Super Hand Video Poker – Try It, You May Like the Excitement

Super Hand Poker

Courtesy of The Wizard of Odds website.

In the original Triple Play (or 5-, 10-, or any other multiple of hands played), the bottom hand is played like any video poker machine.  You are dealt five cards, and after you decide what to hold, you are dealt cards to finish your five-card hand.  But in Triple-Play, there is only one step to follow. After choosing your held cards, they are held in all three hands and then you draw to each hand as separate

Super Hand Poker is a new twist on Triple Play Poker where you are dealt 3 independent hands. Super Hand Poker was first introduced at the 2015 Global Gaming Expo. The only New England casino to include it at this time is Mohegan Sun.


  1. Super Hand Poker can usually be found in nickel, dime and quarter denomination.
  2. Don’t expect great paytables. Mohegan Sun had 6/5 JOB and 8/5 DDB.
  3. Without max bet, it acts like a usual Triple Play format.  Max play doubles your bet, with the extra 15 credits adding the best possible hand swap.
  4. Volatile? – yes.  Fun? I thought so. If you are dealt a Flush, FH, or 4-of-a-kind (or even a Royal), it is swapped to the bottom giving you three hands of that payout.  You could then change the hold, if, for example, you were looking for a kicker with quad aces.
  5. Any winning dealt hands are paid, and then the hand with the highest expected value is selected for the next round of play in traditional Triple Play fashion.


Mike Shackelford of The Wizard of Odds

Mike Shackelford of The Wizard of Odds

According to Michael Shackelford of the Wizard of Odds website, EV percentage is as follows:

  • 6/5 Bonus Poker – 97.8%
  • 6/5 Bonus Poker Deluxe – 95.8%
  • 10/8 Deuces, with both Full house and 4OAK = 4  – 97.48%
  • 6/5 DDB – 95.00
  • 8/5 DDB ( at Mohegan Sun) 97.00%

According to the Wizard, “You can never go wrong with accepting the game’s determination of the best hand to put on the bottom. Sometimes it will be a tie, in which case you can switch with an equal hand, but it will neither help nor hurt you. For which cards to keep and discard, you may use conventional video poker strategy.”


Here’s how it works:

Three independent hands are initially dealt. Notice when all three hands are dealt the best possible hand was at the top.

With max bet, the game picks the best of the three hands and swaps it to the bottom.  Now, the best hand is the beginning hand for the draw an hold, with the option of swapping another hand.  Much like Dream Card Poker, the best hand choice is consistently correct, as far as I noticed with strategy for JOB and Double Double Bonus.  The game will automatically put the best starting hand, as measured by expected value, on the bottom.

Notice above, you get paid for any made hand on the draw before holding for the Triple Play draw.  Below you see the Kings were held, followed by the draw and the final payoff of hands, ending the game.



I had a blast playing this game.  It is slow due to the additional steps to complete play.  If game you are looking for a full-pay, grind it out type of video poker, don’t bother.  But sometimes gambling is about the fun and the expectation of a big payout. Should it replace $1 Full Pay JOB for serious play at Mohegan Sun? No.

But like I said, it was fun. Try it – and if it drains your bankroll quickly but you still want high volatility, play Powerhouse Poker or Super Draw 6 Card Poker in the same row, Earth casino.

That’s all for now.  Tomorrow we take a look at some upcoming promotions for the Kentucky Derby!




Video Poker Players – Practice Before Your Visit

It was a dark, cold and dreary night in New England.  Over 400 Video poker players were present for a Tournament that would go on, on, …into the night.  It was intense, it was stressful, it was……

Who am I kidding, it was just a video poker tournament……

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Ok, so actually, it was a nice peaceful event, with good food that lasted from 8 – 11:00 pm.  But, while this was not my first VP tournament, it was different in one very important aspect – I won money!  Tenth place out of the ten paying spots, with over 400 people invited!  Ya-hoo!

While the payout was small, the badge of honor of winning after years of practicing paid off.  Yes, you read correctly – I practice.  I prepare three video poker games constantly – Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and Double Double Bonus Poker.  I have been practicing for years because as we all know, Video Poker does involve skill and luck.  Correct strategy goes beyond basic strategy. Knowledge of penalty cards, strategy changes according to games but different pay table (just ask any deuces wild player about that), and other nuances that might buy a few extra hands to try for that illusive Royal Flush is essential for keeping your bankroll intact.

(Did I tell you I won?)

Strategy cards are available and legal.

Anyway, this post is to suggest resources to practice video poker.  Someone I have been in contact with and is one of the leading gambling strategy gurus, John Grochowski.  In one of the many publications he writes for, John suggested these software programs to help improve your strategy and speed. ” As for software, at different times on different computers, I use Bob Dancer’s Video Poker for Winners, Jean Scott’s Frugal Video Poker and Dean Zamzow’s WinPoker. All can be set for different games and pay tables and will alert you when you are making mistakes. Video Poker for Winners and Frugal Video Poker will generate strategy tables. WinPoker doesn’t do that, but I find it the easiest to use when I need to adjust to a pay table that’s not one of the basics already included on the software.”

