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  Post Warning about Video Poker - Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:58 am  Reply with quote  
Mark V



Joined: 06 Mar 2015
Posts: 92
Location: United States

For a while now I have suspected there was something going on with video poker.

With video poker, you get 5 cards dealt to you from a standard deck of 52 cards.  You discard the ones you don't want and you get replacement cards.

Sounds good right? Depending on the pay tables you can get up to a 99.45% return rate on most machines.  Sounds good right? Only giving the casino a 0.5% house edge but with a good slot club promo you can actually pull that up to an ADVANTAGE PLAY where you are making over 100%.  

SOUNDS VERY GOOD, YES?

Well, what if the casino is recycling the discards back in to the draw (that is the replacement cards you get) then what happens?

Well, it adds 5% more of a house edge to the game and increases volatility.  Yikes!  That brings a 99.45 game down to 94.45%, and no better than a dollar three-reel slot machine!  WTF?

Well the casinos have sneakily done just this.  

I first noticed this interesting fact of the discards being returned to the draw at a Tribal Casino in Oregon.  OK, tribal casinos don't have any regulations so you get what you get.  

Then a few weeks ago, at Red Rock Casino, I saw the exact same thing!  I had 4 to the flush with a 7 of Hearts as my discard.  Guess what card came back?  The 7 of Hearts!

I asked a casino slot manager about this, and he had no clue.  We looked at the help screen that had no language about the discards, where as the multi-line games did.  He said that if a feature I am looking for is not in the help screen, then it is not in the game.  

[img]http://imgur.com/a/lL0sJ[/img]

The multi-line games do have language about the how the draw works

[img]http://imgur.com/a/FkPk6[/img]

Read the help screens very carefully. Even though the multi-line says the Draw cards are excluded, nothing about the discards!  

Over at VPFREE2 forums, I raised this issue and got some technical answers as to what the increased house edge would be, however the members there refused to accept that the casinos would be so sneaky as to actually alter the game on them, because to them Video Poker is HOLY and SACRED, therefor unalterable.  One person actually posted that the State Gaming would not allow such an alteration.... WRONG!

I have it on good authority, for when Nevada Gaming was called over another issue, that the agent said, "The casinos can do whatever they want as long as the return rate is over 75%"  WTF?  75% return rate?  He did go on to say that the average return rate is 91% and he rarely sees anything lower than that.  When pressed about alterations of games, he simply said that the casinos can do as they like as long as minimum standards are meet: above 75% return rate, published odds, instructions on how the game works is posted or can be gotten to, payouts are immediate.  He said that the casinos don't have to notify Nevada Gaming about changes or alterations, and this means they don't have to notify players of the changes either.

Casinos really hate Video Poker players!  Read this article about how they treat them!
http://jscott.lvablog.com/2017/01/08/the-negative-side-of-promotions/

For a while now the Hard Core Video Poker Players over at VPFREE2 Forums have been taking a beating with seeing a negative progress with their bankrolls.  However most of the forum members have lavish retirements so losing is not much of a problem, they mostly complain about the skimpy comps and the cutbacks to the high roller trips and cruses...Yeah, they lose to get a free cruse to the Caribbean so or such!

Legionary players like Bob Dancer has been said to have 'Retired from video poker' some three years now, and that is about the time the sneaky changes happened to the game.  I know that pro gamblers NEVER RETIRE, they just don't play at games where they cannot win.  Jean Scott also has stated that her video poker play has been greatly cut back in the last thee years and now spends time writing and with family.  Very interesting that the two celebrity Video Poker players have seeming 'Retired' about when the sneaky changes where put in.

Yesterday I talked to a lady who has been in Las Vegas like FOREVER, and plays Video Poker.  She said that the discards returning to the draw has been happening for a while now, but she did not know what the effect of it would be.  She said that she also seen the multi-line machines recycle the discards back to the draw as well.  I asked how she is fairing, and she said that sometimes she gets a good hit that helps, but generally play is a persistent loss at this time.  She is saying what other players I have talked to have said as well, that Video poker is NOT WHAT IT USE TO BE, however nobody I talked to seem to know why it was not the way it use to be, despite that the pay tables and the machines APPEAR TO BE THE SAME as the game as of a few years ago.

I talked to the lady about the RIO Video Poker machines.  She said those machines will just DRAIN YOU!  Rio has the newer style video poker machines that run on Windows, so it is a software formula that you play, not a RNG hardcoded chip like the old machines.  This means it can be altered, modified and controlled by other computers too.

