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Musings

Come Back, Please. We Miss You. Really.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Interesting.  The casino offers that have been filling my mailbox the past couple of weeks.  Casinos I haven’t played in for months (and really didn’t even spend much money in when I did visit) are sending me bigger and better players club deals/coupons/promotions seemingly every day. One mailer went as far as saying — in big, bold letters — “We Miss You!”  (Wow, how can you resist such a plaintive appeal?)  To sweeten the deal, a couple of $15 coupons accompanied this particular “love letter.”  And, actually, quite a few of the offers I’ve gotten are enough to get me to visit these casinos.

In addition to great room offers, free shows and merchandise giveaways, I’m also noticing quite a few more tournaments and promotional events for both slot and table game players.  Even the offers recognizing my April birthday have better incentives such as the $25 in bonus birthday play from — thank you, very much — Casino Arizona in Scottsdale.  (A side note:  Casino Arizona’s April giveaway is an umbrella.  These are the same people who gave away mittens and a scarf earlier this year.  Hmmm, someone needs to tell them it rains here just about as often as it gets cold enough for mittens and a scarf….)

Also interesting, a number of the offers are coming to me from the casinos via my email box.  Sending offers through email makes so much sense.  Got rooms to fill in a hurry?  Put together a quick email and send it to thousands of club members within a matter of minutes!

So, what does this all have to do with you?

  1. Always, always sign up for a players club card even when you don’t plan on playing a lot.  A casino can’t send you offers if they don’t know who you are and where to find you.
  2. Do not throw away the mailers unopened.  Who knows what goodies await inside?
  3. Sign up for email notifications from the casinos.  You’ll get some great last-minute offers.
  4. If you live somewhere it rains a lot, I’ve got an umbrella you can have….

Hotels.com Spring Sale- Last Week to Save up to 30% at Hotels.com! – Expires by 4/13/09

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Best. Casino. Promotion. EVER.

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Came across this players club promotion while doing some research for an article I’m writing for “Casino Player” magazine and just had to share it with you.  Seems Easter Sunday in Australia will be extremely lucky for anyone who loves — make that adores — chocolate.  At the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns, Queensland, players who enter the casino’s “Easter EGGstravaganza” contest have the chance to WIN THEIR WEIGHT IN ASSORTED CHOCOLATES up to 150 kilograms.  That’s 330 pounds of assorted chocolates!

Check out this excerpt from the “official rules:”
“To enter the promotion, Reef Club Members must earn a minimum of 50 Bonus Points on any day and swipe their membership card at the Entrance Terminal on that same day, to automatically receive 1 entry form….

6. A minor prize draw for 1 Easter Basket will be conducted on Sunday the 29th March at 4:00pm and again on Sunday the 5th April 2009 at 4:00pm. A major prize draw for 150 kilograms of assorted chocolate will take place at approximately 4:00pm on Sunday the 12th April.

7. The major prize winner will win an amount of chocolate equivalent to their body weight up to a maximum of 150 kilograms, or if they do not wish to disclose their body weight, they will automatically win 150 kilograms of assorted chocolate.”

Considering my love for all things chocolate, I would SO BE THERE for the drawing.  Even if I wasn’t chosen, I might be able to talk the lucky winner into sharing the wealth because, as the rules state…

15. Prizes are not transferable or redeemable for cash, services or other goods.

(Now, I also have you wondering what that magazine article is all about but you just have to wait ’til the May issue release to find out!)

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Video Poker Tournaments A Perk for Players

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
Video poker machines wait for tourney players at Bally's Las Vegas.

Video poker machines wait for tourney players at Bally's in Las Vegas.

One of the benefits of joining a casino’s players club is getting invitations to free tournaments — slots, video poker, table games, even bingo — along with the free hotel stay and other perks that go with the invite.  (Of course, you have to have past play in the casino to receive these types of invites.)

In a previous post, I mentioned that our last trip to Las Vegas was planned around a video poker tournament that we played in at Bally’s Las Vegas.  The tournament consisted of two 10-minutes sessions (one per day for two days) and it is no exaggeration when I say neither of us could hit anything during the tournament play.  No four-of-a-kinds, no straight flushes and certainly no Royals.  We both held four to the Royal, three aces, three low cards, three high cards — you name it — and still couldn’t hit for anything.  Funny thing though, while playing “for real,” we both did pretty well.  All those hands we couldn’t hit on in the tourney, we did, in several instances, pull off in the casino.

I’m thinking about this because we’re playing later this week in another video poker tournament — this time here in Phoenix — and I’m hoping that our luck will have a change of heart and maybe one of us will end up “in the money” this time out.  But, as always, even if we don’t win it’s always fun to compete, meet and talk with other players and generally just go out and have a good time on the “house’s” dime.

By the way, I’ve been practicing my Double Double Bonus tournament-style “holds” at videopoker.com, a great site for free, non-wagering game play.

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Moments, Memories & Great Plates – Looking Back on 2008

Friday, January 2nd, 2009
A gorgeous view of the mountains and a moonlit Colorado River as seen from Harrah's Laughlin.

A gorgeous view of the mountains and a moonlit Colorado River as seen from Harrah's in Laughlin.

I think one of the best ways to recall a year is to sort through the photos I’ve taken over the past twelve months.  They bring back lots of great memories either through the specific image or by tweaking my brain into remembering what all happened on that occasion.  To break down a whole year into a few paragraphs isn’t easy, especially when I’m fortunate enough to say lots of great stuff happened in the past twelve months.  So rather than doing a monthly blow-by-blow, I chose to pick out some highlights from our year in gaming.

Best Casino “Hits”P.B. – Dealt four 4’s then hit for two out of three kickers on the draw playing Triple Double Bonus Spin Poker Deluxe™ with a payout of $1190.  C.C. – Dealt four 3’s and a kicker playing TDB Spin Poker Deluxe™ with a $1600 payout.

Best Discovery:  The Diamond Lounge patio over-looking the Colorado River at Harrah’s Laughlin, Nevada casino.  A great spot for relaxing with a drink, especially on a warm full-moon night. (more…)

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More Casino Resolutions for 2009

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Say good-bye to one of the worst years for the casino industry.

Onward with more resolutions we think casinos should make for 2009.  Getting butts into the chairs – gambling, restaurants, and show seats — is the Number One priority for stayin’ alive in ’09 so here are some ideas to help you do just that.

— Stop screwing around with your Player’s Club rules and regs – particularly as they affect your faithful players.  I have heard more complaints from players about this one issue than any other this year.  You have less money but so do we.  (more…)

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Casino Resolutions for 2009

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
Gifts are great...just not mittens and backpacks.

Gifts are great...just not mittens and backpacks.

Lists, lists and more lists!  Best of, worst of, most notable, most notorious.  So as not to be left off the year-end bandwagon, this week we are going to list some New Year’s resolutions we’d like to see the casinos make for 2009.   (Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.)

To all casinos both large and small; please resolve to stop giving away dumb stuff.  I love “gifts” – quote marks used because we both know I have more than paid for them with my play — but puh-leeze make it something I would even remotely consider using.

For instance, I am the proud owner of Casino Arizona’s latest marketing giveaway — mittens and a scarf.  Uh, did someone miss the Arizona in that name?  If you’re trying to make an impact, wouldn’t you want to give a gift that has some sort of relationship to your business?  Yeah, black mittens and a fuzzy scarf immediately say “Let’s go to the casino…in sunny Arizona” to me.  The month before, a thin “stadium blanket” was the featured free gift.  (This fascination with cold weather is really starting to make me wonder if they know something we don’t and the newest Ice Age is upon us starting in the Arizona desert.) (more…)

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Casino Promotions in Over-Drive to Attract Gamblers

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Has your mailbox been as stuffed with casino offers as ours has lately?   Thanks to the downturn in the economy, P.B. and I are hearing from every casino we ever stepped foot into over the years.  Stacks of promotional flyers for free room stays – now for three or four or more nights at a time! – and invitations to tons of slot, video poker, live poker and black jack tourneys inundate us.  (My mail carrier, Veronica, must think Doyle Brunson’s living in my guest room!)

We’re also being showered with bigger and better coupons for “free slot play.”  Even our local Indian casinos here in Arizona are not only joining in the marketing fray but upping the ante with $100 for Diamond members at Harrah’s Ak-Chin in Maricopa and $25 from Fort McDowell in Fountain Hills, just to name a couple.  Those same offers usually come with food coupons as well.  Free buffets, free dinners, free food vouchers – if you’re hungry they’ve got you covered.

Email offers?  Check.  Offers by phone?  Check again.  Leather jackets, Dooney & Bourke handbags, gift cards?  Check, check, check.

So what really gets us into the casino and sitting at a machine or table?  Locally, coupons for free slot play or cash are number one for us with merchandise giveaways a close second.  But only if the item is something we want like the Sony PSP® we got last year at Harrah’s Ak-Chin.

When we travel several times each year to Las Vegas, we do look at the offers we’ve gotten when planning the actual dates.  We especially enjoy slot and video poker tournaments and try to play in a couple of those each year.  Oh, and cash and free slot play and gift cards are good, too.  Merchandise doesn’t really get us to go to Las Vegas – too far for a leather jacket with “Caesars Palace” emblazoned on the back.

We’re curious.  What are your favorite offers?  What gets you to make the date?

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First In, First Big Win at Slots

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Yesterday I told you all about P.B.’s memorable $1,000 Royal Flush at The Rio and today I want to tell you about my first big hit in a casino.