I would like to also add the website,  which allows you to play the newest video poker games free and for a paid upgrade you can learn best strategy, and get other perks such as no advertising.  An app I use on my devices is called “Video Poker and Perfect Play Trainer” by Robert Suh.  I love it because you can change the paytables and it’s easy to use.

So, practice, practice, practice.  It has helped me become an accurate and fast player.  By the way, the staple to any VP beginner’s book library would be John Grochowski’s “The Video Poker Answer Book.”  It’s a great place to start.

Remember, a good gambler isn’t someone reckless about betting, it’s a person who tries to get the best chance to win, be most prepared and lower the house edge in any legal way.

That’s all for now


Coach Kitty and My Gambling Confession

I’m writing a gambling confession today, but first a disclaimer.

While a make up a small part of the TravelZork team, this is not intended to be an advertisement.  I just need to share the help I’ve received over the last year from the many experts at this website.  Check it out because you deserve it – ‘nuff said.


Over the last twenty-five years, I have gone from a beginner who didn’t know basic JOB Video Poker Strategy (and played one quarter at a time) to someone who runs a gambling blog. The journey has been fun and the knowledge I’ve gained has been amazing. But there is one thing that I couldn’t admit – until recently.

I refused to follow the best way to receive casino comps. Even my local casinos provided good entertainment and hotel comps, but very little free slot play. I never understood, or refused to accept the real truth behind how casino comps work. ADT (Average Daily Theoretical) I knew, but I loved playing VP.  So, I played a small amount 2-6 times a month.

I always thought the casinos were shooting themselves in the foot with local clientele. “It should all add up to one gambling day, should it not?.” But I was wrong, sadly.

All along, I knew the truth.  Only recently, I realize I needed to change my sessions to larger but fewer.


I get it now.  It’s time to change.  I want you to, no, I implore you to go to TravelZork. The suggestions provided by Michael Tragar and Eric Rosenthal will change your gambling world positively for good. But, there is one person and one particular article by her that is one of the best explanations about the world of comps I have ever read.

It’s Casino Comps – The Big Play Casino Gambling Day, Part 1 by Coach Kitty.

Go ahead, click and read it, I’ll wait.  (elevator music plays) ………… ok, now let’s continue.

Catherine has become a self-made expert in working the system.  Her optimal approach to casino gambling and travel deals on a budget gives her the credibility behind her posts. Meeting her in person last year made me realize she knows what she writes about.  Kitty is also an expert Video Poker player, with basic strategies on many games in her back pocket.

Now, if you haven’t read that article yet, go read it!


If you care about improving you gambling success, taking advantage of casino comps, and learning how to maximize credit cards use and rewards clubs of all kinds, you must check out TravelZork.

Thank you Catherine.  Thank you Michael and Eric, and the rest of the team. I can’t wait for part 2.  Don’t leave us hanging, Coach Kitty!


NETimeGambling Posts You Might Have Missed – End of September

Fall has arrived, summer is gone.  New England’s foliage will now take center stage, although the Gypsy moth damage will certainly dampen the landscape’s brilliant colors.

Well, let’s take you back a few weeks to the best received posts from the past two weeks. 

But first a joke, courtesy of from

A man rushes into his house and yells to his wife, “Martha, pack up your things. I just won a million dollar slot machine jackpot!” Martha replies, “Shall I pack for warm weather or cold?” The man responds, “I don’t care. Just so long as you’re out of the house by noon!” 

And now, the best of the last two weeks. SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED!


September 14th – Blackjack Side Bets in New England Casinos

“What are the side bets offered in New England’s Casinos for Blackjack?  And are they worth playing?…….”



Mohegan Sun

September 17th – Mohegan Sun Continues History of Expansion With New CEO

“Mohegan Sun has been planning for the future. Expanding its portfolio to include non-gambling amenities has been in progress for years, knowing that competition will soon increase in New England……”

September 19th – Video Poker – When To Play Fast

“Video poker is not like slot machines – there is skill to it…..”

September 20th – Big Data, Casinos, & Jean Scott

“….gaming centers are turning to data analytics to make the gaming experience better for customers while also keeping the casinos solvent.”


September 21nd – New England Casino Whiskey & Beer Fests

“Get your drinking buds together and get ready for some great festivals featuring whiskey & beer….”

Have a great week!



Video Poker – When To Play Fast

Video poker is not like slot machines – there is skill to it. It’s knowing the probability of the dealt hands, memorizing the strategy and holding what gives the best advantage for the best winning hand.

Video Poker machines often have a button where the player can set the speed of the cards dealt. Mostly, it is about where your comfort level is with your speed of play, but there is a reason when playing as fast as you can is suggested, as long as it’s accurate perfect strategy.

