Casino Knowledge: Questions From the Vault with John G.

I field hundreds of questions from readers every year. They cover a wide range of topics including strategy basics, bankroll needs and even gaming history. A few catch my eye as being of special interest.

Right now, with the expansion of sports betting, there are things players need to know that were outside their usual domain before last year. Here are a few from the vault you might find interesting.

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Video Poker Tip: Glitches

You may think that every play within a casino carries a house advantage and, for the most part, you would be right. Certainly, that is their intention because otherwise they wouldn’t be in business for too long. But keep in mind they’re only human and so are the technicians that set up the pay schedules for VP (video poker) games. Casino ethics may vary from person-to-person, but remember that when the house errs in their own favor there is no remedy for players.
VP Pay Schedules: It is imperative that you own tutorial software and I recommend the grandfather of them all; that’s Dean Zamzow’s WinPoker. If you think there’s a player-advantage glitch then simply copy the pay schedule exactly as you see it and enter the data into your software program when you get home. Be aware that you may have to adapt an existing table for a different game, but as long as the categories are identical, there’s no problem. These two pay schedules in Table 1.1 are on the same multi-game device and many, even most from my observations, are choosing the Deuces Wild (DW) game.
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Slot: 10 Tips to Winning

The popularity of slot machine play is at an all-time high. The games offered by casinos and racinos provide an array of options for slot players to choose from and sometimes confusing strategies to maximize profits. Here are ten tips to insure your quality of entertainment on your next gaming trip.
1. Use Your Players Card
If I could give only one tip to casino players, this would be the one I would pick. Your Player’s Club Card can earn you comps for food, lodging and shows. Some casinos even offer cash back for your play. When you do not use the card, you are essentially depriving yourself of valuable incentives the casino is giving back to the players. Some slot players think that using their slot cards affect the way a machine pays out. This is a myth and a very expensive mistake for those who believe it. (more…)

VIDEO POKER: Accurate Assumptions


I’ve heard video poker (VP) players make seemingly logical statements that were simply incorrect. For example, the maxim “Never throw away a winning hand” is an untrue statement. There are, in fact, times when you’re dealt either a straight or flush that has to be tossed in favor of holding four cards to the Royal Flush (RF). It depends on the game’s pay schedule. Rely on tutorial software, like Dean Zamzow’s WinPoker, or the strategy cards in my book, “The Video poker Edge”, instead of another player with unknown credentials. Another assumption I frequently hear is “He’s from Vegas and told me…”; that, too, may be incorrect. Always fact-check for accuracy regardless of where the source lives or how frequently they play. Here are some tips for separating the wheat from the chaff while gambling.
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Video Poker: Lemonade

I can remember my mom saying that when life deals you lemons you should make lemonade. Beyonce even had a blockbuster album called “Lemonade”, so I guess moms everywhere (and grandmothers in Bey’s case, since she passed the adage and recipe on to the star’s mom) have some of the same feel-good maxims. It’s not just true about life in general, but also applies to the world of gambling. You might logically assume that with all the competition for players, casinos would be offering better odds than before, but that’s not the case at all. Instead, there are more greedy hands stuck out for pieces of the pie than ever before and our legislative regulators are merrily lowering the minimum ER (expected return) on a state-by-state basis. You may have sworn that if house odds were increased at your expense, then you’d never again enter a casino, but that’s like an ultimatum when angry with your partner; it may not happen. In the mercurial case of casinos your best bet may be to make lemonade. (more…)

Video Poker: Sunshine in Casino Land


I believe that knowledge is a valuable asset if you want to excel at most things. That includes all sports, bridge, chess, science, math and a long list of myriad topics, including gambling. The gaming industry, however, is unlike most others in that certain topics are off limits and will never see the light of day.

For example, the highest level of device technologists is called a bench tech (most manufacturers have around ten levels) and you will never ever see one on any casino floor or even on site. I spoke to a bench tech once due to unusual circumstances and he told me that they take their secrets to the grave. So, when a level one or two technician tells you which machine to play or how they work you should take it with a grain of salt. But there are many branches of gambling facts that are not just accurate but potentially profitable. The tough part is shining a light on legitimate facts so you can differentiate between the sunshine and the fairy tales. (more…)