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What's avalable for low rollers?

Discussion in 'Las Vegas for the Frugal (not Cheap)' started by bobwerner, Aug 2, 2014.

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  1. bobwerner

    bobwerner Tourist

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    I've read with interest that some people go to vegas with very large bankrolls. I've seen stories of 3 - 4k coin in on video poker. I, on the other hand, am lucky to play $50 - 100. As you can see, I'm probably not even on anyone's radar. I'm not asking for the moon, sky, free room or even a free show. I would like to get a free buffet, but I don't think I'd qualify as it appears I would need $1000 points. Is there anything, anything at all, I can do? Other than spend more money of course. I'm looking at bringing or spending around $1k during my stay.
     
  2. bobwerner

    bobwerner Tourist

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    Just to be honest to Texas Gramma <Thanks for the PM>
    1) This is my 8th trip to Vegas
    2) I'm staying at Main Street Station downtown, so I'm presuming most of my gambling will be there.
    3) If and when I casino hop it's for one reason: Texas Hold'em. I play the tourneys and normally buy in for $50 or less.

    If I "act stupid" and say I've never been in a casino before would I be considered a first timer since I've moved to upstate NY or do they go by your SSN?
     
  3. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    1) Join player's clubs. They send out teaser offers all the time. Get cards from everywhere downtown.
    2) Stop playing poker. Casinos don't seem to give squat to poker players, mainly because their rake is so low.
    3) As you said, spend more money. But without a player's club card, you could drop $10,000 and they'd never know it.
     
  4. IloveBJ

    IloveBJ Tourist

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    Getting a player's card at the Orleans, followed by a few hours of playing $5 blackjack there, followed by signing up at www.bconnectedonline.com will probably get you offers every two months for two nights of free rooms (Sun-Thurs) with a $10 dining credit. Orleans is a nice place to stay and play.
     
  5. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    First, the most important thing is always: never play for comps and never chase comps.

    Getting free rooms and free buffets and free show tickets and all that is a nice perk to receive for your gambling dollar, but it doesn't make sense to go and risk losing another $200-300 at blackjack so you can get that buffet dinner for free or dropping an extra couple of hundred dollars in the slots so the next time you come to Las Vegas, where you might not even stay at the same place, you'll get a $75 room for free.


    With that said, some tips on comps:

    - If you want something you have to ask. There aren't random casino personnel just walking the floor and approaching people and doling out buffet comps or offering them a free night. If you are playing a table game you can ask the pit boss, if playing slots you can ask at the player's club booth. But they don't have a "menu" or something like a list of comps and they aren't mind readers so you need to go up and ask them for something. If you are interested in a buffet then you would just go to the player club booth and wait in line until its your turn and then when you get up there you give them your players card and then just say "Hi, I wanted to know if I had enough play for a buffet pass?" and they will let you know if you qualify or not.

    - If you want something you have to give them a way to offer you something. Before they can send you any offers or discounts they need to know who you are and how to get a hold of you. For this you will need a players card and need to use it all the time as well as giving them your correct mailing address and email address. If you have moved (as indicated in your second post) you should update your mailing address with them. And don't worry about spam or junk mail with the email address: casinos jealously guard their players lists (they are worth millions of dollars) so they don't go and dole out your email address to spammers.

    - When you go up to ask: don't be shy or nervous or scared to ask them for something. At the players club booth their whole job is pretty much just stand there and have casino players come up to them and ask them for free stuff all day long. The worst thing they can do is say "No", and my rule of thumb is: If you don't hear "No" from them from time to time then you aren't asking for enough it means you aren't pushing the limits on what you can get out of them.

    - But you do need to be realistic: what you can get depends on your level of play. If you go in to a casino and put $20 in a slot machine and then 15 minutes your money is gone it would be unrealistic to think you could go to the players club booth and get anything out of them for that. You can still try, but thats a case where you shouldn't expect anything.

