Okay, it’s time I got around to giving the examples I promised earlier in the month, providing  some help in figuring out the EV (expected theoretical value)  of video poker plays. If you are an old hand at these math calculations, you won’t be interested in this. However, if you are a new player who wants/needs some techniques to help you lose less, these examples might be just what the VP doctor ordered. There is another group who might also welcome this information: long-time experienced players who had gotten used to finding good plays back in the golden era of VP before the recession. So many positive opportunities were available that they didn’t worry so much about EV. They could choose the one that was closest to where they lived, or was on their favorite game, or gave the extra players club benefits they liked – and be assured they were playing with an edge over the casino.

As I often say – that was then and this is now. Choosing good VP plays is much harder work now; and, especially if you are in an area with a choice of casinos, figuring and comparing EVs  is a must-have skill if you want to lose less and possibly pull out a long-term win. One important note: there are non-math factors that might be considered when you are choosing a VP play. But a wise player might want to first look at the math and then decide on the importance of personal-choice factors.

Here is the “formula”: Continue reading

Posted in Casino Promotions, Slot Clubs, Video Poker, Web Sites | Leave a comment

Explanation Needed?

It has come to my attention that a few people are confused about my August 18 blog entry, “Blast from the Past,”  although, according to my mail, most readers “got it,” enjoying it when I sometimes write about “the way it used to be.”   We all like nostalgia once in a while, and most of the time the point is clear that although gambling and casino things often change, many basics remain the same.  But I am always quick to admit when something is wrong in my writings or to explain something that is incomplete or needs more explanation.

Most of my readers who follow my writings already know that we started out as quarter players and that we slowly worked our way up to much higher play levels, and I have written in detail about this exciting ride up to more luxurious benefits.  But I should have been clearer when I re-published this 20+-year-old article, which was definitely written by a very inexperienced quarter player!

I should have left out or explained more fully this one short sentence from that entry:   I’d never run an unfair promotion, like a slot-point marathon where quarter players are competing with $5 players.   Actually my intent would have been more obvious if I had started this paragraph with my second sentence: People like a promotion where everyone has at least a chance to win. Then I could have given a present-day example like a recent pull-tab promotion at Silverton in which the prizes went up in value, depending on the level of your play, but smaller play would win you something.  Obviously, higher-level players can score more benefits in most promotions, but it is nice when casinos think about the lower-level players, who are the bulk of the gamblers in many casinos.   One promotion comes to mind here, the royal bonus promotion going on at the Gold Coast this month.  Quarter players can earn the top bonus of $100; higher-denomination players get that same $100 bonus, not a higher amount.  Thus this is a “better” promotion, looking at EV, for lower-level players.  And many casinos, especially those catering to locals, often run better bonus-point promotions for penny machines, which target the smaller players.  They often also cap multi-point promotions that discourage more high-level play.

Funny, other than this one sentence I discuss above, I think the rest of that article is as timely today as it was so long ago.  My main purpose was not to analyze particular promotions and decide what level of players would benefit from them, but most of the ideas on my “wish list” had to do with customer service.  And most of those issues affect all levels of players.  Everyone likes to be able to get their questions about players club benefits answered by a knowledgeable employee at the club booth.  No one likes to receive notice of a promotion after the date it expired or find that club rules have changed and they are going to lose benefits they have already earned because they weren’t notified in a timely fashion.  Everyone likes to be treated like a valued customer, by the valet parker, the housekeeper, and even by the porters who clean up.  I have seen buttons worn by every employee in a casino, reminding customers of a casino-wide promotion that makes them all VIPs.  I liked that!

It seems most thoughtful readers, whatever the level of their play, appreciated the total message rather than fixating on one out-of-date sentence.

My next blog entry, which I promised earlier, will be back on my usual track of practical information, giving examples of how to boost the EV of your VP play.

