Video Poker: Learning The Right Lesson
Experience can be a great teacher. People who have been around the block a time or two are much better able to cope with whatever comes next than are the raw beginners.
It’s up to you, however, to learn the right lesson. There are very experienced blackjack players who will tell you that playing with a bad player really hurts the odds for the good players. It’s total nonsense, of course, but that’s what their experience tells them. They tend to remember the evidence that supports their hypothesis and ignore the evidence that contradicts it.
The same is true in video poker. Let’s look at a situation and see what lessons we can draw from it.
You’re considering playing 9/7 Double Bonus at the ABC casino near San Diego. Their 0.50% cash back doesn’t come close to making the 99.11% game profitable, but you have a juicy coupon in your hand. This one-time-only coupon offers a 100-coin bonus on ANY four-of-a-kind. This turns the game into a 103.8+% blockbuster.
You have $1,600 cash-on-hand without raiding your bank account, so you take it on down to the casino and start playing. Dame Fortune frowns on you that day and in two hours your $1,600 is history. You played 1,500 hands and lost at more than a 20% clip. You still have the coupon, but haven’t connected on the quad and are now out of money.
What lesson have you learned?
Let’s look at some possibilities.
- The ABC Casino is unfair! You should have hit about four quads during the time you played if it was a fair machine. Since you didn’t, it proves the casino has rigged machines and you should avoid them in the future.
- You are the unluckiest person alive. You ALWAYS get the short end of the stick promotion-wise. Time to give up video poker and take up bowling!
- You should bring more money with you next time you go to play. Running out of money is stupid.
Any person who picks the first possibility is misguided. The casinos in California are fair. Period. Hitting no quads in the next 1,500 hands has about a 2% chance of happening, which means that one in fifty times you go gambling you’ll have this much bad luck or worse. The fact that TODAY is when you’re running bad is unfortunate, but not really a big deal. It’s going to happen sometime and today isn’t anything particular significant.
The second possibility is equally misguided. Many people believe that they are either luckier or unluckier than average. This tends to say more about their personality (“half full” versus “half empty”) than it does about anything else. Now if you look at a particular time period in the past (say January to April of this year), it is undoubtedly true that many of us were luckier than average during this time period and that many of us were unluckier than average. If you pick a different time period, however, (say January to April of last year), a different set of people will be the lucky ones. Even so, whether you were lucky or unlucky in the past says NOTHING about whether you’ll be lucky or unlucky in the future.
Of course there are some skill factors at work. Unskilled players who lose sometimes think that it’s just because they are unlucky. If that’s the reason they are losing, then yes, they will be “unlucky” (unskilled, really) in the future unless they change their ways.
The third possibility, that you should take more money with you when you go to play, is a good lesson to learn from this “disaster.” Running out of money cost you here as you were not able to cash the juicy coupon. If you’re uncomfortable carrying large sums of money with you, obtaining lines of credit at the casinos where you play is one solution to this problem.
So which lesson would you have learned? When someone tells me they have “learned their lesson,” I frequently wonder what lesson they have learned. Overreacting to one recent situation is easy to do, but not really smart.
Photo @ Luckyladygames.com
Learn more about video poker:
How To Play Video Poker The Smart Way – Part 1
How To Solve The Video Poker Puzzle – Part 1
Video Poker | Listening To My Mentor – 10x Points At Borgata
Why You Might Be Disappointed With A Straight Flush Jackpot
Be sure to check out some of our other articles on casino loyalty programs & casino gaming:
Casino Loyalty Cards are Similar to Those of Airlines and Hotels — But Not the Same
Video Poker vs. Regular Poker
Why I Prefer Video Poker To Slots
Video Poker vs. BlackJack
Bob Dancer is the premier video poker writer and teacher in the world. He has created a number of how-to-win products available at bobdancer.com. He co-hosts a weekly radio show called Gambling with an Edge, which is also archived on his website. (The show is also available on iTunes.)