    - And to that end you have to think about playing around. If you have a small budget you should try to concentrate your play at one property if you want something from them. That doesn't mean you have to play there all day long and never venture out, but you should be giving them 40% of your play *IF* you want something out of them in the future.

    - As was mentioned: the casinos really don't give much in the way of comps (many don't give anything in the way of comps) to poker players. They just don't make enough money off them

    - And then lastly I would say: Don't underestimate your bankroll. You are talking about a $1000 budget and while you didn't mention your number of nights, that is still a pretty decent sized bankroll, especially for a place like Main Street Station. Also, its not always about the size of your bankroll, but more about what you do with it: the casinos don't look at how much you start with, but more about how much you play through their machines - IE: if you put $20 in a slot machine and playing at 30c a spin you manage to play for a full hour on that, that might be $200 in "coin through" which is what the casino cares about and if that machine has a 10% house edge you probably earned about $7 worth of comps there
    (how I arrived at $7: The example $200 played through at a 10% house edge = $20. That is how much the casino expects to make off you. Typically the casinos return around 30-35% of their expected win in comps... so ($200*.1)*.35=$7)

    Now that $7 might not sound like much, but then in this example we are talking about only 30 cents a spin... the most important thing is that it adds up: if you put in 6-8 hours of play in the casino by stretching your money out that $7 can add up to $42-56 on the day worth of comps... at some of the cheaper downtown properties that'll cover the cost of the room for a night and possibly get you a free buffet.

    Thats how my wife and I got our early comps: we didn't have big budgets in our early trips but we got a lot of play out of our money and we'd end up playing penny slots for 12-16 hours a day, so in the end it just adds up. And thats how it keeps going: we might only go with $200-250 a day each to gamble with but we play so much all day long that such a small amount is able to get us comp nights at a place like Aria along with some free play, free food and some resort credits.

    But remember: don't chase comps :) :) :)
     
  6. Tammy58

    Tammy58 Frugal Slot Jockey

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    Are you on facebook? Are you going to be visiting the strip? You can earn free buffets playing myVegas. You can sign up online for an mlife players card number. At least it is free food :) Do you mind couponing? The American Casino Guide is not expensive and is full of coupons. You can look at them online on their site before you buy the book. A small amount of play and a Total Rewards card at Caesars properties can often get you a free room in the future for a few nights. Just trying to be helpful.
     
  7. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

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    Poker players can get 2 things, depending on the poker room. At Wynn you would only get $2 an hour for comps but if you were playing all day they would comp you lunch. Also, they had a poker room rate if you played 6 or 8 hours a day, I forget the exact number. They were not strict about the food comp.
     
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  8. bobwerner

    bobwerner Tourist

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    Ok, answers to some questions you folks posed:
    I'm staying for an entire week at MSS. I arrive on Sunday Sept 7 and leave Saturday Sept 13. Yes, I'll probably do a majority of my gambling there. I'm not much of a slot player as they call them a one-armed bandit for a reason. I do, however, play blackjack and craps. I normally look for a $5 table, play the limit on the line with $10 behind for odds. I'll throw the occasional $6 6/8 bet and a $2 dealer yo.
    I enjoy blackjack and try to play standard bets, but really enjoy craps.
    No, I will never join Facebook. It's just a huge virus waiting to happen. I did buy the ACG and will be coupon hopping. I still don't understand the coin through thing. Maybe that's because I don't play slots.
     
  9. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Reading all this here: low rollers can still get comps, but based on the play you described here you would fall in to a category below "low roller"

    Note that that's not meant to be an insult, just an explanation of why you are not on their radar and would have trouble getting even a buffet comp.

    IE: if you play blackjack at $5 a hand and the house edge was 1% at 70 hands per hour, thats:
    $5 * 70 * .01 = $3.50

    That $3.50 is how much the casino would expect to make off you in an hour... technically if you have 2-3 bottles of beer in an hour and you are coming out ahead.

