Should You Do A 10X Slot Dollar Day?
I opened my email newsletter from the Borgata and read that I could earn 10X Slot Dollars on Sunday, March 20th from noon to 7pm. 10X SLOT DOLLARS! Not five, TEN! Yippee! My knee jerk reaction when I see 10X is that of course I’ve got to re-arrange my schedule and play that day. The Borgata only offers 10X a few times a year and that makes the game I play, Jacks or Better, theoretically positive. Clear the calendar! It’s a no-brainer—or is it?
Why Do Casino’s Offer Slot Promotions?
Casinos offer game/slot promotions to get you through the door because they make money on every dollar that is wagered. Even smart players, who study the games and try to plan their play in the most advantageous way, can be tripped up by the many distractions and enticements employed to thwart their judgement. 10X Slot Dollars is a valuable promotion if you play video poker that has a low house edge, but there are other things to consider besides the base game:
- Are you already receiving mailers from this casino and are they rewarding you well for your play?
- Are you available and have the bankroll to play when the slot dollars become redeemable?
- Are you receiving comped or reduced rate rooms and do you want to continue to get these perks?
- How much time and money do you need to get the most from 10X Slot Dollars?
These are the kind of questions best asked before you’re settled in at your happy place, drink in hand, mesmerized by the blinking lights!
First, in order to earn any slot dollars at the Borgata, you have to earn a minimum of $5. At a 10X multiplier, you would eventually get $50 in slot dollars or bounce back cash credited to your account. (In AC there is bounce back cash as opposed to straight cash back that you can redeem as soon as you earn it. Bounce back cash is free play that you can use on your next trip. Usually you have to wait 24 to 48 hours after ending play, for it to hit your account and become valid for redemption.)
For video poker, you earn slot dollars at .10% of your coin in. (Coin in is the total dollar amount of your wagers, so for example if you bet $1.25 four thousand times, your coin in is $5000, which would earn you 5 slot dollars ($5000 x .10% = $5). If you play slot machines, you earn slot dollars at a higher percentage rate, but unlike video poker, you cannot easily figure out the theoretical advantage that the game has over you and it will be higher than if you were playing decent video poker. (For slot theo, you would have to keep careful track of your coin-in, and then interpolate the theo from the bounce back for that play.)
Comps are earned at .20% of coin in and can be checked by logging into your account at a machine. To check your slot dollars cut that amount in half because slot dollars aren’t displayed on the day of play.
I can only afford to play at $1.25 a hand, so I would have to play 4000 hands to earn the minimum 5 slot dollars. I can play accurately at 800 hands an hour, so it would take me 5 hours to earn the needed $5. One problem here is that 10X is only going for 7 hours and the Borgata is going to be crowded. (The 10X is going to attract more than just this one degenerate gambler to the casino!) In addition, the number of full pay machines (video poker machines that have a low house advantage) is limited and I may not be able to secure one for 5 hours.
Now, it might seem tedious to you, to sit at the Borgata and play video poker for five hours but there’s almost nothing I like better! The thing is though–that it might hurt my long term relationship with the Borgata, which I want to maintain or make better. The last time I was at the Borgata, I played a lot and I lost a lot. You could say I set the bar higher than usual. Playing $1.25 a hand for five hours isn’t going to match that last play, so it would dilute my theoretical loss. (Your theoretical loss or theo, is a way that the casino calculates how much you might theoretically lose to them. It’s how they figure out how much compensation (comp) you will receive in free rooms, food and play.)
I play in such a way that my long term expectation is to break even or better, but in the short run, say one five hour session, it would be very easy for me to lose between a quarter to a half of a Royal Flush. (A Royal Flush for Jacks or Better at $1.25 per hand is $1000). I could hit a Royal Flush and win $1000, but you can’t assume anything short term. In addition, I will have this same exact scenario when I go to use the slot dollars during a different trip (which have to be used within 90 days). The Borgata will reward you if you increase your play, but not if you scale back, and I want to be rewarded.
If the offers I receive from Borgata did not matter to me and/or if my bankroll was larger and/or if I could afford to play slots or I was a new player and wanted to check out the Borgata, then playing that day would be worthwhile. Jacks or Better at a theoretical 99.54% payback plus .10% times 10 slot dollars, plus .20% in comps (if you value them) makes the game worth 100.74% on March 20th between noon and 7pm and you could win and/or put in enough coin in to earn some decent perks at a very nice property.
As much as I’d like to play at an advantage, this promotion doesn’t fit into my long term strategy, so I’m going to have to pass on it. What about you?
Editor’s notes, based on commentary from Bob Dancer : CoachKitty is playing at $1,000 coin-in an hour. This kind of advantage is worth $7.40 an hour to her — much of which is not cash but “comps,” which are not worth face value. It costs her to get there. Minimum wage is higher than this. So, there has to be some further “value” to make this play worthwhile. In addition, someone who could only afford $1.25 a hand regularly could possibly afford $5 a hand during such a good promotion. This might very well be a better way to approach this 10x promotion.
Photo credit: Borgata