Video Poker Free Drinks One More Thing to Take Away From Players?

Once again, casino bars in Las Vegas are taking away something sacred to the Vegas player – the free drink.  At least, we can be glad things like this take time to reach us in New England.

Since forever, I could remember playing video poker, being able to get a free drink.

But if you look closely at the pic above you see lights facing the bartenders.  Those lights tell the bartender if you have “earned” another free drink. Most customers would probably never even notice the lights, but they’re used by bartenders to determine if players are worthy of comped cocktails while sitting at the bar.

Vital Vegas logoHere’s how it works, according to Vital Vegas and Scott Roeben, reporting on the Caesars Palace system:

“First, the blue light turns on of the customer at the car has inserted $20 into the machine. It serves as a baseline to differentiate between customers drinking and enjoying sports on the nearby screens and those playing video poker.

Typically, a bartender can comp a first drink if a player puts money into a machine, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with the Red Light, Green Light system.

Only after a player has qualified with their play do they get the green light for a comped cocktail. Red light, no comped drink for you.”

Amazing.  But are there good aspects to this, besides casinos such as MGM and Caesars nickel & diming it’s patrons?  What’s so bad about it? Well:

  • Bartenders are less social, no need to smooze when their hands are tied with the customers.  Will it also mean less tips for bartenders at these bartops?
  • If you like to play low limit $.25 electronic keno, or $1 blackjack, don’t expect to get a drink for a while.  It takes too much money in.

Are there any positives for the player?

  • If you are a mid-roller at Video Poker and play 200 to 300 hands per hour, you should have no problem getting another drink.
  • At times, the bartender can override the system – but don’t count on it.
  • It might keep the drink monger who sits in these “gaming seats” hardly playing and taking up the space other REAL players are looking for – especially at high volume times.

It’s still evolving.  Probably newbies to gambling will pay anyway – damn millennials.



I’m feeling like Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” yelling out “Tra-di-tion!” knowing things are changing, and not for the player.  Tevye is asked for a blessing for the the Czar, the one changing their lifes.  His response is “May God bless the Czar — and keep him FAR AWAY FROM HERE!”

Paid parking, drink vouchers – please, keep them FAR AWAY FROM HERE!