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18 June 2016
By Jerry Stickman
I gamble solely in Las Vegas four or more times a year. I am a top-tier player at one of the major casino chains in Las Vegas. I gamble only at casinos in this chain, but I do gamble both on and off the Strip at this casino chain.
I play craps (where I set the dice), blackjack and video poker (mostly Bonus Poker) for points to achieve my tier score rating.
I have NOT seen a 9/6 Jacks or Better in years. At what casino did you gamble where they have 9/6 Jacks or Better?
As you are aware, full pay 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker is getting more difficult to find with each passing month it seems. It is virtually non-existent on the Strip. It seems the best Jacks or Better game you can find in a casino that is part of your favorite chain is 8/5 and many times 7/5.
I must admit that I have seen some full pay Jacks or Better on the strip, but the ones I see tend to be $5 or higher games which are a bit above my comfort level.
Most often I play downtown. There are a few casinos that have a decent selection of full-pay Jacks or Better games. But even downtown, full pay 9/6 Jacks or Better games are becoming rare. It is sad, but that is the state of affairs at this time.
The video poker landscape downtown (and elsewhere) is constantly changing. If you are interested in playing there, I suggest you take some time to research which casinos offer which games.
You can simply wander through the casinos that are downtown or off-Strip and check out the pay tables. Not only will this allow you to see what kind of games are available, it also will give you a feeling of the surroundings. While I always want to play the best pay table available, I will not play at casinos that are too smoky or those that are riddled with lowlifes.
If I am not playing downtown I go to locals casinos that are off the strip. There is a much better chance of finding a decent pay schedule on video poker in those places than the big name casinos on the strip.
Sometimes articles or ads in gaming magazines will help identify casinos that have good video poker. It is a good bet that casinos that win “best of video poker” awards will have good video poker pay schedules.
Finally, there are some excellent online sites such as vpfree2.com that list which video poker games are available and where you can find them.
Obtaining a certain tier level at some of the high-end casinos is a siren’s call to many people. I personally do not care that much if the casinos I frequent are top end or not. I just want a comfortable room, good food and a relatively wholesome playing environment that is mostly free of smoke and lowlifes.
My main draw when heading to Las Vegas is the quality of the games. That is what drives my decision on where to stay and play. If you feel the top tier requirements and the games you must play to achieve the rating is worth the cost, by all means, play wherever you want. It is your money. It is your enjoyment. Only you can decide.
Follow up from Eric:
Thank you for answering my e-mail and the info on your casinos of choice. I guess I have a problem.
Although I have had success at my favorite casinos with hitting royals and putting me in the plus column, I would be way ahead of the game with 9/6 VP.
However, I do enjoy the perks, free rooms at 5 a month and the lounge and the Strip. My choice would always be just one prime Strip casino, but I think I may have to rethink my decision thanks to your insightful advice.
As I have written before, your gambling experience should be fun. If staying at a nice resort on the Strip is what makes it fun and you can afford "the ride," by all means continue doing it. I simply prefer playing a better game and am willing to do so at a less ostentatious place.
May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.
Jerry “Stickman” authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at email@example.com
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