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Gaming Guru

 

Video Poker Ain't Just Slots

16 February 2005

This article marks the first of the second hundred written for this journal so a bit of reminiscing is definitely in order on this occasion. It was way back in the dog days of 1988 that the idea of a Video Poker column was born. For some reason, there was nothing being written on the subject, even though the game was catching on fire in Las Vegas. So we hunted for an interested editor. Funny thing, not more than 100 yards from my home, there on Tropicana was the office of the now defunct POKER ROOM.

The ever-enthusiastic editor, Len Miller gave me a warm reception on my idea and promised to publish the column. Another writer in the office was somewhat less enthusiastic but inadvertently gave me the idea for the first column when he remarked disparagingly, "Video Poker--Ain't that just SLOTS?" My thanks, Tex, for giving me the resolution to persevere so long and may our columns be back-to-back for a long time.

Stung by that remark, this is what emerged in column #1:

This first column is written with trepidation and unease because the writer knows that discussing Video Draw Poker within a mile of the card room
can be risky to one's health.

After all, isn't it just...SLOTS! which no card player ever wastes time on? Well, if a game paying out 99.6% is SLOTS! to you, then I will never count you as a reader. If a game requiring lots of memory and skill in reading poker hands is SLOTS! Then give this to your friend.

However, if you are still reading, then let's say hello and we'll tell you what this column will be about. It will tell you how to play the game like an expert. We think that to learn "expert play", it is important that you understand the basis for the decisions you make, so we will walk you through some simple math that is crucial for "expert play".

For openers, let's get some simple facts out on the table. When you are dealt five cards, it is important that you pick which to hold (discard) based solely on the fact that there are 47 known cards still left in the deck. Unlike the table poker game, no elements of pot size, psychology, bluffing or tells are involved---just the pure, probabilities of what can happen on the draw. This boils down to a term called EXPECTED VALUE (EV). We must always choose the discards so that the EV is the highest possible. We find the EV of the cards held by adding up all of the possible winners we could get (assuming all possible draws occur once) and dividing the total by the number of possible draws.

STILL VERY GOOD ADVICE!

Lenny Frome
Lenny Frome spent 40 years in the aerospace engineering business before moving to Las Vegas. During the ensuing 10 years, he became one of the most prolific gaming authors, having written 8 books, countless tip sheets and nearly 1000 articles for a variety of gaming magazines.

Lenny's ground breaking work in the area of Video Poker earned him the title of the 'King of Video Poker'. He also wrote on a variety of other gaming topics including Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Keno and others.

Besides being an author and columnist, Lenny was the premier Gaming Consultant at the time of his passing in 1998. He helped develop paytables for Let It Ride and Three Card Poker, and consulted on literally hundreds of other gaming projects.

His son, Elliot, now follows in his footsteps, as a gaming author, analyst and consultant. Their website, and a complete catalog of all their products can be found at www.vpheaven.com. Feel free to drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Lenny Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com
Lenny Frome
Lenny Frome spent 40 years in the aerospace engineering business before moving to Las Vegas. During the ensuing 10 years, he became one of the most prolific gaming authors, having written 8 books, countless tip sheets and nearly 1000 articles for a variety of gaming magazines.

Lenny's ground breaking work in the area of Video Poker earned him the title of the 'King of Video Poker'. He also wrote on a variety of other gaming topics including Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Keno and others.

Besides being an author and columnist, Lenny was the premier Gaming Consultant at the time of his passing in 1998. He helped develop paytables for Let It Ride and Three Card Poker, and consulted on literally hundreds of other gaming projects.

His son, Elliot, now follows in his footsteps, as a gaming author, analyst and consultant. Their website, and a complete catalog of all their products can be found at www.vpheaven.com. Feel free to drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Lenny Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com