Reasons to Play Video Poker Beyond the Pay Table

Here are Reasons to Play Video Poker Beyond the Pay Table. This post is NOT to tell you what to do, as compared to what to consider. 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, then there are many things to consider if you want to give yourself the best chances to win, play longer and/or earn more comps.

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Why do you play video poker?

Could it be any of these many reasons?

  • “playing games with a low house edge”
  • “I like playing with no casino “heat” “
  • “playing only what’s available in my local casinos.”
  • “I prefer to play at a certain pace.”.
  • “Free Drinks”
  • “social time with a friend”
  • “I like playing by my self instead of a community setting”
  • “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 thought about. I know depending on the situation, I might play any one of these.  The fact is, recreational gambling can be for many other reasons besides beating the game, no matter what the game is.

Now, before some of you serious gamblers yell “BLASHEMY!” and stop reading (you know who you are -you’re good, but you’re no AP) , give me a chance to explain.

First, a public service announcement.

A Casino “Don’t” For any 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 to you is just wrong.  Bob Dancer, the ultimate VP expert, wouldn’t even bother you.

Brief Story About VP Contentment

One of my best friends enjoys playing 8/5 JOB on one credit at a bar top 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.

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 video poker player may have different expectations  – and there’s nothing wrong with that

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

Royal Flush – almost!

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? -This could be a major reason beyond the pay table.   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.

IS THERE MORE?

  1. 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.”
  2. 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  ulti game machines or single game machines that will accrue a higher reward.
  3. should you play with/without a card?  I have a confession to make – sometimes my sessions are short, or even worse for player’s EV, I 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.
  4. 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

Compromise is Thy Middle Name

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

Encore Boston Harbor – Single line Full Pay $5 JOB, but that’s beyond my bankroll.  However, lots of 8/5 multiline games, with new games included in the fun, like Stack The Deck multiline, will get me to sit and play.

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. Expecially 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 days.  9/6 Double Bonus is available at $.25, but perfect strategy in one of the most difficult to learn.

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 its 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.

RELATED POST – Tiverton Casino Hotel – Our Last Summer Trip Report

Conclusion

Play what you enjoy – casino, location, bar, craft beer, great drinks, bartenders, etc may mean more than just the best pay tables. Look at big picture.  Play what and where you get the biggest bang for your buck, or play where you enjoy it the most.

by the way, remember not to be that guy that gives unsolicited advice. Accept players for their recreational video poker play at what ever level they choose.

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

Binbin

 

 

All About Gambling Machine Jackpots – There is No Man Behind the Curtain

All About Gambling Machine Jackpots – There is No Man Behind the Curtain is a rewrite of an older post.  It was a time of great frustration. While writing this post in 2014, friends of mine often shared misunderstandings about gambling jackpots. For the most part, I found these musings rather irritating. (I’m less apt to fall into a ranting tizzy these days.) At the time, I was preparing to direct the middle school production of “The Wizard of Oz.” The week after I had a brief casino visit.  Here’s how my visit went.

The Story

I sat down at a Video Poker machine and the person next to me said, “I wouldn’t play that if I were you, the last person left with over $1000 profit. He hit a royal, and then it kept on being hot for over an hour!”

I stood up and left, but not  because of what he said. I prefer not to play next to obnoxious people who can’t keep their less than knowledgeable opinions to themselves.

So I went to play slots.  As I’m about to sit down. the lady on the next machine says, “that one (slot) is due to hit.  I’ve been playing here for over an hour and at least a dozen people have poured money into that machine.  It’s due…”

The Moral of the Story

I like empty casinos. It’s quiet, with plenty of open tables & machines.  In addition, there is no unsolicited advice!

Here are the facts. There are no slot machines or video poker machines due to hit.  that does not include the separate progressive slots that can approach a positive EV.  “Slot machine harvesting” is a post for another day.

“Hot” or “Cold” machines are a human perception based on a small sampling of time and based on nothing scientific or mathematic. Remember, every bet is a single entity in time.  It’s not based on the previous action.

Related Post – Gamblers & Superstitions – If We Could Only Understand the RNG

THERE IS NO MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

Back to Broadway. The Great and Powerful Oz was a mistake in human judgement, a perception of what the Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Dorothy WANTED to believe.  Thank goodness one of the leads had the common sense to dig deeper for the truth – TOTO SAVES THE DAY!

