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Best of John Robison

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Advice for achieving a higher players' club level

30 June 2008

I would like some advice on how to achieve a higher level status for a casino's member's card. I play at local river boats in Southern Indiana and would like to achieve at least a gold status ranking at some of the boats.

The general requirement is to obtain 5,000 points within six months from Jan-June or July-Dec.

I go to the boat an average of six times a month and usually play the penny slots. I play all the lines but only bet one or two coins. Example: On a 20-line penny machine, I play all 20 lines at one coin.

I also occasionally play a quarter machine or a nickel machine for one coin.

For every $4 bet, a player earns a point I have been told. A higher level status entitles players to special invitations, more entries in drawings, and special mailings.

Thank you. Enjoy your articles.

Carole

Dear Carole,

Thanks for the kind word about my columns.

The only sure-fire way I know of to get a higher status level in a players club program is to play more.

In your example, you're betting 20 cents per spin. If each point requires $4, you earn one point every 20 spins. It will take you 100,000 spins to earn 5,000 points. If you play 10 spins per minute, that's 10,000 minutes, or about 167 hours. If you play six times a month, or 36 times in a half-year, you have to play over 4.5 hours per visit.

Playing that long so many times per month would require quite a bit of dedication. I doubt that the higher status level is really worth that much of your time.

Of course, you can cut down on the amount of time needed to earn the points by increasing the amount you risk per spin. Only you know your bankroll and whether you'd be comfortable betting higher amounts. Again, I doubt the higher status level is worth the additional risk.

Players' clubs are modeled after airline frequent flyer programs. Just like with the frequent flyer programs, there might be additional ways to earn points in the players' club. Keep your eyes open for these additional point-earning opportunities, but read the fine print. Just like with the airline programs, these additional point-earning opportunities don't necessarily count towards elite status.

Finally, here's another way to look at the requirement for the higher level. The higher level requires giving $20,000 in action over six months. If penny machines pay back about 90%, which might be too high an estimate for penny machines, your expected loss is $2,000. You might lose more or less or actually win, but over the long run, we expect to lose on average $2000 per $20,000 played on a 90% long-term payback machine.

Are the benefits of the higher level worth $2,000 to you? If such an option were available, would you go to the slot club booth and pay $2,000 to be elevated to the higher level?

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots