Gambling City

We are Cash Back

Most Loss Leaders are Long Gone

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I have been fine tuning my Deuces Wild video poker game, looking to attain perfect play. At one online casino where I have been practicing has the feature that automatically holds suggested cards. It does not give a choice of turning it off. So, here is my question. I have learned that I should not hold other cards (kickers) if I'm dealt two deuces.

I absolutely agree with this strategy, but in this casino, the machine holds the two deuces and one other card that is always the one in the next left-most position. I always click to take the hold off of the 3rd card before drawing my cards, but I keep wondering why the software does this. Could it be an honest mistake? Or maybe a different school of thought, or is this done on purpose to dupe the unwary player? Katt B.

It could be any or all of those three reasons, Katt, because you are playing at an unregulated online casino. Or, it could just be a programmer that doesn't totally understand the correct strategy to use when the initial deal contains two deuces.

The important thing to keep in mind when playing Deuces Wild Video Poker is that the four deuces (twos) in the deck are not just wild cards; they wield unrestrained power, because they can be substituted for any other card, of any rank, in any suit.

You want to discard the remaining cards to make room for supplementary cards that could include an additional deuce or two. By drawing more deuces, you increase your odds of winning more video poker jackpots by making more combinations possible.

With your initial two deuces, the rule of thumb is to always draw three unless you find yourself dealt any of these keeper hands:

A wild royal flush, a five-of-a-kind, a straight flush, a four-of-a-kind, four cards to a royal flush, or consecutive suited cards, 6-7 or higher.

Dear Mark: I'd like to make one last comment regarding Vegas "resort fees" and such. It is true, as you pointed out, Vegas has become a rather expensive destination, with $3.50 bottles of Pepsi, $12 bowls of oatmeal, and a single cold beer for $8. This 'new' corporate America Vegas, has brought us $20 cab rides, breakfast buffets for $24.99, the "Resort Fees" we have been discussing and 6/5 blackjack.

Now, this is not the case just in Las Vegas. All over the US, casinos are benefiting from these sky-rocketing prices, and at the same time requiring players to ante up their IRAs just to get a dinner 'comped.' Thank goodness there are people like you 'keeping it real' for novice gamblers, and Vegas neophytes. With the passing of the Sands, Stardust, Frontier, Desert Inn, and many other old standards, the new regime is firmly entrenched. The Gen Xer's, as well as most people under the age of forty have no clue to how expensive a place Vegas has become, compared to the good old days. S.S.

As I am reaching the end of my gaming career, I am really glad that I had the good fortune to have been a part of the gaming world during the overused, but appropriately called, "good old days," – the loss of the Stardust, Sands, Desert Inn, and Frontier notwithstanding.

Your final statement is the part that interests me most; “…The Gen Xer's, as well as most people under the age of forty have no clue to how expensive a place Vegas has become.” That is a "eureka" thought if ever there was one.

My son gets it, but that is because he was weaned on the Crystal Bay Club’s coffee shop counter eating 99¢ breakfasts, unlike most of his age group who grew up on McDonald's Happy Meals. It was near mayhem when Crystal Bay Club raised their price to $1.49.

So yes, I do agree with your belief that the typical Gen Xer is unaware of what WE had before corporate America monetized every square inch of a casino property. I hope that what you have said finds its way onto their iPhones, because as you say, it seems to be happening everywhere.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Whenever you switch from Deuces Wild to Jacks-or-Better, the first four of a kind will be Deuces.” —Skip Hughes