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DaiLun's report on making 7* - How I did it (a very long post)

Discussion in 'Comps' started by DaiLun, Aug 25, 2015.

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  1. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    I am "effectively a 7* (barring any bad marks on my record) so I'm posting this early.

    So, let me start by targeting the audience for this report.

    There are people on this board who don't even worry about comp levels, they play high enough that they get what they want/need, their trip budget equals/exceeds my annual budget

    There are people that don't gamble, or aren't "gamblers", or people who would "pay to play", (i.e. Founder's Card members).

    Then there are guys like me. My annual "entertainment" budget is between $15K and $30K. I still work full time. I live on the West Coast, so Las Vegas is a 1 hour plane trip or an 8 hour drive. If I have to pay MORE than $250 R/T, I drive or I don't go. I enjoy gambling, and it's what I do for "fun". I have also embraced the fact that gambling is a 'negative expectation game", and that I should treat the money as "money lost" I have 15 W2-Gs so far this year.

    I come to Las Vegas at least 4 times a year for Silver Strike events. However, last year I made 12 trips. No more than four days, sometimes only one day. My home situations at this time dictates only "short trips".

    The target audience is a slot player (I am 98% slots, 2% table games) who would want know what the 7* benefits are and what the expected cash outlay would be.

    I had determined early in the year that 7* is the level I would want to achieve, based on the benefits received.

    Before this, I was strictly an mLife player, I had no luck at CET casinos and didn't even play there. However, I became dissatisfied with mLife because, even at Platinum level I found the offers "lacking", and the next level, Noir, was by invitation only.

    So, I investigated CET. I went to Harrahs Reno and hit a $10K jackpot in January, so I was up early for the year. CET also had a 50% TC bonus promotion in Q1.

    I made Platinum (5000TC) in Late February, Diamond (15,000TC) two weeks later, DAL1 (40,000TC) on in Late April, and DAL2 (80,000TC) in Early July. I made (will make) 7* in September.

    Remember that DAL2 is only a little over halfway to Seven Stars (150,000TC). Something to mention to CET once I actually make 7*

    I used the bonus days to my advantage. Almost all of my days were 1000-1100 or 2500-2600 TC days. I have calculated that the MINIMUM amount of action for a slot player is

    10 - 5000TC days
    20 - 2500TC days
    75 - 1000TC days

    I did screw up on one day and when the day had ended, I had 2462TC, so I "lost" 4000TC by not bringing enough money to complete my task (make 2500TC in a day). More on this at the end of the report

    Now, with action at $5 per TC, you can see that the minimum amount of action required is $250,000, and that would be based on:

    1)Optimizing your play (stopping on a machine when the countdown reads 500)
    2)stopping each day at 2500TC. The (way that I understand it, the) ADT on $250,000 of action is $25,000.

    You could actually make 7* at 500 TC per day, but that would really be like work because it would take 240 days to make it.

    I have logged 36 gaming days to date this year, and spent about 30 of them at CET properties. I figure that I (will make) made 7* in 33 days of gaming play at CET properties.

    So, what are the benefits of 7* that would make me "work" so hard and spend so much money?

    A full summary of the benefits are here:

    http://www.sevenstarsinsider.com/

    The highlights:

    All the benefits of Diamond PLUS:
    Two 4 day "retreats" (including the one at DAL2), with allowance for airfare ($450 at DAL2/$1200 at 7*)
    $600 meal vouchers ($100 at Diamond, $500 at 7*)
    A Signature event at one of four places, New Orleans, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe
    4 "dry" passes to the High Roller (no bar car)
    4 "wet" passes to the High Roller (open bar car)
    Special seating for the monthly attractions
    "special" casino parking privileges

    Several Property Only benefits, such as:
    4 day passes to Heavenly Valley Ski resort
    Free buffets
    Lounge access in Atlantic City (where they serve full meals)

    a full summary of the property benefits is located here:

    http://www.sevenstarsinsider.com/seven-stars-benefits-casino-by-casino

    Now, is the amount of money spent worth all of these benefits? That's really up to you. I decided early on that it was worth it to me.

    I have three local CET casinos (4 hour drive) that are my "go-to" places to earn TCs when I don't have "time" to go to Las Vegas.

    Gambling is a "negative expectation game". If you understand and accept that, you're halfway there. It's then a matter of accepting that a certain level is within your entertainment budget.

    After I got to Diamond level, I looked at the benefits, and decided that they were just "satisfactory", considering the number of time a year that I spend in CET casinos.

