Lock It Promotion at Mohegan Sun – by Special Guest Joe Freda

“War For The Soar”

The “Lock It In” Challenge at Mohegan Sun


Today’s guest post is from NETG gambling friend Joe “Reload” Freda. Joe has supported NETimeGambling from the very beginning. He brings tried and true tips on maintaining a high level of gambling. Joe has been an avid gambling writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering.  Freda can be reached at joe_freda@yahoo.com or through Twitter (@ReloadSports). 
While this post was released last year, Joe’s approach is sound. The “Lock It In” promotion just ended at Mohegan Sun. After reading this, you might want to approach your next six months differently.

Introduction

After a recent rest from visiting Connecticut’s casinos, I was hit up with a unique “Lock It In” promotion from Mohegan Sun that was worth exploring.  The offer designates a specific four-day period where your current Momentum player status tier can remain achieved without further visits needed.  In my case, it would take earning 500 points through play over the four days to lock in Soar status, which is the highest published level of Mohegan Sun’s five tiers.

Mohegan Sun's Momentum Players Club

Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Players Club

The Soar status normally takes 4000 status points over six months to achieve for the next six months.  Even with scattered double or triple status promotional days, this is still quite an undertaking.  I recall only reaching it once before a few years ago. Since then I have had the second-highest level, Ascend.

The same four-day period also featured several overlapping comps. To further enhance the visit,  Mohegan Sun offered me a $500 free bet, $300 of Players Perks and a coveted Sky Suite to stay in.  While gambling is not on the minds of many as the holiday season approaches, it can be a promising time to strike with casino offers!

The challenge in obtaining 500 points over this span would be a hefty one.  I needed the right planning and bankroll management.  I only had two of the days free, so I faced  some lengthy action without going bust.

Early struggles in my “War For The Soar”

In trying to conserve for a long haul, I opted to start with some commission-free Pai Gow Poker. Commission-free Pai Gow Poker has a low variance.  Pushes happen at over a 40% rate, which make it your best chance for your money to last.  You can also set your hands at times to more conservatively play for a push instead of going for a full win.

My $500 free bet won early and provided some breathing room. But the rest of my first night was a downward spiral of losses every hour.  I even missed out on a Royal Flush progressive payout of $2900 by not ponying up the game’s $5 side bet. While that may sound disappointing, playing an extra $5 a hand through a longer trip like this would have lost back almost all of that.

I ended up lasting until 5am in that session for 188 status points. I was still down 75% of what I came to Uncasville’s mothership with.  It was back to the Sky Suite for some rest, room service and planning the strategy for the rest of the visit.

“Soar-ing” back and enjoying the ride

As the next day of action approached, I opted to tighten risk even further. I split my wager into two hands of Pai Gow.  This would allow my average bet to still be high enough in getting the points needed, but lessen the chance of sharper drops money-wise.

I knew it would take a lot of time but my luck was holding serve well out of the gate. I played two hands. Normally, it’s tougher to surge upward. playing two hands at a time. But, I managed to double my stake after the first couple of hours.  Even with more chips to work with, I remained conservative in the betting style so I could still last long.

As the clock struck 2am, I reached a good stopping mark. I had won back 70% of what was lost the night before.  I checked my status points knowing there was only a four-hour window left in the “Lock It In” period.  Thankfully, I reached a total of 495 points and just needed a few more!

I finished the night with some video poker in the “Hall Of Lost Tribes” and curled up to a “9/6 Jacks Or Better” machine.  In this mini-session worth seven status points, the gods of “quads” came through with four of a kind twice.  It felt nice to end with some extra winnings after all I had been through.

The next day, Mohegan Sun sent me a mailer. My Soar status was extended thanks to achieving 502 points.  I also enjoyed using the rest of my “Players Perks” in picking up an Under Armor hoodie from Denali. At the soon-closing Margaritaville restaurant, I also picked up a couple of hats.

I ended up losing about 10% of my bankroll over the trip. But, the overall experience and comps achieved made this a memorable one.  I felt five-star service the whole time and will be looking forward to another six months of Soar benefits. That’s the Mohegan Sun way!

 

Four Formats For Playing Blackjack – Which is Best For You?

Blackjack Table

Blackjack Table

There are Four Formats For Playing Blackjack. Table, cards and chips – real or virtual – are the basic elements for blackjack. Blackjack has come a long way from the days when it first appeared in America as the game we know today. The name for the game however was Twenty-One which has been used in New Orleans since 1823. The game became hugely popular in France after casino owners offered amazing bonuses (for a hand of Jack and Ace of Spades the player got a 10 to 1 payout) which brings us to the origin of the name of Blackjack.

Related Post – Roll The Bones By Dr. Schwartz

Let’s take a look at the modern day formats.

THERE ARE FOUR PHYSICAL FORMATS FOR PLAYING BLACKJACK IN CASINOS:

  1. the traditional live table game with live dealer
  2. stadium game play, with a live dealer, but played with community cards by many players
  3. electronic blackjack, played by up to six players around a blackjack table with a video dealer
  4. video blackjack on a solitary machine, usually the same terminal with video poker, keno, and a few slots.

IGT video blackjack

Is it better to play video blackjack at a video poker terminal or to shimmy up to the table and play the game the way it was meant to be played? (at least before 6/5 BJ and all the enhanced house edge rules.)

It really depends on what you are looking for in your blackjack experience. There are some players out there that refuse to play a video blackjack game. (To be honest, I’d rather play keno than video blackjack.) Some players feel video blackjack can’t be trusted. But, there ARE reasons to play video blackjack?  Let’s compare:

ADVANTAGES TO PLAYING VIDEO BLACKJACK

LOWER MINIMUMS – Video blackjack machines often have a lower minimum bet as little as $1. Compared to traditional tables, even $5 seems low, especially on weekends where limits can start as high as $15 – $25.

BETTER RULES – Video blackjack games can have better rules than any live blackjack game that can be found in the same casino. Check the rules and you may find standing on all 17’s, offering surrender, doubling after the split and split up to 3 hands, better rules than many traditional games offered in several casinos.

BETTER COMPS – Comps, the free perks casinos give to players, are calculated higher for machine players. Some casinos won’t even rate you if you play under $25, and those that will rate you will give you very little in the way of comps, and making some promotions available to you that only apply to slot machines since your play on video blackjack machines will count as a slot machine.

NOT A SOCIAL PLAYER? – Many of us have played at those serious tables of NFB (No Fun Blackjack).  The dealer might be grumpy, the players may be serious strategy or card counters, and heaven help you if play the wrong way (according to basic strategy).  Some players can be very intimidating, if not down-right nasty.  It is a belief that the wrong play will effect the other players’ hands.  Over time, this has been proven not to be true.  Your next mistake may actually help them win – but you’ll never hear a thank you for that.

Stadium Gaming Blackjack

This a hybrid that that crosses all lines  First, for solitary players, being social at the table isn’t necessary. You still have a live dealer, so it’s slower than video BJ, but still faster due to automatic payouts  Having other games immediately available gives more variety and not having the pressure to play every hand. Skipping hands, or socializing with friends around you it a less-stress situation and more fun. Stadium gaming can be lots of fun with friends, something a live table game can provide also. Besides blackjack, bacarrat and roulette are also usually provided. New England casinos that offer Stadium Gaming include Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Twin River Casino & Hotel, Tiverton Casino and Hotel. Plainridge has table game terminals, but is not allowed live dealers as a slots-only facility.

RULEs and Rewards

Points accrued at a standard table game is basically earned according to the the following:

  • Amount of Wager per hand
  • Time spent at the table
  • Table game house edge being played
  • Average hands played per hour.

But any video format, including stadium gaming, is more like slots and video poker, where your play and your points are decided by the casino software.

Four Formats For Playing Blackjack – DISADVANTAGES TO PLAYING VIDEO BLACKJACK – 

NOW A WORD OF CAUTION FROM OUR FRIEND, THE CASINO ANSWER MAN JOHN GROCHOWSKI:

CHECK THE PAYOFFS –  “Given basic strategy for a single-deck game, the house edge is about 2.5 percent. If you got the full 3-2 payoff on blackjacks, it would be a 0.24 percent game, but even-money pays on two-card 21s add 2.27 percent to the house edge. That’s equivalent to a slot payback percentage of 97.5 percent, so yes it’s a higher payback than on penny slots. Returns vary from game to game, casino to casino and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but penny slot paybacks almost always are less than 90 percent.

FASTER PLAY – A word of caution: video blackjack plays a lot faster than table blackjack. The video game doesn’t need time for dealing cards to other players, settling bets, stacking chips in trays, buy-ins and cash outs of multiple players, shuffles or cuts. As a video player, you can play just as fast as you can make decisions and hit the buttons. At a full table, you might play only 50 to 60 hands per hour. If you’re betting $10 a hand, you’re risking $500 to $600. At your video blackjack game, it’s easy to get in 500 hands per hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

Your hourly wager total is right up there with the $10 table players, and you’re playing against a house edge that probably is much higher than the table edge. On a six-deck game where the dealer hit soft 17, you may double on any first two cards including after splits, may split any pair up to three times and blackjacks pay 3-2, the house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.62 percent. If your budget extends only to $1 bets and you’re going to set a low loss limit, then you can have some fun at the blackjack machines. But for extended play, the table usually is the better play.

ADVANTAGES TO PLAYING LIVE BLACKJACK

A fun time was had by all!

WHILE VIDEO BLACKJACK HAS MORE OF A BEGINNER FOLLOWING, THERE ARE CERTAINLY ADVANTAGES TO A LIVE DEALER AND LIVE ACTION.

DRINK SERVICE – If you would like good drink service, you will get served more drinks in the table games pit than you will in the slot area where video blackjack games usually are located.

BETTER COMPS FOR HIGHER ROLLERS – If you are going to average $25 or more a bet then you will get noticed in the pit and you are likely to get better comps.

COUNTING CARDS – If you are going to count cards it will be much easier to do so at the table games. It is impossible to count cards on some blackjack machines. A full table game of blackjack will likely be faster than a video blackjack game because novice players are more likely to be on the machines.

SMOKE FREE TABLES – If smoke bothers you then table games might be best for you too. Casinos will often make a table smoke free upon request. That cannot be done in the slot area.

SOCIAL – Table blackjack games also tend to be more social than video blackjack machines. No, it’s not the fun commeradeie of the craps table, but with the right people, it can bring a bit of “the players vs. the casino” excitement.

Related Post – Blackjack Not a Team Game

BAD VIDEO BLACKJACK MACHINES – BEWARE

The machines that can be played advantageously are multi seat machines where blackjack pays 3 to 2. Some video poker machines such as Game Kings and Game Makers have a heads up blackjack game on them. These are terrible blackjack games. These games typically pay even money on blackjack. They typically do not allow doubling after the split either. Some of these machines do not allow doubling at all. It is best to avoid these games. Some multi seat games are single deck games that pay 6 to 5 on blackjack. Avoid these single deck machines as well.  Believe it or not, some video blackjack terminals include even money in blackjack.

One more word of caution concerns multigame machines.  Usually, the rate of  comps depends on the game of with the tightest house edge, and that includes the rest of the games on that machine-including the rest of VP, Keno, Slots and yes, Blackjack. Find video blackjack on machines with poorer VP pay tables to ensure the highest amount of earning comps.

CONCLUSION

There are advantages to playing both live and video blackjack. Each player has their own goal as to what they would like to get out of a blackjack game. Blackjack can be fun whether it is a video blackjack game or a live blackjack game; it is up to the player to decide which they enjoy more.er hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

Binbin

 

New England Casino Awards – Final Analysis of 2018

There were some different winners in our awards this year, but not exactly what we thought they would be. With MGM Springfield on the scene, I assumed that it would be well represented.  Instead, Mohegan Sun added to it’s New England prominence. Here is our analysis:

BEST HOTEL – With the most rooms and most variations in room decor and layout, it has to be Foxwoods.  Even with Twin River’s hotel opening, Oxford Casino Hotel open for over a year, Tiverton’s opening including hotel and the opening of MGM Springfield, Foxwoods is still the best choice for hotels. MGM Springfield’s Hotel is one of a kind, and we highly recommend trying a stay there.  The many intricacies of Springfield history can be found through out the casino and continued in the Hotel decor.

MGM Tower at Foxwoods - Right side.

Fox and Grand Pequot Hotels & Casinos

BARS –  When it comes to places for libations, there are two types in casinos.  First, the typical bar, sometimes with entertainment, usually offers great drinks and dining options. The video poker bar is an important gambling choice provided, usually including slots, keno and sometimes electronic blackjack.  Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun tied in this category, and why not with so many bars and VP bars available in their multiple casinos.  But it should be mentioned that MGM Springfield’s Walk-up Bar and Commonwealth Bar have terrific ambiance.  Now, if only they had playable video poker…….

Commonwealth Bar at MGM Springfield

BEST DINING OPTIONS & BEST DINING VALUE  – Our voters pretty much nailed this. Mohegan Sun offers the gamut on one property, especially in the area of lower cost eateries.  But, I also feel when considering just high end restaurants, Foxwoods would edge out the competition. However, even the fun establishments such as Sugar are in the hefty price range at Foxwoods. Since we visit all New England Casinos, some restaurants need some mention. Tiverton Casino’s Tuscan Chophouse and Italian cuisine at Trattoria Romana are great restaurants with local ties. When it comes to great steak houses, New England’s casinos offer a wide variety of excellent steakhouses.  Consider MGM’s Chandler Steakhouse, Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun, Cedars and David Burke’s Prime at Foxwoods, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin River and Slack’s Oyster House & Grill at Plainridge Park for your next beef bonanza.

Again, NETG applauds the voters in selecting David Burke Prime as outstanding high-end restaurant.  It has everything you’d fine in the best eateries in Las Vegas.

David Burke Prime, Foxwoods

BEST BUFFET – Mohegan’s Sunrise Buffet is just the best, ’nuff said.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST SMALL VENUE – The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun is hands down the #1 favorite. The Sun offers outstanding free entertainment on the weekends. But free entertainment has increased at other properties.  Foxwoods raised the ante in the Atrium Lounge, Hard Rock Cafe and Centrale.  Plainridge Park Casino not only offers good entertainment at their Revolution Lounge, but also at the Loft – including Comedy. Twin River’s Lighthouse Lounge continues to offer great free entertainment. Speaking of comedy, Roar! at MGM Springfield’s Armory and Mohegan Sun’s Comix leads the way.

ENTERTAINMENT, BEST LARGE VENUE – Even with the addition of MGM Springfield’s MassMutual Center, Mohegan Sun Arena is still the best venue in New England.

Mohegan Sun Arena

BEST SLOTS – I think it’s simple – wherever you win is where your preferred slots are. No one knows the payback percentage, and a slot players play is very short play and really can’t give anyone a good idea on how high the payout is. Most casinos have the same newest slots.  But what I found interesting was the lack of Buffalo slots or Wheel of Fortune machines mentioned! Instead, Wonder Woman?  who’d a thunk it?

BEST VIDEO POKER – Mohegan Sun is the only New England Casino to offer full pay VP – Jacks or Better – at the quarter level up. As long as they offer it, the Sun will continue to be the best VP in New England.  We know from experience at their other properties that Wynn & MGM will never offer Full Pay VP, rarely even at $1 levels.  So, this award may be good through 2020.  Decent VP paytables can be found at Plainridge Park and Foxwoods.

TABLE GAMES – Players of all levels appreciate good rules & low starting limits, especially on traditional games.  In New England, Foxwoods and MoSun had this covered, but recently have raised minimums and introduced 6:5 Blackjack.  Maine casinos, while having similar rules, lack the amount and mix of traditional table & “carnival” games. Twin River & Tiverton offer table games with slightly higher limits, with most games starting at $10, and MGM Springfield has lowered minimums to be more competitive. While Mohegan Sun won this time, it will be anyone’s game in the future as all casinos seem to be offering the same games, same minimums and same rules.

MGM Springfield Poker Room – most comfy in New England?

An interesting change has been seen in two areas – favorite game and poker rooms.  Craps has taken over as the popular table game in the casino. And when it comes to poker rooms, MGM Springfield, with what is now considered the most comfy poker room in New England,  has made a great run at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to the point that all thee poker rooms, as well as Twin River Casino’s poker room, are in a dead heat right now. Mohegan Sun is down-sizing its poker room and moving it to a different casino area, which could really change the feel of their poker room. You can bet that poker is alive and well in New England.

BEST RACEBOOK/SPORTSBOOK – The Sun won this category last year, with Foxwoods winning this year. Rhode Island’s legal sportsbook must have been too new for most to be counted this year. When Twin River open their real betting area, it could easily win next year, unless CT and MA approves legal sports-betting this year

BEST PLAYERS CLUB – Even with changes, Foxwoods continues to lag behind Mohegan Sun.  MLife at MGM Springfield could be a big players club in the coming years with properties on both east & west coast – especially access to Las Vegas Strip properties.

Thanks to all who participated this year.  It’s always fun.  What changes are in store this year?  We’ll just have to wait……

Binbin