Cap Richards, the wizard behind the Video Poker Wizard software got his start like most of us who have played VP for several years: Stanford Wong's Professional Video Poker book gave him the dreamGreg Perry is a prolific author of programing training manuals and one of the most astute writers about video poker. Greg has written many articles for Skip Hughes' Video Poker Player magazine and has recently released his own e-book, Confessions of a Video Poker Winner. Greg's website is www.BidMentor.com/CVPW to shoot for and with tools such as Cap's Video Poker Wizard software, it's now easier than ever to fulfill that dream of Royal Flushes (every session) (...I dream big).
Cap realized early that for many people struggling with VP, strategy cards are often difficult to use. He is correct. Some of us take to strategy cards like white on rice but for the majority of folks out there, the cards can confuse to the point where they don't use them when needed resulting in missed plays for key hands.
Five Video Poker Wizard versions are available, all with built-in coaching and record-keeping features. Here are the Video Poker Wizard Coach games you can get:
- 9/6 Jacks or Better (4,000 coin or 4,700 coin Royal)
- Deuces Wild
- 10/7 Double Bonus
- All American Poker
- Pick'em Poker
Accuracy is Everything but Not Everybody's Thing
To me, less than 100% accuracy is a waste of time. For me that is the case. If I cannot play a game at Dancer level 3+ accuracy then I don't waste my time; for my favorite games of Double Bonus and JoB, perfect level 4 accuracy is all I'll settle for.
Cap indicates that the game promotes near-100% accuracy. He wants to give his audience complete accuracy except in the in most difficult hands where advanced difficulty to achieve 100% accuracy requires extensive knowledge.
Cap's view is that Expected Hourly Win Rate (EHWR) is everything. EHWR increases with both playing accuracy AND playing speed. For example, if you can play 10% faster by sacrificing .1% accuracy, then you win more in the long run.
At first, I donned my typical "I'm better than that" hat. I have since re-thought the issue and I am now fully convinced that software that teaches near-100% accuracy, forsaking the ultra-advanced difficult moves that add only fractions of a percent to your bottom line (Ace with a High Card in 10/7 Double Bonus comes to mind) has a very important place in the Video Poker world.
Near-100% accuracy, as opposed to perfect play, is very important for one very large group of people: the players who gamble 2-3 days a year, perhaps twice a year, such as my wife who goes with me only every once in a while. Jayne can easily master Video Poker Wizard's strategy after some practice and she can refresh that knowledge before each trip. If I demanded she have 100% accuracy, and if I demanded that she master Dancer's 10/7 Level 4 strategy cards, she would give up and refuse to take the time needed to learn it. And why should she? Should she spend 120 hours to master level 4 for a total of possibly 6 days' of play? The cost isn't worth it to her. Yet, for me who plays up to 40 days each year, it is incumbent upon me to play at perfect level. The added learning time is financially worth the effort.
So I now see a huge group of folks who need software such as Video Poker Wizard Coach. It is for serious players who infrequently travel to casinos but who want the best game for their time invested. I would suspect this applies to most spouses of all VPP readers, and possibly to many VPP readers themselves. For that large group, you will be surprised at what Video Poker Wizard can do for your game.
All About Video Poker Wizard Coach
One feature I like is that the entire strategy table for that game is displayed on the screen during play. Once you're dealt a hand, check marks appear to the left of each strategy level appropriate for that hand. For example, if you're dealt a pair of Aces and 3s, a check mark appears next to the strategy table entry for 2 Pairs as well as for Pair of Aces. The 2 Pairs entry is higher in the table and thus is the correct play. You then keep the appropriate cards and click Draw to see the final hand. At all times, the expected dollar amount of each possible hand appears to the right of each entry in the strategy table.
For people learning to play for the first time, or for people who need to refresh after not playing for a while, I like the fact that all related strategy lines are shown for each hand. I suggest that users watch the dealt cards and not the strategy table, hold the cards they think are correct, and then look at the strategy table to see if they chose the correct option before they draw. They can quickly see if they picked the correct or a lesser-paying hand.
Of course, you can ignore the table altogether and the program beeps at you if you choose the less-than-best hand. A quick click of the Hide Strategy or Show Strategy buttons hides or displays the strategy table instantly at any time.
If you just want to play without any coaching feature, you can click an option to turn off the coach instantly.
