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Playing with Dad

17 December 2017

By John Grochowski
Judd, an East Coast reader who contacted me recently, suddenly has a companion for casino jaunts: his father.

"I've been playing off and on for close to 30 years, ever since my bachelor party in Atlantic City," he said. "In all that time, I've never been able to get Dad to come with me.

"It changed when he went on a daytrip with his seniors group. He'd played poker with friends all his life, but he'd never been in a casino. But after that trip, he wanted to go with me. The reason was video poker."

I asked Judd if he was a video poker player.

"Not at all!" he said. "On my bachelor party all those years ago, all the guys played craps, and the die was cast, so to speak. I've been a craps player ever since."

But in this case, like son, unlike father. So the reason Judd contacted me was for a little video poker advice.

"Dad is just starting to learn video poker strategy. I got him the software, but it'll take time. If you could sum up three general rules for video poker that maybe aren't obvious at a glance, what would they be?"

I asked Judd a few questions and it turned out he was looking for advice on playing strategies. That's a difficult task because strategies are different in different games. You can't attack Double Double Bonus Poker in exactly the same way as Jacks or Better.

Most of the time, my advice to new video poker players centers around learning how to tell a good pay table from a poor one, then using that information to look around a casino to find the best games before playing.

It's also important to decide what you want from the video poker experience. Do you want a game that offers extended time on device like Jacks or Better, or a more volatile game more big wins like Double Double Bonus?

But what Judd and his dad were looking for was strategy advice that applies to all games — or at least all non-wild card games.

So I'll caution that what follows are a few general principles for games with no wild cards and with pay tables that start at a pair of jacks or better. Deuces Wild and Joker's Wild are different species that need special handling.

  • Don't undervalue low pairs. In just about any game, you'll win more hands if you keep a single high card than a low pair, but you'll win more money if you keep the low pair. A greater percentage of your winners will do more than just get your money back if you start with low pairs rather than a high card.

  • Learn the difference between open-ended straights and inside straights. In any non-winning hand, you'll want to draw to a four-card open-ended straight, but strategies vary from game to game when the draw is on the inside.

  • Keep your eye on the big prize. If you're dealt four cards to a royal flush, the only time you wouldn't discard the fifth card is if it completes a straight flush. Lesser flushes, straights and high pairs all should be discarded in pursuit of the royal. Even with three to a royal, depending on composition, you'll discard some high pairs in some games.

Beyond that, Judd and his father should find what games he likes to play, what pay tables are available in the casinos they visit, and set his software so he can practice strategy on the games he'll really play.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 

Big slot wins

14 December 2017
QUESTION: My sister-in-law wins on slots a lot, and I mean big money. She won two $20,000 jackpots last month, and this isn't the first time she's had runs like that. I don't know how many big jackpots she's had, but it has to be a dozen or more of $10,000-plus in the last three or four years. I asked her ... (read more)
 

What do you want?

10 December 2017
Different players are looking for different things in casinos. We all want to win, of course, but we don't all have the same dedication to finding the games with the lowest house advantage and then studying to cut that edge to the bone. Some players just want to have fun, and let the wins come when they may. ... (read more)
 

Improving video poker play

7 December 2017
QUESTION: I've been trying to improve my video poker strategy by using software that warns me when I make a mistake. I started with Jacks or Better and thought I had figured out straights to where I was drawing when I had 5-6-7-8 and another low card but not when I had 5-6-7-9. Outside straights vs. ... (read more)

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John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski