Video Poker & Slots
for the Winner
Marten Jensen

This title is both useful and bollocks. As you might guess from the title, this is really two books re-hashed into one; one devoted to video poker and the other on playing the slots - the publishers (this is another from the Avery Cardoza stable) can hardly be accused of hanging a misleading title on it, although the reference to "winner" might be perceived to be stretching it a bit.

I recently found this amongst the congested grot in the "man-corner", and thought they'd be no harm in adding it to the review list. It was a few years back, when I became interested in video poker, that I picked it up in a discount bookshop in Hammersmith for the price of a pint - which seemed a fair deal at the time. Would I advise anyone else to do the same? Hmmm . . . probably not.

The first part of the book is dedicated to video poker; it's origin and how it's developed to become one of the most popular electronic games offered (interesting), how to play (useful if you're a complete novice), the different game types, their RTPs and those to seek out (useful), general advice and pointers (useful) and a raft of strategy tables for just about every ruleset that take up the last third or so of the book (again useful, although be aware that some reviewers have questioned the accuracy of some of Mr J's strategies). This is the good bit, although all of this is available online from a multitude of informative web pages dedicated to video poker - with and being two such examples.

The rest of the book? Dedicated to helping people to become winning slot players and mostly drivel. Anything that advises punters to "find the loosest slots", and having identified one (just how can you tell?) to do a test to see whether it's "hot" or "cold" (by playing through a roll of forty coins - I kid you not) is just inviting howls of laughter. I couldn't quite understand the commentary around "hot" and "cold" machines as on page 85 there's an overview of how modern slots in the States function and how each spin is completely random, unlike Category "B3" and "C" gaming machines in the UK;

" . . . As a result, the machine operates in a totally random fashion and there isn't anything a player can do to change that."

So much for seeking out the holy grail of "hot" and "cold" machines and watching out for "up cycles"? Perhaps the slots section of the book was penned by two different people, or Mr J had suffered a temporary lapse of memory before he wrote some of the things he did, or it's just a simple case of third rate editing by the publisher?

"Keep in mind that a hot cycle has a limited life even on a loose machine. Consequently, you should be prepared to quit a hot machine as soon as it appears to be turning cold. An important clue is that it hasn't paid off in five consecutive spins. In fact, the most conservative players will abandon their machine after four cold spins." (page 99 refers).

So, some cracking advice there then?

At the time of writing, this book is being offered by Amazon at a tenner, although you can probably pick up a new copy for half that. However, rather than considering buying a copy, in my humble opinion you'd be better off putting your money towards a copy of Video Poker Wizard for your mobile, and forgetting about the slots nonsense. This is a great low-priced app (US$9.99) for those interested in video poker and a must for those UK visitors planning a junket to Sin City.

Marten Jensen is the author of a number of other gambling related titles (two of which are dedicated to beating the slots), but based on Video Poker & Slots for the Winner I think I'd be inclined to give these a wide berth and have a word with Mr Google instead. Despite all of the misinformation out there on the web, you certainly won't be any worse off for doing so. In 2014 he published his first work of fiction, The Control Station, which is available as an Amazon Kindle download only.

September 2015.