    So, the up front requirements:

    Based on 98% slot play, 2500TC days and note that this doesn't take into account "bonus" TC events such as the 50% bonus offered in Q1 2015

    An entertainment budget of $20-30K. Not telling you anything you don't already know, but this should be E.I. (Expendable Income)
    The ability to access CET casinos for the minimum number of days required utilizing bonus points

    1000TC 2500TC 5000TC
    7* 75 days 20 days 10 days
    DAL2 40 days 11 days 6 days
    DAL1 20 days 6 days 3 days
    Diamond 8 days 2 days 1 day

    The first year is the most difficult, since you need to "compress" your play to make 7* as quickly as possible. The second year may change my play strategy. Also, the comps (which are prmarily based on ADT) will be quite low until you "build" your reputation.

    Understanding the time schedule is important. In Las Vegas, the gaming day is 6AM-5:59AM. But in Reno/Tahoe, it's 5AM-4:59AM

    Remember earlier when I said that I "screwed up" and ended up about 50TC short of 2500TC, costing me 4000 bonus TC?

    Here's what happened:

    I was on a one day trip. I finished my activities at about 1AM an ventured up to Caesars LV with enough money for 1000TC, but (as it turns out) not enough for a 2500TC day. At 4:30, I was at 2300TC and running out of cash. I had the remainder of my bankroll in a safe back at my downtown hotel.

    So here were my alternatives (this was before I had set up a credit line at CET):)

    1)Quit
    2)Take a cash advance from my CC

    Since the bonus differential is large (1000 at 1000, but 5000 at 2500), I went with option 2, but it took a little longer than expected to get the cash advance, I could have gone to larger bet increments, but that would have incurred higher risk. I stayed playing two machines at $8.00 a pull. Unfortunately, the day "timed out"

    If you're in Las Vegas and playing at multiple CET casinos:

    The last thing you should do before you leave a casino is check your TCs at THAT casino. CET does not combine totals from different casinos at the machine. You need to have an accurate count before you leave. I remember the last trip where I was playing for a 2500TC day but forgot what I had racked up at PHo, where we ate dinner. I texted my buddy to ask him but he didn't remember. I guess that the TR booth can give you the total if you get someone nice enough to check and tell them that you're "chasing a bonus".

    If you're specifically "chasing" the TC bonus, consider stopping at 500, 1000, 2500, or if your budget permits it, 5000. The bonus credits do NOT increase geometrically after 2500.

    500 = 125
    1000 = 1000
    2500 = 5000
    5000 = 10000

    Strategies that I have adopted:

    1) If I get to a casino after 10-11PM, I only target a 1000TC day. My hosts are happy with that.
    2)Don't "bite off" more than you can chew. Playing $5 machines can accumulate TC faster, but can be devastating on your budget if you're not doing well. $4.00 penny machines are a grind but can keep you going longer.
    3)Be prepared to quit under one of the following circumstances
    a)You have reached your daily budget
    b)You have reached one of the checkpoint values (500, 1000, 2500, 5000) and are at 80% of your daily budget
    4)At 1000TC, I checkpoint, but remember that "past performance has no bearing on future results". The first 1000TC may only "cost you $100-200", the next 1000TC may cost you $1000.
    5)Playing once you reach 2500TC would require being "up" a lot, since the next bonus increment is 5000 (another 2500TC). I have never played a 5000TC day.

    So, what have I benefitted from all of this work/play? So far this year:

    Tangibles
    1)I haven't paid for a room or a meal in Las Vegas/Reno in my 10 trips this year. Eaten with friends at Giada's, Gordon Ramsay Steak, The Strip House at PHo. (That's about $750 in cash value alone)
    2)Received a lot (over $2000) in FP so far this year
    3)Preferential treatment at most CET properties (preferred parking, HOL privileges, etc.)
    4)I actually enjoy CET properties again.

    Intangibles
    1)The knowledge that my vacation is "paid for" in advance, all of the meals will be comped
    2)The knowledge that I always have "somewhere to go" to take a break from life's pressures

    The bottom line:

    1)I am below ADT for 7* level this year, which is within my entertainment budget.
    2)I have reached a prestigious level with lots of benefits that I CAN (and will) USE.
    3)It WAS a lot of work, but now I can relax without (too much) pressure to play.
    4)More "free time gives me more "free time" to engage in non-gaming activities.

    I expect next year to be even better, since 7* is "guaranteed" until 3/2017. I have the Signature Event to look forward to, as well as a higher level of Free Play and meal comps.

    Thanks for hanging in there. I hope that this helps anyone who is considering 7*.

    Through the remainder of 2015 and 2016 I will be tracking the cash equivalent of what I received as a result of making 7*, and will be happy to post the results for anyone who wants to read them.
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  2. newmans

    newmans VIP Whale

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    Thanks for putting it out there..........a very interesting read.

    My comment would be that Diamond Aspirations 2 gives you $750 in airfare, not $450. For me, I am 7 Stars and my play has increased over last year, but my free play and offers are down year over year. My freeplay offer for September is only a third of a year ago. My backend comps haven't changed, I'm still RFB.
     
  3. westcanguy

    westcanguy Low-Roller

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    Thank you very much for that post. I found it very informative. I do have a question for you, though about your statement "1)Optimizing your play (stopping on a machine when the countdown reads 500)" Could you please explain how the countdown meter actually works? I see that the number is always changing but never knew what the relevance was for me.
     
  4. Uncle__Joe

    Uncle__Joe Tourist

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    Very interesting.

    Have you tracked how many TC's you earn in an hour? on a $4 a pull penny vs a $1 x 3/5 reel?

    Curious if you much time you would budget, in addition to the $, to get to your 500 or 1000 TC level. And, if your time available determined your game of choice.
     
  5. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    The countdown meter starts at 500 and tracks play for TC.

    It counts down from 500 and increments the TC counter accordingly.

    If you are playing a $5.00 machine (or an increment of $5.00), you won;t see the countdown change, since it is counting down $5.00 for each pull.

    If you are playing a penny machine for $4.00, after the fist pull, the TC counter won't change, but the countdown will show 100, indicating 500-400=100. If you leave the machine at that point, you will not have accumulated ANY TCs.

    The countdown timer only counts down after the spin has completed.

    I realize that we're only talking about one or two TCs, but if you like to "switch machines often, it could add up to 20 or TC a day that you're "losing". If you playing to the 500TC day, that could be significant.
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  6. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    I haven't actually tracked the time, but I think that playing a penny machine at $5.00 bet, I made 785 TC in about 45 minutes.

    My strategy is to checkpoint at 1000TC, so getting there quickly (without getting beaten too badly) is the first goal. If I'm up at that point (it has happened), or not down significantly at that point, I will progress to 1500, the next checkpoint. At that number, I will make a decision to go "all in" or quit. At the 1500TC checkpoint, I have always gone "all in".

    I can be done gambling for the day in 2-3 hours.
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  7. Bigcash12000

    Bigcash12000 Tourist

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    Awesome information!! this is a great thread for those of us who are interested in tier credits and the various levels. Thank you
     
  8. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    You may not be able to tell when you are playing less than $5 denom and switch machines, the countdown timer may start at 500 again, but I think fractional TCs and RCs get carried over.

    There's several times I end up having TR statements for a trip that look like this for RCs:

    FractionalRewardCredit.jpg
     
  9. alanleroy

    alanleroy Tourist

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    So about what did it cost you to make 7 Stars? Or did you come out ahead because of your early 10K jackpot?
     
  10. adbynot

    adbynot High-Roller

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    So, basically I should be looking at only playing to a certain level/day and nothing in between. As far as the 80% of your budget, do you mean remaining when you reach a level or down 80% at that level. Are the levels 500,1000,2500,5000 then because you post further down talked about a 1500 level.
     
  11. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    He said his losses were less than his theo, so I very much doubt he is ahead. My completely uneducated guess is that he is stuck 15-18k
     
  12. Guy_

    Guy_ Low-Roller

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    Hey DaiLun,
    Very good read and thanks for sharing.

    Do you have specific machines (or group of machines) you prefer to play to allow you to accumulate more TC's with less risk. I get that most penny machines are set close in pay back percentages but some allow you to grind longer then others.
     
  13. B S

    B S MIA

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    This is my main question. I loved all the detail in how you did it, but what did it cost in losses, if any? I get that it was $250,000 Coin-In, as well.
     
  14. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    I didn't really want to give the exact number (because I haven't actually "made" Seven Stars yet . Leave it to be said that strictly at CET casinos in pursuit of 7* I am "down" but down much less than ADT ($25,000). I have not calculated the exact amount of comps and other things to offset.