    With that $3.50 they expect to win off you most casinos return 35% of their expected win back to the player in the form of comps... so $3.50 * 0.35 = $1.22

    The $1.22 is about how much in comps you can expect off them for each hours worth of play... to get a free buffet at that level you would need 10 hours worth of play.


    As for coin through: thats just how much play you get for your money. If you sit at a slot or video poker machine and put $100 they don't rate you based on the fact that you fed the machine a $100 bill, but instead how much actual play you got for your money... as an example: if you put $100 in a machine and played at 50c a spin for 600 spins an hour for 5 hours and then cashed out with $20 left they would rate your slot play at: spins per hour * bet * hours played = 600 * $0.50 * 5 = $1,500

    So they would look at it like your coin through was $1500

    And this is why slot players get so much in the way of comps:
    if you play for 10 hours at $5 a hand at blackjack and you might earn $12-13 in comps, enough to get that buffet for free...
    If you play for 10 hours at $0.50 a spin at slots and you would probably earn upwards of $120-150 in comps a day, enough to get your buffet for free, plus a free breakfast, plus a free lunch, plus some free slot play in the casino, plus a free room, plus some free credit you can spend at the spa/gift shop/bars...
     
  10. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    With $1000 budget my advice would be to learn Jacks or Better as close to perfect as you can (it's not that hard) and to play quarter 9/6 Jacks at the bar at MSS. $1000 will go a long way on that game and you might get on a run and be able to rack up some points. Maybe it will trigger some future offers.

    The other place I would recommend the same strategy at would be Four Queens - you can play quarter 9/6 jacks there too and probably get some offers.

    Your craps play probably won't get noticed, but if you can manage to grind out 4 hours of $5/$10 blackjack at Main Street, you can get a buffet comp. I've done it with a starting bankroll of less than a hundred dollars. I was super lucky. I made money, had fun, and got the buffet.
     
  11. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    I'm a low roller.
    I only play when there are comps, ie, some added value to the play. Jean Scott outlined that approach in her books and the principle applies now although the free stuff is less availalble.

    My strategy is:

