Catch me on the ‘Tube

Posted in Media Appearances, Video Poker | 6 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


Watch for Derby Day promotions this coming first weekend in May.  And then there will be special promotions in many casinos May 8 for Mother’s Day and the 30th for Memorial Day.  A good place to get details on these is at “Today’s News” on the LVA homepage.   In fact every week there is an extensive list of weekend events there.  You never have to be bored in Las Vegas!

Last month I mentioned that one of the best ways to find new plays is to use your usual promotional resources in conjunction with vpFREE2, which is a very comprehensive database of the best video poker games.  Video poker inventory is constantly changing.  I would like to add another detail about this valuable resource: Continue reading

Posted in Casino Promotions, M Casino, Senior Promotion, Slot Clubs | 2 Comments

A Too-Good Promotion

Most everyone knows I love comps, but recently I had a real problem with one that made me wish the comp wasn’t “so good.” It happened at the Steak ’n Shake located at the South Point Casino. If you are from the Midwest, you may know that this restaurant chain has many fans – and many of us transplanted Midwesterners were happy when they came to Vegas.

Recently Brad had a coupon for $150 food at any South Point restaurant so we invited four friends to join us at S&S. Of course we could have made a more gourmet choice but we were hungry for the good hamburgers and milkshakes S&S is famous for. I “ordered” everyone to order the most expensive things on the menu, to not hold back. Continue reading

Posted in Comps, Couponing, Food Review | 10 Comments

Staying in a Casino’s Good Graces

I have had a number of people tell me that they usually don’t go back and read the comments that my readers post.  I try to encourage them to do so because there are often helpful hints there, ideas and techniques that might make their gambling more successful.  A case in point is the comment by Kevin Lewis on the recent blog entry “VP Questions” He suggests that a player might receive better mailed offers if he mixes in a little slot play with his video poker play.

This has been a subject on my mind recently because of several long-term players relating that they have recently been “no-mailed” and they don’t know why.   Not getting offers from a casino, especially one where you have played for a long time, is always a painful blow.  And with good playing opportunities decreasing rapidly, this can really impact your recreational and/or financial lifestyle.

Sometimes we know why we are no longer a welcome customer at a particular casino because an employee will tell us when we inquire.  But most of the time we have to guess – or just wonder.  Here are some of the reasons I have found out through personal experience and talk from other players Continue reading

Posted in Video Poker | 7 Comments

Tax Time Promotions

I haven’t researched the tax time promotions this year, but Scot Krause has and he has a good list in Gaming Today.  Good job, Scot!


Posted in Taxes | Comments Off on Tax Time Promotions

Video Poker Questions

Q:  I have read several articles referring to you and another couple winning $500,000. The articles always say that you won it in a slot machine contest. Am I to understand that you won this on a slot machine and not a video poker machine? It doesn’t seem to me that you would be willing to risk even what the entry fee would have been on a slot machine. Am I wrong?

A:  Tournaments are different from regular play in a casino.   Most tournaments we enter have no entry fee, being “invitational” ones that come from our past regular play.   However, the one you are referring to did have a fee but we could – and did – get the fee refunded by playing the amount of regular play specified in the tournament rules that would qualify us for the rebate.  And we did do that play on video poker.

However, once you are in a tournament, you are competing against other players, not against the casino, so it doesn’t matter what game you are playing.  There is no skill involved in a slot tournament except, if it is a timed one, you need the ability to play as fast as you can in order to get in more hands to rack up a higher score.  You can read more about tournament play in my book More Frugal Gambling.

Q:  Can you give an example of a game that would be a .5%- edge play or one that would give you an advantage over the casino?

