Vegas Update Oct 31

Today, I played video poker at the Gold Coast. It was a bonus point day for B Connected members, which is Boyd Gaming’s main slot club. On this bonus point day, players receive 7x points on video poker. Since the slot club normally returns 0.10%, today, players receive 0.70%. Points can be used for cashback or freeplay.  But players can also use their points to purchase food at the casino/hotel.  Using points for food yields the player 0.167% on a normal day and 1.169% on this bonus point day. But if you’re spending your points on food, you have to consider the price of the food.  If you convert your points into food, you must get good value or else you would be better off taking cash and using the cash to purchase food somewhere else. The breakfast buffet at Gold Coast is $5.99, which is one of the best food choices available at Gold Coast as you can basically make it your meal for the day if you also take some fruit in your backpack.  But food is still cheaper at a grocery store.

So if the players club is yielding 0.70%, players must find a game that has a base rate of at least 99.30%.  They must also consider their ability to play the game accurately.  I think too many video poker players underestimate their error rate.  Players must practice regularly on a program to track their accuracy, if they don’t, they are very likely making errors they don’t even realize. I can only play Jacks or Better (9/6) and FPDW accurately.  I can play 400 hands on average in a row without making an error, but I still make errors sometimes.  Half of my errors come from a fat finger, and half my errors come from misreading a hand (usually a missed straight flush opportunity).  I factor in 0.10% error rate for my play just to be safe.

The Gold Coast offers some decent video poker, but they have downgraded a few of their multi-play games. I used to play their multi-play 9/6 Jacks or Better, they offered these on the Super Times Pay machines.  You could either use the multiplier function or just play the multi-hands. But Gold Coast still offers single line NSU Deuces Wild returning 99.73% played perfectly, and 9/6 Jacks returning 99.54% played perfectly.  I rate my 9/6 Jacks or Better play at 99.40%, so with the slot club, the return on this game today would be 100.10% with cashback and 100.569% for comped food. Players should also consider the bankroll required to play at a particular level.

I just play for fun, so I play at the single line quarter level, and I can play about 400 hands per hour, so my return per hour is about $2.85 in the long run. This will not make me rich, but it does give me a cheap shot at making a royal flush.  For the Video Poker nerds out there, I saw Jean Scott (The Queen of Comps) and her husband playing $2 NSU Deuces. At perfect play they are making 0.40% without factoring in mailers and drawings. At 500 hands per hour, they are making $20 per hour in the long run.  If they exchange their points for food, they are making $43 per hour.  They probably also get good mailers and win some drawings every once and a while.

Gold Coast also offers Multi-Strike 9/6 Jacks or better.  I had never played this game before, and I felt like playing a multi-line game, so I sat down a played a few hands. I quickly realized that the strategy for Multi-Strike is different because of the different multipliers for each level. Each level in fact has its own strategy.  This game returns 99.80% played perfectly, but a quick glance at the Wizard of Odds site, shows that perfect play requires some significant adjustments. It was a mistake to sit down at this game without much more preparation.  Because of the multiplier levels, Multi-Strike is also more volatile and it quickly ate up my budget for the day.  The lessons I learned today are: 1) stick to your core games and don’t venture out to any other game on the fly, 2) practice on the computer and learn to play accurately, 3) calculator your bankroll requirement and stick to your denomination.