Dear Frank and John:
Just got back from Las Vegas and here are a few bullets I thought I'd share with you.
This was my first attempt at Video Poker. All I had was Victory at Video Poker and two other books. I now look at the information in the books differently. You have to play to really learn this game.
1. Overall I know that I won on Video Poker on this trip. My best hit was $400 on a dollar machine for 4 aces. Our losses were reasonable and all came at slots.
2. While my wife still prefers slots, I no longer play them.
3. I know from Bob Dancer's software that I CAN play at ~95%. Most of the trip I played well below that. I would make notes and check the books after a session for non-obvious hands.
4. I saw only one good player while I was out there. Most people play incorrect strategy ON PURPOSE. The biggest mistake I saw was people discarding a low pair when dealt 2 pair to go for 4 of a kind. I saw this many times.
5. That one good player was the only one that had read any books.
6. While I got 4 of a kind 8 times on this trip, I never converted 3 of a kind to 4 of a kind. Four were pat hands, 4 were draws to a pair.
7. I played about 16 hours @ 400/hour, as best I can approximate from our comp points. If I played slower I played longer. I know I had $6000-$8000 through the machines.
8. My least favorite hand is when I hold a single high card and I then draw 4 of the same suit, a different suit, sometimes in a straight. I know I played the hand correctly, but it drives me crazy. I remember three times that this happened on this trip.
9. While Bellagio does comp $.25 machine, you would have you play for 36 hours each day at 500/hour at max coins to get a free room. If your spouse helped it would only be only 18 hours since you can share an account. You have to play dollars or possibly start with quarters and move up if you are doing well. I do believe in streaks.
10. I also won a denim jacket from Four Queens downtown while taking them for a few dollars on quarter Video Poker. It was our favorite place downtown. Fitzgerald's was second.
One last note. I entered the slot tournament at Monte Carlo for fun. It was only a $10 buy-in. I got into the finals with the lowest score of 16 people. I took the hint from your slot book to start a little late. I was way behind with 4 minutes to go at which time I hit 3 777s in less than a minute to come from behind to come in 3rd. The crowd really got on my side at that point. Everyone loves the underdog. The guy on my right, a real expert if you know what I mean, was blown away when his 10 minutes were up and he watched, helplessly I might add, while I blew by him in the last few seconds. We received $40 dollars at the cafe and a neat tee shirt that says Tournament Winner. It was a blast. Thanks for the hint. I looked like a pro.
I learned a lot on this trip. I avoided certain machines. I knew that I was playing good machines and that my play was always getting better. Your books, articles and email helped a lot. We ate too much and the seven days flew by. It was a great trip. I will stay at Bellagio on our next trip. We made our comp target for the trip and Bellagio comped us an additional night! Thanks again for all your help. When people ask what I play, it's so much better to be able to say Video Poker!
Frank Scoblete replies:
I'm glad you had a good trip and that some of my advice helped you. As regards those frustrating hands. If you play long enough, you'll see all sorts of weird things happen -- weird and frustrating things -- because that's how randomness works. If you ever do play 36 hours in one day, let us all know because it means our planet has shifted orbit! What are those folks at Bellagio thinking?
All jest aside, once your wife discovers video poker you can expect to have an even better expectation!
All the best in and out of the casinos.
John Robison replies:
Congratulations on your successful trip to Las Vegas. I'm glad the articles and advice from Frank Scoblete's Gaming Pages was a factor in making your trip successful.
Video poker is really one of the best games in the casino. Almost every video poker machine has a higher payback than slots of the same denomination, and some video poker machines have lower house edges than many table games.
I still play slots every once in a while when I'm too tired to play video poker, but that doesn't happen too often.
Here's an interesting fact: Even though 9/6 Jacks can pay back up to 99.5 percent with perfect play, most machines pay back only 95 percent. Players win less from the machines than they could because they follow strategies like the one you mentioned.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos!
For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend: Break the One-Armed Bandits!
by Frank Scoblete Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack!
by Frank Scoblete Slot Conquest
Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker!
Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete The Slot Machine Answer Book
by John Grochowski WinPoker Software
by Bob Dancer