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What Happened to My Freebies?

21 May 2007

By John Robison

I'm a player, low-level, but a player just as well. I probably spend about $200 a week or so at the two Indian casinos in my state.

Lately, I've been going to just one of the casinos, as I noticed that the freebies I had been getting have been dropping off. However, I haven't gotten any freebies lately, still.

When I asked a friend who works at one of the casinos, she told me my ADT was low and that I was too low a theo. She kinda explained what she meant, but I didn't get it.

Can you explain what ADT and theo mean in the casino world mean? Is this all about how much I spend per month? per day? per week?

Thank you,

Dear Terry,

In this context, ADT stands for Average Daily Theoretical. It tells the casino how much it expects to win from you each day you play in the casino based on your past trips.

One thing you have to be careful of when you visit a casino without playing is doing something that starts a trip in the casino's player tracking system. For example, let's say the casino is giving away umbrellas. You have to show your players card to collect the umbrella. When the casino swipes your card, the system knows you're in the casino and it starts a trip for you.

Another example. The casino sends you a bonus cash coupon. When you present the coupon for payment, the system knows you're in the casino and starts a trip.

If you don't play at all on this "trip", a zero trip is included in your playing history, which can do some damage to your averages.

Let's say you played a 90% payback machine on your last two trips, you played $2000 through the machine each trip, and you lost $200 each trip. Your actual loss is the same as your theoretical loss. Your ADT is 90% of $4000 divided by 2 days, or $200.

Now you go to the casino to pick up a freebie, but you don't play. Your ADT is now 90% of $4000 divided by 3 days, or $133.

Most casinos look at only your last five or so trips in calculating ADT, so a zero trip will eventually fall out of the calculations. Still, the calculations could be enhanced to acknowledge the fact that players sometimes just hit the casino to pick up a gift and maybe a meal and don't play much if at all. The formula could drop a recent zero trip and substitute a better trip that otherwise would not have been included in the calculation.

Now that you know how the formula works, you can use that knowledge to improve your offers. First, concentrate your play in one casino each day. If you split your time between the two casinos each day, your ADT would be cut in half. Second, concentrate your play in one day. If you spend the night, playing a little on the day you check out can hurt your averages. It adds another day onto your trip and you could go from being worth $200 a day to only $100 a day. You have to find out when the gaming day begins at the casino (usually between 6 and 10 AM) to know how late you can play without adding on a day.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at 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