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Exercise your ‘power’
over the casinos!

Aug 10, 2004 2:50 AM

Casinos don’t hold all the power over players. Certainly, for video poker players, casinos run the show with more than 99.9 percent of their patrons, and that number may be a little higher whenever we talk about just the local casinos around town. When it comes to the power of the casino marketing machine, resistance by locals is limited.

Of course, casino managers know the game better than anybody else. Sure, the average Joe is part of the game, but the casinos’ main mark are those who wander around town claiming they won’t play unless THEY hold the advantage over the casino in one way or another.

For some reason, these "advantage" players are able to shut from their minds the simple fact that, barring an error, no one ever holds the edge over a casino, anywhere. While these players claim the promotions are there just for the casino to take advantage of the every day unintelligent player, they themselves are the ones who take the most cash to such deals just to watch it all go south.

Now let’s change the tables for a moment. Let’s look at how I play the game and just why it is that I, for the most part, do not fall under the spell of any casino. Remember, I said "for the most part" and my most recent trip to Reno/Lake Tahoe explains why.

Normally I always drive to any location in Nevada that I choose to play. But in this instance, since Harrah’s Lake Tahoe offered to cover my airfare, I decided to get out of town for a few cool days away from the heat here in Phoenix. When I arrived into Reno, I took my $22,000 bankroll over to the Peppermill expecting to win $500 and leave for Lake Tahoe. Not so. After over three hours of playing my Advanced Romp Thru Town (RTT) Play Strategy, I recorded a $5,100 loss. In all that time, I had no quads (four-of-a-kinds) and only two full houses.

After I limped out of there I chose to change my strategy to standard RTT (where I play for small wins at many casinos and leave). Did the fact that I did not take my slot club cards for anywhere other than the Peppermill, the Hyatt at Incline Village, and Harrah’s bother me? Ha! That’s a guru worry and not mine. I play for the money and not the points. Let someone else get on the tube and blab all they want about how they’ve got a room full of casino junk that cost 10 times what they could have been purchased at the stores.

After romping through Atlantis, the Eldorado, Silver Legacy, the Reno Hilton, and several other smaller places in town — and after hitting four 2’s on $5 Triple Bonus Poker Plus, I strutted out of the Biggest Little City In The World with an overall profit of $1,300 for the day.

While the Hyatt took $420 of my money, Caesar’s gave $400 of it back. By the time I finally checked into Harrah’s I was completely exhausted, and I slept until noon the next day. Now, however, I was out of my element. Always playing my sessions on my own terms, after reaching my goals (in this case and on this trip, it was $1,000) I am able to get into my car and drive home immediately. But because I was on the casino’s schedule, they had me — and my money — right where they wanted me.

Later that second night I decided that since I was not able to leave I would be like any other tourist and continue to play. After I lost $1,900 I knew I had not chosen wisely. So I got up and walked slowly over to Caesars, and although I only took $800 with me, I won $1,000. It was then, at plus $400 overall, that I quit playing for the trip. Here also was where my extreme discipline took hold. With over $22,000 cash within my reach, I stopped playing. Ask yourselves — could you have done that? If the answer’s yes, then you are an intelligent gambler and you are not a friend of the casino. If you said no, then you belong in the first available meeting that discusses those kind of problems. If you can’t see that it’s far better to count out even a $20 profit than a $6,000 loss, then you’re much more suited to listening to the other guys.

So what power do I really hold over any casino? It’s called my own free will to do exactly as I want and when I want to do it. Think about it. Many times you’ll hear someone on TV ranting because of all the points they’re "giving away today" or because of the "double royals" promotion — or any other kind of hype. But follow the hype and you’re just another sheep, strolling into the fleecing pen. I march to the beat of my own drum — which just so happens to be the money drum.