Video Poker – A Game of Skill That’s Winnable If Played With Proper Strategy, and a Bit of Luck

Video Poker is one of the most popular casino games. There are many different versions of the game, and if played correctly, and with a bit of luck, the games can be winnable. The most popular are the Jacks or Better single play games such as:

Jacks or Better

Bonus Poker

Double Bonus Poker

Double Double Bonus Poker

Video Poker uses standard poker hand rankings to determine payout amounts from a pair of Jacks up to the highest possible five card hand, the Royal Flush.

How to Play

Once the game is selected, one to five credits (coins) per hand may be wagered. After the deal/draw button is pressed, five cards from a standard 52 card deck are dealt face up onto the screen. The player then has the option to hold or discard as many cards as s/he wishes. The discards are replaced by the 47 remaining cards after the deal/draw button is pressed again.

How to Read the Pay Tables

It’s important to know how to read the pay tables that are displayed on the screen for easy reading. The single play games are the 5 credit/coin maximum bet per hand. Players may bet from one to five credits per hand. The popular games for the average player(s) are the quarter and dollar games. The max bet per hand for quarters is $1.25, and $5 for the dollar games.

The Jacks or Better game that has a high return rate of 99.5% is known as 9/6 Jacks. The nine referring to a one unit credit payout for a Full House, and the six for a one unit payout with a flush. This is the nomenclature used for all the aforementioned games in the Jacks or Better Family. Here is the pay table for the 9/6 base game per credits (coins) bet from 1 to 5:

Royal Flush – 250/ 500/ 750/ 1,000/ 4,000

Straight Flush – 50/ 100/ 150/ 200/ 250

4 of a Kind – 25/ 50/ 75/ 100/ 125

Full House – 9/ 18/ 24/ 36/ 45

Flush – 6/ 12/ 18/ 24/ 30

Straight – 4/ 8/ 12/ 16/ 20

3 of a Kind – 3/ 6/ 9/ 12/ 15

Two Pair – 2/ 4/ 6/ 8/ 10

Pair Jacks/Better – 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5

Note that all max credit payouts are multiplied by 5 times the one credit except for the Royal Flush. It is Prudent to always bet the maximum of five credits.

For the bonus Jacks or Better games There are different payouts for 4 of a kind depending on rank and game chosen. For example, Double Bonus pays 250 credits with four 5′s through Kings with max credits (5) bet, four 2 through 4 pays 400 credits, and four Aces pays 800 credits. For Double Double Bonus, four Aces with a 2,3,or 4 pays 2,000 credits.

These attractive payouts at the top end do not come without a giving back to the house in the lower paying hands. For example, the 9/6 payout is reduced to 8/5, even lower in some jurisdictions. In Double Bonus the 2 for 1 return for two pair is reduced to a push. (1 for 1). That’s important to know because two pair is a frequently dealt hand. The return for an 8/5 game is 96.4%. Note that the house edge is 3% more for the bonus games than the basic Jacks or Better game.

There is a skill element when playing Video Poker. Knowing the proper strategy is essential. Here are some tips to assist you during your decision making while you play. Low cards are 2 through 9, high cards are 10 through Ace. If you have:

Hand / Strategy

5 low cards – Discard all if no pair, draw all new
A pair of anything – Hold the pair, discard the others
One high card (J,Q,K,A) – Hold the face card, discard the others
2 or more unsuited high. cards – Hold all, discard others
A suited 10 and one high card – Hold both, draw three (possible Royal)
Two or more suited high cards – Hold all, draw to possible Royal
Unsuited J,Q,K,A – Hold for possible straight
Three or four low suited cards – Hold for possible flush, straight flush
Any four cards to a straight – Hold for possible straight
Three suited cards to a straight – Hold for possible straight flush, or flush
High pair (Jacks or better) – Hold the pair
Two pair – Hold both pairs
Straight – Hold all 5 cards
Flush – Hold all 5 cards
Full House – Hold all 5 cards
Four of a kind – Hold all 4 cards
Straight Flush – Hold all 5 cards
Royal Flush – HOLD ‘EM ALL!

5 Surefire Ways To Optimize Your Book’s Sell Sheet

Introduction

In order to become, or remain, financially successful as a self-publisher, you must be able to quickly and effectively get your marketing message to your book-buying audience. Your book’s sell sheet is an excellent tool to do this. It’s a perfect marketing tool for offline AND online marketing – because it’s simple to understand, and gets directly to the point.

