“Unlike slot machines, where no skill is involved, video poker games in almost all U.S. gaming jurisdictions are based on skill,” says Bourie, who also has a YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/americancasinoguide where his “how to be a better gambler” videos have garnered more than four million views. “This means that there is always one best way to play your hand and a knowledgeable player, who knows how to play correctly, will achieve a higher return on a machine, in the long run, than someone who guesses as to how to play their hands.”
Bourie believes that the racinos are especially deceptive in the pay tables that are shown on the machines.
“Many people know that a video poker machine’s theoretical payback percentage can be determined by simply looking at the paytable,” he says. “For example, a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine in Atlantic City, or Las Vegas, has a theoretical payback of 99.54% when played with a maximum five-coin bet and using perfect strategy. Therefore, when a player sees that same paytable in a New York racino they would think it’s a good game to play. However, those paytables are irrelevant in New York racinos because no skill is involved and it’s actually more like playing a scratch-off lottery ticket where players are relying on pure luck in order to win.”
Other casinos can have video poker games where skill does not influence the outcome, but players can tell at a glance what kind of game they’re playing. Some Native American casinos have what are known as “Class II” video poker games, where the game is actually a form of electronic bingo and the cards on the screen are just a user-friendly interface. The outcome is determined by a bingo pattern drawn by a central server, not by player decisions. However, players can tell immediately if they’re playing a Class II game. In addition to the cards, there is a small bingo display on the screen, and players can watch bingo numbers as they’re drawn.
The New York racino machines have no tipoff like the bingo display, and an unwary player could be fooled into thinking their skill makes a difference just as it does at non-bingo tribal video poker games and at commercial casinos in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Mississippi, Illinois, Colorado and other American jurisdictions.
To be fair to players, Bourie thinks that “all New York racinos should have signage on each video poker machine telling users that no skill is involved when playing these games. Otherwise, it’s very misleading.”
The 496-page 2014 American Casino Guide is jam-packed with detailed information on all U.S. casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos. The book also contains more than 200 casino coupons that can save travelers more than $1,000.
The book retails for $18.95 but it can be ordered online for only $12.95 at http://www.americancasinoguide.com/order-now.html. Other major online retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Walmart, also stock the book.
Bourie also has a website at www.americancasinoguide.com that displays thousands of casino reviews posted by travelers, plus a FREE app for iPhone and iPad that can be used to find any U.S. casino by name, city, state or zip code, plus a GPS locator to show casinos within a 100-mile radius, provide turn-by-turn directions, and display special casino discount offers. Just go to the App store and search “American Casino Guide” to download it.