Q: It doesn't run! What do I do?
A: This applet needs the Java "Swing" classes. You probably don't have them, especially if one or more of the error messages has the word "swing" in it. You can download Swing for free from many sources on the Web, for example, from the official Sun site. However, Sun's download is 11 MB, and all you really need is swingall.jar, which is more like 2-3MB. Using a search engine, it is usually easy to find it by itself.
Q: I've got swingall.jar, but it is still not working? What else do I have to do?
A: You have to make swingall.jar available to your browser. On Netscape,
one way is to copy it to, for example, the directory
c:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\java\classes. If you searched for swingall.jar with a search engine, you probably learned other ways to install Swing, for Netscape and for other browsers.
Q: Well, now it is working, but it took minutes to start running. How can I speed it up?
A: This seems to be a problem with in Netscape Navigator. There is not much you or I can do about it.
Q: Sometimes it seems to take forever to respond to the buttons. Am I doing something wrong?
A: Alas, no. Again, the problem seems to be overhead in the browser, beyond our control. I don't understand why it is OK sometimes, and bad other times.
Q: How does this applet correct me when I play less than optimally?
A: At the bottom left corner of the applet, there is a text status line, which will explain the correct discard if your play is incorrect. If the message just says "game over" after you draw, you're doing fine.
Q: What is story with the Manual Deal button?
A: This button lets you type in a specific hand, to learn how to play it correctly. You type in the hand in the field above the button. For example, you could type in "AH KH QH QS 7H", press "Manual Deal", and the machine will deal you that hand.
Q: I've been playing this game for hours. Now my spouse wants to use the phone. What should I do?
A: Let him/her. Once the game has started your browser no longer needs to be connected to the Internet.
Q: I'd like to start this program when I'm not connected, for example, on a plane. Can I?
A: Yes. Download the jar file and the file VideoPokerApplet.html into the same directory. Direct your browser to the HTML file. You can also play it using the "applet viewer" available from Sun, and this seems to run faster than the browsers. If you go that route, don't forget to make the Swing classes available to the applet viewer.
Q: What happened to your old DOS program?
A: It is still on the Web site. You can download it here.
Q: The program knows about a lot of different machine payoffs, but it doesn't have one of my favorites. Can I get it added?
A: Yes, you can do this yourself. In the applet's "jar" file you'll notice a file called "games.txt". (You may have to read about jar files first.) This defines the machines and payoffs that the program will play. You can edit it; it is pretty self-explanatory. You probably will be able to enter the payoffs for the machine you are interested in, or even invent imaginary payoffs. The program automatically will correct you for optimal play, based on the payoffs you entered.
Q: Can I have a copy of the source to this program?
A: Absolutely. It is available as an open source project on SourceForge.
Q: The program occasionally says "Exception" in the status message.
A: Oops. I must have a bug. When that happens, if you can figure out how to find the Java console in your browser, and cut and paste it into a note to me (email@example.com), I'd appreciate it.
Q: Who is the photogenic dog?
A: The dog is Hubbell, a female Yellow Labrador who works as a guide dog to help my blind friend and colleague, T.V. Raman. The dog has her own Web page. Not to mention an IBM badge...