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 Situs Poker Online 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.
But then I thought about a session I played a few weeks ago. I had crushed the local 2/5 game for over 1,000, and wandered out into the California sunlight thinking I was one darn good poker player. Later that day I got to thinking about a specific hand I’d played. There was a $10 straddle, somebody opened to $40, couple of people called, and I called in the big blind with a pocket pair. I don’t even remember what pocket pair it was.
What I do remember is that I flopped a smallish set—bottom or middle set. I checked, the preflop raiser bet, got one caller. I check-raised, the raiser called, and the hitchhiker bailed out. The turn and river were whatever, I bet the turn, shoved the river, and got called twice. Turned over my set and it was plenty good. As I worked that hand backwards in my head, I realized that my profit on that hand was 1,100 and change. My profit for the session was a tad over 1,000.
Well then. It seems that that entire session was a matter of losing 100 for four hours, except for hitting a royal flush set for 1,100. Maybe Benton is onto something.