A Trip Report

I probably rightly could have titled this “Using My Own Advice.” Sometimes people question whether the casino information I write about is actually usable in real-life situations. So I decided to report on a recent trip Brad and I took to Harrah’s Cherokee and how we put into practice a lot of the frugal hints and recommendations I have written about for years. (I will put those in red!)

First, some background about this trip. Granddaughter Kaitlynn was graduating from college and she liked the idea of celebrating with a family “adventure” rather than a party. Brad and I had taken her parents to the Harrah’s casino in Cherokee a few years before and she had heard us rave about this beautiful Smoky Mountain resort. So this outdoor adventure gal was thrilled when we decided to make this place headquarters for our family and some of Kaitlynn’s friends to celebrate her graduation. It would be the perfect place to use one of our Harrah’s Seven Stars tier annual trips. Continue reading

Posted in Comps, Family News, Non-Vegas Casinos | 3 Comments

Boyd Property Father’s Day Multipliers

Not all the multiplier limits are the same at each property:

Gold Coast – 5K limit on VP

Orleans – 5K limit on VP

Sam’s Town – 10K limit on VP

Suncoast – 25K limit on slots and VP




Posted in Boyd Gaming, Casino Promotions | Leave a comment

Response to your Comments

Today I want to blog about a subject that presented itself to me in the “Comment” section a few weeks ago.  I did not “approve” this comment – and thus it didn’t go public – because it was much too long, and much of the ranting and raving would not help others.   (Keep your comments pretty short, don’t insult personalities, and try to give information that might help other players.)   However I do want to address some of the points in this except from his longer post, highly edited with some details redacted:

Your success rate has been much, much higher than that of the vast majority of players (myself included) over the past couple of decades, and as a result, you can afford to dump in the massive amounts of coin-in needed to get anything more than a complimentary doughnut.  I assume that since XXX casinos have absolutely no good video poker anywhere across the breadth and length of this great land, that you have figured out a way to make it profitable to play there nonetheless. One of these days, you’ll have to detail for us just how you’ve managed to make that work. The absolute best game you’ll ever find at a XXX property is 9/6 JOB (at very high stakes), and I’m truly curious as to how you squeeze a full 1/2 percent in extras out to make the play worthwhile.

Other people have raised some of the same issues as the poster above so I think they deserve a discussion.

First, Brad and I have had a higher success rate down through the years than many other knowledgeable players because we have always looked for a bigger advantage than many require.  A play with a .1-.2% advantage is a positive play but one might not live long enough to get to the long term and achieve that positive result.  That is the reason we don’t play as much as we used to.  We can’t find many plays with a bigger advantage.  We do some small lower-denomination plays with a lower edge than we would have done in the past – and that shows up in our records:  more losing streaks and lower profits.  :(

Another reason for our success is that we never used gambling profits for “living expenses” – we either had a job or, in later years, retirement savings.  We have always lived quite frugally so when we hit a jackpot we didn’t think about how we could “spend” the money for some luxury item.  We kept plowing our profits back into our bankroll and this allowed us to go up in denomination where the profits would be even bigger.

Second, people are always talking about “no good games in that casino.”  We don’t waste our time looking for 100% EV games; there are few anywhere.  We are looking for good plays.   That means looking for not-quite-so-good games and then piling on the extras – players club benefits, promotions, bounce-back, and anything that will add value to the EV of the game.  And how do we find some of those almost-good games so it isn’t so hard to bump up the value with the extras?  We scour the information in vpFREE2.   Have you ever studied it casino by casino?  You might find some of the hidden gems we play.

Third, I have written three books and more articles than I can number – thousands? – “detail(ing) for us just how you’ve managed to make that work.” I can’t reveal every specific detail at every casino where I have played because some extras depend on long-term relationships with casino employees, play levels higher than for the average player, extra knowledge learned by many years of experience, and the personality, circumstances, and goals that differ for each player.  However, I really don’t have that many video poker “secrets.”  It’s mostly spelled out pretty clearly in my writings – and in much detail – for anyone to study and use. It’s up to you how far you want to run with this information.

