As promised, here is some more chatter about the Game We Love to Hate, Multi-Strike. You may enjoy going back to Part 1 and reading some of the comments that followed after its posting. As usual, there is added – and helpful – insight from other players in the same “battle field.”
Brad and I have scored royals on the top line several times in the past 7-8 years – but between those rare big jackpots we have suffered extremely long losing spells. During one period of frequent play, that top-line royal didn’t completely cover our losses of the last 8 months of play on that same game. (Of course since we were playing a negative game we didn’t expect to break even or pull out a long-term win on the game itself. We were playing with extra bennies like multiple slot club points, drawings, and strong bounce-back to put us in positive territory.)
Game choice plays a lot into the volatility of MS. 9/6 Jacks or Better and 8/5 Bonus will not have the volatility of a deuce game, even one which has a higher EV. When so much value is wrapped up in wild cards, especially on the deal, the ride can be extremely bumpy when the deuces take a vacation. We love when we find a MS Five-Play. The volatility goes down considerably, even for a deuce game!
Many players eschew MS for another reason besides its volatility. It is a very slow way to rack up points compared to other forms of VP. Therefore, if you are looking for the best per-hour play, you may choose a slightly lower EV game that plays faster. As an aside here – I have never generally promoted the per-hour system of choosing plays because it causes many people to play above their bankroll. Choosing a thinner edge at a higher denomination has seen many a skilled player hit the Gambler’s Wall of Ruin. I have almost always been a loyal follower of the God of Highest EV. This has been one of the basics that has contributed greatly to our gambling success down through the years and we continue to embrace it even though we have the bankroll for other play choice considerations.
So we continue to play MS when it is the best game in the casino even though it is slow and complicated and always a roller coaster ride. Why? Well, we love it. And recent medical research has given us a bonus reason. It is said that one big way to ward off Alzheimer’s is to play “thinking” games. At 80 and 73, Brad and I are grateful that our brains are still working fairly well – and we are doing everything we can to keep them doing that. We exercise every day, eat lots of berries and nuts, take vitamins – and head to a casino to play MS as often as our energy levels allow.
And now for the fun Brad story I promised: MS is definitely a “thinking” game, and we try to stay very concentrated when we are playing it since one is constantly required to switch among four strategies. But once in a while our attention may slip. It happened to Brad just the other day when we were playing Deuces Wild. He was on the top line, and momentarily forgetting he wasn’t playing JoB as he had been doing earlier in the day, he held the Ace and Jack of Clubs. I looked over and started to say, “Oh, not…!” But it was too late; he had already hit the Draw button. No, he didn’t get a “real” royal – that would have been the best story. But he did get a “dirty” royal, a nice 8x hit for a mistake.
People often say Brad is the luckiest person they know. Maybe that is true, but perhaps karma is stronger than luck – and all those dollar bills he still insists on giving every down-and-out person he meets – this may indeed be the most frugal action in our household.