August 2006
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I must not buy any more poker books…

Claire had told me in no uncertain terms that we must not buy any more poker books on this trip. There’s already probably a dozen that I haven’t read back at home.

So today we went to the Gamblers General Store and Gamblers Book Store and we returned with a total 9 books and a magazine.

One of them – Killer Poker Online 2 – was even signed by author John Vorhaus, who apparently brought a few pre-release copies for the Gamblers Book Store to sell at the WSOP Gaming Life Expo – it’s not officially published yet, but these guys have juice. He wrote in it “Don’t play crap hands”. Top tip.

We met Vegas legend Howard Schwartz, a man whose life has been gambling books for nearly 30 years. He saw us as fresh meat when we walked through the door and a few seconds later he launched into his customer rapport-building spiel about where we must be from. The conculsion, eventually, was Pennsylvania. Something to do with my forehead, or something. Claire quickly pointed out that, even if he didn’t catch the funny way we spoke, it would have been much easier to just look at the England football shirt she was wearing.

Howard delighted us with the story of how he’d asked everyone’s favourite luckbox, Chris Moneymaker, whether there was a particular poker book he’d read in order to learn the game before becoming world champion. In his best Cletus from The Simpsons accent, he recalled the answer: “I don’t be readin’ no books”.

And then, we were given lollipops.

As if from nowhere…

… jackpots appeared.

In my video poker career I’ve hit just one royal flush. I drew it from a single held ace.

This trip I’ve hit two mini-jackpots – the two next biggest wins I’ve ever had – and they came in equally unlikely ways.

On a silly machine at Sams Town that I couldn’t resist, you paid 6 credits instead of 5 to always have an ace dealt to start with. The payouts seemed to be the same as a normal 5-credit double-bonus machine – i.e. they stiff you on a two-pair hand to build up some nice four-of-a-kind payouts.

I was, of course, dealt an ace in exchange for my sixth credit. Nothing else is any use, so I hold it and in pop three more aces. Woohoo.

Double woohoo. This machine has an extra bonus payout for four aces. Instead of the usual 400 or 800 coin payout, we’re talking 2000 credits – $500 tyvm. FROM NOWHERE!

Then at the Strat last night, we turned up looking for a $2/$4 game but the poker room is being redeveloped and they appear to only have $1/$2 NL now.

So as we’d valet parked we stayed for a while and found some “100% payback” video poker. Choice of three games, including Loose Deuces. I’ve hit four deuces before but not with the bonus payout – this game stiffs you on flushes but pays 2500 coins for quad deuces.

My four deuces ON THE DEAL. No hold required. No thinking required. Just $625, tyvm once more.

Wonder how long that’ll last :)