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Best of Elliot Frome

Gaming Guru

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As American as Apple Pie

6 July 2004

Could there be a better time than July 4th to continue to argue for Video Poker to become America's National Game of Chance? I think the first step in making this happen is to get people to stop thinking of Video Poker as a variety of a slot machine. Many gaming publications put Video Poker in the 'Slots' section. Ask a casino operator and he'll tell you that Video Poker and Slots are pretty much interchangeable on the floor.

The problem is that the focus is on the physical characteristics of the Video Poker MACHINE and not the underlying game that's being played! If your favorite casino had a Video Blackjack Machine playing your basic single-deck blackjack would you expect to find strategy for Blackjack in the 'slots' section of a gaming book or magazine? I don't think so!

It would be hard to argue that physically speaking, a Video Poker machine is pretty much the same as a slot machine. In today's world, take a computer monitor, add in a processor with a random number generator and you've got your machine. In fact, on some multi-game machines you can find both Slots AND Video Poker. But, this is where the similarities end.

In reality, Video Poker is much more like a Table Game, at least in terms of payback, strategy and predictability. In fact, Video Poker may very well have the most complex strategy of any game in the casino. With hundreds of variations and countless paytables, each of which may require it's own strategy, there is probably NO ONE has who mastered them all!

If you wander around the casino, you'll notice that EVERY table game shows the pays of each possible winning outcome. This, along with the rules of the game, is ALL we need to know to calculate the payback of that game and what the proper strategy is. This is true for Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, Three Card Poker and Four Card Poker. It's even true for casino 'oldies' like Blackjack and the relatively simplistic Casino War. If two tables sitting next to each other show the same paytables for their respective game, the payback for each will be identical!

What about slots? Well, on the front of the machine, you'll see the paytable. If two machines sitting next to each other have the same paytables, do they have the same payback? Who knows?! While slots rely on a random number generator similar to Video Poker, there is no predictability involved because what is being simulated is not based on a real life item (the deck of cards). Thus, we have no way of knowing what the payback of any slot machine is or if two machines have the same or wildly different paybacks.

So, which one of these scenarios does Video Poker sound more like? Walk up to any Video Poker machine and you can readily get its paytable. Given the paytable and the variety of the game (i.e. Joker Poker, Deuces Wild, etc…), you can immediately know the payback and the strategy required to achieve this payback. Sounds a lot more like Table Games than Slot Machines, doesn't it?

Nothing can compare to the paybacks offered by Video Poker machines. While finding 'positive' games (paybacks > 100%) is becoming increasing difficult, finding 99+% payback machines is very possible in most locales if you're willing to look for them. Table games simply do not offer these types of paybacks. Once again, Video Poker wins the day when it comes to giving the Player a reasonable chance to win.

These are just more reasons for Video Poker to become America's National Game of Chance. So, on this July 4th, declare YOUR independence from Slots.

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Elliot Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com

Books by Elliot Frome:

> More Books By Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome
Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Elliot Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com

Books by Elliot Frome:

> More Books By Elliot Frome