One time, I sent a question to noted Video Poker Expert, Bob Dancer.  For great software to practice your Video Poker Play, go to I asked him, “When do you suggest to play as fast as you can?”

His answer – “Always.”

From his stand point, it was the correct answer.  However, he insists on only playing advantage games – full pay, or very close to it. That means he plays games such as:

  • Jack or Better – 9/6 **
  • Bonus Poker – 8/5 **
  • Double Bonus – 10/7 **
  • Double Double Bonus – 10/6 **
  • Full Pay Deuces Wild – 9(StrFl)) /5 (40faK)
  • NSUD (Dueces Willd) – 9(StrFl)) /4(40faK) / 4 (FH)

** Please note – The first number = payout for Full House, second number = payout for Flush in these games


Jacks or Better best paytable (called 9/6 because of the full house and flush pay out). Notice the jump in pay out from 4 to 5 coins.

These games are seen as full play because they have a pay out of 99.7% to over 100% with perfect strategy. Because Mr. Dancer plays perfect strategy on full pay VP, his answer is correct – full speed ahead always.

Playing Video Poker as fast as one can should only be played when the player has the advantage, as in the above VP paytables. For more information about which games are FULL PAY, go to vpFREE2 and the Wizard of Odds.

But, the rest of us have a few considerations that many advantage players don’t. Consider these:


Whatever video poker game you play, you need to practice, and practice. Advantage players can play over 15 hands per minute. They only play full pay VP, and learn to minimize the time for each deal/hold play. Practice teaches AP’s what patterns of cards to memorize for whatever strategy is needed, no matter in what order the patterns are in on the deal.

Playing full pay VP also needs a technique that alleviates excess movement.  I average 400-600 hands if needed by using my left hand for the holding of cards and my right hand for the deal/draw.  By rolling my left hand slightly, I can hold whatever button is needed without looking down, keeping my eyes on the screen.


No matter how good, or how fast you play video poker, the fact remains that full pay options are increasingly hard to find. Many casinos offer playable (like 8/5 JOB or 9/5 DDB) to incredibly bad (6/5 JOB, 7/5 DDB).  The only full pay video poker in New England can be found at Mohegan Sun – 9/6 JOB.

SPEED CAN KILL (your Bankroll, That Is)

Since most casinos in the country don’t offer full pay VP, playing fast is not a template for success. Playing any casino game – slots, tables, VP – with a higher house edge should be played accurately first, speedily second.  Playing slow can be a friend to your bankroll. Besides, if you play fast and make mistakes – don’t play fast.  Unless you are playing full pay VP, there is absolutely no reason to speed.


The primary strategy is knowing the optimum strategy for the game you are playing.  Even with JOB (Jacks or Better, remember?) basic strategy, or the cards you hold, is different depending if the pay table is 9/6 or 8/5.


Jerry “Stickman” wrote the following in his post “How Fast Should You Play Video Poker?” in Casino City Times.

“First and foremost, if you are playing a machine where the house has the edge, you are best off pacing your play. The more you play, the more you will lose. Sure you may hit some big winners, but the more you play, the more the house will take your hard earned money. So if you don’t have an edge (including slot club points and possibly comps), take your time playing. Don’t rush to give the house any more money than you must. Only play as fast as you can be accurate. When playing with an edge, Wyatt Earp probably said it best when he quipped, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” Don’t get killed. Make sure you are playing correctly.”

Now, go get that Royal Flush!


Video Poker Bars – 6 Considerations for a Great Experience

Sitting down at a bar-top video poker machine with full pay games and ordering unlimited free quality drinks seem to be a thing of the past. The experience has been diminished – tarnished – by casino industry bean counters squeezing every penny they can out of their patrons.

So, what makes a good video poker bar-top experience these days?

I truly understand that to many players, it doesn’t matter.  The ambiance, the excitement of the destination, or playing side by side with friends is more important than how many credits won on a full house.  To sit at the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan Resort in Las Vegas is enough to put up with 7/5 JOB because of the extravagant $20 gourmet cocktails and the atmosphere.  I get it.

Video poker at your favorite bar top machine.

But some of us still want to play machines that give us a fighting chance and still get a quality beer upon asking. (However, even that is being taken away – see “drinks & coupons” later in this post.)

This post 6 Considerations for a Great Experience at Casino Video Poker Bars:

Quality of Games – Pay-tables

Multi Games Offered


Drinks & Coupons


Rewards Club & Promotions

As always, personal preference is most important when you play. But, many things need to be considered.  Let’s look into the possibilities to consider for the optimum video poker bar experience.

Quality of Games – Pay-tables

Video poker is a skill game.  Many of us practice specific games we enjoy because there IS a best play for each hand dealt, depending on the game.  I know I want to give myself the best chance to win.  I know I want the best chance to play longer, possibly giving myself a better chance to get more hands dealt and more chances for the elusive Royal Flush.  Full pay 9/6 JOB (Jacks or Better) plays slightly different that 8/5 JOB.

Full Pay JOB and a Royal Flush!