    * Never play on the strip. Look for casinos where when you play low rolling, you get something.
    *This can be done in very simple ways. The American Casino Guide will have plenty of places where you can earn 200 points and get a free buffet. Play just 200 points and move on.
    *Choose hotels that give you comfort and cleanliness but not luxury and pizzazz. I treat myself by not choosing the cheapest El Cortez rooms, but when I started, I'd stay in those as well.
    * Downtown offers lots of benefits. Main Street Station has full pay VP JOB at the Boars Head Bar. I go with $20 because right away I'll get a nice microbrew for free (I like the Black chip porter) I'll play and sip. I have perhaps two beers and then I set a quitting time because I've gotten my comps. I never put in more than $40 and if I break even, I quit. Or if after my second beer I'm down $20, I might play to broke or to $30. Setting a quitting goal after the comps have been earned is important for a low roller strategy.
    * Seeding the Four Queens with play may get you some future offers. Also, seeding the D. Both are cheap places to stay and booking them back to back gives you easy check in and check out over a longer period. When I am really low rolling I put all my bankroll for the trip into Four Queens play because they will cover my weekends. Playing on one trip to prepare for low rolling the next is key. Avoid playing a quick $20 on impulse somewhere where you get no comps. Save the $20 and gamble it with the other $20's from other days at a place where seeding for future offers pays off. Not Bellagio. Four Queens, D, perhaps other downtown joints.
    *Overlapping months helps because comps are often during calendar months.
    * Air fare adds to your expenses. I go free on a SW charge card and stay for 20-25 nights to get full value from that credit card comp. Generally, I can work it so I pay under $15 a night for my rooms. Overlaping October and November will get you a shot at two comps at the same place. Orleans for example ends one two night mailing in October and begins another in November. I often get 4 free nights. The D offers up to 4 nights 2 for 1 but only together in one calendar month.
    * Free shows, Groupon shows, Living Social shows. There is currently a Living Social for $11 for the Nat Burton Comedy. Sam's Town at 1 on Thursday offers a free review with some great acts that change every week. The lounge acts at Eastside Cannery can be seen for a cheap homebrew beer or two ($1.50 each) nursed during the sets.
    Combine that with a free buffet earned by playing a free game on the Eastside Website.
    *My Vegas is the low roller dream. You play some free games at home and earn chips to buy cheap rooms (just pay resort fee) on the strip and cheap food and free show tickets. I went with my wife and in three days we used $700 in value, all free. Some were 2 for 1.
    * True low rollers ride buses. Study the routes and how to buy a cheap all access 15 day pass. Then study the free shuttles. The bus and shuttles can be ridden for less than the tips you give the cabby and half the price you pay for rental car gas.
    http://vegasonthebus.blogspot.com/
    * Study this part of the board board. Look for hints in the trip reports. Plan the trip with flexibility. Do all the free things.
    * Look for low roller places: Skyline out Boulder, Jokers Wild for Craps, other deals at Boulder that come and go. Westin has a happy hour that won't give comps but 25 cent roulette is a comp of gaming pleasure in itself.
    * Learning games with low house advantage, or no house advantage will help. VP is one good gamble if you study, learn strategy, watch pay tables, and play for the math not just to be lucky. Live poker is another if you take time and be patient and toss 80 percent of the hands. Low limit 2-4 is the low roller game. But played at CET it is too expensive to beat with huge rakes for the house and for the bad beat that is just a dream. Play from 2 am until 2 pm at the Golden Nugget. The bonus high hands are progressive there and double during those hours by the house. So 4 jacks got me $600 last trip. Play for 4 hours and you have most of the breakfast buffet paid for with a $10 comp. Use an American Casino guide coupon and it will give you $10 in chips free when you buy in. Play the $28 tournament at Sam's Town in the morning. A couple hours of poker cheap. The low roller game used to be the El Cortez but sadly those days are gone and Jackie, the pot splasher gone as well.
    *Go with another gambler and share rooms and 2 for 1 food coupons.
     
  12. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights VIP Whale

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    Many times just signing up for a player's card will get you something. I have a player's card at almost all of the casino groups. To lure you to stay at their place, they will occasionally send you room deals, sometimes free stays. I have received free play along with free stays. And these are places I don't play. I just have a player's card. Also don't play games that you don't like. You're on vacation. So set times to play what you have fun at. If you like poker, especially if you're good at it, set some time to play it. You may not get many points, but the key is to play for enjoyment where points are just an added benefit. Many people here have given good advice, and you will soon learn yourself how to have fun on a limited budget in Vegas and become the expert to give advice to others. Have fun!
     
  13. azlefty

    azlefty Low-Roller

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    The ACG has a good coupon for the Golden Nugget poker room. Buy $50 in chips and get $10 free. It's my favorite place to play 2-4 limit holdem with friendly, light competition.

    Also, if you need lower than $5 blackjack, you might want to check out Jerry's Nugget, about 2 miles north of downtown. I think they may still have $3 blackjack but I haven't been there in several years. But don't walk there at night as the neighborhood doesn't have the best reputation. The other place worth going to if you have a car is Joker's Wild in the far corner of Henderson.

    El Cortez had $3 blackjack until a couple years back but I think the min is now $5.
     
  14. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    Sorry, I have to disagree here. If the poster likes to play poker, then keep playing poker. Having a fun, and maybe profitable day is better than getting a free meal.

    #2 might be better said as "Keep in mind that Poker will not earn you much, if anything in comps"
     
  15. vegasvp

    vegasvp Tourist

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    This is sound advice.
     