Posted in Bankroll, Comments, It's Personal, Video Poker | 12 Comments

New Players Club Information

Penn National Gaming Casinos, including the M Resort and Casino and Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas

Penn National Gaming  has many casinos all over the US and the players club in each is called Marquee Rewards. However, they state: “Each Marquee Rewards casino offers benefits unique to that location, in addition to the universal benefits available everywhere.”

This fact requires that a player who wants to become knowledgeable about any one property be very diligent in researching on the Internet.   The Marquee Rewards website   will give you some information.  However, it pays to go to the individual property websites to find more specific information, which is often in the fine-print rules and/or “disclaimer list.”

For example, the M Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has some special benefits and exceptions and their program is much different than the one at the Tropicana Casino, a recently-added sister property also in Las Vegas.

I find this players club incredibly complex and confusing.


The “New” MGM Resorts Players Club

The newly-named M life Rewards players club has announced new rules and benefits. Again like above, anyone who wants to find out the details should go to the website to see whether the changes are good for them if they are already a member or good enough to become one. Continue reading

Posted in Slot Clubs | 1 Comment

June Brings Promotion Perils

This month I was going to write a promotion blog called Promotional Perils.  Well, I AM going to be writing on that subject but sad to say I will have to use very recent examples, some just encountered for our June play, which will show why smart players will need to stay alert. Not constantly monitoring players club changes and promotion details can be dangerous to your wallet.



Last month I wrote about the new benefits at the M Casino called Marquee Comps.  I gave the link for the dedicated website that covers the Marquee Rewards players club program for the many Penn National Gaming properties across the country.    I also made this comment:  “Notice that it does not include their recently-acquired Tropicana casino, which hasn’t as yet been folded into this players club system.” Continue reading

Posted in Casino Promotions | 2 Comments

Changes Coming to MGM Players Club

From an e-mail we received:

M life is now M life Rewards

The name may be changing, but don’t worry—the great rewards, benefits and service you’ve come to expect aren’t. Everything else stays the same—your current M life card is still valid, your status is unchanged and you’ll continue to receive the best we offer—just a small name change. After all, the best Rewards are what we’re known for.

Earn M life Rewards Faster

Please look for a special announcement in early June, when we’ll introduce an exciting new way to earn more rewards. We think you’ll agree that the new name fits us: M life is truly becoming more rewarding.

I’ll let you know when I have more details.

Posted in Slot Clubs | 4 Comments

Catch me on the ‘Tube

Posted in Media Appearances, Video Poker | 8 Comments

Family Distractions

This is why I don’t have time to blog.


Posted in Family News | 7 Comments

A Blast From the Past

I’m going to be out of town for a little while and hopefully on vacation from my computer much of the time.  Brad and I will be flying to Georgia to help granddaughter Kaitlynn celebrate her graduation from Columbus State University.  Then the whole family will be driving to Harrah’s Cherokee where we can use many of the Harrah’s Seven Stars benefits we have accumulated over the last year or so.

We will be at Cherokee May 18-21 so if you spot us, please stop and say hello. We will be spending some time in the casino, of course, but you might find us at the pool or in one of the many restaurants.  Our family loves to eat so there will be no problem using up our food comps!

To make up a little for the short break in my blogging, I decided to leave you a blast-from-the-past article. Continue reading

Posted in Family News, Memories, Non-Vegas Casinos, Travel, Video Poker | 4 Comments

More Good Reads and Gaming Resources

At the top of this blog page, you will see a link called “Casino Strategies.” This goes to an interesting blog, one on the 888casino website. Although you cannot gamble at this online casino in the United States unless you are physically in the state of New Jersey, where it is a legal place for real-money games, anyone can visit their blog. I recommend it because it contains an abundance of gambling information from many experienced gambling writers, including an article I wrote that traces Brad’s and my casino path down the last 30+ years.

The blog features two comprehensive game guides, on blackjack and slots, and numerous articles on many other games and gambling topics. Browse around it for interesting and helpful information.



Posted in Blackjack, Gambling Resources, Slots | Comments Off on More Good Reads and Gaming Resources