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Best of Elliot Frome

Gaming Guru

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The Cost of Impatience

11 May 2004

You've done all your homework and bought a book on Video Poker. You've memorized the important paytables and strategy tables. You head out to the casino and when you get there, you spend a few moments looking around for a game you want to play. It's a lot easier than it used to be find a game you like. So many machines nowadays are the multi-game variety with several different varieties in one place.

Unfortunately, while the machine offers several different versions of games, each machine offers only one paytable per version. The paytable that is offered at one end of the casino may be very different than the paytable on the same version at the other end. Who knows, you might even find machines next to each other, playing the same game with different paytables!

If you live very close to the casinos, you learn where to find the best games. If you're an occasional visitor, it's a bit more difficult to know where all the best machines are. One key is to recognize that a single casino can have several paytables for the same version of a game. Usually, there will be a smaller number of the better paying machines, and they might move them around to keep them more difficult to find. To decide how much of your day to spend looking for the better payers, it would probably be a good idea to decide what the real cost is.

How do we calculate the cost differential between two machines?

We multiple the payback times the amount wagered over the time period in question. For simplicity, I find it best to use an hour as the time period and then adjust to a longer timer period if necessary.

So, a 9/6 Jacks or Better pays 99.6%. The next lower paytable is usually the 8/5 Jacks or Better, which pays 97.3%. For the purposes of this example, we'll assume play at 600 hands per hour. If you're a quarter player, playing max-coins, this means that you'll wind up betting $750 each hour. At 99.6%, you can expect to lose about $3 per hour ($750 x .996 = $747 returned, or $3 loss). At 97.3%, you can expect to lose $20.25 each hour ($750 x .973 = $729.75 returned, or $20.25 loss). So, the difference is a significant $17.25 hour. Spend 5 hours in a casino and your average loss goes from $15 per session to over $100 per session.

You can easily adjust these numbers for your hand rate per hour, the denomination you play and the specific paytable(s) in question.

So, you have to ask yourself if $17 per hour is enough to spend a few extra minutes trying to find a better paying game. Personally, I think I can come up with a lot of things to do with an extra $100 rather than to hand it to the casino.

The 2nd leg of our three-legged stool is 'Know which machines to play'. From this, we can see how playing the right machine can make a significant impact on our bankroll. Not every jurisdiction has 9/6 games, but almost every jurisdiction has a variety of paytables for each version of a game. Not only will you be helping your bankroll by playing the right machines, you'll be sending an important message to the casino-that you're not going to play whatever substandard paytable they put on the floor.

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