1K Challenge: Session One
Once I got into the groove of things, I actually began to enjoy myself. I played video poker, slot machines, and Mini-Baccarat ... the only table game I was allowed to play.
For the most part, I played sideways and never got up or down more than $5 or so. Just like in real life.
Of course, I wasn't exactly high-rolling. I "max played" both nickels and quarters, but that's about as high as I am willing to go. I didn't hit anything big, just a couple of Full Houses, but these were enough to keep me pretty close to even all afternoon.
One gameplay item that did throw me off a little bit was on the JOB video poker machine. This particular machine automatically held "correct strategy" cards, and I was confused at times.
When I am in Vegas, pretty much the only VP machines I play are Bonus machines. Be they Bonus, Double Bonus, or Double Double Bonus (I know it sounds repetitive), I tend to give up a little on the low end for quad-type payouts. Because of this, I have trained on Bonus simulators over the years and have gotten used to holding pairs over high cards.
For example, if I get 2-2-5-K-8 dealt, I typically hold the 2-2 and discard the rest. The online JOB machine, however, would auto-hold the K and discard the rest. This is contrary to my own strategy, and frankly, I don't know if I am right or the machine is right. Since I prefer to go with my own instinct, I spent a lot of time over-ruling the machine's advice, and I probably did this to my own detriment.
Going forward, I will probably be better served if I train on a Jacks-or-Better machine so I know what in the hell I am doing. I've still yet to hit an elusive Royal Flush, and at this rate, I still won't.
So far, my favorite slot machine at the Rich Casino is something called "Gangster Something". It's got this super-funky bassline groove that plays between spins that makes me want to get up and do the running man. Seriously, it's a dope beat for a slot machine. Next time I play it I'm going to record the game sound with my EVO, throw it into Garage Band, record my voice with some auto-tune, comb my hair forward like that Justin Bieber girl, and hit the Top 40.
What can I tell you, inspiration can be found in strange places.
Now, I've heard a lot of banter on the Internet from people who scream "Online gambling is rigged!". Frankly, I have never had an opinion about this because I had never really played online. The people I have dealt with so far in the online gambling community have always been very honest and forthright -- moreso I would say than their brick and mortar counterparts -- but I was still naive to the actual gameplay itself.
After a few weeks of playing online, however, and especially at this particular casino, I must say that everything seems quite usual to me.
I know, I know, "but Rex, the machines are not regulated", and while brick-and-mortar machines generally are, I've heard numerous stories of people not getting paid jackpots in Indian Casinos due to what the tribe calls machine "malfunctions" when they finally hit. As a matter of fact, I've heard all kinds of shenanigans which occur with supposedly "regulated" machines which leave me to believe that the "regulation" is not the panacea that people think that it is.
A casino is only as good as its reputation, and since bad news travels fast, I don't think that most of the larger online casinos could afford to partake in too many hi-jinx.
I personally know one guy who hit several online jackpots and was subsequently banned from an online casino for "winning too much". I am not making this up. He hit several $10,000+ wins (one was in excess of 20 grand), and after the third or fourth win, the casino blackballed him in a flattering way (something about him being too good/lucky of a player for them). With that, the casino promptly paid him 100% of his winnings and he opened an account elsewhere. Most of these casinos are run by European companies, not Nigerian countries.
Now, I'm a skeptical guy. As I was playing yesterday, I tried to look for any hint that something was out of sorts. Statistical improbabilities, strange patterns on the slots ... such as every spin being an "almost winner" and things like that. I didn't see anything at all. If anything, I was surprised at how many times I won Mini Baccarat. I won more than 50% of the time.
I played Video Poker sideways for damn near an hour ... just like I have done for years at the Las Vegas machines. The slots hit every now and then, but not often, and when they did, the wins were modest. This is typically what happens when I play in places like Harrah's.
When all was said and done, I logged out of the casino up a whopping eight dollars.
This may not seem like much, but considering that I got an hour and a half's worth of entertainment out of it, it's not too shabby. I also furthered my goal of building the account up to $1,000.
At this point, it's $8 down, $692 to go.
This may take awhile.
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