Cashing for ‘free’

May 15, 2006 12:35 AM

I know I’m preaching to the choir, but how many times have you taken the casinos up on their free-play offers, expecting a good time surrounded by nothing but hearts and flowers, only to end up leaving early with a pit in the bottom of your stomach?

Well cheer up, you’re not alone. It used to happen to me all the time before I learned how to manipulate that giveaway into my favor.

You don’t have to be a genius to realize the reason behind free-play, or for ANY promotion, giveaway, gift, or freebie. It’s called Marketing 101: Select the group of players who never seem to be able to get enough video poker; fire them out a few offers that include the all-important free-play; then sit back and watch the flock respond.

Well, here’s how to handle those offers so they always end in your favor.

I’m a better than average player at Sam’s Town. But over the last two years I’ve lost probably $40,000 in the place. Most of the time, however, the losses were on the initial stages of my strategy, and since their high-limit area does not have much to offer, I’ve almost always hit my win goal by going to another casino after losing there.

What does all this mean? It means the offers come in monthly, and since they’re always for three nights plus RFB and some cash or free-play, it’s definitely worth a check-in. Besides, they have two of the best restaurants off the Strip — Billy Bob’s & Fellini’s — which means that’s where my dinners will be served. I usually don’t stay there because of the much better quality comped rooms elsewhere. But it nonetheless is a staple for my lower limit play.

When I passed through there in March, I did so with the intention of avoiding a playing session, because I had a host of other appointments around town. However, I will always run my $100 in free-play through the machines once — as required to do before cashing out — and then take out whatever I win from it.

That alone is quite a chore for most players. Ask yourself if you have the discipline to go into a casino, run the free-play through just once, and then leave with the profit. Casino marketing departments are so sure you won’t act logically that they have no trouble at all in sending out these deals to anyone who shows even the slightest propensity to play.

But I am not their normal player. In an abbreviated Advanced Romp Thru Town (see for more info on this strategy) with the hundred bucks in free-play, I hit a royal on the $2 level.

Sound too easy? Yes it does, because almost every time I pick up my free-play I only turn it into about $60 or so. But that set the stage for the day I win more, and without that discipline, who knows where all those wins — and the $8000 — would be today?

Since I’ve trimmed my trips to Nevada to once a month on average these days because of family interests and commitments, I decided to use this cash as a bankroll for a Romp Thru Town (RTT) strategy session at the same machine. This time I used 100 credits each on Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker at five denominations ranging from 25¡ to $5.

The hot machine went cold for nearly 930 credits, but then the hand we all play this game for was dealt: AAAA3 for $10,000. Now, can you imagine this: If I were pounding away aimlessly at a single denomination — say dollars — when I hit what would have been a $2000 winner I’d be up a whopping $1070 at that point.

But because my strategy was developed to progress when not attaining goals, the hand put me ahead $8600 and an end to the session. Need I say any more?

And it doesn’t end there. I’m told I cannot win playing what theoretically are negative machines like the game I was playing. Can it possibly get any more hilarious?

I’ve been doing the same thing since 1997, and the results have not changed. I’m absolutely sure this is the reason why so many people write to me and eventually reject the long-term strategy nonsense.

Strategy-wise, the mathematical approach just doesn’t make much sense.

The following day I tried one more RTT at Mandalay Bay and lost $1400. No, it doesn’t always work, but contrary to the critics’ claims that the large losses will wipe out the many smaller wins, it’s really the other way around. When the large wins come, they more than make up for any of the losses — large or small. It is the way the strategy was developed, and it is the way that it works.

My for-profit trip for May was scheduled for the May 7-9. The trip is still on for various other appointments, but I won’t be playing much at all. Since I am far ahead of my monthly average expectation in 2006, I see no reason to risk anything until I’m ready. That’s called playing on your own terms and not on the casino’s. It is a player’s only true advantage. Use it wisely.