A:  I almost never give exact details of our plays for the simple reason that many cannot be duplicated by everyone.  Some are low-level plays that would not appeal to those who want to play higher denominations; on the other hand, some are very high-level plays for those with huge gambling bankrolls and the intestinal fortitude to withstand extreme volatility.  Some include large free play amounts that are not available to everyone because they are based on a long-standing relationship with one casino or other individual factors.   In fact, much of our play has a free-play element that is almost impossible to exactly quantify.  It is not a consistent figure and almost never is publicized, so is often a best-guess number, based on past experiences and our conversations with other players.

Here is one “little” basic play I can share – and one Brad plays when he’s killing time, like when I am getting a mani-pedi at the Palms salon.  Play full-pay Classic Deuces Wild at the Palms with a 100.7% EV.  You don’t earn any players club points, but, if you are a local,  you might get a small weekly free play amount – perhaps $5-$15 depending on your coin-in (which I don’t know how much is needed) – and some small food coupons in a monthly mailer.  This play is only a small one – in quarters only – but it is very positive – and available for tourists and locals (however with only the latter getting mailers).  Some Station casinos also have a similar play.  You can check  vpFREE2  for casinos that have FPDW or other 100%+ EV games, like 10/7 Double Bonus.

You might find a NSUD (Not-so-ugly deuces) game (99.7%), at quarters and sometimes at a higher denomination, with a good slot club and/or multiple points at the higher tier levels and/or on bonus Senior Days and/or general multiplier days, i.e., on holidays.  Some of these casinos send out mailers with “bounce-back” free play that combined with other bonuses will help push this game into positive territory.

Perhaps the most common “good” VP game available in many places is 8/5 Bonus Poker (99.1%) but it takes a lot of extras to make that a positive play,  a good combo of big multipliers, juicy promotions, and/or generous free play.

I can’t emphasize how important it is to scour vpFREE2 for good games and then search like a maniac for good promotions.

Posted in Video Poker | 1 Comment


First, just in case you haven’t marked them in your “Favorites,” let’s review the resources wise players will check for promotions that might be suitable for their playing style, gambling bankroll, and life goals after they have gone over their individual monthly casino mailings:

  1. The Sunday Scroll down to “Casino Promotions” to view the weekly list. Or search for “Promotions.”
  2. Vegas Values – new list every Sunday plus a section of ongoing promotions.
  3. Scot Krause’s list of bonus point opportunities.
  4. The monthly Las Vegas Advisor  (for subscribers) and Today’s News (for everyone!)
  5. Individual casino Websites

One of the best ways to find new plays is to use the above resources in conjunction with vpFREE2, which is a very comprehensive database of the best video poker games.  Video poker inventory is constantly changing.  Find a possibly good promotion in the resource list at a casino you haven’t ever visited or at least not for a long time?  Check out the vpFREE2 inventory and see if you could combine that promotion with an available game listed in the database and end up with a good play you hadn’t known about or considered before.    Scouting is the name of the game these days.  Don’t get in a rut and only look in your “usual” haunts!

Caesars Entertainment

Grow Your Tier Score April 1 – June 30

Total Rewards® members can grow their Tier Score this spring with a 50% BONUS when they earn at least 1,000 Tier Credits between April 1 and June 30, with a maximum bonus of 25,000 Tier Credits. Make sure you opt-in to this promotion in order to receive your bonus credits!  Official terms and conditions.


They still have their free (no fee) coin exchange kiosk.  Receive 110% back in free play; 100% back in cash.  Must have a players card.  See players club for details and limitations.

I found this promotion on their Website:  “In town for a convention?  Show your badge at the promotions booth for a free 20oz craft beer.”


The Palms doesn’t offer as much in the senior Sterling Advantage 50+ program as in the past. The only things I see for Senior Thursdays in my April mailer: “Half off at Bistro Buffet” and “$8 movie ticket, drink, and popcorn.”

To check other local senior days, check out individual local and downtown casino Websites, which usually have a detailed list of offers. Most have food discounts, but tournaments and drawings are also frequent benefits. And if you are a movie fan, there are often very frugal admission specials on senior days at casinos with movie theaters.















Posted in Casino Promotions | 1 Comment