Many VP bars don’t offer good games simply because you’re getting to drink for free. On my last trip to Las Vegas, I stopped in at Caesars Palace to play a little VP and get a beer.  At this particular bar, they had 6/5 Double Double bonus, and Coors light.  Double whammy! Pitiful! (For those VP novices in the audience, the first number refers to payout for a full house, 2nd number for a flush.  This combination is one of the ways to tell if it’s a good game to play or bad concerning expected pay back over the long term.  But it isn’t the only consideration to find “good” games.)  Later, at downtown Las Vegas, I played 8/5 bonus, & 9/6 DDB with unlimited craft beer from Main Street Station’s own brewery. Let’s compare some pay tables:

Jacks or Better – 9/6 = 99.54% pay back (considered Full Pay, best pay table, and can be found at Mohegan Sun bar tops)……6/5 = 95% Dollar slots are a better gambling play, since a player will receive approximately 3X rewards points for slots as compared to VP.

Double Double Bonus – 10/6 = 100.07% pay back, 9/6= 98.98% payback, 9/5 = 97.87% payback……. 6/5 = 94% pay back, worst pay table I’ve ever seen.  Dollar slots are a better gambling play, since a player will receive approximately 3X rewards points for slots as compared to VP.

If playing a machine that gives you better odds is important to you, then check the paytables.

Superstar Multi Video Poker – numerous games, numerous denominations.

Multi Games Offered

Most bar-top machines offer many games, not only video poker.  Video Keno, Blackjack, slots, and many variations of VP can be found.  All bar tops are not created equal – even at the same bar.  Check out different machines.  Find one that offers what you want to play while kicking back your favorite cocktail or beer.

I will consider only video poker for this article.  Look for “All Star Poker” or Superstar Multi Poker which offer a variety of VP, from single line, triple and five play, to Spin Poker & Ultimate X VP.  Again, check the pay tables.  But you might enjoy a particular game and just prefer playing that.  Better payout = best gambling play, favorite VP game = enjoy the experience.  Best of all would be your favorite game with good pay tables. Take some time to search, they are out there – maybe even at your local casino.

Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan Chandelier bar, VP surrounded by beauty.


That’s right, to some players, the best game just doesn’t matter at times.  It’s the atmosphere, the camaraderie , the social aspect of it all.  Or, maybe, it’s watching a bartender juggle bottles while making an exquisite gourmet cocktail just for you. Maybe, you have a friendly relationship with the barkeep, you know the bar where “everybody knows your name.”

There are some bars that are surrounded by natural beauty – both for artistic decor and people watching.  Either way, it may be to pass time and take it all in, instead of concentrating on the skill involved.

Quiet – highly underrated in  casinos.  Playing VP in a quiet setting sipping a draft beer away from the crowds can be soothing and seem like an oasis in an otherwise crazy place. Two such places exist in New England Casinos – the Race books at Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun.

Drinks & Coupons

Playing crappy VP can simply be overlooked by the drinks served.  I remember playing 7/5 Bonus VP at the 32 Degrees Bar at M Resort, south of the Las Vegas Strip.  Why? – because of the 96 taps that were available.  A fabulous free drink can a key ingredient to your Vegas vacation.

Lights signal bartenders for vouchers. Some are automatic.

But free drinks, like free parking, are a vanishing commodity in Las Vegas, and all over the country.  In the old system — which still rules most hotel casinos, depending on state laws — if you gamble on the casino floor or at a bar, you get free drinks from bartenders who monitor your gambling.  But more and more, especially on the Las Vegas Strip, ticket systems at a video poker bars are now installed where gamblers must gamble to receive vouchers for drinks.  The estimated time for a free drink depends on speed of play, denomination, and apparently if the ticket system is actually working. According to a recent “Five Hundy by Midnight” podcast, the average time for an average speed player at the Cosmopolitan on the Strip tends to be 20 minutes between drinks. Cosmo, MGM and Caesars properties are all trying this strategy with mixed reviews. Rumors also abound in Las Vegas concerning coupon systems being used on the casino floor.

In New England, free drinks are still poured at Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods (both of which continue to have free parking), while state rules prohibit free drinks in the 2 Maine casinos, Plainridge Park in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island casinos.

Video Poker Progressive


Progressive jackpots are jackpots that grows as people play. It progressively gets larger and larger as a percentage of each bet is added to the total prize. They are usually linked to a whole bank of machines. This means that if there are players on all of the machines there is a chance that another player will hit the royal before you. Very often, video poker with lower pay tables at bar tops will be boosted with a progressive jackpot for Royal Flushes and sometimes “Quads” (four-of-a-kind).  These jackpots can get quite high, making a non playable game more of a better play.  Sometimes a combination of factors with a progressive is just what a player may be looking for, even for that low cost, watered-down “scotch on the rocks.”

Rewards Club & Promotions

Video Poker at Oxford Casino – pay for drinks, terrible paytables.

