Casino Scene: Random thoughts about video poker

When you play video poker, the result you obtain after making a bet and initiating a play is a random event that determines whether you have won or lost.

The dictionary defines random as “of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item has an equal probability of being chosen”.

Because of this, video poker is generally regarded as the best casino game to play over the long haul if expert strategy is used with an optimum pay table.

The very nature of the game makes this possible given the fact that cards are randomly “dealt” from a virtual computer program driven deck. There are precise mathematical calculations that can be made based upon the hand you are dealt and the cards that remain.

Video poker results are governed strictly by random generation of cards. There is no internal software program which controls the cards you get on the deal or the cards you get on the draw.

Remember that when you are dealt 3-of-a-kind, the one card you need on the draw to make it a premium paying quad is among the 47 cards still be shuffled in the virtual deck. When you discard two cards from your dealt hand, you have two chances to get the card you need.

Clearly the odds are against you drawing that card. The good news is that when it does happen, it makes you forget about the times it didn’t.

Which brings us back to the random factor that governs video poker play: How are players able to rationalize a losing session or even a prolonged losing streak if they play an optimum pay table using expert strategy?

Every player knows the frustration of being dealt numerous 3-of-a-kind hands during a session of play and never drawing to a 4-of-a-kind. Every player knows the agony of only sporadically completing a 4-to-a-flush hand or drawing two pair and failing to complete a full house.

There are those fortuitous sessions where you can’t do anything wrong. The card or cards you need pop more often than not, even when your 3-card draw on a pair of aces results in the other two aces and the kicker to boot!

Is randomness thrown out the window just because you are not achieving the results you desire during each and every playing session? No, not really.

John Robison, a nationally recognized gambling authority, has written eloquently on the subject. “There are cycles on machines, but who ever said that cycles disprove randomness? On the contrary, streaks (referred to as local non-randomness) are a requirement of randomness.

“If an event is random anything can happen,” Robison cautions. “That includes long cold streaks, long hot streaks, short streaks, and choppy results.”


HARRAH’S JOLIET: The “Build Your Mulitplier” promotion is being held every Monday and Tuesday through the end of the month. Guests are invited to swipe their Total Rewards cards at the kisosks each promotional day between 8:00 a.m. and midnight to receive a guaranteed multiplier.

MAJESTIC STAR: The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) is coming March 1 through 9. The competition is a series of deep stack Texas Hold’em tournaments to be held at casino venues throughout the Midwest. The winner of each event is awarded a customized diamond bracelet along with the first place cash prize. The competition will include an MSPT Vegas Championship Package which includes a $1,100 Main Event seat and $400 toward airfare. One package will be awarded for every 10 entrants. The Main Event will be held over three days beginning Friday, March 7. The Final Table will held on Sunday, March 9. It will be broadcast live with a 15 minute delay worldwide on using RFID technology which will allow viewers to see the hole cards. Visit the poker room for details and the complete tournament schedule.

RIVERS: If you’re a fan of the morning news on WGN-TV (Ch. 9) then you won’t want to miss the free Morning News Comedy Show on Monday, March 24, featuring Ana Belaval, Pat Tomasulo and Mike Toomey. The laughter starts at 7:00 p.m. in Cube. The casino encourages fans to arrive early because seating is not guaranteed.

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