Video Poker for Winners (VPW) is a video poker software-training program developed by Action Gaming in conjunction with video poker expert Bob Dancer. Action Gaming is the same company that developed the software for the popular IGT video poker machines found in most casinos; therefore, the video poker games in VPW have the same appearance and sound that you will find in a real casino. The result is an outstanding training program for players who want to master playing video poker at home on their computer.
There are hundreds of features in VPW. I don’t have the space to describe them all; therefore, I’ve summarized some of the key ones below so you get an idea of what you can do with this program.
Wide choice of games
Since Action Gaming developed VPW, you’ll be able to play any number of popular video poker games that you’ll find in IGT video poker machines in casinos. This includes the popular Jacks-or-Better, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild, Joker Wild and more with different pay schedules. (For example, the program comes preloaded with Jacks-or-Better with 9/6, 8/6, 9/5 and 8/5 pay schedules.) You can also play any game in several different formats: single-line, Triple-, Five-, Ten- and Hundred-Play, as well as realistic Super Times Pay, Spin Poker, and Multi Strike games. When you put the cursor over any game in the games drop-down menu, the Expected Value (based on an infinite number of hands) is displayed as a percentage. For example, you will see listed for Jacks-or-Better the following EVs: 9/6: 99.544 percent, 9/5: 98.45 percent, 8/6: 98.393 percent and 8/5: 97.258 percent. If you are new to video poker, the program has a helpful “Introduction to Video Poker” option that explains the basics of video poker (for example, the difference between, say, Jacks-or-Better and Double Double Bonus).
Using VPW, you can play any of the above games on your computer and have the program alert you when you make a playing mistake. When this happens, a pop-up “Incorrect Hold” window will appear, telling you that you made an error. You are given the option to either try your hand again or allow the program to show you the correct hold. The bottom of the Incorrect Hold screen also shows you the potential money lost due to the playing error. You also have the option to look at a “detail screen,” which will show the different possible holdings for the hand and their corresponding EVs. You can set VPW to play against perfect strategy or the VPW strategy (the latter is the most accurate strategy available without penalty cards), and select the level of difficulty of the hands the program will deal you (beginner, mixed and advanced … the “mixed level” mirrors the mix of hands you will most likely get in a casino). The program also has a Test Mode feature that allows you to cycle through hands at a selected difficulty level to determine your skill level and playing accuracy.
Using VPW, you can print out a strategy chart for any game on the program and take it with you to the casino. If you come across a hand where you are not sure of what cards to hold, you can refer to the strategy chart. You can also load up a different pay schedule for a game and VPW will create a strategy for it.
Analyze your play
After you are done practicing your strategy on VPW, you can click on the Analyze Overall Play screen to see what your playing accuracy was and what the playing errors cost you. (When your playing accuracy is at 99 percent in the Advanced Level Test Mode, you’ll be ready to give the casino a run for their money.)
Analyze any game
With this function, you will be able to analyze any game. Basic data for each game is shown, such as EV, variance, frequency of occurrence of each hand, and the contribution each hand toward the overall EV of the game. You can also delve deeper into the statistics of each game and either print the data, or save it to text or to an Excel spreadsheet (for example, by clicking on the Probability Distribution, you’ll see what the chance is of getting no royals, one royal, or two or more royals in, say, 10,000 hands).
This is another very important feature of VPW. For any game, you can calculate and display the probability distribution for a player’s bankroll after an arbitrary number of hands have been played. You can also compute for a given bankroll, game and number of hours played, what the likelihood is of walking away a winner, or worse, going broke (risk of ruin).
Based on my experience and others who have purchased the program, the technical support for VPW is outstanding. If you ever have an issue or a question about the program, you will receive a prompt response from their technical support staff.
Other features of the program include:
• A Slot Club Calculator that will compute the return percentage of any slot club, and then add it to the return of any game to give you a total return.
• When you are in Test Mode and you get 40 correct hands in a row, the program will automatically increase the difficulty level of the hands dealt until you reach the advanced level.
• You can set any denomination from a penny up to $25. You can also set the level of error that the program will alert you when you make a playing mistake (e.g., you may want to ignore errors that cost less than a penny if you are playing dollars).
• You can select and analyze any hand. This is a helpful feature where you have a question about what the correct hold is for a specific hand.
• You can change the pay schedule for any game and analyze it. (You can also define the game and save it.)
• The program contains a comprehensive instruction manual that you can access on the help screen.
You can purchase VPW either as a direct download to your computer or as a CD that you load on your computer. (There is also a trial version that you can download and try for 10 days.) The program is copy protected. Once you load it onto your computer, you must activate the program within 10 days (otherwise it won’t work anymore). Instructions on how to do this comes with the program. (The activation is easy to do.) The retail price of VPW is $49.95. For more details, go to www.videopokerforwinners.com.
The only negatives that I have with VPW is that it is not available for Macintosh computers (except when a Mac will run Windows programs, in which case VPW works just fine) and you can’t expand the VPW window to full screen. Nevertheless, this is an extremely versatile trainer with many outstanding features and I rate it five stars. I highly recommend VPW to anyone who wants to learn how to be successful playing video poker.
(Note: The software is available on my website www.smartgaming.com).
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