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The End of Advantage Video Poker?

28 April 2024

From Bill R:

Hello Stickman,

I just read an article in the Casino City Times that talked about a program that can tell casinos how well video poker players are following perfect playing strategy. They even stated that casinos could withhold comps and other promotional invitations from these players and increase their profits by 45%.

What do you think the impact of this technology might be?

Anxious,

Bill R.

Hi Bill R.,

I also read that article with some interest. Apparently, roughly one percent of video poker players are what are termed Advantage Players. Also, according to the article, this tiny one percent of players is costing casinos a whopping 25.64 percent loss of profits.

Let me tell you, I never dreamed that small a percentage of players could have that big an impact.

I can see a couple of explanations for the inordinately sounding numbers, however.

The report also stated that the study was conducted mainly at locals-friendly casinos that generally have better returns than those catering to visitors to the city.

Skilled players would do some things that would weigh heavily in their favor.

• They would play only the best (lowest house edge games and pay tables).
• They would play for longer periods of time than non-skilled players (since they would lose less or win more).

These two facts would heavily weight their play results versus more casual video poker players who frequent these casinos.

One aspect the report does not delve into is how would total profits suffer from the elimination of these advantage players.

Statistics, it is said, can say anything you want them to. Advantage players obviously lose less to the casino than the average player. I am not sure if they actually win on average, however.

Let’s assume as an example that advantage players are responsible for one fourth of all video poker hands played. Let’s also assume they lose approximately one fourth of one percent (0.25 percent). The other two thirds would probably lose in the vicinity of two percent.

Assume the total number of hands played are 1,000,000 for a specific period.

• Advantage players play 250,000 hands at $1.25 per hand with a loss rate of .25 percent which equals $781.25 profit for the casino.
• Average players play 750,000 hands at $1.25 per hand with a loss rate of two percent which equals $18,750.00.
• I suspect the report assumes if they install this program, casinos would get the 250,000 hands that used to be played by advantage players at $1.25 per hand with a loss rate of two percent equals $6.250.00.
• That amounts to a 28 percent improvement.

This is just speculation, but the numbers sort of fit.

If casinos install this program, they could very well improve the return percentage, but the total win would most likely go down.

I also assume there is a hefty cost for this program.

If casinos drive out advantage players, they will also lose the play from their family and friends – play that is not of the same high caliber. They may also lose players who play fairly well but not perfect.

Is this good for the bottom line?

I do not know.

I suspect the casinos do not really know.

Time will ultimately tell.

As always, may all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines and 888casino.com. He authored the video poker section of “Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!” You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com
Jerry Stickman

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com