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It’s time to gobble up those goodies

Dec 3, 2007 5:39 AM

Every year around this time the casinos seem anxious to rope players in. While I have to admit that I take what I call "professional advantage" of such offers whenever and wherever possible, there is definitely a huge difference between how I approach these things versus how advantage players do. And, driving a few thousand miles has absolutely no adverse effect on whatever I plan.

In fact, I’ve just returned from a trip through Laughlin, Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and back through Las Vegas and Laughlin again — and it was less than a week since my last such romp. The first trek netted me numerous gifts from Harrah’s Great Gift Wrap-Up along with an extra $550 in my pockets from free-play take and coupon-cash when I returned home.

My second venture required even more driving, and even though my rental car didn’t get particularly good gas mileage and the price of gasoline averaged around $3.25/gallon, I still came home with several thousand dollars extra in my bank account. Thanks to the casinos, it truly is the time to be jolly.

How am I able to do this so consistently and so often without having played video poker for profit since I attained and surpassed my yearly win goal in late April? Well, one reason is because I used my player’s card throughout most of my play earlier in the year. Another is because the casinos want my money.

What I mean by "professional advantage: is this. No casino wants me or anyone else who plays for goals (and there isn’t many, obviously) to just stay away until next year. As such, I continue to get more lucrative offers until I do return, and even then the offers still come.

The result? Naturally I return, but on my terms and my terms only. There’s free-play, cash, gifts and all kinds of comps being offered, and I scoop as much of it up as I can fit into my trunk. Whereas others are reeled in and they play for several or more hours a day just because "they’re there" I simply hit and run in exactly the same manner I do when I’m playing for profit.

On my latest trip, I stopped in the Aquarius in Laughlin to play through $100 in free-play that I received in the mail. My last hand played was a $1200 W2G winner, and I was gone.

In Las Vegas at Red Rock Station and after a fabulous meal at Terra Rossa, I turned $50 into $200 on a game that the math folks call a loser — 25¡ Bonus Poker. Again, I was gone in a flash.

The next morning I left for my favorite place on this earth — Lake Tahoe — and I stayed at my favorite location on the Lake: The Hyatt at Incline Village. Here I felt completely at home, as I’ve been coming to this Hyatt regularly for the past 12 years. I never use ATM’s in any casino, but I had some cash from my win in Laughlin so I decide to give the $2 machines some play while I watched some football.

I wasn’t playing for any goal or for any other reason than to fill in about a half hour until dinner. But just 20 minutes later on Super Aces I was dealt four of them for $4000.

When I got up the next day I went straight to the bank and deposited $3000, which automatically meant it would not be touched again on this trip. The rest of my stay up in Reno and Lake Tahoe was interesting and frustrating, but what trip isn’t for a gambler.

I went into Casino Fandango to play my $10 in free-play and ended up losing $300 while watching the game. I turned my $40 in free-play at Atlantis into $120, and I left the Peppermill with an extra $500. I had another excellent dinner with my friend Ted and his wife at the Steakhouse at Western Village, where we won a quick $65 each on one of their many full-pay machines, but before I turned in for the night I misplaced and lost $645 cash from my wallet.

Frustrating? Yes, very. But did it dampen my spirits for the rest of my trip? Absolutely not. Why should it? Sure I goofed and didn’t pay attention to a good amount of cash like I almost always do. But I was having a great time and I made an unexpected positive trip to the bank earlier, so life continues to be good regardless.

Back in Las Vegas with my friend Cody and his wife Valerie, we walked around town, played a little free-play here and there, and after another fully comped gourmet dinner we said goodbye. Of course I stopped in Harrah’s Laughlin to pick up $65 in coupon cash, and then hit the Edgewater for $50 in gas cards before heading home.

If all this sounds a bit much, it’s really not. I thoroughly enjoy running around the state to get whatever the casinos want to give to me. I’m not one to sit at the machines for even an hour, but they don’t know that when they fill my mailbox.

And the best is yet to come. December is here and that means more casinos scrambling to fill their hotel rooms and video poker machine seats with players. There is not a better time of year for video poker players, and I intend to make one more trip to fill my trunk.