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Video Poker Can Help Earn Money

5 November 2005

Believe it or not, with a few types of video poker, you can actually make a tidy little hourly profit. How can that be? The casinos always manipulate the game against you and the odds will never let you get ahead, you say. Not so with video poker, and I'm about to tell you why.

But first, let's go over the mechanics, and then I'll explain why the casinos let it happen. Let's start with Full Pay Deuces Wild, which pays out at 100.76 percent. That's what we call a positive expectation game, but you have to be careful. Read the complete payout schedule and play at only the right machines.

If a quarter player plays 400 hands an hour, which is easily obtainable, he is pumping $500 an hour into the machine. At three-fourths of a percent profit, that's a $3.75 an hour. Someone playing 800 hands per hour can make $7.50 an hour. It's certainly not enough to make a living with, but it's a nifty morale booster to know that you're beating the casinos at their own game. Factor in whatever cash rebate or comps a casino offers, and you've got icing on the cake.

Now, a warning is due at this point. That $3.75 or $7.50 an hour means an average over the long term if you're playing according to proper computer-derived strategy. Let me repeat, that's the long term. The long term doesn't depend on luck; it depends on skill. However, luck - both bad and good - comes into play when you're talking about the short term because you will definitely have negative and positive fluctuations. Please make sure you're sufficiently bankrolled to withstand those bad swings.

But why would the casinos allow you to actually walk away with a profit, even a small one? Let me illustrate with an actual event.

Several months ago, I was playing at one of the Full Pay Deuces Wild games at the Copa's video poker bar. One gentleman started at the other end of the bar, put in a few quarters at that machine, then went on to the next machine. He was playing each machine in turn. When he got to the machine next to me, I glanced over and noticed that he was playing Deuces Wild. I mentioned to him that he didn't want to play that machine, that Full Pay is only at every other machine.

Now I've gone and done it. I don't know why I told him that. I've learned many times that people don't want advice. They don't know me from Adam; they have no idea if I know what I'm talking about. Plus, everyone thinks he knows what he's doing and his or her strategy is okay. I myself certainly accept advice from no one.

But I couldn't help myself. I blurted out the words before I knew what I was doing. Wanna know what his response was? It was "Harumph." I kid you not. Well, at least "Harumph" is the closest I can come to the sound he made.

And then, of course, I kept rushing in where angels fear to tread. "You mean you don't believe in good games," I asked as sweetly as I could.

"Naw," was his answer. "It's just a matter of luck, if you're at the right place at the right time. All these machines are money suckers; you're going to lose, lose, lose unless you just happen to hit a royal, then maybe you can get your money back."

I didn't ask him why he even bothered to walk into a casino. I already knew the answer - because he expected to hit a run of good luck. He didn't want to bother with the skill part. I did ask him if he had ever read a book about gambling. His answer was no, he didn't need to; he played video poker by the seat of his pants, almost like he plays live poker.

Well, there you have it in a nutshell, folks. That's why casinos don't sweat the skilled players coming in and playing. Because they know that 99.9 percent of players don't bother to open a book. Some will read this column, will know which casinos have good games and will go to those casinos, but they won't bother to practice. It's just too much trouble for them. But they'll have a general idea that video poker can be profitable. So they'll sit down at a VP machine and muse, "Let's see; I think the Low Roller said 9/6 Jacks or Better machines are good." "Let's see, I don't think I'm supposed to hold any inside straights." (Some inside straights are okay to hold.)

And casinos know that they have to dangle the carrot in front of all players to be able to attract the aforementioned kind of player. Trust me, people; it's not the casinos that are losing tons of money on this trade-off.

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