One thing that we all enjoy getting is getting more casino comps. I always wonder if my mailman thinks I have a problem when he sees the mailers I get from New England Casinos, Atlantic City Casinos & Las Vegas casinos.
Free stuff means casinos want your patronage. It’s not because they REALLY like you and just want to show you they care. There is a price to getting more casino comps and free offers mailers from casinos.
The reality is that casinos want you to spend two things in their facility – money and time. And, logically, they feel the more time you spend, the more money you’ll spend. So here is some advice about getting more casino comps.
1) You will get a better casino rating if you go to the casino less frequently, but when you do, play longer.
2) Instead of a bankroll of $100 for three visits, try $300 for one long visit. Remember, money and time.
3) Once upon a time, a gambler friend of mine (we’ll call him BB) went to the casino, played his free slot play usually on a $1 JOB video poker machine, cashed out after the correct number plays ($10 free slot dollars, $1 per hand) and left, usually with most of his free slot play. Casinos don’t like this. If you follow this practice, you may end up with most of your slot play in your pocket and walking out a winner in the beginning, but your slot play will decrease in time, or discontinue altogether.
4) Read the fine print. If you are given free Dining Promotional Dollars, be sure the casino isn’t expecting you to stay and play. Many dining promotions expect you to stay and say so “in the fine print.” If you don’t stay a while, marketing may decrease your offers or cut them out.
5) Free hotel offers come with a price – bigger that the $20 free slot play. If you hope to have similar offers or better offers for hotel stays, expect to play more than usual. A free stay, and no play, will probably mean a lower rate offer to stay next time instead of freebies.
6) Finally, don’t gamble to get comps. Gamble to entertain yourself, or give your self a chance to make a few bucks, or just for fun within your financial means. The formula casino marketing uses to give out these promotion is definitely skewed in their favor, and that’s to be expected by all of us who gamble at these establishments (or you’re REALLY, REALLY NAIVE). Comps should be included when evaluating the house edge, but should never be the sole reason for gambling.
Jean Scott is the author of the best-selling book “The Frugal Gambler,” (a must for every gambler) a casino guide for thrifty low rollers, plus a sequel, “More Frugal Gambling.” She stresses sensible, responsible gambling and shows how to stretch out casino fun time whatever your gambling bankroll.
Retired from the high school English classroom, her passion is still education while she continues as an active player in casinos all over the country. Today, Jean Scott, who, in her words, is just an “ordinary grandmother,” is the world’s most famous low-rolling gambler and her fans are legion.
While all of Jean’s suggestions are with Las Vegas in mind where she resides, her 10 Money-Saving tips in the Casino are great ideas to use or modify in our New England Casinos. Here are her tips:
10 Casino money-saving tips from the Frugal Gambler
1. Study before you go.
Libraries and bookstores have oodles of casino and gambling books that will guide you on a money-saving path. The Internet is full of information on the various casino games. Learn which games have the smallest casino edge, or have a skill factor you could learn, or that enable you to risk your money more slowly. All of these will allow you to lose less and/or stretch your bankroll further.
Shooting at the Craps Table – have fun whatever your game is.
2. Treat gambling as a form of entertainment and budget it just as you do whatever else you do for fun, such as movies, eating out, and vacations.
Nothing takes away the fun factor more quickly than losing money that you need for life’s essentials. Do not take your checkbook or ATM or credit card to the casino with you. Decide how much you can afford to spend (lose), and take that amount in cash or safe traveler’s checks as your gambling bankroll. Make your gambling bankroll last the whole time you plan to be in a casino by dividing it into segments, i.e., in thirds if you are staying three days, in three-to-four session bankrolls for each day. Then never “borrow ahead” from the next session bankroll.
3. Join every casino player’s club you can, even if you don’t plan to gamble there.
You can join many online before you get to Vegas. Membership is free and many casinos give discounts to player’s card holders in their restaurants, gift shops, and for rooms.
4. Use your player’s card EVERY TIME you play, no matter how small the amount or short the time.
This allows the casino to track your play and thus know how much to reward you with comps, those freebie meals, rooms, shows, and other benefits that the casinos want to give their players.
Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Players Club
If you play machines, there is a place for you to insert your card. If you play the tables, you merely hand the card to the dealer of any game and ask that your play be tracked. Casinos cannot give you comps if they don’t know you are playing in their casino.
An added benefit of joining and using a player’s card is that casinos often send mail offers to everyone in their database, sometimes even to those who have played little or not at all. You will be surprised at the money-saving offers that will appear in your mailbox when you get home.
5. Don’t drink too much alcohol, even if the drinks are free. It will cloud your judgment.
More Money-Saving Tips From Jean Scott
6. If you are losing too fast, lower your denomination.
Change from the dollar slots to quarters or from quarter to nickels. At the tables, bet the lowest-value chip allowed.
