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Win by progressing

Nov 8, 2004 11:36 PM

I once had a conversation at Treasure Island about video poker with someone who turned out to be the dumbest player in the world. He called himself a ”˜semipro’ (whatever that is) who not only played video poker, he dabbled in blackjack and had all sorts of angles on sports betting. He told me he was "slightly ahead of the game overall" but I’ve since come to discover that he married into money — a whole lot of it. Now I know why he carried all that cash around. He wasn’t used to it.

As it is for many gamblers, video poker was his main squeeze, and when I saw him sit in front of the $5 machines I saw why he had to play the game. He was hooked on the game, and his ferocious play attested to that fact. When he won he wanted to win more. When he lost he tried to catch up. Classic symptoms of compulsive, pathological play before my very eyes!

Yet with all his feverish attempts to hit a royal flush, his dumbest statement had not thus far been spoken. After being up over $1400, he finally stopped at minus 6 or 7K. When I asked why he didn’t first set a win goal instead of simply playing his bankroll out trying for a royal, he uttered those famous words that I ridicule all the time: "I’ve got a coupon for today here that adds .4 percent to this game, and at over 100 percent, it’s a good play whether I win or lose." Yes, these words of wisdom were indeed spoken by a mature human being.

Whenever I come across such frivolity-in-action, it only serves to bolster the confidence I get from playing the only winning video poker Play Strategies that allow an intelligent player to consistently take home a nice profit. Although I have developed five different strategies (available to read or copy FOR FREE on the homepage of the one common trait between all but my multistrike strategy is in the denominational progression utilized in one form or another. Those who bang away at the same denomination hour after hour, day after day, overwhelmingly will tell you that there is no way to beat the machines.

What players look for during their sessions are winning hands, but if you get four or five of them and you’re already down hundreds of credits, what good has it done? Yes I know, the math geeks will foolishly say there’s that many more credits to sit there and play like a zombie for a few more hours so they can either hit a royal or pile up the points and get a smile or two from their host. But for those of us who play for the money, take a guess at just how much those words are worth! And these guys actually PAID for an education?”¦”¦

In the past year or two, the machine makers may not know it, but their progress has been an enormous help to my play. First, ticket-in/ticket-out technology began to spread among the casinos. Now, multi-game/multi-denomination machines are everywhere. Naturally, whenever I can find one that has all these attributes, that’s the machine I will play first. Why? Because my strategies dictate that I constantly cash out at certain win points, that I progress in denomination within a very structured pre-set plan, and that I increase game volatility at specific times during my play. With these newer machines on the floors, I have to now wonder how I ever got along without them.

Most casinos - but not all — have multi-denominational machines with three levels. The most popular are 25c/50c/$1 generally found at bars, or 5c/10c/25c that are more common somewhere on the floor. But having only three levels is not enough for playing my strategies, so I always look for 25c/50c/$1/$2/$5, $1/$2/$5/$10, or something similar with at least four but preferably five levels. Of course, my absolute favorites are two bar tops at the Rio, where their 25c/50c/$1/$2/$5/$10/$25 seven level, multi-game machines are the ultimate for my type of play.

Over the past five years I’ve taken some criticism for my style of progression play, but as more people attempt to understand my strategies the noise level dissipates. Certainly, the better the pay table the better the game. But pay tables are not a top concern of mine when I play, and they never will be. So you’re game pays five more credits for a full house than mine? And what if I don’t hit one during my session, or what if I hit three on the way to getting my game-ending/goal-reaching quad anyway? Did I lose 15 credits? Do I care?

One of the most important aspects of progression type play is in the value of the winners. If I choose dollars and play for two hours before hitting four aces on Double Bonus Poker, I may or may not be ahead by a very slight amount. But with my game, hitting aces two hours into play after getting virtually nothing along the way can mean thousands of dollars in profits. Would you rather see four aces on dollars or on the $10 machine?

That’s why an adequate bankroll is so important to my game. But what good would even THAT be without the extreme discipline required to actually quit playing at the exact minimum win or loss point I said I would before I began to gamble? That’s where most people, even the very heavily bankrolled, get into trouble in casinos. Few know when to stop, and even fewer know HOW to stop. Sure, when you run into them tomorrow, they’ll tell you a story only a fisherman could love. But at the end of the day, they’ll have to answer to themselves.

Progressing in video poker as I do it is not the same as the progression schemes you’ll find at the tables. With the proper bankroll, running into a casino "limit"is never a problem when you set stop-loss limits. Many, many consecutive hands can be lost with little or no damage. And when you win, you WIN. There’s none of this doubling your bet just to win your original $5 plus $5. Jackpots abound in video poker, and progressive play is the only way to see them all the time.