A Las Vegas Advisor Blog from the "Queen of Comps"

It has been coming for years – the rain on our parade of good video poker plays.  First a few sprinkles but we could dodge them by scampering to numerous available dryer places.  Then the sprinkles turned to showers that required that we run to stable shelters – but these were becoming harder to find.  And then came the storms and floods that threaten to permanently end the happy parades anywhere.

Players are asking me what we should do.

As I stressed in Part 1, there is no one answer to this question.  There are so many different kinds of video poker players, with such a wide range of budgets, goals, personalities, locales, and personal preferences.  So I can’t give any you-should-do-this advice.  The best I can do is to talk about what Brad and I and many others are doing to cope with this rapidly changing video poker environment.  Perhaps this will give others some new ways to make adjustments. Read more… »

The Internet gambling forums are full of discussions about casino cuts, in Vegas and all over the country.  This is certainly not a new issue.  We have been gambling in casinos for over 30 years, and from the git-go we have had to continually adjust our Where-to-Play list.  I would say, “Never marry a casino; just have affairs until the love is gone.”   Casino A, which used to be our favorite, changed their slot club and decreased benefits, so we reluctantly said goodbye to it and moved to Casino B where the benefits were still good.  We never had played at Casino C – but a new marketing honcho came in and instituted a juicy bounce-back program and we were there in a New York minute.  Casino D was a long-time core play for us because they had good-EV video poker schedules in a format we loved, like Spin Poker.  One day we came in to do our usual play on them and found that the paytables had been cut.  We marched right back out the door.

Back in those early days, these cuts, although often very disappointing, did not cause us major financial pain.  There were good plays in other casinos to which we could move.  But gradually we were finding that there were fewer options.  We had to scout harder.  We had to add new games to our older more basic repertoire.   We had to consider changing the denominational range in which we played, either going down lower at times or deciding whether our bankroll would let us safely go higher at other times.

And then around 2008 came the Great Recession, which quickly filtered down from the general economic disaster into the whole casino business.  Good games and good benefits started disappearing so fast that heads of gamblers were spinning.  All those adjusting techniques we had been using for years had to be taken to a much higher level – we had to work much much harder.

Recent developments within Caesars Entertainment – reorganization, bankruptcy, major cuts – have now brought this problem to the forefront for many of us. Read more… »

In my January blog about promotions I reported that my EI mailer was a “mystery.”  Sad to say, for a lot of us there is now no real mystery at Ellis Island:  The details may still be a mystery, but it is clear that a slash-and-burn benefits policy is now in place.

Video poker  paytables have been cut, but that is not unusual for casinos these days – and it is not a “secret” to players who know to check VP schedules listed on the machine.  However, they have changed their bounce-back system to a “mystery” one. Read more… »

MARCH VEGAS PROMOTIONS

This report is a little late – Brad and I had been gallivanting for the last 10 days of February – out of town and then out of the country on a cruise until March 2. And when we are gone around the end of a month, the casino mail really piles up and it takes a day or two for me to process it all, both for our own gambling schedule and for these monthly reports.

I find I can start cutting down on some of the detail in these blogs about promotions since many casinos are doing a better job these days in listing them on their Websites. However, I will continue to discuss particular ones that need some explanation or ones for which I have additional info.

If you have not already done so, I suggest that you start a Favorites file that lists all the Websites of casinos you want to follow so that it is easy for you to check their promotions each month.

TUSCANY

See promotions at http://www.tuscanylv.com/packages-en.html. Notice the all-month senior discount of 20% moves to the Gift Shop in March.

 

PALMS

I will continue giving details of Palms promotions because I can’t find that they are listed on the casino’s Website, which just gives general players club information. Read more… »

Brad and I will be at Harrah’s New Orleans February 20th and 21st. From there, we will be sailing on the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship from February 22nd until March 1st. We do not play video poker on cruise ships, so you’ll need to look for us at a blackjack table there. If you ever spot us in a casino, please stop and introduce yourself — we don’t mind taking a rest from gambling to chat with old friends and make new ones.