7. Slow down your play — savor the noisy, fun-filled atmosphere.
The bells and whistles, the clanking coins, the high fives at the tables, the excited screams of winners — this is what makes the casino such an entertaining experience.
Remember the days of casino trips with coupon books?
8. Look for coupons and specials for discounted meals, shows, and sightseeing tours.
You can find many of these in the freebie magazines around town: at the bell desk, at rental car agencies and motels, at the airport, and right in your room. Read the marquees for menu specials.
9. Look for promotions that will add value to a game you play:
a. bonus players club points, like double points on holidays or on a certain day every week;
b. bonuses for certain events, like the top jackpot on slots, a certain quad in video poker, or a special hand in blackjack;
c. drawings for which you can earn tickets by playing your favorite game.
10. Make your bankroll last longer by taking frequent non-gambling breaks.
Take in a show, go sightseeing, have a long, leisurely meal, take a tour or go shopping. Get your proper rest. A tired gambler is a gambler who will make decisions he will regret. Get a full night’s sleep and take a nap, if possible. Gambling is hard work!
The Royal Queen of Coupons has spoken! Check out her books at Amazon
Remember, when gambling & comp-harvesting, embrace the math not the Myth.
A month ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts featuring Tim Lawson & Eric Rosenthal at “The Bettor Life” covering professional bettor & recreational gamblers concerns alike about poker, table games, sports betting, slots, and other games of chance. This one episode included a discussion about video poker value – pay tables, preferred games, comps and the occasional know-it-alls that criticize one’s decision on what to play. Inspiration hit me – I felt there was even more to tell! This post is NOT to tell you what to do, as compared consider the reasons and possibilities. I agree with the Bettor Life in saying “play what you want to play – recreational playing should make you happy.” HOWEVER – if you are a recreational video poker player, there are many things to consider if you want to give yourself the best chances to win, play longer and/or earn more comps while having fun. Let’s look at the big picture.
WHY DO YOU PLAY VIDEO POKER?
Could it be any of these many reasons?
“I like playing games with a low house edge”
“I like playing with no casino “heat” “
“I play only what’s available in my local casinos.”
“I prefer to play at the pace I prefer.”.
“I like Free Drinks”
Service with a smile.
“I like social time with a friend”
“I’m prefer to play independently”
“I don’t want to bother with other players in a community setting”
“I love the skill and strategy involved”
“I like to pass the time slowly (low denomination, no max bet, relaxing)
“To play off my free slotplay”
I’m sure there are other reasons I haven’t included. I know depending on the situation, I might play with any one of these in mind. The fact is, recreational gambling can be for many reasons besides beating the game, no matter what the game is.
Now, before some of you serious gamblers yell “BLASPHEMY!” and stop reading (you know who you are – you’re good, but you’re no AP), give me a chance to explain. But first, a public service announcement.
A CASINO “DON’T” FOR For VP (And ANY Other CASINO GAME)
No matter what game you play, unsolicited criticism or advice is just a “no-no.” Unless someone asks you for help, just keep your mouth shut. Video Poker is definitely a game full of “experts” that feel they need to share their myths & superstitions. With so many game options and configurations with different paytables, giving unwanted advice to the person next is wrong – unless you’re Bob Dancer, and even then, the ultimate VP expert wouldn’t bother you either.
BRIEF STORY ABOUT VP CONTENTMENT
Harvest Moon Bar, Mohegan Sun
One of my best friends enjoys playing 8/5 JOB on one credit at a BarTop at Mohegan Sun to relax while his wife plays slots. He recently hit his first Royal Flush on $0.25, and was proud of the accomplishment. No remorse, no regret because he was comfortable with his choice – a 97% game with out Max bet (diminishing the % to 95%) with little comp earnings & no extra multipliers or promotions. A relaxing time with free drinks to pass the time while his wife played high limit slots.
Some would shout “for shame,” but his priorities are comfortably set. No criticism here because he enjoys Video Poker on his terms. For all those who criticize, remember another player may have different expectations – and there’s nothing wrong with that. For my friend, his mission was accomplished – and more.
DOESN’T IT SEND THE CASINO THE WRONG MESSAGE?
I admit, I once thought that playing VP with poor pay tables sent the message to casino management that as players we condoned decreasing conditions and increasing house edge. That was then, this is now. They don’t care what you play, as long as it means for money for them. The belief that if we don’t play the poor games, the casino bean counters will be fearful and return to higher paying slots, more full-pay video poker, exclusively 3:2 blackjack and single zero roulette is just crazy. There will never be enough players interested in putting in the work or time to play only the best games, so move on…….get over being entitled to receive great low & medium roller games that keep the players’ bankroll in mind – it just ain’t gonna happen.
