HOW TO MAKE $1500 IN LESS THAN 2 HOURS PLAYING POKER!
But, is it really true?
Are there actually players out there who can do that?
Well, yes there are and I was fortunate enough to track down one professional video poker player who agreed to an interview to give me some insight into his lifestyle and how it came about.
I ran some general video poker questions past him and it was quickly obvious that he was an extremely knowledgeable player.
He lives not far from Las Vegas with his wife and two daughters and relies solely on his gambling winnings to make his living.
Two months after our first meeting I conducted the following interview by telephone from my home in Florida.
How did you originally get involved in gambling?
I would come on the weekends and I was strictly a card counter back then.
Were you successful at it?
Chung: Not as much as I could have been, if I had really concentrated on it.
So, you were just doing this for fun and trying to make a little extra money?
Chung: Yes, and I only played single deck.
I started studying them and I began playing them on weekends too.
Did you stop playing blackjack then?
Chung: Pretty much so.
It was too hard and the main hassle was that they always shuffled up on you or they kicked you out.
Did you ever try to disguise yourself at the blackjack tables?
When those first machines came out, was it generally known that there were some machines that you could make money from?
You kind of had to hand-calculate the returns and I just made estimates.
That was really before they had computers and the software that could analyze the games.
What kind of machines were you playing back then?
Chung: Jacks or better progressives.
Were you just playing if the jackpot was above a certain amount that made it a positive expectation machine?
So, you discovered that if you only play poker and make money progressive machines when the jackpot was above a certain amount, you had a theoretical advantage?
Actually, it was Stanford Wong who first started publishing books about the progressives and what levels the jackpots had to be at in order to win.
That was Professional Video Poker?
Chung: No, up until 1994, I was just playing on weekends and I would drive there from my home in California.
What happened in 1994?
Chung: Basically, the click here industry fell apart and my company laid off everybody.
Then you had the option of going out and finding another job?
Chung: Well, I saw it coming and I knew I was just going to play video poker full time as soon as I was laid off.
When the big change came, what happened?
Did you pack up and move to Las Vegas?
The whole family: my wife and two daughters.
When I first moved here I lived right next to the Santa Fe Hotel in North Las Vegas.
We only moved out go here to our new home about a year ago.
Were you successful right away?
Did you ever have a year when you lost money?
Chung: No, never even had a month.
Is this a full-time a job for you?
How much time do you put in?
Chung: 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Chung: Well, I can vary that however I want, depending on the conditions.
Do you work on the weekends?
How do you find out about these special promotions?
Chung: Newspaper ads, or friends of mine.
We have a message beeper network where we leave messages for each other about what the best plays are and everything.
So there are other people who do this besides yourself?
Chung: Yes, I would say, in Nevada, maybe 25 people do this full-time for a living and maybe another couple hundred part-time.
Are there professional video poker players in other states?
Besides Las Vegas are there other places to play professionally?
So, as far as you know, the only people doing this are the ones around Las Vegas?
Chung: Yes, but there are also some who do it by traveling to a few other good spots around the country.
What is a typical day like for you?
Where do you go to play?
Chung: Right now I have three places that I go to where the best machines are.
These are machines that return more than 100%?
Those are the only play poker and make money you play?
Chung: Well, right now, yes.
And you find out about those specials by either reading the newspaper or from your friends?
Chung: Yes, and sometimes the casino will also send you monthly newsletters that tell you about these specials.
On quarters or dollars?
So you would prefer to play quarter machines?
Unless you find an exceptional play on a dollar machine, which is very unlikely.
If you found a quarter machine with a 102% payback, and you also found that same machine at the dollar level, would youstill prefer to play the quarter machine?
But, you also have the additional problem with the dollar machines that you get tax forms on the royal flushes and you have to report that to the IRS.
Chung: Yes, I would.
But do you know ahead of time when you are going to these places that there is good video poker there?
Chung: Yes, I pretty much know ahead of time before I go.
And how do you find that out?
Right now Bettendorf, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri are the only places that have enough to make it worth traveling to.
One has blackjack machines and the other has video poker.
How often do you leave Las Vegas to travel around the country?
Is there a certain kind of machine that opened up in Las Vegas that made it better?
There are certain types of games now.
Chung: There are two games actually.
I can mention one because everybody knows about it.
There are three or four places here that have them with full-pay jokers.
How much time did you spend outside of Las Vegas last year?
Chung: Last year was virtually 11 months out of 12.
It was that bad?
What do you play when you go to these other places?
Chung: In Kansas City I played All American video poker.
That was a 103% game.
Are those machines still around?
What was the big advantage on those Williams blackjack machines?
They allowed early surrender?
Chung: Yes, it was a single-deck game with early surrender and doubling only allowed on 10 or 11.
That makes it a 100.
Could you double after a split?
Dealer stood on soft 17.
And if you got six cards it was an automatic winner.
The early surrender was the big difference.
You could surrender on your first two cards against a 10 or an ace.
So, even if the dealer had a blackjack, you still got half your bet back.
S o you did well on those machines?
Chung: Well, eventually, just by the amount of money they lose.
Finally, they have to come to the conclusion, after they lose a couple of hundred thousand dollars, that the company was wrong.
You must have bad days.
Chung: Last year there were 262 winning days and 58 losing days.
So you keep a log every day?
Chung: Oh, probably 3, 4 or 5 days.
Do you put a limit on your losses?
Chung: No, I just play for as many hours as I want to play.
Chung: Yes, for 8 hours or so.
So, if you started playing at 9 a.
Seven in one day?
Chung: Yes, that was unusual.
Chung: Well, not counting all the time I was playing the blackjack machines, probably about two weeks.
How many hands do you play an hour?
Chung: On one machine about 1,000; two machines more play free games and make money sorry 1,400.
You have to hit the keys immediately.
It has to be automatic.
Does your wife have any problems with your gambling for a living?
Chung: No, actually she plays with me sometimes.
Does she want to become a professional?
How old are your kids?
Chung: One is 20 and the other is 17.
Do either of them have an inclination to gamble?
Do you think she might want to become a professional player?
But, I know she has enough of a mathematical inclination, so she might.
As noted previously, this interview was originally done by telephone in January 1999.
I followed up with Chung again in late August and he was back in the Midwest.
Was he one of those people?
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Certainly. So happens.
Yes, all is logical
It goes beyond all limits.
It seems to me, what is it it was already discussed.