  16. bull1029

    bull1029 Low-Roller

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    I agree. I play quarer VP (mostly JOB) at 4Q and get rooms comped, some food credits, and all the free drinks I can handle. Not bad!

     
  17. RedRiverRose

    RedRiverRose Low-Roller

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    This is a great, highly informative answer to the poster's question.
     
  18. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    I guess the question is what do you want? A mean, a free drink is a comp at the end of the day. For room comps, its a combo of finding places you like that appreciate the way you play and that may be an offstrip locals casino over the strip or downtown. Even if you don't see free rooms you may get some decent discount offers combo'ed with a little free play or food credits. My personal experience is that it may take more than one visit to really get on their radar. That being said, you don't have to throw your whole bankroll at them either.
     
  19. waverunner

    waverunner BBHMM

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    I am really Frugal when it comes to Vegas. I prefer going solo so i eat off Strip at buffets. I don't need to fine dine.
    For the last 3 years in haven't paid for a CET room, roughly 9 weeks. That includes Caesar's Palace and currently Planet Hollywood (last month and again in November).
    I don't gamble enough to warrant a higher tier, but still get free rooms, i have no complaints. And make sure you're on their e-mail list, otherwise they won't know who the heck you are.

    I don't really drink alcohol, but occasionally i will but mainly non-alcoholic. But i tip the CW's well because they work their butts off, and the CW's don't give a crap what you order, as long as you tip. Sure, you don't HAVE to tip.........but CW's know who are, and you will be called $#@! in the tray room, so don't mess up, tip.

    I use my TR card at CET because they give me rewards credits.
    I never, EVER, use my card on the day of my departure.
    I play slots/video poker not tables. Seems to me CET is more generous with machine players and MiLife with table players. YMMV.

    If you're going with someone, by all means get as many coupons as you can. You can save some money.

    Which brings me to gambling bankrolls. Have a daily budget that's comfortable for you. That budget needs to be set in stone before you leave for Vegas. Bet on machines (i don't use tables, so i can't comment on that) that further enhances your daily budget. You will most likely lose in the long run, so stretching your daily budget is key. If you are losing at the outset, don't go back to the hotel safe or an ATM for more money. Accept the mistake of not using money management and on the next day follow your budget by spreading out the day/night wisely.
    That's where knowing what machines keep you playing longer and which don't. If i'm betting $300 per day, my goal is to keep most of my bankroll at the end of the day. This will affect, in a good way if you use a card, points, which can be used towards food, comps, etc.
    Free rooms are actually not free, for 5 nights i still have to pay $100+. But i never even considered a Visa card which would put me over to the next tier, (but since most of you do fly because you're out of driving distance, sometimes the Visa card can come in handy), but don't buy things or gamble for the sole purpose of striving for the next tier. This is what happened in 2008, people borrowing money they don't have. So be careful.

    Lastly, there are some people in here who prefer Downtown, Off Strip, etc over the Strip. That's fine and dandy, and more power to them. But some of us prefer the Strip. I have always preferred the Strip since the 70's. Many new visitors prefer the Strip because they didn't come to Vegas to only gamble, sometimes they may not gamble and prefer Cirque or Giada, or walking the Strip and seeing the Sphinx, going to NYNY, Lake Como, or seeing a Mirage. That's also fine.
    Most people only stay in Vegas 2 or 3 nights. They want to experience Vegas to the fullest in the least amount of time, they could care less if MSS pays you .00034 % on the dollar more than Caesar's.
    Vegas is not just for gamblers anymore, either good or bad, it is what it is. If you want to spend you're entire vacation only Downtown, that's perfectly fine, if you want to spend an entire vacation time at Caesar's or MGM, that's fine also.
    Vegas will still get 30+ million visitors a year and that's good. And maybe, just maybe, Bally's will finally fix their walkways/escalators.
     
  20. TrixieM

    TrixieM Low-Roller

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    @waverunner: why don't you use our card on your day of departure?
     
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