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

 

 

10 Casino Money-Saving Tips From Jean Scott

JeanScott

Jean Scott is the “Queen of Coupons” and in her many posts and newsletters, she included one must read with her “10 Casino Money-Saving Tips.”

Everyone like to save money at the casino. These money-saving tips should be part of every casino visit. Those considered “good” gamblers learn the best strategies on the best games and use any legal method to increase their odds and lower the casino’s advantage, thus, saving-money and lengthening their bankroll. Jean Scott is one of those authors who practices what she preaches.  Before continuing on, check out two of her websites Jean Scott’s Queen of Comps  & Jean Scott’s Frugal Vegas. For related posts in NETG, click on Big Data, Casinos, & Jean Scott & Playing Video Poker Like Jean Scott – The Monday Link

Jean Scott is the author of the best-selling book “The Frugal Gambler,” (a must for every gambler) a casino guide for thrifty low rollers, plus a sequel, “More Frugal Gambling.” She stresses sensible, responsible gambling and shows how to stretch out casino fun time whatever your gambling bankroll.

Retired from the high school English classroom, her passion is still education while she continues as an active player in casinos all over the country. Today, Jean Scott, who, in her words, is just an “ordinary grandmother,” is the world’s most famous low-rolling gambler and her fans are legion

While all of Jean’s suggestions are with Las Vegas in mind where she resides, her 10 Money-Saving tips in the Casino are great ideas to use or modify in our New England Casinos.  Here are her tips:

10 Casino money-saving tips from the Frugal Gambler

1. Study before you go.

Libraries and bookstores have oodles of casino and gambling books that will guide you on a money-saving path. The Internet is full of information on the various casino games. Learn which games have the smallest casino edge, or have a skill factor you could learn, or that enable you to risk your money more slowly. All of these will allow you to lose less and/or stretch your bankroll further.

Shooting at the Craps Table – have fun whatever your game is.

2. Treat gambling as a form of entertainment and budget it just as you do whatever else you do for fun, such as movies, eating out, and vacations.

Nothing takes away the fun factor more quickly than losing money that you need for life’s essentials. Do not take your checkbook or ATM or credit card to the casino with you. Decide how much you can afford to spend (lose), and take that amount in cash or safe traveler’s checks as your gambling bankroll. Make your gambling bankroll last the whole time you plan to be in a casino by dividing it into segments, i.e., in thirds if you are staying three days, in three-to-four session bankrolls for each day. Then never “borrow ahead” from the next session bankroll.

3. Join every casino player’s club you can, even if you don’t plan to gamble there.

You can join many online before you get to Vegas. Membership is free and many casinos give discounts to player’s card holders in their restaurants, gift shops, and for rooms.

4. Use your player’s card EVERY TIME you play, no matter how small the amount or short the time.

This allows the casino to track your play and thus know how much to reward you with comps, those freebie meals, rooms, shows, and other benefits that the casinos want to give their players.

Mohegan Sun's Momentum Players Club

Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Players Club

If you play machines, there is a place for you to insert your card. If you play the tables, you merely hand the card to the dealer of any game and ask that your play be tracked. Casinos cannot give you comps if they don’t know you are playing in their casino.

    An added benefit of joining and using a player’s card is that casinos often send mail offers to everyone in their database, sometimes even to those who have played little or not at all. You will be surprised at the money-saving offers that will appear in your mailbox when you get home.

5. Don’t drink too much alcohol, even if the drinks are free. It will cloud your judgment.

More Money-Saving Tips From Jean Scott 

6. If you are losing too fast, lower your denomination.

Change from the dollar slots to quarters or from quarter to nickels. At the tables, bet the lowest-value chip allowed.

7. Slow down your play — savor the noisy, fun-filled atmosphere.

The bells and whistles, the clanking coins, the high fives at the tables, the excited screams of winners — this is what makes the casino such an entertaining experience.

Remember the days of casino trips with coupon books?

8. Look for coupons and specials for discounted meals, shows, and sightseeing tours.

You can find many of these in the freebie magazines around town: at the bell desk, at rental car agencies and motels, at the airport, and right in your room. Read the marquees for menu specials.

