Tony Frank – His Gambit
Story by Pat, wife and forever friend
Tony Frank, the guy who built Slot Advisor, didn’t do it to make money, he only wanted to help. Every time he and I (his wife of 34 years) flew to Vegas to play, he would comment how different the atmosphere was on the return trip. On the way to Vegas, spirits were high. People joked and laughed and told stories about how to find loose machines and which table games had the best odds to make you a winner. On the way back, the atmosphere had sunk from jovial to grim. Even if you had won big, you kept it quiet rather than rub salt into the wounds of the majority—the losers.
When we got home, Tony sadly wondered aloud how bad it had been for them? The young fellow on the plane with the chain running from his belt loop to his jeans pocket to secure his wallet looked deflated and defeated as he slunk past us and down the aisle to the toilets. He had his wallet, but had he lost his mortgage payment for the month? Would he have to confess to his wife that she could not buy warm winter jackets for the kids and that the winter getaway they were all looking forward to was scrapped?
Tony never came back a loser and it wasn’t because he was extra lucky. He came back a winner because he planned it that way. And after that plane trip, he became a man with a mission—to pass along what he had learned to help others be winners too. To this end, he built his gambling site, Slot Advisor. He knew there was no shortcut to winning. For many players, winning was in the hands of Lady Luck. If you found a generous machine, it wasn’t because of your skill, or that it was ‘loose’. You just happened to sit down at the point it had cycled through and was ready to give back some of the money lost by players at that machine before you.
Tony had two things going for him that meant he never returned from a few days of playing in Vegas feeling sick about what he had lost. First, he never left home without a game plan. He figured out how much money he could afford to risk, divided that by the number of days he planned to play and then put the amount into four different envelopes, one envelope for each day he would be playing. That’s how the money traveled to Vegas. And he always took along an extra empty envelope for his winnings. If he lost $100 of his stake and won $25, the $25 was stuffed into the winnings envelope and went back home with us. He wasn’t greedy. He was prepared to lose money to pay for his entertainment at the machines and the perks he got because he clocked so much through the hungry beasts – things like comped meals, shows and accommodation.
And second, he took the time to develop strategies that gave him a better chance of winning than ordinary people had (like me) who flit from table to machine counting on luck to give them a win. I still smile to myself at the memory of Tony, on one of our early trips to Vegas, smiling widely as he lugged two heavy bags of coins to the machines. He had changed $200 into nickels and was armed to do battle with the one-armed bandits, to test strategies that would make his money last longer so he could play longer. He wanted to figure out how the random machines worked, how to know when to play minimum bets and when to bet the max. It was all about making his stake last long enough to give him a better chance of hitting the big one. Between you and me, I thought his idea was a bit crazy, but it didn’t take long for me to admire his tenacity and his logic which, as he proved time and again, worked.
Tony was a Video Poker player. He liked the solitude of the game and because he read every-thing he could find about how to play for the best odds, he played a perfect game, never making a mistake in what to hold and what to discard. He started every session cautiously, playing one coin at a time. When his stake was bigger than what he started with, he upped the ante, and when his winnings increased even more, he would move to higher-stake machines. In the course of a couple of hours, he could move from 25-cent machines to $1-dollar machines to $5-dollar machines, and if things really went well, to $100 machines. Again, he had goals. If his winnings brought him back down to what he had started with, it was back to the 25-cent machines. As he tested various strategies, he took tedious, accurate notes and he tested the ones that brought best results over and over again. When we got home, it was straight to his computer he went to post his findings on his web site.
I didn’t like playing quarters and insisted on starting with dollars. And usually I ran out of money within a short time. Tony always bailed me out so I could stay and play beside him, but invariably, I would lose that bankroll too and disheartened, would go shopping or sit at the pool and read. When he was finished, he would take his winnings, deposit them in the envelope marked Home, and stash it in the safe. Then it would be time for dinner, a show, and for him, more play and research into the wee hours.
While his interest lay in Video Poker, he wanted to find out how those who played other games, be they machines or table, could also improve their chances of winning. He set out to master every one, reading volumes of information, spending hours testing, and then publishing on Slot Advisor what he had learned.
Tony was a gentle fellow, humble, humane, and sincerely concerned about his fellow gamblers who knew too little and risked too much. His goal was to help as many as possible avoid bankruptcy or broken homes by showing them how to have fun, play smart, and on the trip home, have no regrets. Sadly, this kind, dear man has passed away, but his legacy remains. To this day, every player can still benefit from what Tony Frank learned and generously shared on Slot Advisor.