The Conclusions....
As painful as it is to say, Video Poker is a NO PLAY at this time with the exception of the older coin droppers or such converted machines (only found at main street station, the California and El Cortez) if they are not modified.  Ill be going there later today to see if the help screens are different and have language about the discards.

If you know someone who is a Video Poker player, and who is losing, please inform them that the casinos can make changes to the game without their consent or informing them of the changes.  Changes to games are never in the players favor!
 
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  Post  - Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:06 am Reply with quote  
Mark V



Joined: 06 Mar 2015
Posts: 92
Location: United States

Last night I was at the Palms for the 'bag of cash drawing'.  I did not win, of course.

However, I talked to quite some locals who have been in Las Vegas for a long time and have been playing very regularly.  

Here is what I learned from a very nice couple who I talked to while waiting for the drawing - and then an elderly lady who kept interjecting in to our conversation who seemed to also be knowledgeable.

1. Stations Casinos always has been tight - however in the last 3 years they have really tightened down.

2. Stations casinos is known to cheat. They have had issues with rigged drawings, or not even having the big prize available for the winners to pick from.

3. Even though the paytables on the machine may indicate a 99.4% return rate, Stations has changed most of their machines to recycle discards back in to the draw or not allow Flushes to win as often.  I have been astonishes at how many times I get 4 to a flush on a 5 line VP machine and hit no flushes.  That is indication that Stations is not letting me win, and other players have noticed this issue too.  Changes like this bring the return rate crashing down to 91%!  Unsurvivable.

4. Stations hates winners.  If you win, you get no free play and no invites for gifts.

5. Tight!  Stations tends to loosen up the games during a big promotion, like mega Moolah that packs the casino with players, then tightens them down right after.  Stations also puts machines permanently offline that is paying more than they like.  There are several machines at Palms that are always offline and last night the guy who won on the machine told me the story.

6. Many regulars now play 4-card keno. The return rate is about the same as Video Poker, its a bit higher volatility, takes more grind time, you earn SLOT POINTS not Video Poker points (and on a 10x point multiplier day this can be insane points)
One guy showed me his winning method for 4-card keno - Ill make a video on this and post it.

Here is a video that starts to explain what the guy last night showed me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-ri6IJYWyE

You can play the game here for free
http://www.videopoker.com/play/?u...=114&title=Four%20Card%20Keno

The couple that I talked to said to beware of the paytables, where Red Rock casino has the worst paytables and palms the best.  Other casinos will have some good machines and some bad ones.  He also said that his wife a few years ago won 10K in free play and they where able to get out 9,600 of it this way.  Now, doing that will make Stations grumpy and unhappy with you - however for a local it is the bankroll for the future.

Now the lady that kept interjecting in to the conversation simply said that Frank Fertitta Jr and his brother who are the controlling owners of Stations casinos are squeezing hard because of: Greed and stupidity.  She said that they have driven away many locals and their casinos are now empty on a non-promotion or event nights. I tend to agree with her that the casinos are empty on non-promotions, though I know that what is going on is not greed but PANIC.  The demographics simply don't support the level of current casino play as the boomers die off and the millennials come to vegas to party, but not gamble.

Now, I have been finding older machines to play on.  I look for the amber color paytables displays on a machine because that is a first generation video poker, the color paytables is a later generation. I have noticed distinct differences in play between the older machines and the newer machines.  There are plenty of old machines out there, you just have to hunt for them, and often you find them tucked away away from the main walkways.

What the locals say about other casinos:
Southpoint - tight shit hole.  Use to be great, but now is death to a video poker player.
Boyd - The old coin droppers are ok, but little comps
Stations - tight and getting tighter, but better than Boyd
mLife - only tourist go there to lose
Total Rewards - only tourist go there to lose

Downtown casinos are better than The Strip, but the parking there is a mess.  El Cortez tends to be the place though for many local the drive and the parking simply put them off.

Boulder Hwy casino use to great, however recently there has been a massive downgrade of the machines.

Conclusions...
Video Poker is no longer a professional gamblers game to grind on, the casinos have killed it with the degraded paytables and tricks in the software.  4-card keno is the goto game for locals, but beware of the paytable.  Check here before you play to see what the return rate is
https://wizardofodds.com/games/keno/calculator/

Only play on 8 or 10x multiplier days

Shop before you play, and if you don't like what you see - DON'T PLAY.
 
