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 email@example.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.
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
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!
Casinos love to entice you to visit through things such as dining specials giveaways and comps to shows and events. Gambling promotions are intended to get you through the door to spend your money. Here is a great reason to visit Uncasville, CT for Mohegan Sun “Status Mayhem”
Of all promotions, I find status multiplier days the best bang for my low-to-mid-roller buck. Tomorrow, May 30th, don’t miss one of the best offered in New England – Mohegan Sun’s“Status Point Mayhem” – a great way to increase those status points and approach higher levels. The title suggests it is a low-roller promo, but the fact is, it’s great for all players. You’ve heard of “Diamond in a Day” on Caesars Property, well, how about “Ascend in a Day” on Mohegan Sun Status Day.
Mohegan Sun, CT
The basis of the promotion is that a multiplier randomly changes throughout the day – earning anywhere from 2X, 3X, 4X or 5X Status Points, with each multiplier guaranteed to occur at least twice. Unfortunately, it excludes Status Points earned at table games, stadium games and the Poker Room– its especially great for $.25 video poker players since there are good paytables throughout the property.
How Does It Work?
The Mohegan Sun Status Mayhem is like this. Every hour or half-hour an announcement is made to what the next multiplier will be. From that point it is posted on numerous digital signs until it changes.
These signs show multiplier, duration, and when it changes.
I expected it to be 2X most of the time, which it was when I arrived. But, an hour later it jumped to 4X and lasted an hour. Then it dropped to 3X for the third hour. The next half-hour it was 5X – I thought I would never see it! I don’t need to tell you how good it feels to play $1 Full-Pay Jacks-or-Better with a 5X multiplier! Then it dropped back to 2X, but what a rush that previous half hour was.
All in all, I loved this promotion the last time I participated. In 4 and 1/2 hours I had hit all four multipliers. For slots and video poker players, this is a must play.
Suggestions for Low-Roller Play
If you are a low-roller and attending the Mohegan Sun Status Mayhem, tries three strategies:
As the multipliers change, I suggest you choose different games to play and different denominations. The higher the multiplier, I play higher house edge games at higher denominations than usual.
Vary your speed of play – slow for low multipliers to save my bankroll, and when it switches to the high ones, then play like a bat-out-of “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!”
Take a break – if you’re spending the day, take those 2X multipliers times to take a walk, get something to eat, or of you’re staying at the hotel, go relax or even take a nap.
NETG considers this promotion at Mohegan Sun one of the best offered in New England casinos.
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.