Mine is a classic story of beginner’s luck.  This happened more years ago than I’d like to count while I was on my honeymoon with P.B.  We were in the Bahamas staying at what was, at the time, the Paradise Island Princess Resort & Casino.  After a full day of sight-seeing and snorkeling, we had dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants and headed for the casino.  We walked around the crowded gaming floor for quite a while before deciding on which machines to play.  Because it was so packed, we weren’t able to find games next to each other but we were at least in the same general area.  I sat down at a multiple-line fruit and 7’s slot machine and started feeding quarters in and pulling down the lever.  (Told you it was a while ago!)  I went through one roll of quarters and had just cracked open the second roll when I hit a bunch of red sevens.  I didn’t even know it was a big hit until the lights started blinking and the bells started ringing!  In my excitement, I left — yes, left — the machine to find my new husband who immediately told me to go back to my machine and wait for the attendant.  NOW!  I still laugh when I think about it.  (Smart man.  No wonder I’m still married to him.)

My total win was 2500 quarters — $625 — which went toward our hotel bill for the week and toward my enduring fascination with casinos and casino gaming.

Now, I open the cyber “floor” for the story of your first big win.  Check out our “Post Contest” for your chance to win a copy of the new 2009 American Casino Guide. 

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And It Feels Like the First Time….

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Everyone who enjoys casino gambling can remember — always in great detail — the first time it happened.  Where you were, what you were playing, who you were with.  I’m talking about your first time.  The very first time you hit big in the casino.

For video poker players, it was no doubt their very first Royal Flush.  For slot players, maybe it was three Triple Diamond symbols or three Blazing 7’s appearing like magic across the screen.  I will always remember my friend, Mark, calling me on his cell phone from the California casino in downtown Las Vegas to tell me he had just hit for $10,000 on the Triple Double Diamond dollar slots.  Cha-ching!  For blackjack and poker players, craps and roulette fans, it was that first “streak” that just went on and on until your bankroll looked like nothing you’d ever seen. 

Here’s a “first story” for P.B. and me.  While it wasn’t his first $1,000 Royal, it was the first one he got while he and I were playing together.  We were sitting side-by-side at the bar at The Rio in Las Vegas sipping wine and playing Double Double Bonus video poker, quarters, when P.B. nudged me and said “Look.”  That’s it, just one word – “look.”  When I glanced over, all I saw was the “Call Attendant” notice on the screen so I thought his machine was broken.  I was saying something dumb  like “Oh, I’m sure someone will come and FIX it” and he said … “No, LOOK!”  That’s when I saw the Royal Flush and the big fat $1,000 JACKPOT sign!  It was a very fun hit with everyone at the bar coming to look and even the bartender calling people over to see it.  (By the way, he hit it in diamonds and he held the Ten, King and Jack and drew the Ace and Queen.  See what I mean about remembering in great detail!)

Tomorrow — My first big hit in slots PLUS the announcement of a fun new contest for our readers.

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New Slot Machines I’d Like to See

Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Lucky cherries...why not lucky lawyers or smoke monsters?  (Photo courtesy of Lisa Brewster, sophistichate.com)

Lucky cherries...why not lucky lawyers or smoke monsters? (Photo courtesy of Lisa Brewster, http://sophistechate.com

I think being a slot machine inventor, game developer, whatever you want to call it, would be one of the coolest jobs on the planet.  I want to be the person who decides that the cherry gets to be the lucky fruit.  Sorry apples, pears and pomegranates…move back to the bowl because you just don’t cut it.  Triple diamonds, blazing 7’s, weird Slingo™ dude and even you, Monty Hall –  yep, you’re all in.  But “Chainsaws & Toasters®?”  What kind of weird nightmare did the person have before coming up with that game?

So, if that game made it through the vetting process, why not some of these?

Magic Ex-Wife –– Get five lawyers in a row to go to the bonus round where the machine takes all your credits and your dog.  Sorry, there’s no winning this one. (more…)

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The Lucky Bracelet and Other Myths

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008
Could this bring you casino luck?

Could something like this bring you casino luck?

When it comes to good luck charms, I’ve seen a lot of strange things in casinos in Las Vegas, here in Arizona and, really, all across the country.  I remember one “regular” at a casino here in town who, back in the days when actual coins still poured out of the machines, would accumulate buckets of quarters and carry them from machine to machine.  If he was having a good day, you’d see him perched on his seat in front of a slot machine with three, four or even five completely full buckets of change under his chair.  Watching him move from machine to machine with a stack of change cups sort of piled atop each other “Leaning-Tower-of- Pisa-style” was a pretty interesting sight.  When asked why he carried around all those quarters rather than cashing in for some lightweight bills, he said his method of only going to the cashier at the end of his gambling day brought him luck.  (I’m sure he’s not having near as much fun with the paper tickets spit out by the machines today.) (more…)

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