While we are gone – and I’m away from my computer – I thought I would leave this bit of musing.  Maybe some casino executives will read it and take it to heart!

It’s a cliché about walking in someone else’s shoes, but I wonder if some casino executives have become lost in their gigantic databases and forgotten that these are made up of individual human beings who are basically very much like themselves.

What are some of the basic likes and dislikes we all share, in some degree or another? Read more… »

I just received an e-mail from Boyd Gaming that contained a link to the rules for their point multiplier promotion on President’s Day.  (This promotion is advertised in today’s newspaper but they don’t mention some of the important details.)

(http://static.boydgaming.net/boydgaming/media/downloads/2015PresidentsDayRules.pdf)

I like that kind of information from a casino: clear details on times, limitations, and qualifications.  In case you can’t open the above link – and I know some of you are having trouble doing that on some of your devices – I am copying the main rules below.  I urge you to read them carefully because there are some unusual limitations/qualifications. (What you can take advantage of might depend on your zip code!)  Remember I always say - the devil is in the details!

 

2015 President’s Day Point Multiplier Rules

1. The Promotion is valid at the following seven (7) participating properties: The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam’s Town, Main Street Station, California and Fremont on Monday, February 16, 2015 at 12:00 a.m. through 11:59 p.m.

2. Participants must be B Connected members. B Connected membership is free and available at the B Connected Club. Must be 21 years of age or more to be a B Connected member.

3. The bonus point multiplier is open to all B Connected members at The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast and Sam’s Town. Local B Connected participants with their mailing address in the zip code range of 890-891 may qualify for the point multiplier at Fremont, Main Street Station and California.

4. Monday, February 16, 2015, B Connected members will receive 15X points on penny reel games, 11X points on reel games and 7X points on video poker games at participating properties. Video poker base points up to 10,000 at The Orleans, Gold Coast, Sam’s Town, and 25,000 at Suncoast will be eligible for this Promotion. At Main Street Station, California and Fremont, B Connected members may earn up to 100,000 bonus points. Points are not valid on select machines marked excluded. It is the player’s responsibility to make sure his or her valid B Connected card is properly inserted in the slot machine to receive the points.

5. Participants must swipe at the kiosk prior to play in order to activate the point multiplier.

 

 

Satisfying the “Crave”: Last night Brad and I visited the White Castle that just opened a week or so ago on the Strip, at the Casino Royale. First one west of the Mississippi! The buns are not exactly the same as we had been used to so many years ago when we lived back in the East, a little more like a “regular” hamburger bun – but they were good and still had that nostalgic White Castle taste we remember so well. Read more… »

Review of 2015 Edition of Tax Book

[The following is a guest post from my long-time editor and good friend Deke Castleman. Deke knows as much about Marissa’s and my tax book as anyone, so, since I’m probably a bit prejudiced about its value, I asked him to review it for the readers of this blog.]

Review by Deke Castleman

Sure, I’ve been Jean Scott’s editor since The Frugal Gambler was first published in 1998 (and even long before that). And yes, I work for the company that publishes Tax Help for Gamblers, so I have an interest in seeing it sell well. But the down-and-dirty fact of the matter is this: Taxes are a bitch, and they’re especially complex, vague, ambiguous, and even contradictory — in short, open to individual interpretation — for anyone who gambles. And there isn’t another book on the market today that covers gambling tax issues as accurately and in as much depth as Tax Help for Gamblers.  Read more… »

FEBRUARY VEGAS PROMOTIONS

THE M RESORT SPA CASINO

New senior Fifty Plus club – details at http://www.themresort.com/rewards/50s-Plus-Club.html

 

TUSCANY

See February promotions at http://www.tuscanylv.com/packages-en.html. The all-month senior discount of 20% moves to Caffe Bottega in February. Read more… »

CAESARS NEWS

Miscellaneous information I have picked up recently, either in a personal visit to a CZR property or from the Internet:

Want to know just where you can earn or redeem Total Reward points? Check here: https://www.totalrewards.com/content/cet-tr/en/earn-and-redeem/on-location.html.

Want to know the differences between tier credits and reward credits. Read more… »


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