Maximizing your comps

Jun 25, 2007 2:23 AM

OK, so we’re into the prime time of the summer season in Las Vegas again, and many of you are already planning your summer trips to play video poker and have some fun.

And at the same time the locals continue to run around town trying to get the most bang for the buck from every offer and promotion they’ve been able to corral from the slot clubs. But guess what””in most cases so am I!

When I am playing seriously I make a trip a month to anywhere in Nevada, and I still do the same even now. Last year after reaching my goal in August I continued to make monthly journeys throughout Nevada and for good reason: The offers just keep on coming and they get more lucrative as time goes on. And the longer I stay away from a property, the juicier the offer.

Because I play at a variety of places and use my slot club cards near-religiously except when playing my high-stakes single-play strategy, I get the same constant flow of sometimes incredible offers as any regular video poker player would get. But this year, since it only took 20 hours of play for me to win $69,000, I figured there’d be a reduction in offers. Boy was I wrong.

There are two basics that must be there in order for me to make a trip. First, the room must be free and it must be in one of the better hotels in Las Vegas, Laughlin or Lake Tahoe/Reno.

All of my meals must be covered either at one location or within a combination of properties.

And finally, I wouldn’t make the trip unless there wasn’t an array of free-play, free cash, gifts or gift cards awaiting me when I check in.

One thing that’s remained standard throughout the years is all of the above have always remained in effect. In fact, I’ve become so good at helping steer the offers my way exactly the way I require them that it’s almost like a second job to playing video poker for a living.

How does one do this? First, you must NEVER, EVER talk to your slot host or hostess. That’s the surest way of attaching a flag to your name and at the same time red-flagging the far superior computer-generated offers so the host may review your proposed visits at any time.

Remember, your host is only there for one purpose: To help you feel good about separating your money from your wallet.

Taking complete advantage of all the offers you receive requires a certain amount of discipline and determination (recognize those from my play-strategy’s requirements?). The number one thing you don’t want to worry about is how much gas money it’s going to cost you to drive from here to there or across town "just to pick up ten bucks." Anyone who says that is simply not a winning player and can’t stomach the expense of the fuel. Winning players couldn’t care less about the cost to gas up.

Next, if you get multiple room offers then for goodness sakes, check into all those hotels and grab whatever they’re handing out for your trouble of coming. I rarely make a visit to Las Vegas without checking into three or more resort hotels for the same nights, and at times I give the other rooms to my friends or family.

It’s not often I come to Las Vegas or drive up to Lake Tahoe without getting at least $500 in free-play and/or cash and/or other things of value on top of the free room and food and sometimes shows. And the best part is, if I play at all it’s very little.

Becoming interested in video poker in 1990 started off as a 6-year disaster for me.

But since late 1996 when I turned it all around by shunning the misled strategy of playing only optimal-play video poker, it’s not only been the consistent winning that’s interested me — but the ability to squeeze the very most out of the solicitations the casinos send out just to get the player to come in again. It’s been like beating them at two distinct games.