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Playing Video Poker

Wed 10 May 2017 Playing Video Poker

What follows is a transcript of a free-flowing conversation I had with both Angela and Phil concerning her video-poker prowess and gambling in general. It is the story of a gambling couple from the very first time they went to Vegas until they became "regulars" in Atlantic City. I think it is instructive because I see Angela and Phil as the quintessential "recreational" gamblers. Their joy and their delight come as much from the playing of their games as in the beating of the casinos. They are, in fact, the everyman and everywoman of casi-noland—except for one thing: Angela is a monster winner, and a prodigious, Herculean player as you will see.

How close is her playing style to the playing style I use? Night and day. That's because she literally plays night and day, putting in extraordinary time at the machines? She also eschews little wins and always looks for "the big score." Thus, she makes for an interesting contrast to my usual advice; advice that is based on my style of play—which is far more methodical and workmanlike. Indeed, Angela is not a player from my school of thought. Far from it. She has her own school. She is a firm believer in her intuition and she claims to have a certain "feel" for machines. If her phenomenal success the past six years is any indication, I'd say her "feel" is real.

As with so many people who are interviewed for gambling articles and books, both Angela and Phil did not want their real last names used. We had to find pseudonyms for them both. So let's open there:

Angela: I was thinking maybe a good name for me would be Mrs. Bulletman.

Phil: Mr. and Mrs. Bulletman.

Angela: Right.

Frank: I thought you [Phil] wouldn't want to use Bulletman?

Angela: You used Bulletman in the other book (Break the One-Armed Bandits!).

Frank: But that was Phil's humorous analysis of slot machines.

Angela: Well, I like being Mrs. Bulletman because our friends will know who I am and Phil's friends will know who he is but no one else will.

Frank: Okay. Mr. and Mrs. Bulletman you will be. I'll title the chapter…

Angela: You were originally going to call it "Angela, the monster." I don't think I like that.

Frank: How about the Bride of Bulletman? B-O-B?

Bulletman: The important thing here is that Angela [B-O-B] grew up in a family and an environment where gambling was frowned upon. In spite of the fact that her uncles were bookmakers.

B-O-B: My mother's side of the family was just not a gambling family…no vices really. It comes to me in the blood from my father's side where they were bookmakers and poker players and every family meeting was a poker game or card game of some sort. I knew how to play poker from when I was little. My mother's side was the theatre and trips to the city [New York City]. They were the Manhattanites. You know Bonwit Tellers and that sort of thing. So I got it from all my aunts and uncles and from my father's side. Growing up I lost my interest in gambling so that by the time I was a young adult, I had no interest whatsoever in gambling. So when he wanted to go to Las Vegas on our honeymoon, it was a fight.

BuI letman: Not exactly a fight. A negotiation. As you know, I was always a gambler. I grew up playing cards from junior high school for money. When I was in high school I was always playing. But I never got to go to a casino because there were no casinos to go to, except for Vegas and as I kid that was out of the question. But when it came time to go on our honeymoon I tried to negotiate this Vegas thing because neither one of us wanted to spend time on a beach. I mean we both lived on the beach right here on Long Island. We can walk to the beach. Why go away and sit on a beach? So it was Vegas. I knew she liked to see shows so I used that as a…

Frank: Wedge?

B-O-B: Negotiation point. He told me I was going to get this room with mirrors with a great view and all these things. So I agreed.

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