And, as The Professor likes to say, it’s “no fuss, no muss, no waste, no bother,” for you or the buyer. (He has a many insightful gems like that. I hear them all the time. He has one for every imaginable situation. But, he’s a very wealthy business genius, so we all listen.)

Here Are The 5 Essential Elements To Optimizing Your Sell Sheet:

Optimization Tip # 1: Keep It Simple

The genius of a sell sheet is that it’s quick and easy to read. It’s supposed to convey the most important and pertinent information about your book in a short, simple, and obvious, format. And, it must be appealing to look at and read while doing all of that. All of the information on the sell sheet must only be concerned with your book. No extraneous information necessary. In other words, don’t oversell or exaggerate.

Ask yourself: “What information is absolutely necessary that will help the buyer make the decision to find out more about my book, or go directly to buying it?” Get to it quickly. You only have about 30 seconds to hold onto the person reading your sell sheet. Use every inch of it very wisely.

Optimization Tip # 2: Differentiate Your Book

You’ve all heard about differentiation a million times before. Differentiate yourself, your message, and your book, from your competition. You know this already. If you didn’t already know how to differentiate yourself, your message, and your book, from your competition, BEFORE you wrote your book, you have much bigger problems that a sell sheet can’t fix.

Your message that you want, or need, to share with your reading audience, and how you write about it, needs to come through on your book’s sell sheet. Look at yourself, your message, and your book, from the perspective of your audience, your readers, your customers. Now show them how you and your book are different, or better, or more insightful, for your book’s subject matter, than your competition is.

Optimization Tip # 3: Build Visual Hierarchy

By “visual hierarchy,” I mean that the reader’s eyes should first be drawn to the most important item on you sell sheet. This item, or text, or photo, will probably be the biggest item on the page. This might be the book’s cover, for example. Or the title of the book near the top. You should get the idea here.

Then their eyes should be drawn to the second most important item on your sell sheet. Maybe this is a word or statement about the book’s subject matter. The text here might be bigger or more colorful than the other text on the page. Then on to the third most important information that you want the reader the see next. And so on.

Typically, these items start at or near the top of the page, which is where most people first look it. And when viewing on a computer screen, almost always from the top down. Your goal is to help the reader navigate your sell sheet in a pleasant, visually appealing, and easy to read format.

Optimization Tip # 4: Back Up Your Claims

The person reading your it will decide if you’re qualified to write this book, and help them with their problems, in a matter of seconds. Again, look at yourself, your book, and your sell sheet, from the perspective of the reader.

And then ask yourself several questions: “Is this person believable? Does this person look and sound like he can help me with my problems? Help me improve my life? Help me find the answers I need?” Does he have believable qualifications that prove he can write about this book’s topic?”

Remember, every word and picture on that sheet can help or hurt your credibility. It’s up to you to convey your claims about your book, and about you, to the reader in such a way that’s believable. Too much embellishment, or boasting, and you will lose them – in a matter of seconds – and they won’t come back.

Optimization Tip # 5: Make The Call-To-Action (CTA) Easy

By “easy,” I mean KEEP IT SIMPLE. Provide several uncomplicated ways for the reader to contact you and get more information about you and your book. This can be your telephone number at your office. It can be an email address directly to you. The absolute minimum that you must have is a link to your book’s website or landing page. It can also be a link to the book’s Amazon page.

If your book is available for sale to book stores, libraries, and universities, you should mention that your book is available through book distributors Ingram, and Baker and Taylor, for example. Keep in mind how your book’s demographic, or readers, buyers, customers, and clients, will most likely want to contact you.

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to have more than one sell sheet for your book. You can create one that is more directed toward your clients that visit your office, for example. One for the people that read your blog. And, you can create one for libraries and schools. You wrote the book, so you already know who your audience, or audiences, is for your book.

Your book’s sell sheet can help you give your audience the appropriate message that is most likely to resonate with them to the highest degree, and help them to make the decision to buy your book.

Blackjack Rules: Learn a Simple Basic Strategy Before You Play – Here’s How

Blackjack rules are important to understand when playing this casino table game. If played properly by using a simple Basic Strategy, the house advantage is very low, at about 0.5%.

The game is played on a table containing multiple decks of cards. (Usually six or eight). The cards are dealt from a device called a shoe or a CSM (continuous shuffle machine) by the house dealer in the casino.

The objective is for a player to have a completed hand totaling 21 or closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand. Any player’s or dealer’s hand with a sum over 21 is a bust and therefore loses.

