Last year, Michael told me about an idea to have a conference that would discuss maximizing travel miles and points and casino rewards. Ya know, bringing TravelZork dot com to life. What a great concept. The idea went dark for awhile and popped up just a few months ago. ZorkFest was ready to go! Everything from the location to the speakers were locked and ready to go. HUZZAH!
Why ZorkFest In Atlantic City Meant So Much To Me
Choosing to house the first ZorkFest at Bally’s in Atlantic City was perfect to me. My roots in casino gambling started in Atlantic City. This is where I learned the ins and outs of how casinos operate. My first visit a casino was down the boardwalk at Resorts. I hit the 45-1 slot on the Big 6 Wheel at least a couple of times.
That game is where everything changed. I switched most of my gambling to craps after learning that the big wheel has some of the worst odds in a casino. After craps, I added video poker to my gambling arsenal. I even added high limits slots for awhile. My friends were getting offers as good as me while risking a small portion of the bankroll.
Takeaways From ZorkFest
I’ve never been concerned about being an extreme advantage casino visitor. However, I always want to get the best bang for my buck – on my terms. We all have different needs. In fact, the first speaker of the day at ZorkFest, Seth Miller, reminded me of that during his discussion about getting to know travel points and miles.
One of the first things he mentioned was to know your goals. Angelina Aucello also alluded to this idea. Focus on the rewards that matter most to you. When I lived on the east coast I spent most of my money at Caesars Total Rewards properties because I wanted comps that I could use in Las Vegas. Borgata wasn’t part of Mlife (Living the Mlife: An Introduction) at that time and I needed a gateway to Las Vegas.
My goal has always been to be treated well for my loyalty. At the time, Showboat was a Total Rewards property and had a casino and offered better rewards and offers for my money, err loyalty. It might not have been the nicest of the Caesars Entertainment casinos but they treated me great and offered the best room, food, and beverage deals. I’ll be writing about this topic in a week or two.
In one of the casino seminars near and dear to my heart, Coach Kitty discussed adding video poker to your gambling repertoire. While I was playing craps with $10 bets and 2 or 3 times odds, my buddy would grind away at twenty-five cent video poker. At the end of the day, we both had similar rewards but he was risking less money. This didn’t make sense so I studied video poker and realized that his quarter games were accumulating more rapidly than my table games.
Related: Bally’s Atlantic City | The Glamorous Past, Building Onward, and Thriving not Surviving
Related: Atlantic City in Winter – A Laid-back, Low Roller’s Paradise
Maximizing Casino Rewards Then And Now
Once I added video poker to my gambling mix the rewards started exploding. Together we would have LFB (limited food and beverage), RFB (full food and beverage), and the best suites in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. This was peak time for my learning and loving perks of working the casino loyalty system. There have always been sharper spenders but I found the mix that worked for me.
I learned how to love and play video poker with about a 98-99% accuracy. This would allow me to play longer and get better rewards. This still does and matters even more. Skip ahead to today and I have different goals in the casino.
Now that I’m a Las Vegas local I’m minutes away from a handful of casinos and a quick drive to every casino in Las Vegas. I’m a freelancer who frequently works in casinos and I don’t necessarily need the same things as my traveling days. My goals when gambling are much more low key. Earning enough points for lunch or a cup of Starbucks or complimentary meals are more important than suites. Heck, it’s nice to pay with points so I don’t have to pay tax on drinks or meals.
I’ve been personally detached from the bigger rewards since moving to Las Vegas since I don’t need them. The consolidated spending at one casino operator isn’t a part of my lifestyle today. In fact, I only visit Total Rewards properties when my east coast friends visit. I may spend the same amount in casinos as 10 years ago but it’s spread out wherever life takes me.
Today, I listen and read to find new ways that could help casino visitors get the most bang for their buck. Eric Rosenthal actually taught this “know it all” a couple things about players club rewards that I may not have taken into account.
I dabbled in the non-casino points and miles seminars and there’s a lot to unpack. It really comes back to the reminder to know your goals and find out what works for you. I flew out of Newark Airport exclusively when I lived in Weehawken, NJ. That’s a United hub so they had the most flights at fair prices. My points and mile rewards were all geared towards that airline. Today, I need a more open reward system.
The Las Vegas Casino Community Is Amazing
The ZorkFest seminars were great but it served as a reminder that there is still a great community in and around Las Vegas. Way back in the day when blogging was a new thing there was a great community of like-minded fans of casinos and Las Vegas. ZorkFest reminded me that there’s a whole new community of people who love this world that all support one another. I listen to so many podcasts that I sometimes forget that there were so many who love casinos too. Your boy Cousin Vito was the MC for the weekend but only one of the many voices who attended ZorkFest.
I saw some old faces and met other Las Vegas lovers at the first edition of ZorkFest. While there are plenty of meet-ups in Las Vegas they’re more about hanging out than learning. This was a great combination of both. This community is so close that there’s really no excuse for not helping each other be smarter and have more fun. I hope that this continues with ZorkFest 2018.
It’s inspiring to see so many people that are interested in learning how to maximize rewards. I’m getting the chills just thinking about how I’m already seeing a change with some of the guests at ZorkFest. This isn’t about being cheap. Getting the best rewards allows us all to have more fun and hopefully save some money so we can have even more fun.
I think ZorkFest could be the beginning of a new era of smart casino guests. I couldn’t be more proud to work with Michael and TravelZork.