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Frugal Fridays

by Jean Scott
author of The Frugal Gambler - 2nd edition, More Frugal Gambling, Frugal Video Poker, Frugal VP Software

AUGUST 1, 2003

Recently, Brad and I played Multi Strike off and on for three days straight. I played more hours in those three days than I sometimes do in a whole month. The occasion was (a shock, I know) a vacation, one that we needed badly. We had just waved goodbye to the last of a month-long stream of visiting relatives, including our two lively 8- and 10-year-old grandchildren. We love them all and had a lot of fun, but our poor aging bodies can’t take such a sustained and intense pace as well as they used to. Plus, I’d finally been able to put behind me the most major stress I’ve experienced in a long time: the photo shoot for the cover of More Frugal Gambling. My daughter Angela and I literally shopped until we dropped for days, hunting for an outfit that would make me look young, thin, and beautiful. Talk about mission impossible!

So when a Strip tournament offer came that required a hotel stay, I turned my back on my computer. We put our van in the shop for some body work. And we checked ourselves into a casino fantasyland for a mind and body tune-up. And there to help us relax was Multi Strike. I hate playing in slot tournaments, but Brad likes to, so it worked out well. I could concentrate on Multi Strike until my eyeballs fell out and Brad would join me when he didn’t have tournament duties.

I won’t bore you with an hour-by-hour blow-by-blow, but here are some of the important details.

We were playing a JoB schedule, one we hadn’t played on Multi Strike before, on the $1 level. Ordinarily, we would have started on the quarter level while we were learning, but we needed to earn qualification points faster than this would have permitted. So the first few hours, we did as we usually do on a new game or one we haven’t played for a long time: Brad played while I sat beside him, referring often to a strategy chart. This learning process took longer than usual -- switching between three modified charts depending on what line you are on and remembering to switch back to basic strategy every time we had a Free Ride or were on the top line. It required our intense and undivided concentration. If someone came up to talk to us, we soon learned that we had to stop playing completely.

We went through all sorts of streaks during the three days, a lot of them losing. You need a huge bankroll to ride this roller-coaster! But the high points that came occasionally kept us going: quads on the 3rd or 4th line for $500 or $1,000, a series of good hits on the top line, and a $4,000 royal on the bottom line (which we tried to appreciate without thinking of the $32,000 we would have scored if it’d been on the 4th line).

We ended up winning $3,400, but almost that whole amount was due to a fortunate accident. Brad had switched machines and neither of us noticed that when he put in some new bills, the game changed. So when he exclaimed after a few minutes, “I got four aces on the third line,” we were happy with our expected $500. However, the machine kept clicking up credits beyond 500, then locked up for a handpay of $3,225. Yes, unbeknownst to us, the machine had defaulted to Double Bonus when we put in more money. Once again, skill kept us going, so we were in a position to enjoy a visit by Lady Luck.

There will be a big Gamblers Jamboree in Tunica Nov. 14-16. I’ll be joining many gambling personalities in giving seminars that will cover all casino games. And here’s a frugal way to register. Mention that the Frugal Gambler sent you and you’ll get a 20% discount. There’s also a discount if two or more register together. Go to and click on the Tunica banner to read all the details of this information-packed three-day event.

While you’re at the Web site, you might want to click on Calendar, where we list book-signings and meets that are being scheduled in many places outside Las Vegas. Brad and I look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones at these events.