When playing video
poker, I consistently win by getting high pairs but struggle for the
higher hands. Can I successfully beat the house on a high pair alone?
need to separate the wheat from the chaff. One of the reasons video
poker is so popular is that it returns your investment for a pair of
jacks to aces. But, Rhonda, never consider a push a win. The
psychological effect of returned coins from a push has at best, dubious
value. All it does is make you feel like a winner, when in reality
you're not. Treat even-money payoffs not as a win against the casino but
just getting YOUR hard-earned money back.
Personally, I've always felt that this
erroneous impression of winning is one of the most powerful false hope
methods the casino has against you, not only with your high pair
scenario, but also when it's a push on a blackjack table or a one-cherry
payoff on a pull handle slot machine.
So do you want to win more consistently,
Rhonda? Find 9/6 video poker pay tables or 8/5 machines with
progressives nearing $2,200, then play perfect basic strategy. A high
pair now and then will make you consistent all right, a consistent loser.
In Las Vegas, I saw a
casino advertise that on their selected video poker machines your return
can be more than 100%. Is this possible? Isn't the casino going to lose
money? Mary S.
Yes, Mary, the casinos would lose money if
every player had unlimited access to "selected machines," plus
understood and used perfect basic strategy. But because fewer than 1% effectively play perfect basic strategy, the casino won't lose
money by making such an offer. You also answered part of your question
by stating "on selected machines." Sometimes those "selected machines"
can be as few as two on the whole casino floor. No chance of two expert
players grinding away at the house and affecting the casino quarterly
report. Plus, the casino will generally surround those "selected
machines" with others that have pay tables offering significantly lower
payoffs, guaranteeing even more winnings from the uneducated masses.
Like casino mogul Steve Wynn says, "If
you wanna make money in a casino, own one."
I have found a couple of
websites that survey blackjack conditions at various casinos and
sometimes they quote a "Penetration Percentage." Exactly what is that?
Is there anything a player can do to influence it? Dennis L.
How many cards a dealer pitches from his deck before he shuffles is
called penetration. If he deals all the cards out, that's 100%
penetration. For the average Joe playing on the game, penetration has
little significance. However, for the card counter, the depth of
penetration is a key variable on whether to play on that game. The
deeper a counter can go into a deck, the better.
You also asked, Dennis, if you can
influence it? Sort of. Every casino has a set policy on how deep they
will allow their dealers to go before they want them to shuffle up. But
casinos do have lazy dealers who don't like to shuffle. Shuffling forces
them to be certified friendly and converse with the customer. Believe
me, no amount of Prozac is going to get a stiff dealer yapping. One
dealer told me that for 10 years, working in four different casinos, he
always dealt to the bottom of the deck to avoid conversation. Not once
did a pit boss or the "eye in the sky" ask him to change his rogue
By the way, that dealer is now running a
casino in the Midwest.