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Frank Kneeland was the manager of the largest progressive video poker team in Las Vegas, and has authored a book about his adventures entitled, "The Secret World of Video Poker Progressives". You can get the book as well as some extra info about Kneeland on his website In addition, there you'll find the show archive for his radio show on pro-gambling, "Gambling with an Edge" that he co-hosted with Bob Dancer for six months.

When in Rome do as the Romans do. When in an insane asylum, where rape is common, try to leave! ~FK

I've never expressly stated where I get my opening quotes in my articles. If you were wondering—every now and then I say something that elicits the response, "Who said that?" If it was me, I add it to a list of "quotes." So if you were wondered, now you know. The quotes are all things I've said in the course of normal life to real people; however, I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the context.

For those of you not familiar with G2E, it's an annual convention held in Las Vegas, open only to the casino industry folks and the media. Typically, it features technology that is somewhere between from six months to several years ahead of what you'll see in a casino. Many of the "things" promoted at the convention are behind the scenes technologies that the end user will never see, like ionizing cigarette smoke filters. While I found many of these things personally fascinating, I'm going to write solely about a couple new video poker games that you might be interested in playing. They were at the show last year, but still haven't made it to Vegas on a large scale. They both have the potential to make a big splash.

Hit It Again

This new video poker game was created by AGS (American Gaming Systems), a new and upcoming game designer. I saw this game at last year's show; apparently, the process of being licensed in Nevada took far longer than expected. Imagine a shock wave like game, where hitting a four of a kind, shortly after you had hit another four of a kind, scores a big jackpot. Now imagine that it's not just the 4K, but all the paying hands that will pay more if hit in rapid succession, and now make them all progressive. OK ... assuming your imagination is up to snuff, that's "Hit It Again" in a nutshell. The progressives go up at an astonishing rate; ticking up at 1/5 of your bet during the "hit it again" function. On quarter machines, this means a full quarter is added for each hand on each active pay. Bob Dancer saw this last year and expressed his hope that it never makes it to casinos. Why? Well Bob's the type that would have to do a hyper-accurate strategy before he'd play it. How exactly does one make a hyper accurate strategy for a game where the paytable is in constant flux? Answer: weeks or months of tedious math work. Not everyone has that kind of time to spare. Let's all hope some young whippersnapper with no girlfriend devises and posts an accurate strategy. BTW: I just spoke to the Marketing Manager of this game and he assured me the machines should be hitting Vegas on April 1st at the South Point Casino ... and yes, I asked him if this was an April Fools joke...and no, it’ not. Look out for this game, it should be really fun.

Magic Touch Poker

If you read my article last year on this game then you may think I've become schizophrenic. I was quite negative about it but that’s now changed. The basic concept is that VP trainer technology has been incorporated into a casino game. The reason I was down on this idea last year, was because of "talk" about it being used to track player accuracy. According to what I was told this year, any thought of using the technology for such purposes has apparently been abandoned. The back-end accounting system used by almost all casinos simply doesn't have any way to receive and record the data. This prompted IT (Incredible Technologies) to drop the output stream from the program entirely. For now, you don't have to worry that Big Brother is watching when you make a mistake, or worse (from the casino's POV) fail to make any mistakes. With that huge potential downside sidelined, I started to think about the positives.

For some time now, I have been preaching that video poker training software isn't the panacea we once thought it to be. Instead of the new generation of players that grew up with VP trainer software being better, they're noticeably worse. I believe that one of the reasons for this is that training in the home without money on the line simply doesn't seem as important as playing in a real casino with real money. If you practice in an environment where there is no penalty for errors, then practice isn't making perfect; it's teaching bad habits. I have personally watched many people "practice" on their home VP trainer software and what I saw was nothing short of appalling. Serious mistakes are being glossed over, without the player even taking the time to see what the mistake was, or how to avoid it in the future. I'm not saying everyone is like this. I'm merely suggesting that at home with no one watching and no real money on the line, people get sloppy...and sloppy practice makes for even sloppier play. Enter Magic Touch!

Now assuming you can find a machine with the Magic Touch feature, you can practice a strategy in a real casino with real money on the line in an environment identical to the one in which you'll eventually be using what you learn. What a great idea! The Magic Touch system isn't exactly like a trainer, as you do have to press the Pro Tip button to be told what the best EV draw is for a dealt hand. Pro Tips are earned by playing a certain number of hands perfectly in a row. The MT system always tells you after the draw if you picked less than the optimal play. If one wished to play perfectly, you'd be able to achieve this as long as you knew enough to know what you didn't know and pushed the "pro tip" button before making your draw. In addition, as long as you were playing enough hands correctly, without aid, you'd have a continuously regenerating stream of tips for the times you needed help.

If you can find these machines in a casino, I highly recommend practicing on them to learn any new game, as well as practicing at home. It's a "as well as" suggestion...not "instead of".

Action Gaming

I really liked several of the new games coming from IGT's design partner Action gaming. You may wish to check them out at



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