A little truth, please!

Jan 13, 2004 12:08 AM

I love critics. No, let’s just say I enjoy listening to them when they know what they’re talking about. And I’m no stranger to being a critic. I began by exposing what I saw as extreme flaws that were constantly being preached to us by the then-famous names in the game.

To them, math models and probability theories meant more money in their pockets. But was it from winning or through the sale of their video poker products?

Recently I listened to an archived broadcast of KDWN’s Stardust Line show of Dec. 19, in which self-proclaimed professional sports bettor Steve Fezzik squared off against GamingToday Managing Editor Dave Stratton in a winner-take-all $10,000 football handicapping contest.

In a backhanded move, Fezzik began his portion of the show by taking several cheap shots at me as a writer on the GamingToday staff. "I’d rather see Anthony Curtis and Stanford Wong write columns for GamingToday" he said.

Oh really? The comment wasn’t really that surprising though, since this "pro’s pro" is now and/or has been a business associate of both aforementioned personalities.

While Fezzik fired away, Dave Stratton countered back logically and the best he could — even in the face of a microphone that was "mistakenly" shut off at one point. One point of contention was that I was accused of re-writing the mathematics books, and that my own book "The Undeniable Truth About Video Poker" was causing players to lose money!

Hmm, I wonder if he has proof or support for that statement. He certainly didn’t produce any.

One point Fezzik made that was mostly the truth was that I do play mainly negative expectation video poker games ”¦ and win! He had no intention of expanding on the comment though, because the spin he was applying to my strategy wasn’t going to be challenged on that show.

But I’ll help him out a little: You prepare yourself with and have access to the proper bankroll (about four times 400 credits of the largest denomination your pre-determined plans have you playing on the trip); you educate yourself on computer-perfect play for every game you choose to play; you set win and loss goals BEFORE going into play.

In addition, you play a progression both in denomination and game volatility — with a clear understanding that you will make special, non-mathematically perfect/long-term play strategy holds whenever the opportunity arises to nail one of the many special quads in Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, Triple Bonus Poker Plus, Super Bonus Poker, or Super Aces Bonus Poker; and you do EXACTLY what you said you were going to do when goals are attained. That, my friends, is how you win nearly every session or trip.

I’m sure, from more of his comments, that Fezzik doesn’t understand what I do when I play the game that I consider myself a professional at. He mockingly says that I return home only long enough to "tag the building" and if that makes him feel good then I won’t spoil his fantasy. But in truth, when you play a structured goal-oriented strategy incorporating progressions that also use various games to reach different goals, every single session (trip) is its own individual event — having absolutely nothing to do with what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow.

At the onset of the show, Fezzik announced that should he win the $10,000, he pledged $2,000 to a local charity and $1,000 to the Stardust ticket writers. I consider that an admiral gesture. But as a professional gambler who said he made 90% of his income from gambling, I question why he needed to win this contest in order to donate $3,000 to these deserving causes. Moreover, I’m always leery of people who publicize their charitable gestures. That sent up yet another red flag.

And how did the contest turn out, this winner-take-all $10,000 pro vs. amateur shoot-out? Well, the advantage player was firmly beaten by the amateur who was defending reasons for my playing negative games.

Fezzik closed out his comments about me by alluding to the fact that I really do not win as I report I do, and that I’ll of course keep on reporting it that way. My site www.vptruth.com keeps an up-to-date running total of all my professional play since 1997, and the back up for that along with my sometimes recreational play is what I support my returns and audits for the IRS with. Yes, it’s difficult to satisfy every critic in this business — and proof is difficult. But I haven’t backed off whenever GamingToday or my book publisher has asked for proof. What other professional has done this?