REACHING YOUR PERSONAL VP NIRVANA
Depending how much practice & thought is part of your Video Poker play, there are many aspects to your play to ponder, such as:
What games are available at your casino that you prefer? – JOB, Bonus, DB, DDB, Ultimate X, etc……
How large is your bankroll? – bankroll does matter, depending what game you are playing. For example, the money suggested for a successful session of Double-Double Bonus is more than Jacks-or-Better (JOB) because of the higher volatility. Also, denomination complicates it further depending if you are playing nickels, quarters or dollars. Finally, playing multi-line machines like Triple Play, 5-Play & Ten-Play not only changes the denomination but also alters the game chosen.
What are you willing to compromise? I enjoy playing at Foxwoods Play bar in the Cedars Casino. It has decent nickel multi-line games and quarter single line games, but not great. However, the service is great and the bartenders make you feel like you just entered “Cheers.” It’s a compromise I’m willing to make for the enjoyment aspect of the session. Do you make compromises playing lower percentage games for your enjoyment? Many of us do.
Tammy, Steve & Katherine at Play Bar, Foxwoods
What is your “casino currency”? This is a term Eric Rosenthal used on the Bettor Life. It refers to the value placed on other things besides the game itself. It may be that a worse paytable gives your more comp points. If tier credit, tier level, and comps are as important (or more) than the game itself, it is part of your casino currency. Video Poker is notorious in earning 1/2 to 1/3 of the points slots accrue, so other things make be accountable to what you play and when. Some casinos give very little back to VP players, or may even be given little in tier gains, points, and attention in offers, because casinos makes little money off of JOB full pay tables, for example. Eric mentions, “Considering what the machines cost to run, usual casino costs, and very little money made off of you, there is nothing in it for them if all you play is full pay JOB….no need to court you…..better off playing lower paytables to appear less astute…..the benefits may mean more than payout percentage.”
Low rolling full pay brings little to the player – consider this: playing full-pay JOB at quarter level may not earn as much as playing one or two credits on a $1 8/5 JOB machine. Also, according to Bob Dancer, be careful of single line machines with many games. A machine that has a full pay game may earn the same minimal pittance in tier and reward points on other non full-pay games such as 8/5 DDB or lower pay Deuces Wild. It might be better to check for for multi game machines or single game machines that will accrue a higher reward.
Should you play with/without a card? I have a confession to make – sometimes I play without my card. – Short sessions or small play sessions are bad for a player’s EV. On occasion, for a relaxing short play and free drink I willI play…..wait for it…..VIDEO KENO! When that occurs, I play without a card so that I don’t damage my ADT (Average Daily Theoretical). I may know that time is short or bankroll is small, so why not? Consider doing the same and using your card only when playing big.
What? Practice? – Yes, practice. If you truly want to win more, give yourself a chance to win more by practicing on the many apps, software and websites that provide for instruction. Without perfect strategy on your favorite game, the EV/ payout % will be decreased – even if it’s full pay! Even playing 8/5 JOB using the perfect strategy of 9/6 makes a difference, not to mention using the strategy 9/6 JOB on a 9/6 DDB. Click on Videopoker.com below to practice any of your favorite video poker games.
COMPROMISE IS THY MIDDLE NAME
Here are examples of where I play and why. Notice it isn’t full-pay or nothing:
Mohegan Sun– Bars that include 9/6 JOB ($1), Cleopatra Video Keno ($.25, no rewards card), Triple Play 9/5 DDB & 8/5 JOB ($.25 or $1, depending on bankroll) Ultimate X 10 play ($.5) . Good service, decent paytables and full pay for big plays. Especially good on multiplier days.
Foxwoods– 9/5 Ultimate X 5 Play ($.5), 8/5 JOB & 9/5 DDB TP($.25 & $1) Great service at Play bar. Cedars casino also offers nickel Ultimate X Tp, 5-Play, & 10-Play (only 10-play at nickels at all bar tops)
Plainridge Park – Ultimate X DDB 10-play ($.5). Not much play here, but I do find this casino fun.
Tiverton Casino– talk about compromises, I love this little place – but not for the VP. the VP is horrible, just like it’s parent company Twin River Casino. But one thing separates it from the rest – the iPourIt Wall. 26 self-serve beer & wine taps served by the ounce, however you’d like it. This makes 8/5 DDB a winning compromise in my book.
Play what makes you comfy – place, bar, craft beer, great drinks, bartenders, etc may mean more than best paytables and look at big picture. Play the game you are comfy with. Play where you are comfy. Play what and where you get the biggest bang for your buck. Don’t give unsolicited advice and accept players for their recreational video poker play – what ever that means to them.
And remember, even the best of us compromise our play at times. So, chill out and enjoy putting the “recreation” back into recreational gambling.