Q: Jean, just curious…how many people are as faithfully being as frugal as you are in their approach to gambling? You are doing it the best way, but do you know of anybody else who is?
Yes, I know many many people who are frugal gamblers. And, believe it or not, a few are – as Brad puts it – more “nutty frugal” than I am!!!!
Q: Do you just go into a casino and pick up [free play or cashback], or do you also play?
The answer to this question, like so many casino questions: It depends. Some casinos do not care whether you play on the pickup days or not. They just look at your total play for the bounce-back qualification period, which can be just one month or many months back. Other casinos will take you off their mailing list if you don’t play on most of your pickup days.
And a comment from a reader on a related issue:
I’d also add one caveat to your South Point example. A steady diet of playing good games on multi-point days there will get you a revocation of your players card [or, more recently, a reduced mailer - or no mailer at all].
With the casinos tightening up in all areas and some trying to target skilled video poker players they presume are hurting their bottom line, it is wise to sometimes play more like the unknowledgeable customer that the casino prefers. This might mean not exclusively playing only the best games and/or during promotions. Of course, this takes some finesse – doing too much of this and you will BECOME the kind of customer the casino likes – a losing one!
Q: How do you feel about using a marker for playing money. I started this summer getting a $2000 marker when I go to Sam’s Town Tunica instead of carrying my own cash. They send me a bill after I leave and it amounts to about 3 weeks of using their money before I pay it back. Do you think it helps a player to use a marker, I mean bring more comps or free play or does it possibly hurt since I am using their money interest free?
Again, it depends on the casino. I’ve never known it to hurt someone – unless they don’t pay it back! The casinos like it because they figure you might play more than you ordinarily would if you used just the cash in your pocket. However, it usually doesn’t help a player long term. Comps are based on the level of your play and perhaps other factors, like win/loss numbers. The only time it might help is on your first visit to a particular casino, when you don’t have a play history there.
Finally – I am getting too many questions, here in the comments and in private e-mails, about the availability of good video poker games. I do not know the complete inventory in every casino in the U.S. Actually no one does, but there is one resource that comes the closest to helping you out with your scouting. Every wise VP player will have this database bookmarked: http://www.vpfree2.com/ It is not 100% accurate; nothing can be because things are changing so rapidly in casinos. But it gives you a good starting place. Look at every casino in the areas you visit, check the machine inventory and the slot club and comp information. Then combine the machine EV with the benefits EV and see what/where you should play for the best total EV.
Yes, I know it is harder than it used to be to find good machines. So you are going to have to scout harder, be more flexible in your game and casino choices, and work the slot club benefits and promotions like a mad man – or a woman possessed.