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Best of Jerry Stickman
How Fast Should You Play Video Poker?9 May 2015
Some set the speed of the machine on the slowest possible setting, hit the Deal button, study the cards that are dealt in great detail, possibly even ask the player next to them what they would do and then slowly and deliberately use one finger to select each card to be held and then hit the Draw button slowly and deliberately with the same finger. They then study the final hand as if by staring at it the results will change it. If the hand is a winner, they watch each credit register on the meter pausing a while to make sure the final tally is correct. Then the process starts all over again.
Their playing mantra could be best summed up by William Shakespeare who wrote “Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run too fast.”
Then there are those players on the opposite end of the speed spectrum who seem to be functioning as described by Mario Andretti. “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
These players set the machine to play as fast as possible. They position their hands so all the necessary buttons are covered by a different finger in order to have the least amount of wasted motion (in other words – time) during each play. One finger hits the Deal button. The cards rapidly reveal themselves.
In the blink of an eye this player presses all the buttons for the cards to be saved at once using a different finger for each card to be saved. The Draw button is then immediately hit by a still different finger. This player knows that whatever hand appears will not be changed by looking at it so he immediately starts hitting the Deal button to instantly record any credits won on the meter without taking the time to watch them add up and immediately deal the next hand. The sole goal of this type of player is to get as many hands played in as short a time as possible.
If you’ve played video poker for any amount of time at all, I am sure you have seen both of these types of players as well as everything in between. If you are serious about playing video poker, what is the best speed to play – slow and sure or like a race car driver?
First and foremost, if you are playing a machine where the house has the edge, you are best off pacing your play. The more you play, the more you will lose. Sure you may hit some big winners, but the more you play, the more the house will take your hard earned money. So if you don’t have an edge (including slot club points and possibly comps), take your time playing. Don’t rush to give the house any more money than you must.
If, however, you have an edge over the house the more you play the more you will win over the long run. You want to play as fast as you can but – and this is a big but - still maintain accuracy of play. It is possible to play as many as 1,200 hands per hour – and even more – while still playing perfect strategy. However, it is difficult to keep such a blistering pace for very long and maintain perfect play.
At 1,200 hands per hour you are playing 20 hands per minute – one hand every three seconds. In those three seconds you have to deal, examine the cards dealt, select cards the cards you decide to hold and hit the Draw button.
This is a scorching pace to maintain, but it can be done for two or more hours if one is rested and alert. The mechanics generally seldom cause errors, but the accuracy of analyzing the hands dealt and determining the best cards to hold tends to deteriorate over time.
If you find yourself noticing something in the dealt hand after you held the cards and drew the replacements – something that would have changed your hold – it is time to slow down. Take a little extra time to make sure you are making the best play possible. The house makes enough money. Don’t give them more by being reckless. If you find yourself still making mistakes even after slowing down, then it is time to take a break. Get up and leave the area. Take a walk around the casino or even outside. Possibly even take a nap. Completely refresh yourself before attacking the machines once again.
When playing with an edge, Wyatt Earp probably said it best when he quipped, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” Don’t get killed. Make sure you are playing correctly.
May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.
Jerry “Stickman” is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He 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
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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