The Proof Is In the Tasting . . . NOT!
Let’s say you go to an Italian restaurant you’ve never visited and see minestrone soup on the menu. The description boasts, “Fresh vegetables, pasta, and beans in a light tomato broth — a vegetarian classic.” There are a zillion different recipes for minestrone and you now know that this one isn’t made with beef or chicken broth as many are. Other than that, you don’t know much. Maybe the beans are red and maybe white. Maybe this version contains spinach and/or zucchini, and maybe it doesn’t. It probably has at least some garlic, but how much?
In this case, the only way to know for sure how this particular chef makes this popular dish is to order it and try a spoonful. If you’re knowledgeable about minestrone, you can now estimate how much basil, oregano, garlic and other spices are in there.
I’m not an expert in this. If you put two bowls of minestrone side by side, I can usually spot several differences — color of broth, vegetables used, smell, etc. But ask me a month later to describe the differences and I can’t. The information just doesn’t stick with me. The exact taste of food isn’t one of my priorities.
And Then There’s Video Poker…
In video poker, things are very much opposite from the situation described above. You can learn everything you need to know about a game by looking at the pay schedule, denomination, slot club, and current promotions — assuming you know how to read the “code”. There is no additional information available by tasting — for me anyway. Your score over five minutes or five hours tells you absolutely nothing relevant about whether or not you should keep playing.
Many people have a tough time accepting this concept. After all, in most things in life, you learn as you go. But not here.
I think the big reason that people want to learn as they go is because they DON’T ALREADY KNOW. When I go into a casino, I can tell at a glance the return on this particular Jacks or Better game or that particular Deuces Wild game. The reason I understand these things is that I’ve studied pay schedules enough so that it’s second nature to me.
But many people haven’t studied that hard or that long. When they get to the casino, they don’t know if this particular game is a good one or bad one. What should people like this do?
Don’t Go For It
My first advice (rarely taken) is that they shouldn’t play this trip. They should go through the casino writing down pay schedules. When they return home, they should enter those pay schedules into a computer program like Video Poker for Winners to determine how much the game is worth. If the game returns under 98%, I recommend it never be played. (Personally, I only play games that return in excess of 100% when you include the slot club and promotions, but I know that many players have lower standards).
If the game return is high enough, go ahead and practice the game and play during your next trip. Whether you won on your last trip or lost on your last trip is irrelevant. Even tight machines pay off sometimes and loose machines sometimes overhold. Over million of hands, things will average out, but over a few hundred or few thousand hands, anything can happen.
How To Decide Which Video Poker Game To Play
But if you don’t know which games are best and you insist on ignoring my advice and playing anyway on this trip, how should you decide which game to play? We are now delving into a position of making decisions when we don’t have enough information. We FREQUENTLY don’t have enough information about a number of things. But we have to cope as best we can.
Every person has his own technique for dealing with this kind of situation. My technique, alluded to earlier, is not to play unless I KNOW what the game is worth, how to play it, and further, that it returns in excess of 100%. If that is not your rule, fine. You have to live with whatever rule you make. But playing for a half hour is NOT the way to gain useful information. Whether you win $1,000 in that half-hour or lose $1,000 in that half-hour, it tells you absolutely nothing about whether it’s an intelligent gamble for you to undertake next time.
Learn more about video poker:
The Kind Of Attitude Problems That Benefit Video Poker Play
Video Poker | Not All Lessons Are Learned So Easily – Bob Dancer
Video Poker | Have You Got What It Takes? – Bob Dancer
Video Poker | How To Learn The Right Lessons – Bob Dancer
How To Play Video Poker The Smart Way
How To Solve The Video Poker Puzzle
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.)