is a short-cut book geared to giving the novice player a chance in Texas Hold'Em
tournaments. The gist of this Blair Rodman/Lee Nelson book is that relatively inexperienced playersBob 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
should frequently go "all in" pre-flop in tournaments. The logic behind this strategy is that you will be forcing the good players to either give up the antes and blinds, or bet their tournament life on a situation where they have relatively little information. The authors credit David Sklansky with the original idea, and they did a lot of computer simulations perfecting the strategy.
One feature of the book is the forward by Phil Hellmuth, Jr. Hellmuth is one of the best players in the world, and, along with Phil Ivey, Phil Laak, Phil Gordon and numerous other strong players, is the "target" of this book. In a sense, Hellmuth is the "enemy" here --- namely the guy you're trying to take down. I was very curious about what he would say about a book dedicated to greatly reducing the edge he has over other players.
Hellmuth praised the book and acknowledged that he believed the book, if mastered, would change the dynamics of the game. Specifically, "If enough people read this book, then I'll have to change my tactics, the tactics that have worked so well for so long, and the 'Kill Phil' title will have earned real meaning: It will have forced me to change my game!"
I found those sentences revealing. Hellmuth basically said, "Plan A works well for me, but when I find that Plan A is no longer working, I'll come up with a Plan B that will." This could easily be said about successful video poker players as well. The only difference is that video poker players need to change more frequently.
These are a few of the differences that changed my play over the past year. Nobody will have exactly the same list as I do, but these types of changes affect every strong player.
1. Palms now no longer gives you drawing tickets for playing NSU Deuces Wild
, which changes the return for that game. Or this month they allow NSU to participate, but they max the number of entries at 700 so nobody can "buy" the drawing with a large number of entries. But now they frequently offer cash back and other promotions that make it a strong place to play.
2. Wynn offers good mailers to video poker players, but once I hit an $80,000 dealt royal (clearly a very skillful play!), they told me that I would no longer receive comps or mailers. This eliminates this casino from being playable for me.
3. Fiesta Henderson removed $2 Five Play 9/5 Super Double Bonus. This 99.695% game made a lot of sense to play at the Chairman Level ($250,000 per month), so long as you had a good use for your points. Since Shirley's mother loves to play Bingo, that was a way to turn points into cash. Now there are no good games to play there higher than $1.
4. Harrah's has taken over Bally's/Flamingo/Caesars, changing an easy-to-calculate cash back system to a harder-to-understand "convert reward credits to cash by buying Visa cards" system.
5. Caesars Palace has decided to tolerate more strong players than they used to. That gives me another play. The Harrah's slot club is actually more generous than the old Caesars slot club once you learn how to play the angles.
6. Gold Coast now refuses to offer any comps
to strong video poker players, along with removing NSU on all machines higher than $2.
7. South Coast is alive and well, offering NSU up to $25. They have had various other decent games there --- many of which are gone. They have more double-point days than other Coast Casinos. When it becomes South Point casino in the near future (it has been sold by Boyd to Michael Gaughan), I suspect more adjustments will be needed.
8. Golden Nugget no longer sends us mailers, but if we hear about an event (which we always do) and ask to be included in promotions, we are always welcome.
9. Fiesta decided they no longer wanted video poker classes. They prefer, I suppose, to keep their players barefoot and pregnant --- so to speak. Silverton has decided that it wants classes for a while, and would like my help in creating a more competitive video poker environment.
10. Flamingo has removed its $5 Two Pair Joker Wild (99.92%) machine. Harrah's Laughlin has removed its $5/$10 10/7 Double Bonus (100.17%) machines. This was a game that, because of the way bonus reward credits were granted, playing the $5 machine was more profitable than playing the $10 machine. The same casino had a few 10¢ Fifty Play 9/6 Jacks machine that awarded double reward credits. This was especially lucrative during multiple point days. It now awards normal points, but more with bonus reward credits. It's a decent play (slightly over 100%) during multiple point days, but nowhere near as good as it was.
11. MGM Mirage took over the Mandalay Group. Any of us who have had too much success at any MGM Mirage property to keep the welcome mat open just became a persona non grata at several additional casinos, many of which we never played at.
There were other changes over the past year as well, but you get the idea. Successful video poker is a cat-and-mouse game between the casino and the players. When a casino changes the environment, players need to change as well. You can complain about the games going to the dogs, or you can figure out how to adjust to the new situation.
remains a very lucrative profession. There are likely as many players who regularly make in excess of $50,000 a year as there were a few years ago. But it's different this year from last, and it's reasonable to expect it to be different next year as well.
Will it still be lucrative in a few years? Probably, although it's impossible to say for sure.