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  Post  - Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:07 am Reply with quote  
Mark V



Joined: 06 Mar 2015
Posts: 92
Location: United States

Last night after more talking to locals, who some have had decades of casino work experience, I learned a few things.

First, watch this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onat9qoiNOY

For a while now I have been very puzzled as to why a Video Poker machine at one casino with the same paytables will play very differently than the next casino.  

Often I hear people say, "The machine does not want to pay", because they are not getting any good hits or anything that they can survive on.

Some machines I noticed will not give flushes, a good hit.  Many times on a 3 or 5 hand machine, Ill get 4 to the flush and on the draw get no flushes!  The odds of not getting a flush on a 5 hand 4 to the flush is small. A few times I noticed that with the non-winning flushes the draw card is the SAME CARD as in other non-winning hands.... Humm...

Other locals have said the same to me about how some machines simply will not give you a flush, or 3-kind and the 4-kinds you need to survive on are just not happening.

One old man then told me that the casino will 'loosen up the machines during a big promo then tighten them down after'  Oh, not change the pay tables but CHANGE THE RANGE OF THE RETURN RATE.

WHAT?

The RETURN RATE is what the machine is set to give back to the players over a certain amount of time.  In Nevada the lowest return rate is 75% however what is not published or stated is the time range of that return rate.

If the return rate for a machine at 91% (most common for Las Vegas) is one month - 30 days, then the machine will be considered PAYING as players will have a good time and not get drained.

Now if the time factor is 60, 90 or 120 days, the machine will be considered not-paying and will drain players as most simply don't have the bankroll or the time to play out a machine to its set return rate duration.  All they can hope for is a lucky hit, and that can be far and few between.  For many machines that lucky hit to meet its return rate is only one royal flush or jackpot, and if that is set for every 90 days, then that means players will get drained playing machines, and those who hit a jackpot will get drained with continue play since the odds of hitting a second jackpot in such conditions is very small.

This range of TIME OF RETURN is known as the DIFFICULTY FACTOR.

My own guess is that the las Vegas typically set a machine for 60 to 90 days for it to meet its return rate.  We know that the MGM Lions Share slot was on the floor for 20 years because it did not meet its return rate till someone got the jackpot, then it was promptly removed.  This tell us that the casinos can set the return rate TIME LENGTH to be anything they want!  

As in the video, the demonstrator shows us how a 'Difficulty factor' can be set.  Now we know this difficulty factor is the TIME RANGE of the return rate. A longer range means less wins over time for the players.

For the visitor, playing a slot or video poker with a high difficulty factor only means losses.  For the local who frequents the casino, a high difficulty factor means high volatility where a large bankroll and regular and persistent play is needed to survive, and that is unworkable for most locals who simply cannot put in that required time in a casino that has a high difficulty factor set on the machines.

So, how can you tell if the machine is set for a high difficulty factor?  Really there is no way to know.
All you can do is talk to people who frequent the casino as to their experience.
 
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  Post  - Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:05 am Reply with quote  
superrick



Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 4465
Location: The above is one of the best books on the math of the game!Right out side of Las Vegas, in Henderson

Quote:

The couple that I talked to said to beware of the paytables, where Red Rock casino has the worst paytables and palms the best.  Other casinos will have some good machines and some bad ones.  He also said that his wife a few years ago won 10K in free play and they where able to get out 9,600 of it this way.  Now, doing that will make Stations grumpy and unhappy with you - however for a local it is the bankroll for the future.

Now the lady that kept interjecting in to the conversation simply said that Frank Fertitta Jr and his brother who are the controlling owners of Stations casinos are squeezing hard because of: Greed and stupidity.  She said that they have driven away many locals and their casinos are now empty on a non-promotion or event nights. I tend to agree with her that the casinos are empty on non-promotions, though I know that what is going on is not greed but PANIC.  The demographics simply don't support the level of current casino play as the boomers die off and the millennials come to vegas to party, but not gamble.


I'm going to take a few of the things that you wrote about and tell you all my side of his story!

Stations casinos ran off all of the smart locals that would play craps every day. For some of you even thinking about playing craps every day would be hard to even imagine. But we did have players that would play every day and they won enough to keep them in the game but that all changed back in 2008! Those players started dropping like flys on a very cold night!

Guess what they never came back to the game that they loved to play because they said that they couldn't win anymore!  It had nothing to do with what they were doing, after all, they were all that the so-called DI's loved to call random rollers! They couldn't understand what was happening to them and had to quit playing craps. At the time I told them to start hitting different casinos and they wouldn't because their wives like playing there or worst yet they like eating there!

