Video Poker is More Than Just the Best Paytable

A month ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts featuring Tim Lawson & Eric Rosenthal at “The Bettor Life” covering professional bettor & recreational gamblers concerns alike about poker, table games, sports betting, slots, and other games of chance.  This one episode included a discussion about video poker value – pay tables, preferred games, comps and the occasional know-it-alls that criticize one’s decision on what to play. Inspiration hit me – I felt there was even more to tell! This post is NOT to tell you what to do, as compared consider the reasons and possibilities.  I agree with the Bettor Life in saying “play what you want to play – recreational playing should make you happy.” HOWEVER – if you are  a recreational video poker player, there are many things to consider if you want to give yourself the best chances to win, play longer and/or earn more comps while having fun.  Let’s look at the big picture.

WHY DO YOU PLAY VIDEO POKER?

Could it be any of these many reasons?

  • “I like playing games with a low house edge”
  • “I like playing with no casino “heat” “
  • “I play only what’s available in my local casinos.”
  • “I prefer to play at the pace I prefer.”.
  • “I like Free Drinks”

    Service with a smile.

  • “I like social time with a friend”
  • “I’m prefer to play independently”
  • “I don’t want to bother with other players in a community setting”
  • “I love the skill and strategy involved”
  • “I like to pass the time slowly (low denomination, no max bet, relaxing)
  • “To play off my free slotplay”

I’m sure there are other reasons I haven’t included. I know depending on the situation, I might play with any one of these in mind.  The fact is, recreational gambling can be for many reasons besides beating the game, no matter what the game is.

Now, before some of you serious gamblers yell “BLASPHEMY!” and stop reading (you know who you are – you’re good, but you’re no AP), give me a chance to explain. But first, a public service announcement.

A CASINO “DON’T” FOR For VP (And ANY Other CASINO GAME)

No matter what game you play, unsolicited criticism or advice is just a “no-no.” Unless someone asks you for help, just keep your mouth shut. Video Poker is definitely a game full of “experts” that feel they need to share their myths & superstitions. With so many game options and configurations with different paytables, giving unwanted advice to the person next is wrong – unless you’re Bob Dancer, and even then, the ultimate VP expert wouldn’t bother you either.

BRIEF STORY ABOUT VP CONTENTMENT

Harvest Moon Bar, Mohegan Sun

One of my best friends enjoys playing 8/5 JOB on one credit at a BarTop at Mohegan Sun to relax while his wife plays slots. He recently hit his first Royal Flush on $0.25, and was proud of the accomplishment. No remorse, no regret because he was comfortable with his choice – a 97% game with out Max bet (diminishing the % to 95%) with little comp earnings & no extra multipliers or promotions. A relaxing time with free drinks to pass the time while his wife played high limit slots.

Some would shout “for shame,” but his priorities are comfortably set. No criticism here because he enjoys Video Poker on his terms. For all those who criticize, remember another player may have different expectations  – and there’s nothing wrong with that.  For my friend, his mission was accomplished – and more.

DOESN’T IT SEND THE CASINO THE WRONG MESSAGE?

I admit, I once thought that playing VP with poor pay tables sent the message to casino management that as players we condoned decreasing conditions and increasing house edge. That was then, this is now.  They don’t care what you play, as long as it means for money for them. The belief that if we don’t play the poor games, the casino bean counters will be fearful and return to higher paying slots, more full-pay video poker, exclusively 3:2 blackjack and single zero roulette is just crazy.  There will never be enough players interested in putting in the work or time to play only the best games, so move on…….get over being entitled to receive great low & medium roller games that keep the players’ bankroll in mind – it just ain’t gonna happen.

REACHING YOUR PERSONAL VP NIRVANA

Depending how much practice & thought is part of your  Video Poker play, there are many aspects to your play to ponder, such as:

  1. What games are available at your casino that you prefer? – JOB, Bonus, DB, DDB, Ultimate X, etc……
  2. How large is your bankroll? – bankroll does matter, depending what game you are playing.  For example, the money suggested for a successful session of Double-Double Bonus is more than Jacks-or-Better (JOB) because of the higher volatility. Also, denomination complicates it further depending if you are playing nickels, quarters or dollars.  Finally, playing multi-line machines like Triple Play, 5-Play & Ten-Play not only changes the denomination but also alters the game chosen.
  3. What are you willing to compromise? I enjoy playing at Foxwoods Play bar in the Cedars Casino.  It has decent nickel multi-line games and quarter single line games, but not great. However, the service is great and the bartenders make you feel like you just entered “Cheers.”  It’s a compromise I’m willing to make for the enjoyment aspect of the session. Do you make compromises playing lower percentage games for your enjoyment?  Many of us do.