A great learning bonus includes the option to identify hands. The program will deal you five cards and you then must select the strategy that applies to that hand. Clicking the Check Answer button tells you if you were correct or if you chose the wrong strategy line. If two or more strategy lines apply to the dealt hand, the coach gives you a hint that multiple strategy lines apply to the hand.A great learning bonus includes the option to identify hands. The program will deal you five cards and you then must select the strategy that applies to that hand. Clicking the Check Answer button tells you if you were correct or if you chose the wrong strategy line. If two or more strategy lines apply to the dealt hand, the coach gives you a hint that multiple strategy lines apply to the hand.
Of course, you can just play the hand and see if you were correct but I like the ability to identify hands, especially for newcomers who want to improve their VP skills. Studying the strategy table looking for whatever line best applies to the current hand is exactly what we do with strategy cards inside a casino! Only, inside the casino our only feedback that we've chosen incorrectly is loss of money over time. If I were training someone in VP, I would make them go through several sessions of identifying hands in the strategy table using Video Poker Wizard. Their accuracy when they must identify hands for real inside a casino, against a real strategy card, will be higher.
Note: You can print the strategy table to take with you to the casino. Folks who learn with Video Poker Wizard will, therefore, have their familiar strategies with them when they get in front of a real machine.
When you find problem areas you have with certain hands, as you will do through the coaching sessions and in the record section (described next), you can make the strategy table work for you. Simply right-click on any strategy line, such as Pair of 2's, 3's or 4's and elect either to see a more detailed description of that hand (such as A good hand because you might improve to Four of a Kind), or elect to be dealt a hand that matches that strategy so you can see and play that hand.
Suppose you mess up a lot when deal 3 card inside straights. Just right-click that strategy entry and play the sample hand that appears to train yourself to recognize these hands better.
Beginners often get stumped with strategy cards. A strategy card is the bane of people who don't relate well to tabular information but who want to get better at Video Poker. By working the strategy table with a right-click of your mouse, seeing sample strategy table hands and getting more descriptions of each strategy level when desired, beginners can much more rapidly accept and understand the strategy table than they otherwise would be able to.
I recall my wife often confused straights, flushes, and straight flushes the first few months she played VP. Yes, I know, how can anybody confuse those? She's now become quite an accurate player but I recall those early days and I wish I'd had Video Poker Wizard for her. She could right-click any line in the strategy table (keep in mind, the strategy table is like the strategy cards you've seen and used with the proper plays ordered from high to low) and read more about that line. So if she's confused about what 3 Card Straight Flush 234 means, she can instantly see a hand that matches that strategy line. Or she could instantly get a more detailed description of this entry. I think she would have mastered VP concepts much faster with that ability.
Records and Statistics
Video Poker Wizard records every hand you play. Video Poker Wizard gives you the ability to look back at any hand you've ever played and see how you did. You can view statistics for today, for any previous day, month, year, or for the entire history of your play!
And the history is a graphical history. You see cards that comprise every hand you've played, every card you kept, the time and date you played it, and the time it took you to play the hand through. Over time, your reaction time obviously should get better.
You can also show only those hands on which you made strategy errors. I would just love to give this program to a few friends who say they play perfectly and show them their error history after 30 minutes or so of play! But even more important than the ability to gloat, seeing which errors you make consistently will enable you to correct your play for that common error and move towards playing better and better.
Finally, the statistics table is truly beneficial by showing you the strategy table on the left of the screen, and columns to the right that display how many times that hand came up during your play history (both dealt and final hands), how many credits you won or lost with those hands appearing, how many errors you made on each strategy level, and your average reaction time for that hand. Therefore, if you find that you react slowly when three cards to a straight flush appear, you can work on getting faster at that kind of hand to improve your hourly play-through speed.
Should you Own Video Poker Wizard?
I would assume that most VPP readers own Bob Dancer's Winpoker. Those who don't... should. I would also assume that many have lately obtained the Frugal Video Poker program. Let me state plainly that Video Poker Wizard offers features that owners of both will benefit from (and for a VP player, benefit from means make more money). And for the total beginner, I think the Video Poker Wizard software is the best place to start.
Each Video Poker Wizard version is $24.95 and a 3-pack (not including All American) sells for $49.95. Get all four for $59.95. You can order online at www.VideoPokerWizard.com and as soon as you pay at that secure Web site with a credit card, the site automatically emails you a serial number that you'll need to install the software. Just download the software, enter the serial number, and you're ready to get started.
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