Thouights on Video Poker Tournament Strategy

Discussion in 'Other Games Tournament Strategy' started by Blackjack Rebel Too, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. I am playing in a Millionaire Maker Video Poker tournament qualifier next month. It was an invitational at Harrah's New Orleans. The top 10 get a seat in the Millionaire Maker finals. The most recent thread here about video poker tournaments was back in July of 2007. It had a total of one reply.

    Video Poker is the only machine game I play when I want a break from the tables and I am fairly experienced in VP play. From playing 5-10 VP tournaments in the past and watching my girlfriend compete in a number of slot tournaments, it seems to me that your tournament strategy and your regular cash game strategy for VP might be two completely different animals. In your cash games, much of your winnings will be small hits such as 3OAK, flushes, straights, and so on. While these small hits will keep you playing for a long time in a cash game, they rarely will amount to a large enough total to win anything in a tournament. It seems that everyone I see cashing in machine tournaments has hit at least one or more top jackpots during their rounds.

    So, how radically do the experts here recommend changing your regular cash game strategy to chase the big jackpots (royals, 4OAK) that it seems to take to win VP tournaments?
  2. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    I've played a few of these from time to time. I have seen two major versions. For example, the Venetian's events featured a set amount of time AND a set number of hands. As long as you played reasonably quickly you would max out the number of hands before time ran out. That meant that speed was not all that important.

    By way of contrast, the Gold Strike has been having some small events twice a month recently. In those events, speed is critical. It's 10 minutes, as many hands as you can play. These events pay twenty spots. In one of them I actually made the top twenty and never even hit four of a kind! Playing fast gave me a big edge over most of the field. The lady next to me hit four aces and I was nearly tied with her because I played so many more hands.

    Now, to your question... When speed matters, I think strategy changes are less important. In the Gold Strike events I've played mostly a regular strategy. The game there is Double Double Bonus. A few changes I do make: I don't draw to inside straights, and I hold a single Ace over unsuited Jack-Queen.

    If you're headed into the last minute or two of play and your score is low, then you'll want to be more aggressive in changing your play. At that point, nothing short of a premium quad or a royal will save you, so play for those hands. In any event though, never underestimate the value of sheer speed. Mistakes aren't a big deal.
  3. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    Not that I know anything about video poker, but....... :p

    How many entrants will there be? 100 entrants vs. 5,000 entrants will change your strategy immensely with a fixed number of qualifiers. Not unlike accumulation BJT's, eh? More entrants will raise the possibility that you're screwed unless you catch a Royal. Of course, this is also impacted by the actual game being played - and the pay schedule used. Some VP tournaments will cheapen the Royal payout considerably in order to lessen the impact of said Royals. Also, if the base game is DDB or TDB, then 4 Aces with kicker will come into play while it wouldn't in JoB.

    Try to get a later "squad" in the tournament so that you can get an idea of what score will be needed to make the cut. It may turn out that you have no chance without catching that Royal, which will force you to make some truly bizarre strategy changes. For example, if you must get a Royal and the game is JoB, then the proper play of a dealt hand of KKKK8 would be any one of the three kings that are unsuited to the 8.

    Poke around at PM me if you'd like more. And Ken's advice is damn solid, as usual!
  4. creeping panther

    creeping panther Banned User


    Me and the wife do alot of VP tourneys, ever since Leftnut got me interested in VP, thanks again Leftnut:)

    We have done very well in tourneys and regular play, mostly 9/6 JOB. In the tourneys we play it is 3 rounds, timed, with the top 18 scores being paid. These are very exciting tourneys, you will love being involved in the action. There are 2 Pro's that always play that I have gotten to know very well and it seems the strategy is to play by the book until it appears your placement in the top 18 is in doubt, and then swing away for the big hit on the last round. Just like it has been already mentioned, just like in a BJ tourney.

  5. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    You're quite welcome, CP, and I'm glad you've been enjoying it! :D

    To expand upon what CP and Ken said, if the format is time limit with no preset number of hands, then speed is definitely your friend. Blazing, hypnotic, blinding hyper-speed. Minor strategy mistakes are inconsequential. Watch people playing before you, note whether the machine forces you to wait for credits to add up or if it'll instantly add 'em up when you hit "deal" for the next hand. And don't ever, ever use the touchscreen because it will slow you down in a big way.
  6. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member

    Need a royal

    Ken, Leftnut and CP are probably more knowledgeable than me, on this subject.
    I played a vp tourney at Orleans (Vegas) in October. Game was DDB, 3 sessions of 15? minutes or 1750? credits play. Seems like 5 or 6 people hit royals (not me).
    Bottom line is that you HAVE to hit a royal or many, many 4 Aces with kicker to be in real money with this format.

    Billy C
  7. Thanks everyone for the sound advice. I appreciate it. I expect somewhere between 400 and 600 participants based on the bank of machines that they traditionally use and the ability to run 6 groups an hour. I am not sure of the number of hours that they are running the two sessions so I can't narrrow it down any more precisely.
  8. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

  9. chipsmccoy

    chipsmccoy New Member

    Harrahs Millionaire Maker VP Tournament


    Glad you are going for it. Lots of good advice in posts above and situationally, I agree with most of it. I personally treat VP tournaments conceptually as I would any other Accumulation Format tournament. Determinining a target using statistacal methods and then going for it. As Ken S said, sometime you do play a regular/optimum VP strategy as that is enough - other times you play a "high hand or nothing" from the beginning - often is a hybrid as described, based on what you may do in the beginning. It all depends on the number playing and the prize schedule.

    Incidently, I came in 3rd at the Harrahs Tahoe MM qualifier in December that included a seat at the New Orleans Million Dollar Finals this March besides the prize money. Hope to see you there and "Good Spins". Email me if you know some of the metrics and we can discuss a specific strategy.

    Anybody else qualified to play in the finals? Anybody else trying to qualify?

    Am also in the LVHiltion VP invitational 09 and 10 JAN (among other events)/leaving for LAS tomorrow - anybody else in it?

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  10. Congratulations Chips on the qualification. Now I have to play really fast and try to get qualified so I can visit with you again. I was in New Orleans two weeks ago and drank some absinthe for the first time. Want to give that a whirl?

    The top 10 scores in this tournament qualify for the MM final. If they wind up with the 500 or so contestants that I expect, that one in 50 shot isn't that much of a long shot.

    Thanks for the help. Unfortunately, I won't have some real specific information until after I get down there. They use the exact same machines for all of their slot tournys but they sometimes change the VP game that they use. I am pretty sure they will be using a bank of 16-20 Game Kings but they have several VP varieties loaded on them.

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