    Tammy, Steve & Katherine at Play Bar, Foxwoods

  4. What is your “casino currency”?  This is a term Eric Rosenthal used on the Bettor Life. It refers to the value placed on other things besides the game itself. It may be that a worse paytable gives your more comp points. If tier credit, tier level, and comps are as important (or more) than the game itself, it is part of your casino currency. Video Poker is notorious in earning 1/2 to 1/3 of the points slots accrue, so other things make be accountable to what you play and when. Some casinos give very little back to VP players, or may even be given little in tier gains, points, and attention in offers, because casinos makes little money off of JOB full pay tables, for example. Eric mentions, “Considering what the machines cost to run, usual casino costs, and very little money made off of you, there is nothing in it for them if all you play is full pay JOB….no need to court you…..better off playing lower paytables to appear less astute…..the benefits may mean more than payout percentage.”
  5. Low rolling full pay brings little to the player – consider this: playing full-pay JOB at quarter level may not earn as much as playing one or two credits on a $1 8/5 JOB machine. Also, according to Bob Dancer, be careful of single line machines with many games. A machine that has a full pay game may earn the same minimal pittance in tier and reward points on other non full-pay games such as 8/5 DDB or lower pay Deuces Wild. It might be better to check for for  multi game machines or single game machines that will accrue a higher reward.
  6. Should you play with/without a card? I have a confession to make – sometimes I play without my card.  – Short sessions or small play sessions are bad for a player’s EV. On occasion, for a relaxing short play and free drink I willI play…..wait for it…..VIDEO KENO!  When that occurs, I play without a card so that I don’t damage my ADT (Average Daily Theoretical). I may know that time is short or bankroll is small, so why not? Consider doing the same and using your card only when playing big.
  7. What? Practice? – Yes, practice.  If you truly want to win more, give yourself a chance to win more by practicing on the many apps, software and websites that provide for instruction. Without perfect strategy on your favorite game,  the EV/ payout % will be decreased – even if it’s full pay!  Even playing 8/5 JOB using the perfect strategy of 9/6 makes a difference, not to mention using the strategy 9/6 JOB on a  9/6 DDB. Click on Videopoker.com below to practice any of your favorite video poker games.

COMPROMISE IS THY MIDDLE NAME

Here are examples of where I play and why. Notice it isn’t full-pay or nothing:

Mohegan Sun – Bars that include 9/6 JOB ($1), Cleopatra Video Keno ($.25, no rewards card), Triple Play 9/5 DDB & 8/5 JOB ($.25 or $1, depending on bankroll) Ultimate X 10 play ($.5) . Good service, decent paytables and full pay for big plays. Especially good on multiplier days.

Foxwoods – 9/5 Ultimate X 5 Play ($.5), 8/5 JOB & 9/5 DDB TP($.25 & $1) Great service at Play bar. Cedars casino also offers nickel Ultimate X Tp, 5-Play, & 10-Play (only 10-play at nickels at all bar tops)

MGM Springfield – Not much here to offer. Compromises abound.  7/5 JOB ($1) and 8/5 DDB ($.25), only on multiplier Mondays or visiting with Chris DiMauro of Art In the Game.

Plainridge Park – Ultimate X DDB 10-play ($.5).  Not much play here, but I do find this casino fun.

Tiverton Casino – talk about compromises, I love this little place – but not for the VP.  the VP is horrible, just like it’s parent company Twin River Casino.  But one thing separates it from the rest – the iPourIt Wall.  26 self-serve beer & wine taps served by the ounce, however you’d like it.  This makes 8/5 DDB a winning compromise in my book.

CONCLUSION

Play what makes you comfy – place, bar, craft beer, great drinks, bartenders, etc may mean more than best paytables and look at big picture. Play the game you are comfy with.  Play where you are comfy. Play what and where you get the biggest bang for your buck. Don’t give unsolicited advice and accept players for their recreational video poker play – what ever that means to them.