One final consideration is the rewards club. A good rewards club can make a difference, especially on multiplier days.  For example, a general rule by most casinos is that it takes 2X to 3X of play to earn one reward a status point compared to that slots.  But on a multiplier day, such as Mohegan Sun’s Triple Status Point promotions, playing VP can accumulate faster.  But read the fine print!  At Oxford Casino,


promotions such as their Tuesday “15X point” multiplier doesn’t include play on video poker machines. Some bar chains in Nevada have their own rewards club, as well as mini-marts, gas stations, pharmacies, and supermarkets!  PT’s Entertainment Group, who recently bought the Stratosphere and Arizona Charlies’ hotel casinos in Las Vegas, has 50+ taverns & restaurants and offer two award-winning loyalty rewards programs to sweeten the pot on its usually low paying VP.


It’s simple – whatever floats your boat.  Take a little extra time to weigh assess things and you may expand your good experience into a great experience.

That’s all for now.


6 Considerations for the Best Video Poker Tournament Strategy

Today I look at the strategy for playing in a Video Poker tournament, including variations to consider and how it differs from playing basic strategy.

A VP tournament is a lot of fun and excitement galore. Many tournaments only allow five or ten minutes for the contestants to apply their strategies, and hopefully score enough points to win some money. In this short span of time, few hands can be played. A very fast player in a tournament that allows 20 minutes of play to determine a winner will only be able to play about 500 hands.
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. The highest scoring totals are usually fueled by 4-of-a-kinds with a kicker, or Royal Flushes. This means most players must tweak their strategy for those hands and play a little outside the basic strategy box to win.

1)“Favor a Royal Flush” strategy

According to Jerry “Stickman” Stich of CASINO PLAYER magazine, one approach (extreme, but believable) is the “Favor a Royal Flush” strategy. He says, “The thought behind this strategy is that hitting a royal means you have a great chance of winning at least something in the tournament. By only saving cards that could lead to a royal, you improve the chances of hitting a royal to about 1 in 23,000 from the 1 in 40,000 with optimum play….Playing 500 hands in a tournament, you could expect a “Royal” every 46 times.”

Royal Flush


How do you play a royals only strategy? If the hand doesn’t have any cards that will make a royal, discard the entire hand. Only keep cards that could make a royal. Sounds drastic, but it does offer a chance for more Royals.

2) Specific VP Games and Changes in Strategy for Tournament play

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. If it is JOB (Jacks or Better), the best strategy might be a Royal Flush or nothing approach is as stated above – Double Double & Triple Double Bonus not so much.  

3) Consider 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.

4) Increase Your Speed

Most players should play faster, even though it may increase mistakes.  Remember, in a VP tourney, you want to increase the number hands played for the best chance for high paying hands.  If you are only a recreational player, stick to the strategy and speed o give you the best optimal play.

5) Practice, Practice, Practice – Use Both Hands

Another useful tip to be noted is when one participates in a speed tournament, he/she should consider playing with both hands instead of one finger only. The touch screen should not be used, as it is far too slow. If one practices playing with both hands before the tournament, he/she will manage to develop the mental and motor skills required to play more swiftly. In tournaments players with vast experience have a huge edge, because a key factor in fast play is to discern patterns and make timely decisions.

6) Time Limit vs. Hand Limit

According to, “The main difference between tournaments is if they are limiting play based on total hands, or based on total time on the machine. For example, one tournament … allowed each player 200 hands on the machine, and whoever had the most credits at the end of 200 hands was the winner…….some tournaments allot each player a certain amount of time on the machine. For example, allowing each player 45 total minutes on the machine, in three 15 minute sessions.  Although time vs. total hands may seem like a small factor, it actually is very important when determining your strategy. If you have as long as you want to play your hands, you can take your time and always make the mathematically correct decision. However, if the tournament has a time limit, then you need to hustle up and make sure you play as many hands as possible.”

If you find a tournament near you, take advantage.  Sometimes they offer snacks, drinks, and a chance to chill before and after.  All in all, it can be very fulfilling, especially for the experienced player.


NETime Gambling – Weekly Posts You Missed 4/9/17

Another Sunday Morning, and another Sunday edition of 

“Weekly Posts You Missed”  

But first………


“Easy like Sunday Morning….”   As you open the paper, check your email, and relax with your cup of “joe,” let your Sunday morning ritual include checking our past week’s posts.  SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED LAST WEEK!

Last Monday – Video Poker Players – Practice Before Your Visit

…..this post suggests resources to practice video poker.

Last Wednesday – Casinos and People Watching on a Saturday Night – “Oh the Humanity!”

….Remember the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie (Episode IV) and the infinitely different cast of characters in that lounge?……

Last Thursday – Maine Opposition To Tribal Gaming is Prejudicial

Last Friday – Martha’s Vineyard Decision Reversed 

Earlier, in July of 2015, Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head tribal officials announced that they planned to convert an unfinished community center on the island into a gambling venue…..

