Q: I have read several articles referring to you and another couple winning $500,000. The articles always say that you won it in a slot machine contest. Am I to understand that you won this on a slot machine and not a video poker machine? It doesn’t seem to me that you would be willing to risk even what the entry fee would have been on a slot machine. Am I wrong?
A: Tournaments are different from regular play in a casino. Most tournaments we enter have no entry fee, being “invitational” ones that come from our past regular play. However, the one you are referring to did have a fee but we could – and did – get the fee refunded by playing the amount of regular play specified in the tournament rules that would qualify us for the rebate. And we did do that play on video poker.
However, once you are in a tournament, you are competing against other players, not against the casino, so it doesn’t matter what game you are playing. There is no skill involved in a slot tournament except, if it is a timed one, you need the ability to play as fast as you can in order to get in more hands to rack up a higher score. You can read more about tournament play in my book More Frugal Gambling.
Q: Can you give an example of a game that would be a .5%- edge play or one that would give you an advantage over the casino?
A: I almost never give exact details of our plays for the simple reason that many cannot be duplicated by everyone. Some are low-level plays that would not appeal to those who want to play higher denominations; on the other hand, some are very high-level plays for those with huge gambling bankrolls and the intestinal fortitude to withstand extreme volatility. Some include large free play amounts that are not available to everyone because they are based on a long-standing relationship with one casino or other individual factors. In fact, much of our play has a free-play element that is almost impossible to exactly quantify. It is not a consistent figure and almost never is publicized, so is often a best-guess number, based on past experiences and our conversations with other players.
Here is one “little” basic play I can share – and one Brad plays when he’s killing time, like when I am getting a mani-pedi at the Palms salon. Play full-pay Classic Deuces Wild at the Palms with a 100.7% EV. You don’t earn any players club points, but, if you are a local, you might get a small weekly free play amount – perhaps $5-$15 depending on your coin-in (which I don’t know how much is needed) – and some small food coupons in a monthly mailer. This play is only a small one – in quarters only – but it is very positive – and available for tourists and locals (however with only the latter getting mailers). Some Station casinos also have a similar play. You can check vpFREE2 for casinos that have FPDW or other 100%+ EV games, like 10/7 Double Bonus.
You might find a NSUD (Not-so-ugly deuces) game (99.7%), at quarters and sometimes at a higher denomination, with a good slot club and/or multiple points at the higher tier levels and/or on bonus Senior Days and/or general multiplier days, i.e., on holidays. Some of these casinos send out mailers with “bounce-back” free play that combined with other bonuses will help push this game into positive territory.
Perhaps the most common “good” VP game available in many places is 8/5 Bonus Poker (99.1%) but it takes a lot of extras to make that a positive play, a good combo of big multipliers, juicy promotions, and/or generous free play.
I can’t emphasize how important it is to scour vpFREE2 for good games and then search like a maniac for good promotions.