Changing tables for video poker casino comps
March 12, 2013 3:00 AM
by Marc Meltzer
When I first started gambling I only played blackjack. While sitting at the table one night I heard an ascending roar repeating over and over at a craps table. I cashed out at the blackjack table to see what the ruckus was about.
Evidently the roller had hit a few points and hit various numbers. The table had stacks of money everywhere. Before I even knew it was one of the best bets in the casino, I was hooked on the action and fun.
A couple years later a friend and I were planning a trip to one of the Caesars Entertainment (then Harrah’s) casinos in Atlantic City when he said we should book a room on his account because he was getting great offers. OK, great, less work for me.
On the drive from New York City I asked about how he got such better comps. We played with a similar bankroll but he played video poker. I played craps and blackjack. He explained to me that just because he played quarter video poker didn’t mean he was only playing 25 cents at one time.
Maximum credits for a hand of video poker is $1.25 per hand. Whoop dee doo, I thought. I usually had $45-$60 in play on any given roll. The $1.25 in video poker gets played over and over, so when you play a game with high returns the $20 entered into a video poker machine can be played for hours and comps add up much quicker than table games because hundreds of dollars may have been played.
After learning that, I decided to learn how to play video poker. This would get me more comps and offer potentially an excellent cash return on my money spent at the casino. This is also when I learned gaming odds.
Video poker can be boring to me so I just added it to the mix and split my time between that, blackjack, slot machines and craps. Money played in slot machines is similar to video poker and offers better comp points, but they have much worse returns. I decided to keep that to a minimum.
Every visit isn’t meant for me to maximize my comps but, just like knowing odds at casino games that I play, I want to know how comps factor into each game. There are video poker games such as Deluxe Deuces Wild that return over 100%. My brain can’t process the correct moves to master those games so I stick with 9/6 Jacks or Better, which has a return rate of 99.54% because it’s the easiest to play correctly.
If a casino doesn’t have 9/6 Jacks or Better, 8/5 Bonus Poker is a good option since the strategy and returns are similar. Gambling for comps is never a good idea, but it’s important to know what is available and how that fits into final returns. That “free” sandwich has value and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at MarcMeltzer@GamingToday.com.