Hearing gambling myths, hunches, feelings, and miss-guided “facts” are better kept to one’s self.  There is no magic.  Casinos don’t change the machines payback % all the time. They don’t have to, because of one scientific, mathematical fact – house advantage is designed from the factory by the  Random Number Generator (RNG).   Every pull of the handle, every push of the button, is an event in life that does not depend on what happened before.

So, there is no man behind the curtain, there is no magic.  Slots and video poker are not “due,” “tight” or “loose.” The RNG dictates everything the randomness in every push of the button.

Final Thoughts – All About Gambling Machine Jackpots – There is No Man Behind the Curtain

As much as you try to stop the reels on the bonus, or time that draw button to finish that Royal Flush, it doesn’t matter.  Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t matter. Once you push the button, whatever you see on the screen or where ever the reels stop, you have no control over it.  If you touch the screen for the fun of it then, accepting the science of the Random Number Generator, then have a great time.  But, if you don’t accept the math and prefer the myth, please don’t share your views.  Many of don’t care to hear it!

Accept the math, and not the myth, That’s the truth to gamble with!

Thank you, Toto!

Binbin

Improving Your Video Poker Etiquette

As with most public spaces, behaving properly usually helps provide a better experience for you and for those around you.  No where in the casino is that true than the video poker machines. Here are tips on Improving Your Video Poker Etiquette.

Related Post – 15 Ways to Improve Your Slot Machine Etiquette

Playing Video Poker and enjoying the solitary play of one vs. machine is not necessarily something everyone can enjoy.  Video poker players are stereotyped as being introverts. For some, it brings a need to make new friends during  a session. Consider the following suggestions:

Be aware of those Playing

When Improving Your Video Poker Etiquette, Common sense etiquette suggests that if you don’t know the person playing, you should never touch the video poker machine of that player. You should also not lean on their chair or shoulder as this motion could cause them to hit the wrong button concerning denomination or number of credits.

Video poker etiquette suggests not to pound the buttons on a  machine as if it needs to be punished. Not only does it wear the game out over time, most importantly, it’s incredibly distracting to the other players around you.  Besides, you’d have to punish the RNG for your bad luck, not the buttons.

If you are going to watch a person play, do not sit in the chair next to them unless you plan on playing yourself. This especially includes bar top VP, since it takes a seat away from another player.

Don’t Be A Bothersome Person

Understand the rules before you sit down. Don’t be lazy and expect others to teach you on their time. Be prepared before you play.  Don’t expect players to take time out from playing to tell you how to play.

Do not watch others play over their shoulder if they do not know you, that’s just creepy !!!! In some places it seems to be acceptable to do that once your money runs out. Don’t just wander over and watch a total stranger play. Like I said, it’s CREEPY!!

Don’t be a slob. Smokers ashes, spilled drinks, covering your mouth coughing or sneezing, and sticky hands from food are terribly inconsiderate. And these are just some of the things that annoy your fellow players, or the unknowing next player. (Suggestion – always have hand sanitizer when playing.  It comes in handy)

Don’t share your superstitions, myths, or ignorance of how these machines work with those around you.  The random-number-generator runs the machine. That’s all you should realize.

Don’t give unwanted advice.

Taking a Break

If someone has leaned their stool or chair up against the machine, this usually means they haven’t finished playing, or maybe took a restroom break. If your VP machine is a single terminal on the floor, ask tech staff to watch your machine for you.  Do not expect the players on either side of you to watch it for you.

If you need to use the restroom, put your service light on.  As long as you are not taking a 15 minute break, slot attendants are around to help you out in this area.

Tipping

Service with a smile? – Tip!

That brings us to the last point when it comes to behaving properly while playing video poker machines. Tip your waitress or bartender.

 

Tipping is a personal choice. For example, when you’re receiving a jackpot payout that a floor attendee must help you with, it’s customary to tip them (Granted, if the service is lousy and the attendant is incredibly slow to pay you out or perhaps not professional, you can think twice about tipping.) The rule of thumb is usually to tip around .5 – 1% of the jackpot amount, make sure to keep this in mind when working on your bankroll management budget.  Concerning free beverages, tip the staff as you would in a restaurant. But if you make a specific drink request, be sure to tip.

Related Post – Casino Tipping Etiquette Around the World

Conclusion

Use common sense, and be courteous to those around you. Bottom line is have fun, stay healthy, and enjoy recreational gambling. But, not at somebody else’s expense.

Binbin