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by Frank Kneeland

Frank Kneeland is the former manager of the largest progressive video poker team in Las Vegas back in the 90's, and author of a book about his adventures entitled, "The Secret World of Video Poker Progressives." The book is part history and part "how to," and should be perfect for out-and-out beginners and veterans alike. You can get the book, and some extra info about Kneeland, on his website You can also listen to his new radio show in Las Vegas (with co-host Bob Dancer), "Gambling With an Edge," at 7PM Thursday nights on KLAV Talk-Radio 1230am, or listen streaming at Archived shows will be posted at: Weekly prizes will be given away, so listening live is better.

Life is the only race you'll ever run where finishing is guaranteed, and last place is generally preferable to first. ~Frank Kneeland 2011

Welcome back to our regularly scheduled tutorial on progressive VP. Hope you liked last month's interlude on apophenia (looking for patterns in randomness), and realized how significant it is to VP and all other aspects of life. We left off in Part 4 trying to calculate "the cost" to hit a progressive VP machine and there was homework. Given what I told you so far you should have come up with the following answers.

Cost of 6/9 JoB $ = $4,921.10

Cost of NSUD $ = $4,590.37

Cost of 5/9 Deuces = $2,275.38

If you did the homework and came up with these numbers, pat yourself on the back, and remain seated. If you did the homework, and realized the numbers are wrong, move straight to the head of the class and kindly withhold your apples; I do not like them. If you didn't do the homework, then please Semper ubi sububi in caput tuum.

The answers one gets are only as good as the questions one asks. Moreover, we asked the wrong question. Which is why these numbers are a step in the right direction, albeit off the path, shoeless, and without a packed lunch. The question we asked is, "How much will it take us to hit a progressive of this type, playing as though it were a non-progressive?" Does anyone I know do that? No! Should you do that? No!!! Put the non-progressive strategy down and step away from the machine. Oh wait, you're at your computer...never mind. Keep reading.

The Two Schools of Thought

Some like to play progressives for what is called "immediate expectancy," altering their strategy second by second for the rising meter, to make the highest hourly earn. Others like to play a conservative strategy to maximize their play time and minimize the volatility. I had an opinion once, until I crunched the numbers and discovered the difference was so small it's not worth mentioning. To not mention it, I'll tell you, it is in fact??%. Since playing a single simple static strategy is so much easier to do (not to say), I'll be sticking to that school of thought in this article. Explanations for both methods and a full description of their strengths and weaknesses can be found in my book. Here, let's focus on how to get an accurate cost, playing a break-even strategy, which first requires knowing the cost.

If that last sentence sounded a bit recursive, it was. And that's the clue as to how we solve it...

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