Exclusive Content   Join Now

Sometimes,traveling’s better
than arriving

Sep 7, 2004 2:09 AM

Let’s look at two distinct scenarios: You’re an out-of-towner from a state other than Nevada. You’ve made plans to make a video poker trip to Las Vegas, and tomorrow is the day you’ll go. You’re ready to make a killing, and you’re even more prepared to get all those delicious comps that are ripe for the picking.

Or you’re a local Nevadan who can go to casinos almost any time you want. You just went yesterday, but going again today — like it is every day — is once again in your plans.

What is it about the video poker machines that makes most players’ hands sweat at the mere mention of them? How does it have such a powerful lure?

For one thing, the game itself needs no assistance in reeling players in to play. It is THE most interesting interactive slot game in any casino, and as a result, it is also the most addictive.

People generally need no encouragement in finding their way to the machines. Once a player is hooked on the intermittent satisfaction obtained from whenever they win, few can resist coming back to do it all over again.

It’s not very difficult in understanding why so many people seemingly just can’t get enough of the game. Yet, what usually happens to just about every one of them once they actually sit down to do battle? Yes, they lose, and some lose more than they can afford to.

So how does this all make any kind of sense? Well it doesn’t, and therein lies the nearly unbelievable anomaly associated with playing video poker. Most players realize they are going to lose, many players put too much money at risk — but they all are chasing some extra money for their pockets. However, it is the anticipation of winning and the possibilities surrounding that scenario that drives them, and they will go to almost any lengths to get the cash TODAY in order to attain that feeling.

People who are not around the game often but like to play it are a prime example of this very intriguing system. You took a trip (by car or plane) to Las Vegas last weekend. You played video poker for hours on end, chasing some other writer’s long-term dream you’ve always questioned in the back of your head what the heck that really had to do with you. You had your room and food completely comped by the generous casino host who invited you in.

But you lost six times what you would have paid for the entire trip in cash! Worse yet, as soon as you returned home, you looked in the mail and found another offer luring you to come back in for some more video poker play — and unless you finally experience extreme good luck — also for more abuse!

The picture above is more real than you think. It’s what a good portion of casino profits from video poker are made of — the other being from locals who are unable to say no to the weekly flurry of slot club promotions going on all over town. But in both cases, it is the anticipation of what awaits down the road that is the catalyst for each and every one of these players. In essence, everyone travels with a ton of hope BEFORE they actually start to play. It is then that the reality of the situation begins to take over for most players once they start feeding the bills into the hungry machines.

"It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive" is a saying that can be applied to more than one aspect of life. In gambling, however, there are other more powerful forces at work that boost the meaning behind those words a thousand-fold.

Who wouldn’t want to win and come home with a pile of money anyway? And who doesn’t sit at home dreaming about all that cash they’re going to make on their next casino trip?

But once you experience the joy of consistent winning at the game, it finally does become more enjoyable to be playing video poker than merely thinking about winning hours or days before. Very few make that transformation, but when you do, you’ll know. And it will be only because you read more often than you scan over what the other guys have to say.