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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Video poker money management

21 September 2011

Hi John,

Really enjoy your site.

Just starting to play Deuces Wild video poker. Let's say I bring to a casino $2,000. I intend to run the whole amount through the machine. The way I intend to do it is to deposit in the machine $100 at a time, entitling me to 20 hands on a $1 machine. I'll do this until my $2,000 has been run through (20 times x $100).

What I want to do is cut the 20 hands short when I am up an appropriate amount on a $100 investment. My question is, what would you consider that amount to be?

So if I put in $100, and sometime during those 20 hands the amount becomes ??? (I'm thinking 40-50 percent) I'll cash out prematurely and pocket that whole amount, never to see daylight again during that trip. When the $100 x 20 is done, I'm done for the trip.

Thank you,
Mike

Dear Mike,

Thanks for the kind words about the site.

There is no amount that is mathematically appropriate because nothing changes from one hand to another. Your odds and the house edge are identical on every hand. Cashing out after you win a certain amount won't change your long-term payback.

But that doesn't mean your plan has no merit. Your plan helps to limit the amount of money you can lose. You could just play until the $2,000 is gone. You could also set a dollar loss limit and quit once you've lost that amount. Your plan is like a loss limit, but it adds some excitement to it by letting randomness determine it.

Again, I have to point out that your long-term payback is not affected by how you break up your play into sessions.

The bottom line is that you can pick any amount you want. Forty percent and 50 percent both sound reasonable.

Because you're ending your trip after 400 hands, I take it you live near a casino. If you're in Las Vegas and playing a Deuces Wild game that pays over 100 percent (or long-term payback plus benefits is over 100 percent), I would suggest that you play the whole $2,000 through once. You want to get more action in when you have the edge. But because you can still have a run of bad luck even when you have the edge, you need some way to control how much you can lose on any given day. So only play your bankroll through once.

In fact, that's the way I would play. Play the bankroll through once. If the machine is hot, I don't want to decrease the number of hands I could play on it.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots