In our most recent article, we touched on some common, "AP Traps," that are out there, which are essentially just plays that look good (read: positive) and actually are not.
This article is going to be devoted to being a new Player's Club Member at any given casino, and some things that you may or may not wish to do as such. The next article and many articles after that will get back into dissecting specific plays and/or promotions.
The first topic I want to briefly cover is bonuses and coupons for signing up for a Player's Club at various casinos. This topic first popped into my mind because I had a friend who has recently vacationed in Vegas and stayed at The Palms. In any event, he had purchased the Las Vegas Advisor and American Casino Guide coupon books, about which I wrote an article pertaining to the EV of new member sign ups and coupon promotions:
Anyway, I asked my friend, who we'll call Adam, because that's his first name, how he did with all the coupons and he listed the casinos he visited, but didn't remember the results.
I had noticed he did not mention Orleans or Gold Coast and asked, "What about Orleans and Gold Coast? I know they have coupons in both of those books."
Adam replied, "I didn't go there because I don't think I would stay or play at either place, anyway."
Flabbergasted, I exclaimed, "So, then why not take some free money! Especially given that you're not going back!?"
He told me that he didn't think the coupons would be worth anything, so I jumped on-line and checked out the LVA & ACG listings for the two casinos. We had moved on to a different subject, but I was writing down the offers and (perhaps rudely) cut him off with, "Let's see...LVA has a $10 slot Match Play at Orleans and a $10 Table Match Play at Gold Coast, so there's about fourteen dollars and change there. ACG looks nice, we have a $10 Match Play for Gold Coast as well as another $10 Match Play for The Orleans and a $10 slot Match Play for The Orleans, so there's another $20, give or take."
"What's your point?"
"My point is that it would have taken you an hour, tops, to get from the Palms to both of those casinos and use the coupons that you've already purchased, so your value for that hour is about $35 which pays for the ACG book entirely and starts paying for the LVA membership."
I don't know how people constantly manage to miss little stuff like this, especially when, I would presume, you buy the books for the sole purpose of using the coupons! All of this, "It's not worth it," nonsense is crazy, but spending that same hour playing at a negative expectation is?
That relates to the coupons, but it's also worth scouring the websites of any casinos to which you may be going to see if they have any offers for new sign-ups, but sometimes:
The advice that your parents gave you when it comes to losing your virginity also holds true for losing your metaphorical, 'virginity,' at a casino. I signed up for everything that I could reasonably get to when I wrote the above article, but, I did that for the purpose of writing the article which is geared towards a first-time Vegas visitor who may or may not be going back.
Whether it is Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica or anywhere else, if the destination is a place that you think that you are going to go to more than once, then you might do well to compare current PC sign-up offers with previous ones before going to that casino.
For example, Cannery Casino (North Las Vegas) is currently (4/2015) offering a Spin & Win sign up offer for new PC Members by which the member can spin an electronic wheel and will win something between $5 Free Play and $500 Cash. At most, I would assume an EV between $5-$10, however:
Whether or not you should sign up as a new player really depends on whether or not you may return to Vegas in the future. Why? Because Cannery has run significantly better promotions than this one in the past. One could search, "Cannery Promotion," in these very forums, and the first result is a thread that I created discussing a $500 loss rebate that had been run at both Cannery & Eastside Cannery:
It may not always be that simple, you may have to ask around about past promotions or dig a little deeper into the bowels of the Internet to find information. However, while Cannery may not offer something THAT good again, it shows that they have a willingness to occasionally get pretty aggressive about New Member promotions.
There is definitely a significant value difference between spinning a wheel with a value that is probably between $5-$10 and a $500 Loss Rebate. And, while Cannery (or other casinos) may not offer something as aggressive as things they have offered in the past ever again, it might be worth it to wait and see.
If your play is sufficient to generate computer-generated offers, but not necessarily sufficient to warrant the attention of a host, then this section is for you:
We talked about going ahead and using coupons at casinos that you do not plan to visit again, or even if you do, (to use the coupons again next year, hopefully) that you do not plan to play very much at, but what if you do plan on going back?
The first thing that a player should do before signing up for the Player's Club (or using coupons) is to take a nice walk around the casino and see if there are any games that you like, determine whether or not you like the atmosphere, the cocktail waitress get ups and essentially determine whether you may return to that casino again later in the trip.
The reason why is because many casinos that have computer-generated offers base those offers on one thing and one thing only and that is ADT, (Average Daily Theoretical Loss) and a great way to cut that ADT in half (and get worse offers) is to have a day of play on your record where you have barely played anything.
Due to the fact that I don't know, to the dollar, how any specific casino works, we're going to discuss my favorite hypothetical casino, "The Golden Goose Casino." Player A walks into the Golden Goose Casino with two coupons amounting to $20 in value and immediately decides he likes the casino and will probably return again at some point during this trip. However, it's getting late and Player A is kind of tired, so he decides he's just going to sign up for the PC and use the coupons before he leaves...
Imagine that Player A is going to go on a day later in the trip and play Video Poker putting about $4,000 coin in, (a skilled VP player could do this in about four total hours of actual play on quarters, and some are even faster) this being Las Vegas, even if Player A's game is a 98.5% Video Poker game, that $60 theoretical loss might be enough to get him some offers to come back into the casino, because the casino figures that if Player A is staying there, he'll play more there, and if he plays more there, the casino is expected to make money.
This $4,000 coin-in in the first day, at the Golden Goose Casino, generates an Expected Loss of about $60, but the Golden Goose markets VERY aggressively to out-of-state visitors hoping to get them to stay there and play more. The result of this coin in is an offer for three free room nights, an invitation to a slot tournament, $20 Free Play and $50 in food credit during the course of the stay.
However, had Player A played the coupons the night before, his ADT would essentially be cut in half and his $2,000 average coin-in with an Expected Loss of $30/day would say to the computer, "This guy is a very small player." He might still get offers, but it could be for a buy-one get-one two-night stay instead with $20 in food credit, a slot tournament entry, and no Free Play.
In the latter case, for the same amount of total action overall, Player A has now lost $20 in Free Play, $30 in food credit, and if we say that the nightly rate is $79, he now has to pay $79 for the first night, get the second night free, and then either pay $79 for the third night or stay elsewhere.
Ultimately, Player A's decision to do the coupons before he left and then come back a different day cost him roughly $200 in value when it comes to his offers. He would have been significantly better off to have saved his coupons for his return and have the better ADT.
Not all casinos look at ADT to determine offers, but a good many of them do, so if you're thinking about making a visit to a casino, especially as a new player...and you might wish to return and/or stay there in the future, you should try to get as much coin-in in one visit as you can.
The higher level player you are, especially if you're a slots player (as they get the best offers in many casinos) the more important this point becomes. Even if you're playing a hugely negative expectation game, there's still no good reason not to get the most out of it.
And, if all else fails:
The final thing that I would like to touch on when it comes to going to a new casino is the potential importance of talking to a host ahead of time, if you can get ahold of one.
Some hosts are pretty tight-lipped about playing requirements to generate offers, or how the system that determines what your offers are going to be works. Some hosts won't even get into the level of play required to generate the attention of a host at the casino. On the other hand, some hosts are very forthcoming with generalities about how the system works, required levels of play for offers, and the level of play necessary to warrant the attention of a host.
For the tight-lipped hosts, I say, "Screw it, why play there?" If they don't want to give you any information about how the comp system works, then I don't think that there's any great reason to visit that casino...unless you have coupons.
Finally, for a player who has generated computer mail/E-Mail offers, but has not received a call from a host, it doesn't hurt to try to make your offers better. Simply call and ask for a host and explain the offers that you got, and if you've played more than that at other casinos, (or usually get more coin-in in one visit than that) explain that and ask the host if he can improve on your offer a bit. Make suggestions for what might get you to stay a few days at that casino on your next trip, despite what some hosts might protest to the contrary, a couple clicks of his mouse, and you got it.
Ultimately, if they can't improve upon your offers, the worst thing that could happen is that he tells you that, and if you still want to stay there, they are almost certainly not going to take away the offers you've already received because you asked for more. Even if the host declines to give you more, you could state what you may like on future trips and ask him/her what the necessary level of play is to get those kind of offers.
Whether you're a negative or positive expectation player, there's no reason not to be well-versed on what constitute good or bad new player offers for a specific casino, to try to maximize your comps and to try to get as much information as possible about how your offers might improve in the future.