when that optimal time occurs ”” and they’re right.

But whoever said to quit then anyway? I teach to set a win (or loss) goal and then stop, take the money, and try again. I teach to progress in denomination and game volatility within the different denominations, and place less importance on whether or not the casino has full-pay games.

And I teach that trying to accumulate X amount of points for that free whatever along the way is the path to doom.

Learning to hold onto what you’ve just won is the prime directive for the player in gambling. Knowing how to get back what the player has won — along with grabbing much more along the way — is the casino manager’s prime directive.

So guess who wins that battle over 99 percent of the time? And therein my friends, is the key to beating the casinos. Players lose, then they try to teach their machine a lesson. They never learn. That’s where I come in. Play with your brain instead of your impulses. Hold on to what you’ve just won. Believe me, you will smile.