Now you have to understand that Station Casinos are all local casinos and without the locals, they are going under it may that quite a few more years to do but it's going to happen if they keep squeezing the players the way they have been!

As poop said if you are winning your comps will go away and you don't have to be winning that much for them to cut you off!

The worst thing that Vegas ever did was to open Vegas up to the families! Mon and Dad would argue when Dad was losing when they were all here for the weekends and their children would hear it every night when dad came back to the room! So their children learn not to gamble and to party instead!

_________________
Note,   all my post start with this is just my opinion...!
You do good Brah.!

Winning comes from knowledge and skill when you're betting and not reading fiction from the Madprofessor!

superrick
 
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  Post  - Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:07 am Reply with quote  
superrick



Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 4465
Location: The above is one of the best books on the math of the game!Right out side of Las Vegas, in Henderson

For you guys that can read between the lines here is something that might interest you about slot machines! These machine we play if you want to lose money are not random like most think they are!

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/rus...lot-machine-cheat-casinos-no-fix/

_________________
Note,   all my post start with this is just my opinion...!
You do good Brah.!

Winning comes from knowledge and skill when you're betting and not reading fiction from the Madprofessor!

superrick
 
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  Post  - Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:03 am Reply with quote  
Linaway



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 1493
Location: What'cha Mean Off Axis

Ah the good old days where a 3 reel slot had mechanical machine tells you could actually see, hear and resets. With digital slots and 5 reels, your chances of winning are slim to none IMO. There may be some tells on some machines which are now all digital, but probably would be difficult to detect.

When my wife was still living, she was an avid slot player and could find paying slots. Follow her lead and then follow the money.

We have Wincraps and other games possible on computers now. They use PRNGs as near as I know. This old fool being a retired lab rat decided he didn't like Wincraps so he developed his own dice machine so to speak.

It uses a pair of clocks and two counter chips programmed from 1 to 6. Each clock is set at a different frequency which nudges the counter chips along like a bucket brigade. I've played with these things hour on end over time and cannot find a way to detect a so called machine tell.

Where each die replicator is set at a different frequency, it removes a tell of when a digital bucket brigade would bump the count and number indicated along. No way to count digits. My bucket brigade concept foils the user.

I'm only talking about 2 clocks to drive two chips to do indicated number counts that are logically displayed. Think about a 5 reel slot with potentially 5 clocks and each set at different frequencies [speeds]. Then run these clock outputs through a digital chip that will alter the frequencies. Injury compounding injury to the slot player. No way could you sense a machine tell. Yet there are other sounds that you might watch or listen for.  

I speak of chips which are indigenous to my world over the past 50 years perhaps. These days there are modules that are loaded with digital circuits that would blow your mind. Literally on board computers in the slots. This opens up another can of worms the house can use to get your money. What you may find true of a certain slot at one period of time will differ the next time you play the same machine.

In a far away parallel, it reminds me of the old shell game where 3 shells were being used and a pea was under one of them. The owner would take your bets and then would move the shells around rapidly to confuse the gambler. Very effective. Now it's all done with electronics.

I rarely play slots anymore but when I do, it's like prior years, I still look and listen for the machine tells. Its the lab rat in me. If I cannot detect any, I move on. There is one visual I will use and that is our local joint likes kiosks rather than rows of slots. I never play in a kiosk [circled slots] when most are vacant. Watch those kiosks with players. The hoards of idiots haunt certain machines they have found to pay.

An old gardeners fable.

Never plant your garden in straight rows. Make them crooked. They claimed you could plant more in a crooked row. Now think slot kiosks vs. rows. Hmm?

Linaway

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  Post  - Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:06 pm Reply with quote  
superrick



Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 4465
Location: The above is one of the best books on the math of the game!Right out side of Las Vegas, in Henderson

While this is old new it goes to show that casinos do cheat and sometimes they do get caught, but what about the times they don't?
Quote:

This is the second round of sanctions imposed by the OCCC to Horseshoe Casino Cleveland. The first, in January, involved a $15,000 fine for use of unapproved computer software used in slot machines.


http://www.newsnet5.com/news/loca...ulators-for-compliance-violations


_________________
Note,   all my post start with this is just my opinion...!
You do good Brah.!

Winning comes from knowledge and skill when you're betting and not reading fiction from the Madprofessor!

superrick
 
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