Posted in Casino Policy, Gripes, Slot Clubs | 8 Comments

Not So Simple After All

When I was writing my last blog, I was really tired; many of you noticed that, didn’t you? Brad had been having some serious medical problems – and that always wears me out trying to “fix” things, seemingly practicing medicine without a license!   🙂  But things are better now. Brad is feeling better. And now I can breathe!

Reading back over that blog entry, I realized I was guilty of trying to simplify a very complex situation, something you can never do when talking about casino programs. So now I am going to start over on the subject of figuring the EV of a video poker play.

Yes, this is a good starting point:

  1. Learn the EV of the game you want to play.
  2. Find the players club point value
  3. Add them together for the EV of the regular total play
  4. If there is a multiple-point bonus, add that to get the total play for “special days.”

However there are other factors you need to consider. Continue reading

Posted in Slot Clubs, Video Poker, VP Extras | 6 Comments


Walking through casino promotion areas is like trying to get across a war zone mine field. Even if you don’t find actual technical errors in newspaper advertisements or Internet information sources, the details may be too incomplete for you to have accurate information.

Published information on multiple-point benefits may not distinguish between slots and video poker bonuses. For example, saying that Silverton has 10X-16X points, depending on tier level, is a true statement, but not of help to video poker players, since this refers only to slot play.  Silverton almost never has casino-wide multiple points for VP play.

Rampart Casino has a big ad about their new slot card and says: And points are always worth 5x more. The question is “More than what?”  Worthless information that is purely hype!  Then they give this “formula”:  1000 points = $5 cash back.  This is a common example of incomplete information that is useless to players unless they have one other figure:  HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE MACHINE TO EARN A POINT?  Here are the other facts you must know:  It takes $1 to earn one point on slots.  It takes $2 to earn one point on video poker.  If you do the math – or like I did, just go to vpFREE2 and click on “Rampart” and then “Player’s Club” – you would find that this players club pays .25% for your points earned on VP (.5% on slots).

I’ve been meaning to write here about how to choose where the best play is, especially on holidays and other times when there are several multiple-point bonus options.  Misinformation out there for yesterday’s Labor Day promotions has sent me screaming to my keyboard.

Here is the way you choose if you want to stick with the best mathematical play.  If you just want to play at a casino near your house, or where you once hit a bit jackpot so you feel lucky there, or where you like the restaurants, or where the employees are friendliest, go ahead with your own non-mathematical plans – you don’t need my advice.  But if you want to maximize your chances for long-term better financial results, here is what I have learned over the last 31 years:

  1. Learn the EV of the game you want to play.
  2. Find the players club point value
  3. Add them together for the EV of the regular total play
  4. If there is a multiple-point bonus, add that to get the total play for “special days.”

It’s that simple. Do that for all the possible plays, compare them, and choose the one with the highest EV.

I’m exhausted now, explaining things I have talked about for 25 years. If I get my strength back, hopefully in my next blog I will give you some specific examples. But in the meantime, you can use vpFREE2 and start your own figuring.  This old lady will not be around to hold your hand forever!

Posted in Casino Promotions, Slot Clubs | 3 Comments


OOPS – Dead Bodies in TWO casinos

Last month I wrote:  “REAL BODIES” human anatomy exhibition just opened at Bally’s Las Vegas –located on the lower level.  I think this is the one that used to be at Luxor and perhaps other casinos before that?

Wrong!  I just found out that there are dueling “Dead Body” companies.  Who knew!  The old one at the Luxor is still there; the one at Bally’s is a new one.  Hummm…I saw one of these many years ago but I forget in which casino.  It was interesting but I’m not interested in checking these two out to see which one is best.  I’ll leave that to you readers who are into dead bodies!


When we visited Harrah’s Cherokee in May, we liked that we could get our picture put on the back of our players card.  It sometimes – but not always – saves you pulling out your ID for certain transactions in the casino. This hasn’t been available in the Las Vegas area for quite a while and recently was discontinued in Harrah’s Resort Southern California.  So we wondered where else this was offered. Continue reading

Posted in Casino Promotions, Food Review, Non-gambling Activities | 2 Comments


There has been some discussion on the Internet recently about the selling of comps. Although there is no general agreement about this subject and I respect the right of others to publicize their opinions, I feel constrained to publically disagree with any gambling information that I feel might lead gamblers into danger areas.

