What is a Video Poker Penalty Card? – The Monday Link

I have heard friends and colleagues speak about a renewed interest in video poker, with some gamblers delving into the skill of video poker strategy. Some podcast colleagues such as Tim Lawson in His “The Bettor Life” and Christopher DiMauro at “Art in the Game” have mentioned their new interest in VP and the paytables involved.  check out their podcasts.

Whether you play for your personal enjoyment, or play as the best way to play that free slot play the casino gives you, knowing the strategy of the game you play will give you a better chance to cash out a winner. Playing full-pay Jacks or Better is a great find to play you can find it, but if you don’t practice perfect strategy, you can decrease your payout probability to that of 6/5 JOB.

Strategy cards are available and legal.

In advanced VP strategy, penalty cards are important considerations.  Knowing the difference when to draw to a flush in 8/5 & 9/6 is a significant step in your Video Poker play.

“What is a penalty card in video poker?”

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master’s degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5.

John is a prolific expert concerning slots and video poker.  Enjoy many of his excellent posts at John Robinson Casino City Archives.

Remember, “Embrace the Math, not the Myth.”

Binbin

New England Casino Awards – Final Analysis of 2018

There were some different winners in our awards this year, but not exactly what we thought they would be. With MGM Springfield on the scene, I assumed that it would be well represented.  Instead, Mohegan Sun added to it’s New England prominence. Here is our analysis:

BEST HOTEL – With the most rooms and most variations in room decor and layout, it has to be Foxwoods.  Even with Twin River’s hotel opening, Oxford Casino Hotel open for over a year, Tiverton’s opening including hotel and the opening of MGM Springfield, Foxwoods is still the best choice for hotels. MGM Springfield’s Hotel is one of a kind, and we highly recommend trying a stay there.  The many intricacies of Springfield history can be found through out the casino and continued in the Hotel decor.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

Fox and Grand Pequot Hotels & Casinos

BARS –  When it comes to places for libations, there are two types in casinos.  First, the typical bar, sometimes with entertainment, usually offers great drinks and dining options. The video poker bar is an important gambling choice provided, usually including slots, keno and sometimes electronic blackjack.  Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun tied in this category, and why not with so many bars and VP bars available in their multiple casinos.  But it should be mentioned that MGM Springfield’s Walk-up Bar and Commonwealth Bar have terrific ambiance.  Now, if only they had playable video poker…….

Commonwealth Bar at MGM Springfield

BEST DINING OPTIONS & BEST DINING VALUE  – Our voters pretty much nailed this. Mohegan Sun offers the gamut on one property, especially in the area of lower cost eateries.  But, I also feel when considering just high end restaurants, Foxwoods would edge out the competition. However, even the fun establishments such as Sugar are in the hefty price range at Foxwoods. Since we visit all New England Casinos, some restaurants need some mention. Tiverton Casino’s Tuscan Chophouse and Italian cuisine at Trattoria Romana are great restaurants with local ties. When it comes to great steak houses, New England’s casinos offer a wide variety of excellent steakhouses.  Consider MGM’s Chandler Steakhouse, Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun, Cedars and David Burke’s Prime at Foxwoods, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin River and Slack’s Oyster House & Grill at Plainridge Park for your next beef bonanza.

Again, NETG applauds the voters in selecting David Burke Prime as outstanding high-end restaurant.  It has everything you’d fine in the best eateries in Las Vegas.

David Burke Prime, Foxwoods

BEST BUFFET – Mohegan’s Sunrise Buffet is just the best, ’nuff said.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST SMALL VENUE – The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun is hands down the #1 favorite. The Sun offers outstanding free entertainment on the weekends. But free entertainment has increased at other properties.  Foxwoods raised the ante in the Atrium Lounge, Hard Rock Cafe and Centrale.  Plainridge Park Casino not only offers good entertainment at their Revolution Lounge, but also at the Loft – including Comedy. Twin River’s Lighthouse Lounge continues to offer great free entertainment. Speaking of comedy, Roar! at MGM Springfield’s Armory and Mohegan Sun’s Comix leads the way.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST LARGE VENUE – Even with the addition of MGM Springfield’s MassMutual Center, Mohegan Sun Arena is still the best venue in New England.

Mohegan Sun Arena

BEST SLOTS – I think it’s simple – wherever you win is where your preferred slots are. No one knows the payback percentage, and a slot players play is very short play and really can’t give anyone a good idea on how high the payout is. Most casinos have the same newest slots.  But what I found interesting was the lack of Buffalo slots or Wheel of Fortune machines mentioned! Instead, Wonder Woman?  who’d a thunk it?

BEST VIDEO POKER – Mohegan Sun is the only New England Casino to offer full pay VP – Jacks or Better – at the quarter level up. As long as they offer it, the Sun will continue to be the best VP in New England.  We know from experience at their other properties that Wynn & MGM will never offer Full Pay VP, rarely even at $1 levels.  So, this award may be good through 2020.  Decent VP paytables can be found at Plainridge Park and Foxwoods.

TABLE GAMES – Players of all levels appreciate good rules & low starting limits, especially on traditional games.  In New England, Foxwoods and MoSun had this covered, but recently have raised minimums and introduced 6:5 Blackjack.  Maine casinos, while having similar rules, lack the amount and mix of traditional table & “carnival” games. Twin River & Tiverton offer table games with slightly higher limits, with most games starting at $10, and MGM Springfield has lowered minimums to be more competitive. While Mohegan Sun won this time, it will be anyone’s game in the future as all casinos seem to be offering the same games, same minimums and same rules.

