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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Video Poker Maverick Is a Man on a Mission

24 June 2009

Arizona resident and self-styled video poker maverick Rob Singer is out to prove that video poker machines do not play as randomly as the manufacturers of the games claim they do.

His independent research is being ridiculed by the mainstream of video poker authorities who base their playing strategy on mathematical probability and the random operation of the games.

Singer is conducting what he calls fifth card "flip-over" testing on video poker machines throughout Nevada. Playing one credit in the lowest denomination, he records the times he is dealt two pair, an open-end straight, and four to a flush.

From these hands, he then documents the card he discards and has observed something strange: Far more frequently than probability dictates, he draws the same value card of a different suit to complete the hand.

He recently reached 40,000 hands played, from which he recorded 4,685 fifth card "flip over" opportunities. From these, he drew the same value card as the one he discarded 2,211 times, or a rate of 47.2 percent. In a totally random situation the rate at which this happens should be only 6.38 percent.

Singer is not without credibility. He wrote a popular weekly column for the Nevada-based publication Gaming Today for many years, authored two books on video poker, and has a website (www.vptruth.com) dedicated to his theories.

Singer is convinced video poker machines have patterns, and operate on hot and cold cycles. It's radical thinking that makes him an outcast.

"I'm not saying whether it helps or hurts players; I don't know that yet," Singer claims. "I don't believe we'll ever have anybody ever come out and say it's not random because they (the manufacturers) believe play is random enough to be defined as random."

He began his professional video poker career as a follower of prescribed playing strategy methods based on the math during the course of millions of hands. After years of chronic losing, he developed his own method based on short-term playing sessions.

"What I'm doing with the fifth card flip-over testing is not in and of itself proof of anything other than the fact the machines are not random," he claims.

The vast majority of gambling authorities disagree with Singer. They are convinced the game is played as the manufacturers say it is: A completely random occurrence of a virtual deck of cards being "shuffled" within a computer program.

Every card has an equal chance of being dealt to us on the screen, one by one, off the top of the virtual deck.

The products are tested by state regulated and independent laboratories, which must verify randomness before they are granted approval for sale and distribution in casinos.

Singer has accepted a challenge from one of his critics to meet some time next month and play side-by-side for a few hours while recording their respective results.

Meanwhile, aside from his independent testing, Singer claims to have profited from playing video poker since he dropped popular strategy and developed theories based on short-term playing sessions.

"I don't care what people say the math does," he said. "The math is the math over millions and millions of hands. If you sit down for an hour or two, it isn't going to mean beans."

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp