Ever wonder how the casino you visit decides on what comps to give you? It all comes down to the relationship that casino comps and Average Daily Theoretical have.
When I first started gambling, my bankroll was small and I played often. I thought that if I went to the local casino and played a little more often, the casino would see me as a loyal customer and raise the quality of my comps, such as free play. I would say to myself, “How could they depend on that player that appears once a year instead of me? After all, – they have me for life if they played their cards right.” Alas, my comps continued to be menial – I call them “minion’s comps.”
Casino Rewards and Average Daily Theoretical
My thoughts of how casino rewards players with comps was wrong. Further research led me to understanding Average Daily Theoretical. Average Daily Theoretical, or ADT, is the average amount that a gambler losses per day for gambling activity. It is usually expressed in absolute terms, such as dollars. It’s your value to the casino, based on your average daily play – NOT the number of appearances at the casino.
Your players card is how the casino tracks your play.
Your Average Daily Theoretical is the amount a casino assumes your play is worth to them. A positive Theoretical is an assumed loss to the the player. A casino typically comps players based on their actual worth and the actual worth the game is to the casino.
An “ADT” Example
A casino assigns each game a theoretical house advantage. Let’s say you play a certain game with a Theoretical of 5%. Assuming a player’s coin-in is $10,000, a casino would then limit total comps to some fraction (less than one) of the theoretical $500 the player is assumed to lose. If the player had the same coin-in on a game with 1% Theoretical, the comps would have been limited to some fraction of $100.
To make it simple, basically it’s based on your play in one day. A long play in a casino’s day raises your “comp-ability” and playing a little lowers it. Play your bankroll over fewer visits and see better mailers – spread out the same amount of money over more visits, less time each visit, the offers decrease.
It’s not just about time. Lowering your play per hand to play longer won’t increase comps. The casino wants two things from your play – time & money. Raise one or both (preferably) will raise your value to the casino, thus raising your worth to the casino.
One very important part to know is the “casino day” which may not be what you consider a day, or may differ from casino to casino. Some casino day’s start at 12:01AM, while others start at 6:00AM. Make sure you know which day your play falls on at, for example, 1:00AM.
Great Podcast for craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.
The guys from “You Can Bet on That” give a good example. Let’s say you are staying at a casino for two nights with $400 as your bankroll. If you play the $400 through on the first day, your ADT is better than if you split your bankroll over two days. And what if you get up to check out and put in one more $20 before you leave? Well, your ADT is now figured over three casino days, thus lowering your ADT.
So, if you visit often and put through $50 each time, don’t expect great offers. Make fewer visits putting though the same amount in a month and you will find your offers increase.
No Rewards Card, Casino Comps and Average Theoretical
Cleo Keno, a NETG favorite.
There are times that not using your card is a good idea. The morning of your departure may call you to play just a little bit more. But a small play before you leave will lower you visit’s ADT. In the same vein, stopping by for a little VP or Video Keno and a drink on your way home may not need your card in play, especially since VP & VK has a low casino theo and takes more money in to earn points. Weigh the options available to you.
A Word of Caution
But please remember – play for fun and play for recreation with the bankroll you can spend. DO NOT PLAY MORE THAN YOU CAN SPEND JUST TO GET BETTER COMPS. Always spend up to your allowable bankroll.
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.
Well, it’s been three months since Foxwoods Resort Casino changed a few things concerning it’s rewards program. With all the sincerity of a squirrel after the first acorn of fall, so, too, I sought out to inform you of these changes and present our followers with a comparison of then and now.
According to the Foxwoods web site, “The New Foxwoods Rewards Program supposedly accelerates you to higher tiers faster than ever, whether you play Slots, Tables, Poker, Keno or bet at Race Book. Now, all earned Foxwoods Tier Credits and Rewards Points will make upgrading to the next Tier more rewarding for our Members, plus you can enjoy more benefits and their NEW Monthly Choice Benefit.” Sounds great. But let’s look closer………..
Earning Period & Tier Credits
Earning tier credits will now be 6 months instead of 12 months starting October 1, 2017. That seems to make it bigger demand on your play. But the number of tier credits for each of the same levels has also been diminished. Members must earn the minimum number of qualifying Tier Credits during a 6-month time period to advance to the next Tier. The total number of qualifying Tier Credits for each card level is as follows: Wonder: 0 – 399 (previously was 0-899 Tier Credits) Gold: 400 – 1,999 (previously was 900-2,399 Tier Credits) Platinum: 2,000 – 9,999 (previously was 2,400-31,999 Tier Credits) Diamond: 10,000+ (previously was 32,000+ Tier Credits)
This seems to be a plus, with less credits needed relatively speaking. By moving to a 6-month program, Members do not need to earn as many Tier Credits, which allow them to advance to the next Tier faster.
Tier credits Will reset to 0 on October 1 and April 1 each year. Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Tier levels will be reevaluated on a semi-annual basis. (Does this mean if you “barely” make the next level, you could still be down-graded? It seems that they have provided a little loophole for themselves, now, doesn’t it!) While Tier level upgrades will take place automatically throughout the year as members earn the next level, once a Tier level is achieved, it will be in effect through the end of the qualifying time period (Oct. 1 – March 31 & April 1 – Sep 30 each year).
POINT ACCELERATORS used to be as follows: GOLD-15% Slots/ 30% Tables Games, PLATINUM-20% Slots/ 30% Tables Games, DIAMOND-30% Slots/ 30% Tables. Nothing on the website describes the previous accelerators, so I must assume they are not offered anymore.
Earning Tier credits through spending at the resort, or through credit cards is not available like other rewards clubs such as Total Rewards of Caesars Entertainment and MLife of MGM International. Earning Tier credits through play is as before, BINGO – 1 Tier points for every 1 Reward point, TABLE GAMES – 2 Tier points for every 1 Reward SLOTS, POKER, KENO, RACE BOOK – 4 Tier points for every 1 Reward point.
Foxwoods Rewards has four levels.
Big Change – Choice Credits
Previously players could choose between your choice of Bonus Slot Play, Free Bet or Rewards Points Accelerator each month by visiting the rewards club and making the choice on the 1st, 11th and 21st of each month. Now, your offers will be based on your play during that period, not the previous play period or on your present tier level. Choice offers will be mailed to certain Rewards members and will be available ONLYon specific days during the month, again, according to your play. Foxwoods Rewards Points on all Tiers will expire from an account if there is no activity on the account for over 12 months.
Rewards Points are for players to use toward hotel rooms, dining, entertainment, golf, spa services, retail purchases, select Tanger Outlets stores throughout the day’s play based on the type of game they are playing, their average bet, and length of play. If you are unhappy with your offers, you can contact someone at email@example.com.
A Royal flush at a previous play at Foxwoods – gotta love that Ultimate X!
With a very small sample over the last three months, it seems that Video poker accumulates faster than other casinos. I have been able to equal half of last year’s tier points over two months of play already. But remember, that’s only video poker & slots over an extremely small sample. I have not played table games at Foxwoods.
Personally, I hope this works out. It seems to be more based on your ADT and your Theoretical worth to the casino than previous years. The more you play, the better your offers. For more information on that, try our previous post Casino Comps & Your “Average Daily Theoretical”
Please note – gambling for offers is a dangerous slope. Gamble for the fun and enjoyment. Chasing offers is like chasing losses – it’s easy to go over board. As Cousin Vito says, “Bet With Your Head, Not Over It.”
More updates later as the process of the new Foxwoods Rewards unfolds.