9. Look for promotions that will add value to a game you play:

a. bonus players club points, like double points on holidays or on a certain day every week;
b. bonuses for certain events, like the top jackpot on slots, a certain quad in video poker, or a special hand in blackjack;
c. drawings for which you can earn tickets by playing your favorite game.

10. Make your bankroll last longer by taking frequent non-gambling breaks.

Take in a show, go sightseeing, have a long, leisurely meal, take a tour or go shopping. Get your proper rest. A tired gambler is a gambler who will make decisions he will regret. Get a full night’s sleep and take a nap, if possible. Gambling is hard work!
The Royal Queen of Coupons has spoken!  Check out her books at Amazon

Remember, when gambling & comp-harvesting, embrace the math not the Myth.

Binbin

5 Reasons Why Casino Bartenders Hate You – Vice Lounge Online

Recently, a favorite podcast of mine produced their 400th episode!

Congratulations to co-hosts Tony Snyder & Jason Gillikin and their podcast Vice Lounge Online.  Bravo!

If you are not aware of this unique podcast, let me explain it the way  did on a recent podcast. The podcast celebrates good cigars, good drinks and great gambling.  Jason & Tony have experience in all three areas, but insist they don’t lean towards any one of the three areas included in every podcast.  Three distinct parts, somewhat related, neither the specialty.

I, for one, have enjoyed hearing about the intricacies of cigars – smoking, wrappers, production and more.  Their “cocktail” talk centers around scotch, whiskey and bourbon, but often branches out to mixed drinks, aged specialty liquors and beer. Gambling advice and explanations are very interesting, many times focusing on things we take for granted, but would like a little refresher.

But it’s their personalities that make this so good.  I can almost see them, in their smoking jackets, cigar in one hand, brandy sniffer in the other, chatting about their latest casino visit.  (I believe Tony prefers podcasting in his pajamas, but that’s a story for another time.) 

Which brings me to today’s post – 5 Reasons Why Bartenders Hate You.


  1.  When you want a free drink before you have played enough – After the initial investment into the machine, many casinos now expect an amount to be played, or time to be seated, before another drink will be served to you. As Tony mentions, ” if you are an excruciatingly slow player,” or don’t play at all, don’t feel entitled to that next alcoholic beverage.  Annoying the bartenders about it will only make them hate you.  Remember people, video poker bartops are for players only.

    Commonwealth Lounge and VP Bar at MGM Springfield

  2. Trash talking staff behind the bar, both bartenders, servers and other staff – How about a little kindness people, or at least some discretion. Rude comments between patrons about certain staff will not be taken lightly.
  3. When the bartender is really busy, don’t expect YOUR drink takes precedence over everyone else – In the rush, your bartender will still appreciate some respect and patience from you, and they will remember when you do – and when you don’t!   If you are insistent to the point of rudeness, you might wait longer than expected. To be honest, I don’t blame them.
  4. Don’t flash your high tier status expecting better service for you at the expense of everyone else – We’ve all seen it.  Someone rushes to sit down, flashes their MGM Noir, or their Caesars Diamond card, and wants immediate service, like you’re special. (In New England it would be Noir, Mohegan’s Soar, Foxwoods’ Diamond, Penn National’s Owner’s Club and Twin River’s Club 100 for example).Besides, you want special treatment? – that’s what the VIP lounges are for.  Then you can fight it out with all the other high end players.
  5. Don’t give unwanted advice to guests next to you, and cause a ruckus. Matter of fact, don’t EVER be that loud, obnoxious guy that causes bartenders to call security. People enjoy the relaxation of VP and like the control of how much socializing they do while playing.  Bartenders who love their job enjoy a little banter with you if you want it, and enjoy taking care of you, if you deserve it.

Tammy, Steve & Catherine, my favorite bartenders. Find them at Play Bar, Foxwoods.

Finally, I would like to add the final thought that I’m sure Jason & Tony would agree with.  TIP YOUR BARTENDERS.  I prefer tipping a little extra on the first drink, getting their attention and basically saying “I’m here to enjoy your service, I appreciate what you d and I’m not that guy you dread to serve.”  If they don’t give you that service, don’t be obnoxious, pushy, rude, or entitled – just don’t tip anymore.

Well done, Jason & Tony.  Well done.

Binbin

Remember – Embrace the Math, Not the Myth in Gambling