Last night I attended an Video Poker Tournament at Mohegan Sun in CT. It was very nice, with excellent food, well organized and well attended. I won’t go into the prizes, but the top prize was $10,000.

What I would like to comment on is the approach to playing in a tournament format, variations to consider and how it differs from playing basic strategy if you want any chance of winning.

A different strategy is needed for tournament play when playing in a VP tournament. Unlike a slots tournament, when you just “smack” the button over and over with no skill at all, Video Poker has a skill aspect to it, with correct strategy for each game. However , perfect strategy is not necessarily the way to go in a tournament situation. There are other things to consider.

1) What Is The Specific VP Game Being Used for the Tournament?
If the game is Double Double Bonus VP which has a pay table that pays higher for quads, especially 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s with a kicker, basic DDB strategy would work, but other factors must be considered. In this situation, it was JOB (Jacks or Better). The best strategy is not perfect play for this offering in a tournament, but a Royal Flush or nothing approach is!  For example, if dealt a low pair with king of hearts and two other low cards, perfect strategy says to keep the pair. But in tourney play with JOB, keep the king.

2) How Many Minutes is Each Flight or Session?
If it’s a length of 20 minutes per flight, you may have time enough to play perfect strategy if your play is close to perfect and fast – at least 600 hands per hour on the average – to get enough chances for that Royal Flush.  But this tournament was only 10 minutes per play, so it’s definitely time for Royal or nothing!  Ten minutes might be a situation for “all or nothing” with any VP game or pay tableable, with the exception of Deuces Wild.

All in all, it was fun. I was happy with my attempt – good score (highest in my flight out of 46 players), but not good enough to win. With tournament “Royal Flush” play, I played 240 hands in 10 minutes, a blazing 1440 hands per hour! Of course, when playing normally, I would never play that fast because mistakes would surely be made. But in tournament play, I wanted more hands, thus more chances for that Royal.

That’s all for now. Welcome to my new home at WordPress. The format isn’t quite finished, but I just had to post this tonight.

Happy New Year, everyone. And may your 2014 be a “Royal” one.