MGM Springfield Poker Room – most comfy in New England?

An interesting change has been seen in two areas – favorite game and poker rooms.  Craps has taken over as the popular table game in the casino. And when it comes to poker rooms, MGM Springfield, with what is now considered the most comfy poker room in New England,  has made a great run at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to the point that all thee poker rooms, as well as Twin River Casino’s poker room, are in a dead heat right now. Mohegan Sun is down-sizing its poker room and moving it to a different casino area, which could really change the feel of their poker room. You can bet that poker is alive and well in New England.

BEST RACEBOOK/SPORTSBOOK – The Sun won this category last year, with Foxwoods winning this year. Rhode Island’s legal sportsbook must have been too new for most to be counted this year. When Twin River open their real betting area, it could easily win next year, unless CT and MA approves legal sports-betting this year

BEST PLAYERS CLUB – Even with changes, Foxwoods continues to lag behind Mohegan Sun.  MLife at MGM Springfield could be a big players club in the coming years with properties on both east & west coast – especially access to Las Vegas Strip properties.

Thanks to all who participated this year.  It’s always fun.  What changes are in store this year?  We’ll just have to wait……

Binbin

 

 

“War For The Soar” – The “Lock It In” Challenge at Mohegan Sun

Today’s guest post is from NETG gambling friend Joe “Reload” Freda. Joe has supported NETimeGambling from the very beginning. Joe brings tried and true tips on maintaining a high level of gambling. Joe has been an avid gambling writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering.  Freda can be reached at joe_freda@yahoo.com or through Twitter (@ReloadSports).

Introduction

After a recent rest from visiting Connecticut’s casinos, I was hit up with a unique “Lock It In” promotion from Mohegan Sun that was worth exploring.  The offer designates a specific four-day period where your current Momentum player status tier can remain achieved without further visits needed.  In my case, it would take earning 500 points through play over the four days to lock in Soar status, which is the highest published level of Mohegan Sun’s five tiers.

Mohegan Sun's Momentum Players Club

Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Players Club

The Soar status normally takes 4000 status points over six months to clinch keeping it for half of the next year.  Even with scattered double or triple status promotional days, this is still quite an undertaking for players of all bet sizes.  I recall only reaching it once before a few years ago, but since then have had the second-highest level of Ascend.

In addition to being offered this chance, the same four-day period also featured several overlapping comps to further enhance the visit.  I was offered a $500 free bet and $300 of Players Perks (use it or lose it comp dollars), as well as a coveted Sky Suite to stay in.  While gambling is not on the minds of many as the holiday season approaches, it can be a promising time to strike with casino offers!

The challenge in obtaining 500 points over this span would be a hefty one needing the right planning and bankroll management.  I ended up only having two of the days free enough to visit and would be looking at some lengthy action without going bust.

Early struggles in my “War For The Soar”

In trying to conserve for a long haul, I opted to start with some commission-free Pai Gow Poker.  The low variance of this gaming option and pushes happening at over a 40% rate can make it your best chance for money to last.  You can also set your hands at times to more conservatively play for a push instead of going for a full win.

My $500 free bet won early and provided some breathing room, but the rest of my first night was a downward spiral of losses every hour.  I even missed out on a Royal Flush progressive payout of $2900 by not ponying up the game’s $5 side bet. While that may sound disappointing, playing an extra $5 a hand through a longer trip like this would have lost back almost all of that.

I ended up lasting until 5am in that session for 188 status points, but was down 75% of what I came to Uncasville’s mothership with.  It was back to the Sky Suite for some rest and room service while thinking through strategy for the rest of the visit.

“Soar-ing” back and enjoying the ride

As the next day of action approached, I opted to tighten risk even further and split my wager into two hands of Pai Gow.  This would allow my average bet to still be high enough in getting the points needed, but lessen the chance of sharper drops money-wise.

I knew it would take a lot of time but my luck was holding serve well out of the gate.  Despite playing two hands normally making it tough to surge upward, I managed to double my stake after the first couple of hours.  Even with more chips to work with, I remained conservative in the betting style so I could still last long.

As the clock struck 2am, I reached a good stopping mark where I had won back 70% of what was lost the night before.  I took a break to check status points knowing there was only a four-hour window left in the “Lock It In” period.  Thankfully, I reached a total of 495 points and just needed a few more!

I finished the night with some video poker in the “Hall Of Lost Tribes” and curled up to a “9/6 Jacks Or Better” machine.  In this mini-session worth seven status points, the gods of “quads” came through with four of a kind twice.  It felt nice to end with some extra winnings after all I had been through.

The next day, I received an e-mail from Mohegan Sun mentioning that my Soar status would be extended thanks to achieving 502 points.  I also enjoyed using the rest of my “Players Perks” in picking up an Under Armor hoodie from Denali and a couple of hats from the soon-closing Margaritaville restaurant.

Although I ended up losing about 10% of my bankroll over the trip, the overall experience and comps achieved made this a memorable one.  I felt five-star service the whole time and will be looking forward to another six months of Soar benefits. That’s the Mohegan Sun way!