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Video Poker 101, Continued

2 December 2005

Last week, we discussed the best type of video poker game to learn first, and I mentioned my former brutal method of teaching it. However, after some reflection, I've decided that it wasn't so brutal after all. Lessons were in small-sized bites that were easily digested even though they were very thorough and detailed. If you're interested in going that route, you may want to try my Web site, www.thelowroller.com, click on the video poker page and start with the column of September 19, 2000.

But those columns were based on the beginner's level found in Bob Dancer's 9/6 Jacks or Better Report, and Mr. Dancer no longer publishes those reports. Instead, he now has a series of six Winner's Guides, which are a major improvement over the original three Reports; those Guides are where I would start if I had to learn video poker now, from scratch.

The six Guides, co-authored with Liam Daily, cover six of the most popular full pay and not-so-full-pay video poker games on the casino floor: Jacks or Better, Double Bonus, Full Pay Deuces Wild, NSU Deuces Wild, Pick'em Poker and Double Double Bonus. These Guides offer very comprehensive instruction, and the strategies are divided into four levels: beginner, recreational, basic and advanced. The first two levels contain what Dancer calls General Principles that also pertain to basic and advanced with a few exceptions. The General Principles are explained fully and shouldn't be skipped by even those who feel they're already at the basic and advanced levels.

What more could you ask for? Why, software to practice on, of course, and Bob Dancer Presents WinPoker, written by Dean Zamzow, allows you to practice on your home computer. With this software, you can learn which mistakes you're likely to make, gauge your percent accuracy, and determine how fast you play. All this without risking real money. Go to www.bobdancer.com to order either the Guides or WinPoker.

But the Winner's Guides cover only six games; what do you do if you want a strategy chart in order to practice, say, All American or Aces & Faces? Tom Ski, a computer and video poker genius, has a software program called "Video Poker Strategy Master." Whatever offbeat VP game you're interested in, feed its pay table into Ski's software and it will tell you the expected value of the game and print a strategy chart for you. Color coded at that. It will even ask you if you want a basic strategy or advanced strategy. Visit www.zamzone.com/tomski/VPSM.asp to order VPSM.

The only problem is that you have to buy and use two different video poker programs to perform two different tasks - calculate the best strategy for a particular game and practice playing that game. And you'll have to pay $29.95 for each one.

Jean Scott, the gambling grandma who wrote Frugal Gambler and More Frugal Gambling, has teamed up with a friend, Jim Wolf, to produce a video poker program that combines all the bells, whistles and lights that were previously found on WinPoker and Video Poker Strategy Master. It combines the functions of both those popular but separate software programs, warning players of mistakes while also generating strategy charts for any pay schedule. And for those of you still having trouble figuring cashback percentages, Frugal Video Poker will calculate cashback for you, add it to the game you want to play and give you the total percentage for a particular game in a particular casino.

If you're a beginner, you may want to start by playing with simplified strategy charts. When you feel comfortable playing at that level, then you can switch to perfect strategy. FVP can also track several players, all at different playing levels, and their player statistics spanning all sessions and machines.

You can even save your errors and review them later. Or you can ask the software to replay your errors at whatever random mix you define, and the program will even change the suits and positions of cards so that you stay on your toes.

In order to see the entire list of features plus screenshots, visit www.frugalgambler.biz. Frugal Video Poker sells for $39.99, $10 more than either of the other two softwares but $20 less than the two combined. If you already have both WinPoker and Strategy Master, there's probably no need to buy a third software program, but if you're a newbie, it wouldn't hurt to try Frugal Video Poker.

Until next time, aces and faces to you.

Linda Mabry

Low Roller Linda Mabry lives and gambles on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She writes a weekly, general gambling advice column for the Biloxi Sun Herald, and may be contacted through her e-mail address, lnmabry@cableone.net or her web site www.thelowroller.com
Linda Mabry
Low Roller Linda Mabry lives and gambles on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She writes a weekly, general gambling advice column for the Biloxi Sun Herald, and may be contacted through her e-mail address, lnmabry@cableone.net or her web site www.thelowroller.com