    I know it's a wide range, but I guesstimate that it's somewhere between 10K and 20K out of pocket, that's why I recommend $15K to $30 budget. I will have a better number once I 1)actually make 7*, and 2) sit down to work on all the numbers (travel included)

    As a 98% slot player (2% VP and table games), I am guessing that this would be the highest cash outlay (depending on luck, of course).
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  15. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    To maximize the effect of the daily bonus TCs, you should stop when you reach one of the round levels.

    I think what he's saying about the 80% is this:

    If you get to a checkpoint and have used 80% of your daily bankroll/loss limit, stop - don't try for the next level.

    I'm not sure I understand that, because every level is at least 2x the level below it.

    So if it took you 75% of your bankroll to get to 500, I wouldn;t be too confident about getting another 500 with only 25% of my bankroll left. Maybe he can clarify that. Of course, it depends on the size of your daily bankroll.

    Personally, I have found that on an average trip, my slot loss is 20% of coin in. I've mad many trips where it's within a couple of % of that, a few trips where it's been significantly lower due to handpays or real good runs, and none where it's been significantly higher.

    So I would work backwards from that history and expect that to get to 500 TCs is gonna be $2,500 coin in and $500 loss.

    I usually stay at Caesars for 5 - 7 nights each trip and I actually very heavily front load my play the first two days to maximize the bonuses. I don't mind playing little or nothing the last few days of a trip, I'm usually trying to recuperate anyway.
     
  16. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    I have a "set" daily budget (between $1250-$1500), and can go 20% over that budget but very rarely above that.

    My budget is set so that I can make 1000TC with the "worst luck" and 20% over. The bonus at 500TC is really "pitiful". Thankfully, I have never had to "settle" for 500TC.

    The majority of the time I make 1000TC on less than my daily budget. I believe that I have gone into the 20% over 3 times, and hit something which brought me back to under daily limit. Only once did I exceed the 20% over, and stopped immediately after hitting 1000TC and found some non-gambling thing to to. I have never attempted a 5000TC day. In fact, when I hit the 10K jackpot in February, I left a day early because I was "scared" that I'd give it all back. It was Reno and there's not much (non-gaming things) to do there.

    The 80% number is more an emotional level than a hard, factual one. If I'm getting tired of getting "beat up", and just want a "break", then I take a break. My host tells me that there is no set expectation for Diamond or Seven Stars players.

    Hope that clarifies it.
     
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
  17. Guy_

    Guy_ Low-Roller

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    Still curious:
    What slot machines do you prefer? i.e. China Shores, Miss kitty, etc
     
  18. Hobofrank

    Hobofrank Prime Minister of Idiocracy

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    yeah but you're exclusively a craps player right?
    think that it's not exactly a direct comparison
     
  19. newmans

    newmans VIP Whale

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    Yes, I'm 98% a craps player. It's a very tough way to earn 7 Stars. No comparison.....not apples to apples.
    When CET offers freeplay, you can also take it in table game vouchers.....which are play until you lose.
     
  20. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    For $1 and $5 is typically stay with IGT and Bally reel machines. 1, 3 and 5 lines, occasionally 9 lines.

    For pennies I typically stay away from Konami machines, unless it's Dragon's law. The bonuses are typically too small.

    My mix of W2-G jackpots has been varied. As stated in my last trip report, I wasn't even AWARE that you could get a hand pay on the scatter bonus on Charm and Amulet!

    I like the Buffalo machines, all models.

    Miss Kitty and Pelican I find to be too frustrating. Like 50 Dragons, for me the bonuses are few and far between.

    I also stay away from the "themed" machines, like "The Walking Dead, Wonder Woman, and Sons of Anarchy". Something's gotta pay for the royalties. Ever wondered why at mLife casino those machines are $10 for a TC?

    I'm still waiting to join the 9 Wicked Ladies club on Wicked Winnings.

    The latest "grind" machine that I've played is the "Gold Bar 7's" by IGT. I used it to grind out a couple of 2500TC days at Harrahs Reno. It's a penny machine that has a max bet of $5.00 and a low volatility machine, meaning lots of small payouts (under $100) but few big payouts.

    I typically walk through a casino and if I hear a machine "calling my name", I will stop and break a hundred into it.

    I have a list of the 15 W2-Gs that I received this year and the denominations are pretty much evenly split between pennies and dollars/$5. If I have time tonight I will post what machines I hit over the past two years.

    OK, I looked at my records

    Of my last 29 handpays

    .01 - 9
    .05 - 1
    .25 - 2
    $1.00 - 6
    $5.00 - 11
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
    New Orleans 7* retreat. Food, food, and more food . . . .
    Tentatively Tahoe or LV . . . .
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