If you were freefalling without a parachute…

That’s a misleading title, but I couldn’t think of a better one for this very silly post that is of no consequence whatsoever.

As I’ve noted before, I relax with video slot poker to take breaks between writing, editing, research chores, or whatever. Most of that, these days, is in five to eight rounds of contests at the video poker site (free, no actual gambling), playing whatever the contest of the day is. A round is 100 plays–and a play is usually anywhere from three to one hundred hands (since most of the games are either triple play variations or, sometimes, 25-play, 50-play or 100-play, or “spin fever,” in all of which you’re dealt one hand, you choose which cards to keep, and those cards are replicated in as many hands as there are–or, with spin fever, a reel-type variation I still haven’t entirely figured out). You’re automatically betting the maximum each time, and your credits (wins) total at the bottom and are used to score the game. So far, so good: I track the games and play “against the nut”–that is, trying for a final total that’s more than the total bet. (If it’s pure triple-play, that’s 15 credits per play–three hands at five credits each–or 1,500 for a round.) Oh, I won’t turn down a high score of the day: that’s happened to me once, and it’s good for $50. But I’m playing for fun. (As noted earlier, all this has had the odd effect of reducing urges to go to actual casinos, as this is smoke-free and convenient, and in the long run even cheaper than casino gambling, since at most it costs me $25/year to avoid ads–if I don’t just play the downloaded version, which inherently has no ads.)

A new feature

A couple of days ago, a new feature appeared on the contest screen that shows up when you complete a round. If you’ve beaten the nut, there’s a “Congratulations!” and it tells you how much you would have won–in dollars and cents–if you’d been playing the game at a quarter ($0.25) machine.

Of course, it only gives you winning amounts. There’s no “Too bad!” message with the amount you would have lost during a round. That’s reasonable.

But, Duuuude…

Yes, I know, I’m at least 40 years too old to be using that phrase, but that’s what came to mind when I was playing 100-play poker, yesterday’s contest, and had a really good round: 59,910. The screen came up with “Congratulations! You would have won $2,477.50 if you’d been playing on a quarter machine.” (That may not be the precise wording, but you get the gist.)

But, Duuuude…..

If there are quarter 100-hand machines, and if I was playing maximum coins, I would have been risking…

wait for it…

$125 dollars per play. That’s one hundred and twentyfive dollars. That’s, let’s see, 15 lunches at my favorite local Chinese restaurant (including tax and tip). Or 15 to 20 bottles of most of the Chardonnays I buy. Or a nice dinner out with our best friend in Livermore…including wine, tax and tip. Or 15 weeks of the daily paper. Or two years of the cell phone service we use. Or one good pair of Rockport shoes. Or 125 pounds of organic navel oranges from our favorite semi-local grower. Or…well, you get the drift.

Per play.

That is so not going to happen. Realistically, I’d probably never even play the plausible version of a hundred-hand machine, at one cent per bet, since even that is $5 per play, and I’m not that wealthy. (I know there are hundred-hand machines; I saw some at Harrah’s New Orleans. I think those were penny machines, although of course they only handle folding money and the ubiquitous tickets.)

Even if I won Super Lotto, I wouldn’t wager $125 per play on a slot machine (or any other form of gambling.)

Even if someone sent me that Powerball ticket that’s worth $200 million as a lump sum, I wouldn’t wager $125 per play on a slot machine (unless, of course, such wagering–up to, say, 100 playsmaximum–was a condition of being handed the $200 million ticket).

I enjoy gaming, especially poker with its small amount of skill. Once in a while–much less so these days–I even enjoy doing it in a casino. But never for more than $50/day. Which may indeed mean wagering several thousand dollars over the course of a day or two, but not at $125 a shot!

Oh, and here’s the message I might have gotten two rounds earlier on the same day. “Sorry! You would be down $2,657.50 if you were playing on a quarter machine.” I can pretty much guarantee that no gaming site is ever going to show me that message.

[Overall? Overall, I’ve gotten good enough at holding that I’m running within a plausible range, which I define as anywhere from 93% to 103% over the long run, more typically 95% to 98% playing max coins–which, for me, would mean 93% to 96% in a casino, since I’m too cheap to play max coins. In hundred-hands contest play itself, I’m still up, because that one dealt royal flush, which turns into 100 royal flushes, takes a long time to play down to average. Thus, on the double-bonus version, where I got the dealt royal flush, I’m at 119.46% over 350,000 actual hands; on the deuces-wild version, with no such absurd luck, I’m at 95.06% over 300,000 actual hands. Of the variations that show up in contests, I’ve concluded that Double Super Times is my worst variation–I’m consistently under 90% for that. But when there’s no actual money involved…]



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