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Jean Scott is the author of the best-selling book "The Frugal Gambler," a casino guide for thrifty low rollers, plus the sequel, "More Frugal Gambling." She has also written "Tax Help for the Frugal Gambler," a practical guide to help gamblers cope with the complex regulations of the IRS. Her most recent book, "Frugal Video Poker," is a complete how-to guide for video poker players at all levels, from beginners to the experienced, and it is the perfect companion to the "Frugal Video Poker software program." A helpful companion to that book is "The Frugal Video Poker Scouting Guide." Jeans books and software are available at a 10 percent discount in our BJI Store. Click here for the The Frugal Video Poker Scouting Guide, or visit our online store for all other products.

It used to be so easy in the ‘80s! Walk briskly up and down the aisles of a casino, quickly scan the names of the video poker machines, and look at the paytable right there on the glass front. Often there would be a whole row of the same game with the same name and the same paytable. The hardest it got was to peer over the shoulders of the drinkers, who were hunkered down over the bartop games.

And even when casinos began springing up on riverboats all over the country and new variations of video poker were being developed for these new markets, there still weren’t that many different games. As late as 1993, Lenny Frome, the grandfather of expert video poker play, published the book Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which included only 55 different pay schedules.

Well, as they say, "that was then and this is now."

For awhile the machine manufacturers just felt free to keep the same name on a game and change the paytable—usually downward, of course. Jacks or Better could pay 9/6 for full house/flush, or 8/5, or even 6/5. But then, the public became savvier. So the casinos decided to play the word game to see if they could make the VP-playing population feel better about lower-paying games. If Bonus Poker was good, then Double Bonus would be better—and it was. But then came Bonus Poker Deluxe, Bonus Poker Plus, Triple Bonus, and Super Triple Bonus, even Ultra Bonus Poker.

Then the manufacturers decided this should be the Multi Millennium—multi-line, multi-game, multi-denomination. First three lines, then five, then 10, then 50, and now One Hundred Play. And why should good casino customers only have the choice of playing one game on one machine? Why couldn’t they just press buttons and go from Red, White and Blue to Keno Plus to Super Double Bonus Plus? Oh, and another terrific space-saver: They could play each game with a choice of denomination, from perhaps pennies to dollars. The casino floor has become a video poker scout’s nightmare!

So to help players keep their sanity and find the best VP games in any casino, I offer this "Video Poker Scout’s Guide to the Multi Millennium."...

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