Do you play video poker? I don’t, but I have friends who do. They find a machine that has greater than 100% payback (yes, there are some—they’re just hard to find) and then they grind that machine into oblivion for hours upon days upon weeks. Sometimes they’re satisfied with finding a machine that has very close to 100% payback and play that one. They pile up the comps, free slot tournaments, and various other benefits that make it worth their while.
Here’s the single thing I know about what they do and how they do it: the entire trick is to play perfect strategy for whatever game it is, and watch your bankroll go down down down.
Until you hit a royal flush.
You take a picture of the royal with your phone, wait for the attendant to come around and pay you, and smile that your bankroll has returned to its original value. Plus or minus a bit. Then you go back to grinding perfect VP strategy.
I got to thinking about that when a discussion broke out in a hand history group to which I belong. This group is hosted by Benton Blakeman, who’s a friend of mine. Benton’s a long-time Vegas pro (poker, not video poker) with a family to support, so I listen carefully to what he says.
Anyway, somebody in the group said, “This guy posits that you make all your money in no-limit hold’em in 3-bet pots. Do you think that’s true?” Benton replied,
“No. You make all your money flopping sets. The rest of the time you’re just trying to break even.”
Whoa. That’s a strong statement right there.