Saturday – Connecticut Casino Revenue Decline is a Sign For Action


Bet you didn’t know this…

Do Las Vegas churches accept gambling chips?

This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas ,
but there are more Catholic churches than casinos.
Not surprisingly, some worshipers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.  Since they get chips from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings.
The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.
by ……..
the chip monks.
Thanks, Alice D. for the joke.  Always glad to hear from you!
Happy Easter to all those celebrating.  
Cya Next week.




Video Poker, Like Jazz, Is Not For The Masses

Playing Video Poker  takes skill based on mathematics.  Yes,   of course there is luck involved – but luck is just the perception of the best probability occurring, and bad luck is the  perception of the worst probability occurring. Unlike slots, where you have no idea of the payback % according to the random number generator programmed at the factory, in Video Poker, you do.  The pay table is right there in front of you.

When I first started visiting casinos in the 80’s, even CT had “Not So Ugly Ducks” Deuces Wild, which is a Dueces Wild game with a specific pay table, 10-4-4-3-2-1.  With perfect strategy, this game has a payback of 99.73%.  An excellent game, close to a payback of  9/6 JOB (jacks or better).

John Grochowski - the Casino Answer Man

John Grochowski – the Casino Answer Man

Why are Full-pay Video Poker games becoming extinct?  John Grochowski, the Casino Answer Man, has an opinion that I totally agree with.

John was telling a interesting story a few years ago in his column at CasinoCityTimes. He once asked a representative of a game manufacturer if he thought players noticed the differences in pay tables. The representative said that only a small minority of players could distinguish the games at a glance, even though players noticed their bankrolls disappearing faster on the lower-paying games.

I will often hear from VP players complaining about how the games at Mohegan Sun are tighter than Foxwoods, and vice versa.  And, often they are referring to machines with the same game, same pay table, same manufacturer.  How could that legally be?  They might attribute it to the casino tightening the machine by making winning hands come up less often, or to the casino being an unlucky place for them. But players notice when their bankrolls are disappearing faster, and that affects where and how often they play.

Plainridge Park Casino

Busy Casino – Plainridge Park Casino

But once players are in a casino, especially a busy casino, most don’t notice which have the higher pay tables. So, why shouldn’t casino operators put lower-paying games on the floor. What does it matter?  The masses will play anything put in front of them.

Slots make more money – no strategy needed, and the take for the casinos is 10 – 15%.  Why keep a game like full-pay JOB or Double Double Bonus that’s holding less than 2 percent when most of the growth in gaming is in video slot machines that hold 10 to 15 percent?

Simply put, too many poor video poker players with poor strategy who will play any game, poor pay table notwithstanding, are single-handedly making the good pay tables extinct.

I don’t fault the industry for the lack of the availability of good pay tables.  I don’t fault the the industry for 6-5 Blackjack, either.  It’s a money making industry, isn’t it?

I love playing jazz and listening to jazz.  It’s complicated.  It takes some knowledge and understanding to enjoy it – it’s not for the masses.

Full pay VP is not for the masses either.  But, unlike jazz, we may never see full pay Deuces again.

That’s all for now.


Casino Annoyances – Slots, VP, Table Games and More

Spending time at the casino can be so much fun…..if it wasn’t for those annoying humans and machines that you have to interact with.

So, you’re at your favorite casino, playing your favorite machine or table game. Then something annoying happens… are immediately taken from Casino solace and recreational fun to gambling annoyance….the dreaded casino pet peeve.

What’s your pet peeve when visiting the casino?  I’d love to hear about about it from you. Follow us and comment on Twitter and Facebook. Here are some of my pet-peeves. Let’s see if these sound familiar:

Slot Machines


  • A person sits at the machine next to you. He/she constantly puts their players card in, and pulls it out – like it has anything to do with the outcome. I guess they are trying to fool the machine. These people should have read my blog on the Random Number Generator?
  • The person who sits at the slot machine and has to hit all the buttons before the pull (hitting the button). Are they composing, or soothing the machine with a lullaby? Again, RNG people, RNG!!
  • Slot machines that congratulate you for winning a small amount in the bonus – like a whole $8 while you’re betting $1.25 a whack. I’d rather have it say “better luck next time!” or “lucky you, you’re only $200 down, now.”
  • Ashes on the machine buttons. Smokers, c’mon – consider the players after you, please!
  • Players who smack the crap out of the buttons – I mean, don’t these people suffer stress fractures or something?

The solitary play of a video poker player.


  • The person who slaps the buttons so hard, you swear that he/she will break the machine before they break their hand. It’s like they are beating the machine into submission.
  • Sticky buttons on VP machines at bars.  It would be great if there was something that would cover the buttons.
  • The number of times that 4th Ace doesn’t appear in DDB.
  • VP machines placed in the casino when the lighting produces a glare so bad that you can’t even read the cards unless you constantly move back and forth.


