Harrah’s card is
Diamond in the rough

Jan 22, 2007 4:06 AM

If you’re a video poker player then you’ve seen all the colorful names of the upper echelon of slot club cards. Chairman, Presidential, Platinum, Executive, Top Banana, etc. etc. etc. But one staple in the industry still carries on as being the absolute best for those not relying on gobs of free-play to help make up for their massive losses in obtaining the highest levels possible: The Diamond Level Total Rewards Card from Harrah’s.

First, let me say that there is one level above Diamond in the Harrah’s system: Seven Star. Where Diamond I believe requires something like $100,000/year played in video poker, Seven Stars has a requirement ten times that. Why someone would ever shoot for that status I’ll never know. I’ve just read through all the literature, and there are very few extra "over & above" benefits associated with Seven Star status that the normal player would ever use. Harrah’s has that level for a reason, and it’s not because they simply enjoy "giving away" the store if you know what I mean.

But let’s get back to the very reasonable and realistically attainable Diamond card from the Total Rewards program. There’s two ways of getting this card: First, play as previously identified within a calendar year; or, check with your favorite property on their particular requirements for the "Diamond-In-A-Day" offer.

Everything adds up, and until 2006 I had the required 10,000 points for the Diamond card each year. But because I reached my overall yearly win goal in early August this past year, I had to be creative if I wanted to keep my card — which I really do.

I believe Diamond benefits have a wide range of differences depending where in the country you obtain the card, how often you play, and if you give a lot of play in the Las Vegas market. Because of that, I’ll explain my particular experience, which I know mirrors that of many in the California area who go to Las Vegas or Reno/Lake Tahoe often.

Up until Caesar’s/Paris/Bally’s/Flamingo, etc. were taken over by Harrah’s, much of my play within the system had always been at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Reno, and the Rio. Because I have had a Diamond card for so long and I live in the Phoenix area, I average one visit per month down to Harrah’s Ak-Chin, which is around 70 miles south of where I live.

Ak-Chin is an Indian run casino, and you may already know that I do not play for profit at anywhere other than in Nevada casinos because of my knowledge on how the machines are regulated. That said, I do quite a few training sessions over here using my card, which in turn generates free-play and other offers.

The hotel at Ak-Chin is a comfortable one, albeit out in the middle of Maricopa which is the same as the middle of nowhere. So one night a month I go down there for a comp night, play whatever free-play I get through the machines just once, take out whatever I win (I’ve even hit one $4,000 royal playing just twenty bucks through) and visit their Diamond Lounge for a few hours before turning in. The next morning I get up and wait until rush hour through Phoenix dies down some before heading home.

This past year, because of all the premium Strip properties taken over by Harrah’s, I’ve spread my play around between Paris, Caesars and the Rio. As a result, not only do offers keep showing up from all of these fabulous resorts — they seem to come with valuable free gifts or shopping sprees more often than not. They actually send out comp room offers 5-6 months in advance. That’s great for those like me who like to plan as far in advance as possible.

As I said, it’s hard to beat that which Harrah’s offers within its Diamond Card program, and I hardly touched the surface. I haven’t found anything that comes even close for the amount of play I give them. You want value then play at Harrah’s. You can win anywhere anytime and you know it. Just set goals and stick to them, and get with the program.