The card values are:

2 through 9 – count as their face value

10 through King – count as a ten value

Aces – count as eleven or one

How to Play

Playing is simple. After you placing an initial wager, two cards are dealt face up to each player. The dealer also takes two cards, one face up and one down, known as a hole card.

Based on the strength of the player’s hand and the value of the dealer’s up card, the player must make one of five options:

Stand – If the player has a strong hand such as a 10, 8 totaling 18, s/he would stand by taking no additional cards.

Hit – If the player has a weak hand such as 8, 5 totaling 13, s/he may hit by requesting additional card(s).

Split – If the two cards are of equal value such as an 8, 8 the player can split by playing two hands for an additional wager.

Double Down – Player may elect to double down by requesting only one card after doubling his/her wager. One example would be a 7, 4 totaling 11. The player would hope to receive any 10-value card to make a total of 21.

Surrender – (Where permitted.) When a player has a very weak hand against a dealer’s strong hand, he/she may surrender the hand for ½ of the wager. One example would be a player with 15 and a dealer showing a 10 or ace up.

Per standard rules, a dealer must draw to a hand total up to 16 and stand (no draw) on a total of 17 or higher.

Note that the 17 rule varies between casinos. Some jurisdictions permit a dealer draw to a soft 17, (Ace + 6) others require a stand on all 17′s. Drawing a card with a soft 17 always aids the casino. Standing on all 17′s aids the player(s).

All winning hands, except for Blackjack, pay even money. A Blackjack is a two-card hand containing an Ace and any ten-value card. That payout is 3 to 2. Some casinos have reduced the BJ payout to 6 to 5. Stay away from the 6/5 games if possible. Here’s why:

Players receive an average of about four Blackjacks per hour. With a 3/2 payout at a $10 minimum table, the total win is $60, whereas a 6/5 payout would only net you $48. That’s a $12 loss per hour at a 6/5 table!

Simple Basic Strategy

Prior to playing, it is important to learn basic strategy. It is easy to comprehend and with a little practice your money can last longer at the table. Basic strategy cards are available in most casino gift shops. You can also find them on-line. Most casinos do not object to any player using the cards for reference while playing. Blackjack strategy applied properly is extremely important when playing the game.

The strategy is a blueprint for players that can greatly reduce the house edge to the aforementioned. It is easy to learn, though it does require some practice.

As previously mentioned, correct strategy is always based on the strength of the player’s two card hand against the value of the dealer’s up card. When applying this method, the player always assumes that the dealer has a ten- value card in the hole. Hence, the following strategy should be used whenever playing: Blackjack strategy applied properly is extremely important when playing the game.

Prior to Playing

Rules do vary between casinos so players should first scout the tables to look for liberal rules. In many jurisdictions the rules are posted at the table. If you do not see them, ask. Here is what to look for:

Split any pair

Double down on any two cards

Re-splitting allowed

Double after split allowed

Dealer stands on all 17′s

Surrender permitted

Here is the Simple Basic Strategy:

Player Hard Hands, (no Ace) if You Have:

8 or less, always hit.

9, double if dealer has 3 through 6, otherwise hit.

10, double if dealer has 2 through 9, otherwise hit.

11, Double against dealer 2 through 10, hit against Ace.

12, hit against 2 or 3, stand against 4 through 6, otherwise hit.

13 through 16, stand against 2 through 6, otherwise hit.

17 through 21, always stand.

Player Soft Hands, (one Ace) if You Have:

Ace 2 or 3, double against 5 or 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 4 or 5, double against 4 through 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 6, double against 3 through 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 7, stand against 2, 7 or 8, double against 3 through 6, otherwise hit.

Ace 8 or 9, always stand.

Player Pairs, if You Have:

Aces or eights, always split.

Twos or threes, split against 2 through 7, otherwise hit.

Fours, split against 5 or 6, otherwise hit.

Fives, double against 2 through 9, otherwise hit.

Sixes, split against 2 through 6, otherwise hit.

Sevens, split against 2 through 7, otherwise hit.

Nines, split against 2 through 6 and 8 or 9. Stand against 7, 10 or Ace.

Tens, always stand.

Blackjack side bets are also available at almost every table. Although tempting, the house edge increases a great deal when these options are selected, some into double digits. Always keep in mind that your bankroll is at a greater risk of a quicker depletion when making these inviting side bets.

Remember that no matter which game you choose, the house always has the edge over the long term. The benefit of applying proper strategy is to increase your chances for short term gain.