Proof of strategy is in the payoffs!

Sep 27, 2004 12:40 PM

Yes, I’ve heard it all. But the most consistent criticism of my play strategies seems to be "Singer, all you do is play Martingale when you progress, and although you’ll undoubtedly experience many small winners, you’ll eventually run into that devastating loss that will wipe out your bankroll." And this from the so-called mathematical minds out there who keep statistics on everything from the average price of spaghetti to how many steps it usually takes to walk from their cars into their favorite local casino.

A Martingale system in its purest form says to double your table game bet until you either win one hand or reach the table limit — in which case your plan is instantly defeated. And it always happens. But in a game such as video poker, many, many consecutive hands can be lost, and the player still can win with either one large hit or several smaller ones. It happens all the time with me, and I mean ALL THE TIME.

My critics know this, yet they have no other statements to explain how most of my sessions end up winners. They keep waiting for that one big loss to occur — and it did last year — but for some reason they never consider the fact that easier to attain, even larger winners, happen along the way ”¦ and they have. It’s along the lines of how one of our famous politicians always gets caught up in his own flip-flops. The one problem? My critics know how to flip but they just can’t get to the flop. They understand losses, but they just can’t figure in the wins.

One of my favorite amusements these days is reading how a handful of players go to painstaking limits to analyze statistics and theories of video poker — and one or two even write it down in columns that they assume other people will read. "I will never play at a casino where I do not have the advantage" is the battle cry of the gurus. Yet to any intelligent player, it is well known that the casinos always hold the edge over every player who walks through their doors! So then what’s the catch? Ahhh, they’re selling their strategy, and hope others are buying it.

I can’t imagine getting caught up in all that nonsense but many people do. I simply go into casinos to win money without considering the numbers of how and why and when it should happen. Video poker is a very interesting game, and how it plays out statistically will certainly keep the googly-eyed mathematicians busy analyzing it for more than a lifetime. But why worry about all that stuff when it’s supposed to be fun?

And fun is what I have. My last trip to Nevada, although a little on the overkill side of things, was the epitome of hard work and fun all rolled up into one satisfying bundle. I would play as many Advanced Romp-Thru-Town (ARTT) play strategies as I could fit into the time I had to be there, and my play would start in Laughlin at the Edgewater. A favorite of mine because of the multi-game/multi-denomination games up through $5 at the very long bar (it will be even more-so the day they install Ticket-In/Ticket-Out technology there), there has been one small problem: I used to win consistently at the place, but in the past year or so I have not.

But today was different. My first ever Edgewater royal flush — which is very, very unusual given the amount of time I’ve spent there — finally showed up, and it was on the $5 Bonus Poker (BP) game. Of course, it was on what some would call a "negative game" and if I stayed at quarters instead of progressing I would have won $19,000 less. But I walked out of there with an extra $20,450 because of ARTT. So just where was that "devastating loss" I always hear about? Well, it certainly wouldn’t be on this trip, because I only brought $4,000 with me, and at first light I went across the river to put the royal into the bank.

The next day-and-a-half I spent walking around town and playing at the Rio, Aladdin, Mandalay Bay and Paris. My sessions went well, but it took some work. I hit four aces on $5 BP, four 3’s with a 2 kicker on $10 Double Double Bonus Poker, and on my next-to-final session I was in the hole $11,500 before hitting four 2’s on a $25 Triple Bonus Poker+ game for a slight profit later on after a welcome dinner break. I did have one losing $5,000 session in-between all that, but it was hardly noticeable.

Is it common to turn $4,000 into well over $25,000 in five sessions? No, but I’ve had it happen a number of times in the past years that I’ve changed over from long-term, optimal-play to intelligent, goal-oriented short-term play. And the best part about all this besides the money? I never, EVER play for hours on end, and most people would not believe the short amount of time I put in on these sessions. If you like to sit there like a zombie for hour after hour, be my guest. I prefer to move around and enjoy other parts of my life that require some sort of activity without the smoke inhalation.

So there you have it. Another example of why it is an absolutely necessity to play within a structured progression system if you expect to consistently win at video poker. But I wouldn’t go out and jump right into it either. Nothing is more important than having a plan and sticking to it, and you MUST ALWAYS be prepared with the proper bankroll. Don’t worry about playing at lower limits. It works well at any level of denominations as long as you have fun and are comfortable. And you don’t have to buy a thing from me to understand that.