What’s in a Phrase?

Listeners to our podcast know I typically end with the line, “Go out and hit a royal flush!” Colin Jones, the owner of blackjackapprenticeship.com, one of the sponsors of our podcast, has numerous podcasts of his own in which he typically ends with, “Keep generating EV!”

Not that I’m planning on changing, but I like Colin’s ending better than mine! It’s far closer to what I believe intelligent gamblers should do.

My phrase is the video poker equivalent of wishing you, “Good luck today.” If you’re playing a single-line game, hitting a royal flush pretty much ensures you’re going home a winner.

While wishing somebody good luck is a pleasant, sociable thing to do, it doesn’t suggest that you have any input as to how or when this good luck comes about. Just sit back and maybe a royal flush will come knocking on your door!

Colin’s phrase is the equivalent of, “Keep doing the right things, and over time good things will happen.”

Generating EV in blackjack consists of game selection, knowing how to count cards accurately, and proper bet sizing. Other things are also important, but this is not an article attempting to teach you how to play blackjack well.

Generating EV in video poker consists of knowing the game, the slot club, and the various promotions, while only playing when you have the advantage.

There will always be “results-oriented” people who are overly concerned with whether you win or lose in the short run. They will argue that you can’t spend EV. And they’re right, sort of, at least from their perspective. Not from mine.

I’d much rather be “EV-oriented.” I know hundreds of gamblers of every kind who have had profitable careers for years simply by grinding things out.

Using the title of Josh Axelrod’s book, “Repeat Until Rich,” is another way to phrase it. Figure out where your edge is and keep doing it.

It works!

What brought this to my mind was when I returned from a session at the South Point during early September. The promotion this month consists of two casino-wide jackpots. I’ve never hit one of these at the South Point (although I have received numerous $25 consolidation prizes because I was playing when somebody else hit the jackpot). I have hit such a progressive elsewhere. And I have collected on other South Point “fairly rare” promotions.

So, I played my usual amount, hoping to continue receiving mailers. I didn’t collect on one of the jackpots this trip. But I believe it was still a better game to play this month than it would be if there was not a promotion going on.

I was “generating EV,” so to speak. This time I didn’t cash. No big deal. I usually don’t on this promotion, but I will occasionally. While the rare time that I collect on this jackpot will be unpredictable and out of the blue, I think I will because I have time after time put myself in position to win.

Often you can accurately predict your EV. This time I can’t. I don’t know enough about how frequently the jackpot hits and whether it matters, for example, if you’re playing a nickel or a $5 machine. But the game I was playing was already a bit positive off the top. Add in the mailers and the casino-wide jackpots and I know I have an edge. I just don’t know how big of an edge.

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