Die-hard talks pro video poker

Jack and me were shooting the breeze at the bar when the young fellah called. He asked how big a bankroll someone’d need to turn video poker professional. Laugh? I coulda died. If ever anyone was begging to be called a girlie man — Schwarzenegger was right on the money with that — he’s the one. Him a gambler? The very idea of him losing a quarter in slot machines would give him gas.

But I guess he’s got a right to ask for you – not that I’m inspired with confidence looking round at you. You’re just playing the pro game in your heads when you read these articles. Ain’t nothing gonna come of it. Anyways, let’s keep the dream going a while longer. That Mr. Ferguson fellah calculates you’d need $10,000 if you wanna turn pro and play the quarter video poker machines. Multiply that by four if ya wanna play the dollar machines. But I reckon that’s a tad optimistic. I’ve seen people burn that and never hit a jackpot. The Math God don’t care nothing for you. If you hit a run of cold machines, ain’t nothing you can do ’cept play through the patch until you come out the other side.

Now’s the time to use that grey matter you hide away in your head. Jack could loan me a pen and we’d do the best math you ever seen on the back of these here fancy coasters. You’ve got the proper video poker strategy nailed. All the most probable outcomes are in play. That kinda calculation would make Mr. Ferguson’s number look a smart bet. But ya gotta ask yourself, what kinda assumptions are we making? Are we assuming you’ve got an infinite amount of cash — that you’re gonna play video poker until all the probabilities work out like the book says they should? And you’ve never gotta take a restroom break or sleep some? You can keep playing until you’re on the right side? And then how we gonna exclude the chance that some other player’s gonna hit the jackpot? Don’t matter whether you’re playing a flat top or a progressive. If it’s a flat top, ya take a break and the next player on “your” video poker machine takes the pot. Playing the progressive, that jackpot can always go somewhere else no matter how fast and well ya play.

So how much’re ya gonna drop before ya give up? Ten grand might be enough to give ya that cushion. But ya might need the kinda eye-poppin’ wad some whale tosses on the table like it’s loose change before ya break even. Are you ready to lose all that? And don’t you never forget. Once you’re tapped out, you’re outa the video poker game until you get the front money together again. Still reading, are ya?

Jack here’s got an expression like he’s sucking on a lemon. He thinks I’m being too hard on ya all. I should make like an angel now I’ve crossed over to your side of the casino. OK. So think of this like video poker boot camp. I’m the ex-marine gonna kick ya round and give ya the tough love ya been missing all these years. You’ll be all the better for it.

Well, that’s me done again. Catch ya ’round.

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