The Ten Commandments
ofvideo poker

May 18, 2004 6:13 AM

Everyone wants to know how to win and how to win often enough to make a difference. Here’s my version of what it takes to do just that.

Before we start, players are going to have to commit themselves to playing a strategy that actually gives them the opportunity for consistent winning right from the get-go. Each of the play strategies I’ve developed is capable of making any player as consistent a winner as I’ve been since 1997.

So here, with all due respect to Moses and his higher-ups, are my Ten Commandments of Winning:

1. Never play without a pre-set plan. Winning players set win/loss goals before going into the casinos. Only a fool would sit down and bang away at the buttons without direction. Goals are the catalyst to all success in life.

2. Do not let casino excitement detract from your plan. The booze, the cleavage, the music, and the fast-paced action are there for a reason — to assist you in making larger deposits into the casino vaults. Your defense is to always do what you said you were going to do. Let the other imbeciles finance all that entertainment. You’re there to win.

3. Make sure you have the proper bankroll for the strategy and denomination(s) that you intend to play. The formula is simple: Take at least three times 400 credits of the highest denomination you are going to play. There are variations to this rule depending on what strategy is to be played, but by and large this is the general rule.

4. Only stay at the same machine for a comfortable amount of time. If you become uneasy or fussy at any point, move on. Change casinos as often as you’d like. Spread your entertainment-seeking around. People who sit at the same machine for hours are some of the most unhappy and unsatisfied players I’ve ever talked to.

5. Stay away from casino ATMs. Besides enticing gamblers to play more than is healthful, casino cash machines tend to have the highest fees on the planet.

6. Always play the machines with the best pay tables in the casino. So often I see more patrons at the lower paying machines, just because they are nearer the entrance to the buffet, the music can be heard better, or they can see the TVs clearer. I always say video poker is a game of common sense. Does any of this make sense?

7. Never play for the points instead of the money. Don’t get excited about the upcoming triple points day, or the fact that the slot club is "giving away" logo windbreakers to anyone who earns 5,000 points on Tuesday. Make the smart choice and simply play for the money. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

8. Ignore promotions. They are the highest money-maker for any casino marketing department. Sure, you’ll hear and see the video poker gurus say how promos add a fraction of a percent to the theoretical pay out of this or that machine, but in reality, it only counts if you win the promotion! The rest go home losers. And besides, what difference does one-quarter of one percent make anyway?

9. Play where you want to play, and not where some misled well-wisher tells you to play. The optimal-play crowd tells you to stay away from some machines at all costs. I say they’re full of beans. Who’s to say you won’t hit a big winner today on any machine anywhere? As long as you have a plan associated with that hit, you will leave a winner.

10. Lastly, learn to think for yourself. Winners learn to sort things out for themselves, and they know they came to win money and not slot-club points. They are comfortable with how they approach the game, and rely on no one for their choices in playing hands. Is that you?