Casinos generally object to any selling of comps, whether that is in written rules or just unwritten casino policy. On the other side, players often feel that if they earn a comp, this is a “gift” that they have the right to do anything they want with it.

Now we enter the Grey Zone. Continue reading

Posted in Comps, Ethics | 2 Comments

Blast From the Past

I am cleaning out my computer files and found this old article. How old? I’m not sure since there was no date on it. In fact I don’t know whether it was ever published. But by some of the details – and the fact I hadn’t changed “slot club” to “players club” – I think it was written many years ago. But it proves that, although much does change in the casino world, so much stays the same! 

         If I Ran a Slot Club

If I ran a slot club, I’d run it in the morning, I’d run it in the evening, all over this land. My apologies to the folk song, but I’d institute so many user-friendly and consumer-kindly policies that it would be the most popular slot club at any casino in the country, and all the other slot clubs would have to follow my lead to compete.

First, I’d put the club booth in a very easy-to-find section of the casino, probably near the main entrance, near the front desk. Why hide it in a corner? I’d hang plenty of signs directing players to it. I’d WANT people to join.

I’d consider every slot club employee a casino host. Continue reading

Posted in Slot Clubs | 12 Comments

Informational Links

MGM Resorts has launched a new program – mobile casino tournaments.   Mark’s Las Vegas has the details. I wonder if these will be popular?  Most people like to do tournaments because of the fun enthusiastic group atmosphere.  This new “invention” is kind of like having sex by yourself instead of with another person.  Maybe it will appeal to some?

Steve Bourie interviews Las Vegas Advisor newsletter publisher Anthony Curtis about 10 tips for Las Vegas visitors to get the best deals.

Don’t want to lose so much in a casino, but don’t want to study.  Here is my Casino Gambling 101 take.

Here’s a brand new idea – stadium gambling.  Hybrid table games combine the ease and fast pace of a slot machine with the feel of a live dealer.


Note: If you want to contact me personally about something that doesn’t fit under “Comments” here, please e-mail me at queenofcomps@cox.net. I will try to get back to you as soon as my schedule allows.

Posted in Gambling Resources, Interesting Reads | 1 Comment

More Vegas News and Promo Info

I like the pull-tab promotion Silverton is running this month, on Fridays and Saturdays.  You pull from one of three different “baskets,”  depending on how many points you earn that day.  The bigger point “basket” has bigger minimum prizes and a bigger top prize, with proportionately smaller prizes from the other two baskets:

5,000 points = Gold pull tab
Top Prize of $10,000

2,500 points = Silver pull tab
Top Prize of $5,000

500 points = Bronze pull tab
Top Prize of $1,000


“REAL BODIES” human anatomy exhibition just opened at Bally’s Las Vegas –located on the lower level.  I think this is the one that used to be at Luxor and perhaps other casinos before that?


As usual, Mark’s Las Vegas will keep you up on the casino social media news.  A recent report gives details about MYVEGAS adding a new app and other updates. Continue reading

Posted in Casino Promotions, Meal Promo, Slot Clubs | 1 Comment


August must be “buffet month.”  Seems like every mailer or casino e-mail I open has a buffet special running:

Gold Coast has reduced prices for their dinner buffet Monday through Thursday, with added discounts depending on your card level.

Silverton is running an Earn & Win Buffet special on Thursdays.  Earn 50 points for one free lunch buffet coupon to print before 3 p.m.  Earn 100 points for one free lunch or dinner buffet, coupon available to print at kiosk from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

CZR properties – Tuesdays in August, earn 50 Tier Credits in a day at any of the Total Rewards casinos in Las Vegas and get one free entry to Carnival World & Seafood Buffet.  This one has some tricky fine print. Continue reading

Posted in Casino Promotions, Discounts, Meal Promo | 11 Comments