  • Listen, if your are playing $25 at a $5 Blackjack table, don’t get upset when someone doesn’t play perfect strategy. Where else are they going to learn for real? Play with the serious players at the $25 table. Besides, studies have shown mistakes in basic strategy by newbies usually even out the table’s play with bad plays that actually help the players. (Look it up!)
  • Dealers who don’t thank players for a tip. Tapping the chip does not count as a proper “thank you.”
  • High table minimums, no lower options.
  • The dealer shuffles, the players await their first hand of the shoe – and dealer has blackjack!


  • Walking behind someone who suddenly decides to stop cold in their tracks in the middle of the aisle without any regard to the 10 people behind them who now have to quickly react to or run into the inconsiderate person. Is it too hard to just walk to the side before coming to a complete stop?
  • The cocktail waitress comes around and asks you if you would like a drink… then you don’t see her for 15-20 until she comes by and asks you if you want a drink… you order again and then 15-20 minutes she comes by again and still hasn’t brought you a drink and asks you again if you want something. Etc, etc, etc….
  • When the space between machines is filled with half-empty drink glasses, full ashtrays, and other trash.  People ca be such slobs.
  • People who scream and shout and jump up and down when they hit almost any kind of win, and lots of times it’s a small win on a slot machine that doesn’t even return their bet back. I figure they do it because they’ve never been to a casino before and they’ve seen people do it on TV or in movies and so they think that’s how they are supposed to act in a casino.
  • And finally, though I love New England casinos, I hate the fact that Las Vegas is SO FAR AWAY! Those 7 hour flights are a royal pain. Of course, higher resort fees, new parking fees, worse VP than Mohegan Sun, time share hawkers, porn slappers , freaks on every corner….. like I said, I love New England.

That’s all for now.


Spin Poker – Video Poker Strategy w/ Slot Machine Fun

One of my favorite visits to Las Vegas included a 2 hour session of SPIN POKER at Main Street Station during VIMFP. Playing Double Double Poker at a bar top spin poker machine, I hit numerous quads     (4-of-a-kind), with some of the best craft beer (made on the premises) by my side. MSS also has a quad promotion – every time you get a 4-of-a-kind, you are given a scratch off ticket, usually worth $1 – $5 on top of your payoff.  MSS remains one of the best video poker casinos in all of Las Vegas.  

According to John Grochowski, “Spin Poker was designed in the days that nine-payline games were the cutting edge in video slots. There was some hope that Spin Poker would become a crossover game, giving an attractive look to players making a move from video slots. It hasn’t really worked that way, instead settling into a small niche among video poker players.”

SPIN POKER – Is it a slot machine or video poker?

Spin Poker is a cross between a Triple Play video poker game and a five-reel video slot game. It brings the ‘feel” and “excitement” of playing a slot machine to a video poker game.

John Robinson, from Casino City, says, “Spin Poker is unusual for video poker machines in that it has a slot-like spinning display.” download

Michael Shackelford, from the Wizard of Odds, says the rules of playing are as follows:

  1. The game is played on a video screen. There are 15 positions in a matrix of 5 columns and 3 rows.
  2. After making a bet the player will get five cards from a 52-card deck (except for decks that include jokers) on the middle row.
  3. The player may keep and discard as he wishes, as in regular video poker.
  4. Any cards the player holds will be replicated on the top and bottom row as well, in the same column.
  5. After the player presses the “deal” button the empty squares will be filled in from the remaining 47 cards in the deck. No card in the will appear more than once in the draw.
  6. The player will be paid according to the poker value of each active pay line.

As in Triple Play VP, on the deal, you chose the cards to hold. These cards are then used for all lines bet.

How many lines should I play?

When you play Spin Poker, you get to choose how many lines and how many coins you want to wager per line. There are a maximum of nine lines in Spin Poker.  In all video poker, my suggestion is play max for the best Royal Flush payoff, or reduce your denomination.

Are the odds different from regular VP, since it looks like a slot machine?

Spin poker plays like any video poker machine.  A 8/5 JOB on Spin Poker will have exactly the same odds as 8/5 single line VP.

How does it effect my bankroll? 

Since there are nine lines in the matrix that pay off instead of a single line, playing max will cost 9x that of a single line VP machine, or 45 credits instead of 5. Because of that, being a $.25 video poker player, I will look for a nickel denomination. It’s still hefty at $2.25 per hand, but the difference in the game from single line VP can be an exiting change.

Any drawbacks about the game?

The one drawback that I see is that the spinning reels are distracting and slow. Even if you’re betting on only one hand, you have to wait for the reels to spin and all the cards to stop before your bet is settled. Your hands per hour will decrease, and on a game such as 10-6 Double Double Bonus where payback plus player rewards take you into profitable territory, that can be an annoyance.  However, you can always “double-click” the deal button for a faster draw.

Are they variations, or other VP games mixed with it?  Yes.

Deluxe - 20 lines.

Deluxe – 20 lines.

Three reels of Spin Poker Fun.

Three reels of Spin Poker Fun.

