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Training and playing in the short term

Aug 3, 2004 3:19 AM

Every now and then I combine a for-profit trip to Las Vegas with some training, some entertainment, and maybe a little bit of visiting with some friends. Just recently I returned from one of these busy agendas, and it was every bit as enjoyable as it was successful. But unlike fun, success does not come easy all the time. When you play expecting to win as I do, you soon realize that a new, interesting experience is waiting to tantalize every time.

Aside from checking into several hotels on the Strip, I chose to stay at Sam’s Town as I do once a month. My play there qualifies me for free everything, they have the multi-game/multi-denomination coin-less machines in five levels that I like, and it’s a good base to start from whenever I go for a Romp-Thru-Town (RTT) Play Strategy.

But there’s one problem: In the past year or so I haven’t had good results there, and this weekend was not much different. Although I win at most other places around town, right now they’ve got my number.

But my first night started off with a session win of $1,400. At the $5 level I was into double double bonus poker and hit four 2’s without the kicker to end a fairly short play session. Then I met with a local couple who asked me to instruct them on my Advanced RTT strategy.

The couple opted to play a 5¡/20¡/50¡ with a $5 mini-session goal. After telling them that starting at nickels in this type of strategy essentially makes it a not-so-desirable two-level play because 100 credits are required at 5¡ in order to cash out, they began. It didn’t take long to lose three sessions and $600, and only one quad was hit along the way. It’s actually the very first time I’ve worked with players on a variation of my play strategy where they lost. But these were seasoned players and I don’t really think it did much to shake their confidence in playing to win. I always recommend at least four levels starting at quarters or above with $10 mini-session goals, but if players aren’t comfortable with those limits then it’s always up to them.

After the third session I attempted to win some of that money back, but instead found myself parting with $800 on the dollar machine. All in all it was a frustrating experience to say the least. But the weekend was just beginning and I knew, from vast experience, that the last page was far from being turned.

In the morning I awoke refreshed and ready to go for a romp at 6 a.m. Naturally I began downstairs, and once again I dropped $3,500. But as somehow expected, I then went to 11 different casinos around town and won at every one but the Rio (lost $2,500), and made an overall profit of $4,100. As is usual with that type of win, there was one big hit — at the Hard Rock where four aces showed up on the $4 machine for $3,200. Yes, their 25¡/50¡/$1/$2 is a 10-coiner, so it gave me five levels up through $4.

After about an hour discussing my strategy and special plays that deviate from expert play with a friend at the Rio, I headed back to Sam’s Town. There I played a six-level romp (I went to the $20 machine after $5) trying to see if I could change my luck. I won $2,800, but on the very next session I lost that same amount. Very strange indeed, but since I’m a believer in anything can happen and usually does when playing video poker, I accepted the result, went to see I. Robot, had dinner with some friends, and made an early trip upstairs for the evening.

Before I left at 2 a.m., I played one final session and won $500. I haven’t counted out exactly where I’m at yet, but it’s somewhere around $1,200 ahead for the trip. Not too bad, considering I was on several other people’s schedules at times, I had no quit goal since I was going to leave when I did regardless, and I didn’t really bring the proper bankroll to be playing the $20 machine. I chalked up another interesting experience, picked up another win, and my mind is still spinning from all the what-ifs. Sounds pretty similar to every gambler’s visit to Nevada, does it not?

I realize many people who play video poker don’t play at some of the levels I do at times, but you should also know that if anyone asked me what level player I really feel I am, I’d say I’m at $2. The higher limit machines are only a part of my play strategies in the area of recovery, and I will never risk money won from any jackpot to hit another on a higher level of play. To do so would be the true sign of an addicted loser.

So goes short-term play. Sure, a few others are always telling me how all the short terms add up to one long-term, and if I’m playing a 99.9 percent game I’ll lose one tenth of one percent over a million years. Yes, I had a rough trip this time around, but I won. And you know what? It didn’t hurt one bit to buy the $45 in gas to get me there and back.