And remember, even the best of us compromise our play at times. So, chill out and enjoy putting the “recreation” back into recreational gambling.

Binbin

10 MOST IMPORTANT GAMBLING INNOVATIONS – The Monday Link

EVERY MONDAY, NETG BRINGS YOU A GAMBLING POST FROM SOMEONE ELSE FOR YOUR INTEREST, ENTERTAINMENT, AND KNOWLEDGE. WE CALL THIS:

“THE MONDAY LINK”

As we continue with Awards Week at NETG, today’s Monday Link highlights an article from VegasMaster Magazine, a website built by gamblers, for gamblers, with a deep understanding of our players’ wants and needs. If you are looking to find honest reviews, improve your gambling skill or just have some fun, check out VegasMaster.

If you haven’t voted for the best in New England’s Casinos…..

what are you waiting for?

Do it now…..your chance ends on Friday! Click below:

The 2019 New England Casino Awards – The Best of 2018

And now, enjoy the Monday Link –

THE 10 MOST IMPORTANT GAMBLING INNOVATIONS IN MODERN HISTORY

Casino Freebies – 5 Considerations For Your Casino Play

One thing that we all like to get in the mail is offers for FREE STUFF!  Casino Freebies are always a fun part of the gambling experience.

I always wonder if my mailman thinks I have a problem when he sees the mailers I get from casinos all over the country. If they were to inquire about it, I’d have to say “It’s for blog research, of course.”

Free stuff means casinos want your patronage.  It’s not because they REALLY like you and just want to show you they care.  There is a price to casino freebies and comps from casinos. The reality is casinos want you to spend two things in their facility – money and time.  And, logically, they feel the more time you spend, the more money you’ll spend.

Casino management has software that tracks slot players and video poker players, so what they see, is what you get according to your rewards card. Of course, without inserting your card, you won’t get anything.  Table players have to deal with a more subjective system, but still need your rewards card. The days of discretionary comps has passed us by, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for a meal or room – just don’t expect it. Here 5 Tips Concerning Casino comps, “free stuff:”

The Big Play

You will get a better casino rating if you go to the casino less frequently, but when you do, play longer.  So, Instead of a bankroll of $100 for three visits, try $300 for one long visit.  Remember, money and time is what casino management is looking at.

CoachKitty

 TravelZork Video Poker expert Coach Kitty has a great series for thought and application concerning the best way to bring the factors of money and time in your favor. Check out the links below:

The Big Play Casino Gambling Day – Part 1

The Big Play Casino Gambling Day – Part 2

The Big Play Casino Gambling Day – Part 3

A TRUE STORY

Once upon a time, a gambler friend of mine went to the casino, played his free slot play usually on a $1 Full-Pay JOB video poker machine, cashed out after the correct number of hands for the available free slot play ($10 free slot dollars, $1 per hand) and left, usually with most of his free slot play.  Casinos don’t like this.  If you follow this practice, you may end up with most of your casino freebies and offers diminishing quickly. You may walk out a winner in the beginning, but your slot play even discontinue altogether. Don’t burn the “comps bridge” – it’s difficult to rebuild them.

Comp Freebies – Read the fine print.

If you are given free Dining Promotional Dollars, be sure the casino isn’t expecting you to stay and play.  Many dining promotions expect you to stay and say so “in the fine print.”  If you don’t stay a while, marketing may decrease your offers or cut them out. Also, comp rooms from casinos, or social casinos like “MyVegas” offer free slot play, only in you stay there at least two nights.

Related Post – Online Social Casinos

Free hotel offers come with a price

If you hope to have similar offers or better offers for hotel stays, expect to play more than usual.  A free stay, and no play, will probably mean a lower rate offer to stay next time instead of casino freebies.  Some properties, such as MGM Las Vegas properties, see free rooms for players as an empty hole that needs to be filled by money & time expectations before additional comps are available.

Finally, don’t gamble to get comps.

Gamble to entertain yourself, or give your self a chance to make a few bucks, or just for fun within your financial means.  The formula casino marketing uses to give out these promotion is definitely skewed in their favor.  Comps should be included when evaluating the house edge, but should never be the sole reason for gambling.

That’s all for now.  Remember, embrace the math not the myth!

Binbin