Spin Poker Deluxe expands the game further to 20 lines, even more like the matrix of a slot machine.  Spin Poker with Dream Card is available.  But the most popular variation seems to be the Super Times Pay Spin Poker  machine.

The latest is Triple Spin Poker, similar to Triple play, with three reels instead of just one.


Most of New England’s casinos offer Spin Poker.  Try it sometime – it can be a lot of fun.




12 New Year Resolutions for Gamblers

new-years-resolutionDo people really make resolutions and stick to them? C’mon now – really?

I think we make resolutions on January 1st with all good intentions. I really do! They represent hope – change for the better – improvement. Whether we follow them or not, they represent what we think are important changes to make as individuals and as a society.resolutions

So resolutions are good, right? But making too many is fodder for disaster! Let’s look at some gambling resolutions for the new year.  But, it’s always better to pick one or two below – and STICK TO THEM.

So, here are our suggestions courtesy of the Casino Answer Man, – John Grochowdki. Pick a few, or maybe one a month.  Whatever the case, try these


1) I will stay within my Bankroll!Bankroll

Know what you can spend.  If you have a winning session, great! If not, stick to your limit. If losses approach the amount you’re willing to spend, slow down. Take a timeout, get a snack – people watch! If you hit your limit, it’s time to stop

2) I won’t bother people near me – I will respect other players space and focus.images

Instead of bothering others, I will do my own homework and learn the games myself. This includes not being a pain in the #$% to the dealer and wait staff. Remember to keep your advice to yourself, unless someone asks.

3) I will learn the games before I play:

Blackjack Strategy card.

Blackjack Strategy card.

A little homework goes a long way in helping to cut the odds against you at casino games. Learn basic strategy in blackjack and for each video poker game you play. Know the rules and best bets in craps. No matter your game of choice, buy a good book and read about the best methods of play.  If you have to ask a stranger about the game or machine, chances are you shouldn’t be gambling.

4) I will keep part of my winnings:

They Represent Real money! Treat these chips as such.

They Represent Real money! Treat these chips as such.

Your winnings are just that YOUR WINNINGS. It isn’t “their money.” As soon as you’ve won it, it’s yours, and you don’t have to give it back. On any sizable win, put at least half of it away. You can buy yourself a treat, go out for an evening on the town, put a little away for the kids’ or grand-kids’ educations, pay bills — whatever you want. Even better, keep part of your winnings for your next session.

5) I will keep track of my gambling.gdiary

Keeping track of stats such as time spent, casinos visited, promotions used, money won/lost, etc…will force you to look at your gaming experiences. Patterns of losing play, or machines played, may indicate that changes are needed.

6) I will play only with money I can afford to lose:

$100 Funny Toilet Paper

When the losses come, make sure you don’t have money earmarked for food, clothing, school, the rent or mortgage on the line. Play with money budgeted for entertainment, not for life’s necessities.


7) I will never chase losses:

Does money just seem to be floating away?

What’s worse than losing money? Losing even more in a desperate attempt to win it back. You’re never “due” to win, and wins and losses don’t have to even out in the time we play. A losing streak means it’s time to ease back or quit, not bet more.

8) I will never use credit card cash advances for gambling money:

Casino Redemtion / ATM machineThink the house edge is high on some games? Try comparing it to credit card interest rates. The house edge added to interest on borrowed money and ATM fees — that’s a tough combination to overcome.  Bring your cash, or if your a big player, get your marker from the casino.  Either way, hide those credit cards and ATM card in your car, or don’t bring them (locals.)

9) I will go easy on the alcohol:alcohol-gambling

If you want to have a drink while you play, that’s your business. You don’t want your judgment impaired with money on the line. Have a good time, but keep a clear head, too.

10) I will keep perspective and play for fun:

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

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

Keep perspective and play for fun. Gambling in a casino is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Only a handful of blackjack and video poker players have the skill, discipline and bankroll to enable them to make money in the long run. Most of us will lose more than we win at any game. Most players are best off to treat losses as the price of admission for a day’s entertainment. Casino gambling is a form of entertainment, a way to have a good time. On those days when we take a little extra cash home, so much the better. But even a losing day can be fun if you keep your expectations realistic. Remember, it’s not about luck, or casino conspiracies – it’s all about math + science = house edge.

11) I will pay attention to my TITO Tickets and my belongings in the casino.

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

 Be careful with your money. There are people out there who look to take other players money, TITO vouchers (TITO = Ticket In, Ticket Out) purses and more. That’s their job! Be careful out there and be aware of those around you.

12) I will be more aware of my Rewards Account. Players Club

Remember, all rewards clubs have different rules. 1 point in one club equals $1, but other clubs have 100 points equaling $1. Take advantage of Players Club promotions – especially 2X & 3X (or more) points days. Be aware of when your points expire.

I’m sure there are more. Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope you keep them as long as possible. I hope your New year is a prosperous one – make 2017 the best gaming experience yet. Get that royal!

That’s all for now