"I was ahead a few hundred dollars,Bob Dancer is one of the world's foremost video poker experts. He is a regular columnist for Casino Player, Strictly Slots, and the Las Vegas Review-Journa land has written an autobiography and a novel about gambling. He provides advice for tens of thousands of casino enthusiasts looking to play video poker. Bob's website is www.bobdancer.com but then kept playing and lost it all back. And then some. How can I stop from being so greedy?"
"What game were you playing?" I asked him.
"10/7 Double Bonus for quarters. It returns over 100%, and there were double points, and I was collecting tickets for their video poker tournament. I hit four aces early, for $200, and then four kings, for another $62.50. But then the machine went into suck mode and didn't give me a thing. It didn't take long for it to take every credit I had and the $50 I still had in my pocket. I should have seen the way it was going and bailed out early."
"Why do you say you were greedy?" I queried.
"Well, I lost. If I had been satisfied with my win of $200, I would still have it. But I wanted more and lost it all. That's greed, and I got punished."
"Would you have considered your actions greedy if you had hit another set of aces?"
"No. Of course not. It's only greed when you keep gambling and lose."
This was a strange definition of "greed." I told him I would describe his actions as "intelligent gambling" rather than "greed". He was playing the right game, on the right day, and taking advantage of the extras the casino was throwing his way. This is the SMART way to play.
Intelligent gambling sometimes loses. Just as making stupid bets on Megabucks sometimes pays off. But the nature of gambling is such that you must make your decision of whether or not to bet BEFORE you know how it is going to turn out. Whether your bet is smart or stupid needs to be addressed in terms of the conditions existing at the time of the bet. Whether or not the bet is actually won is largely irrelevant.
I believe this very firmly. But there are those who disagree.
I remember playing $1 Ten Play 10/7 Double Bonus in the early days of Arizona Charlie's East. Some very good players would hammer the machines on triple point days and the casino eventually removed them in self-defense. But Shirley and I were both playing during the graveyard shift, and a man sitting next to me was dealt AAA33. Aces full. A very nice hand.
A full house in this game returns $50, per hand, and since this was Ten Play, the hand was worth $500. But holding just the three aces is worth $50.57+ per hand, or $505.74. To me this is an easy play. Hold the aces. Occasionally you get four aces, and usually not, but whether or not you get it THIS time is irrelevant to me. If you play enough you will get this hand hundreds of times and will end up with the right amount on average.
But when this man asked me what he should do (i.e. hold the full house or the aces only), the answer wasn't so easy. If he is going to be really upset when he ends up getting 9 trips and one full house (for a total of $185 instead of the $500 he could have had), then he should probably hold the full house.
So I answered his question with something like, "I would hold the aces. But if you do and it doesn't turn out well, it's not my fault. Make your own choice." So he held the aces, ended up with two full houses along with eight trips for $220 and was VERY ANGRY. (Probably thought he was being punished for his greed!) I shrugged. Some people don't have the temperament for gambling!
About an hour later he got the same hand again, except this time it was AAAKK, which doesn't change anything material. He thought about it for a long time. He didn't want to be disappointed again, but he knew who I was and wanted to "play like Bob Dancer." So he held the aces again. This time he got three full houses for $255. He looked at me like it was my fault that he didn't get the four aces. Swore under his breath, and kept playing.
He made the right choice, in my opinion. He got greedy, in his opinion. What's yours?
That's it for this week. Until next time, go out and hit a royal flush. Or at least four aces!
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