Classic Dancer's Answers

Your monthly serving of tips from the video poker expert, Bob Dancer

Bob Dancer

Each month, brings you exclusive tips and inside scoop from Bob Dancer, one of the best known video poker authors and writers.

August 2009

Q1.      (This question originally appear in February 2000 Strictly Slots) I was at a drawing for a lot of money at a casino and most of the tickets that were drawn were bent or folded. This seems so unfair! If I would have known that they were only going to draw bent tickets, I would have bent mine too! How do people know this in advance?

A1.      Bending tickets to get an edge is a common "trick" among people who frequent drawings. Their logic is simple. A "flat" ticket can stick to the one next to it. A crumpled ticket will find it's own breathing room and hence is more likely to be picked. With big drums containing lots of tickets, however, it is largely irrelevant whether or not you've crumpled your ticket. The weight of the other tickets largely flattens them all out.

            In some drawings crumpling works very well. Recently in Las Vegas there was a major drawing where about 22 out of the 26 names that were drawn had crumpled tickets --- including the same person being called 5 times and two other people being called 3 times each. Needless to say, these three people were quite pleased with the results while thousands of people in the crowd were not happy at all. When this same casino had a drawing about a month later, there were no crumpled tickets drawn at all. Coincidence? I don't think so. It seems like the casino made a conscious decision to avoid people who were trying to gain an "unfair" advantage.

            So what to do? When I am in a drawing, I crumple some of mine and leave some flat. You never know whether this drawing will reward crumpled or non-crumpled tickets until it is too late to do anything about it. 

Q2:      (This question originally appear in August 2000 Strictly Slots) Why are nickel machines so much tighter than quarter machines?

A2:      There are two separate reasons for this. The first is that it requires the same amount of casino resources to have a nickel game, a quarter game or a dollar game. And each casino has it "minimum acceptable gross profit per machine." Let's say, for example, that this is $50 per day. That would be either 200 quarters or 1,000 nickels. For a casino to have a 1,000-coin per day profit, it needs to have a tighter game than it needs to make a 200-coin per day profit.

            The second reason is subtler. Nickel players are, generally speaking, less sophisticated gambling-wise than quarter players. And "less sophisticated" means they will play any pay schedule you put in front of them. So the casino puts terribly tight machines out and the players play them.

            Nickel players are frequently on a limited budget and so are attempting to experience the thrill of gambling for as little cost as possible. Ironically, many of these players would lose less money by playing for quarters than they do by playing for nickels simply because the nickel machines are so much tighter.

Q3:      (This question originally appear in August 2000 Strictly Slots, although the stupid joke I "borrowed" in the answer is much older than that) I'd like to gamble at video poker and end up with a small fortune. I am not interested in memorizing a bunch of stupid rules about whether some pairs are higher or lower than same straight flush draws, and I like to play Double Double Bonus. Is there any way to successfully do this?

A3:      Yes. It's really quite easy. Start with a LARGE fortune and play exactly like you suggest. I'm sure you'll end up with a SMALL fortune.

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