Consider the following scenario: You're invited for a weekend to your favorite casino. You know the best games there are 8/5 Bonus Poker
and 9/7 Double Bonus at both the $1 level and the 25¢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
Triple Play/Five Play level. The casino wants $30,000 of action over the weekend in order to give you free room and board and to keep the invitations coming. You've already calculated that your expected loss over the weekend is $250 for the first game or $270 for the second, and both of these numbers are acceptable to you, because you really like the rooms and the restaurants there, not to mention the entire casino experience.
If you could guarantee that your loss would be $250 or $270, you'd jump at this offer. But you know that sometimes you get royals and come home a big winner and sometimes the machine doesn't give you anything and you end up losing a lot. You check your video poker fund and see that you have $1,000 in cash-on-hand. Now you'd like to know if that will be enough to carry you through this particular weekend. How would you go about finding that out?
There are charts you can consult that will give you some numbers for a few games (one good source is Michael Shackleford's www.wizardofodds.com
Web site, and some of Shackleford's calculations are included in Jean Scott
and Viktor Nacht's Frugal Video Poker
). But any time you want to look at a game that isn't included in these charts, you're left high and dry. Furthermore, these sources consider single-line games only. Fact is, there simply hasn't been a way to get this information easily for Triple Play, Five Play, Ten Play, or Spin Poker. That is, until now. Video Poker for Winners
is now available and it includes, among other things, a short-run bankroll calculator that lets you address questions such as those just discussed. Let's take a look.
If you have to run through $30,000, that means you can play 6,000 hands at $1 single play or 4,800 hands at 25¢ Five Play. Enter these numbers directly into the VPW bankroll calculator and it won't take long at all to generate the numbers for 6,000 single-play hands. Part two of the comparison takes more time-perhaps an hour or more to work through 4,800 Five Play hands, because of the added complexity. That might seem like a long time, but there are no other programs currently available that give you this information at all, no matter how long you wait.
I chose 8/5 Bonus Poker (99.166%) and 9/7 Double Bonus (99.106%) to look at today, because these games are widely available and have similar return percentages. The big difference between them is their levels of "streakiness." Bonus Poker returns double your money for two pair and a modest amount for 4-of-a-kinds. Double Bonus gives you only even money for two pair and twice as much for the 4-of-a-kinds. On days when you get higher-than-average numbers of 4-of-a-kinds, Double Bonus is much the better game to play. On days when you get lower-than-average numbers of 4-of-a-kinds, Bonus Poker is a better game. When you get average amounts, both games return about the same. Different pay schedules for either game will affect this comparison.
As a measure of streakiness, we use the standard deviation, which has a mathematically precise definition that we don't need to go into here. Some programs use the variance, which is the square of the standard deviation. Both the standard deviation and the variance correctly rank which game is streakier than the other, but the standard deviation better indicates how much streakier one game is than another.
The chart below shows the numbers Video Poker for Winners generates to help us with our problem. The "Lose $1,000" column lists the percentage of time you will lose the entire $1,000 stake. The numbers range between 35.87% and 64.81%. All of these numbers are high enough to indicate that you very well might go through the entire $1,000, but the 35.87% option gives you a MUCH better chance to survive the weekend.
Short Term Bankroll Calculation
Assumes $30,000 of play, $1,000 starting bankroll
||$1 Single Line
25-cent Five Play
||$1 Single Line
25-cent Five Play
I'm sure that these numbers will be disturbing to some. After all, you've heard that it's possible to win at video poker and now I'm showing you how likely it is that you'll lose your entire stake. There are several reasons for what is shown here:
1. The initial stake ($1,000) is a relatively low multiple of the average loss ($250 or $270). If the stake was $10,000, the chances of losing it all over $30,000 worth of play would be nil.
2. Although these games are better-than-average compared to what is usually available in casinos, this casino still has the edge. Winning players play only when they have the edge and so wouldn't even sit down at these games unless the slot club or a promotion was very juicy.
3. Even on games where you do have the edge, in video poker you usually lose. This is because the high-value events (royal flushes or four aces) are infrequent, where as the "lose five credits" result happens a whole lot. The salvation is that one royal flush can make up for a lot of losing sessions.
While you have to be careful not to draw too many conclusions from one example, I've done this type of analysis enough times to be fairly confident in the following conclusions:
a. The greater the streakiness, the more frequently you'll lose your entire stake when your stake is relatively small compared to the average loss. This means that you definitely have a better chance of lasting longer on 8/5 Bonus Poker than you do on 9/7 Double Bonus.
b. Streakiness doesn't have a large effect on whether or not you win or lose, but rather the SIZE of the wins and losses. Streakiness has no effect at all on your average loss.
c. Playing multi-hand video poker-e.g., Triple Play, Five Play, Ten Play, Fifty Play, or Hundred Play-for the same total stake is a much smoother ride (in addition to being a lot more fun). Note that this assumes that you can find the same pay schedule in the multi-hand games that you can in the single-line games. In many casinos, this is just not the case. You must take care to check out the pay schedules of the games you play.
d. The examples show that there's a good chance you'll go through your bankroll during this trip, although you'll have the best chance to last if you play multi-hand games. (If you could find 1¢ Hundred Play with the same pay schedule, that would be the safest way to go.)
Video Poker for Winners quantifies information that a few experienced players have a feel for. If you always play the same amount on the same type of machine, you'll eventually get a feel for what your "normal" losses are. But sometimes you try new games, and it takes awhile to get this "feel." Video Poker for Winners can provide you with the numbers you need quickly.
This is one specific scenario. To get to the proper conclusions for 9/6 Jacks, or NSU Deuces Wild
, or Two Pair Joker Wild, or any other game is now easily possible with Video Poker for Winners. The program is available for immediate download from www.videopokerforwinners.com
, where you can get a three-day free trial before you have to decide whether or not you want to buy the software.