Sharp Angles Can Cut You
One casino was offering a Card of the Day (COD) promotion, where players hitting a 4-of-a-kind in the designated COD received an additional jackpot of from 100 to 125 coins, depending on the denomination. Each player received a different COD which he didn’t know until he came into the casino and swiped his slot club card through the kiosk.
Someone recently asked me whether this could easily be abused. Let’s say Chuck and Don were friends and Chuck’s COD was a 4 and Don’s COD was a 5. If they were playing side by side and four 4s came up on Don’s machine, couldn’t Chuck slide over to that machine and claim the bonus? And then both players would continue to play until one of them landed four 5s and then Don would claim his bonus. A pretty sharp move somebody suggested.
Perhaps, but also very much against the rules and a casino will be well justified in tossing both Chuck and Don out of the casino if they are caught at such shenanigans. With good reason.
Will you be caught? How can you know in advance? The floor people are supposed to check to see whose slot club card is in the machine when the COD is hit. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
For whatever reason, a floor person might have noticed that the guy with the white shirt was seated to the left of the guy with the blue shirt and if the order is reversed when the COD is on one of the screens, it’s easy to call security cameras and verify the fraud. And then it’s face the music time. And even if you get booted out of “only one” casino for integrity reasons, casino employees change jobs periodically and one might well remember that you were busted for cheating somewhere else. Casinos often use the philosophy of “once a person proves they are a cheat, it is wise to always consider them a cheat.” Do you wish to be categorized that way?
In my “Million Dollar Video Poker” autobiography, I confessed to some pretty shady moves many years ago that I wouldn’t dare try now that I am reasonably well known. With that background, it would be hypocritical for me to take a self-righteous position and say that this move was so unethical that I wouldn’t consider it under any conditions. But I can tell you that the way I see the risk-reward equation today, I think this would be very shortsighted to try. There are not so many good plays today that you can afford to lose your right to play because of being branded a cheater.
One thing I still might try is a little bit “sharp”, but I don’t consider it dangerous. This COD promotion on a NSU Deuces Wild machine turns a 99.93% game (including slot club but not the value of the direct mail) into a 100.25% game. On the $5 machine I play, at 800 hands per hour, this 0.25% advantage is worth $50 per hour.
It officially starts at midnight, but occasionally I start early. Once I got there at 11:30 p.m. and started playing. The only time the promotion takes effect is when you end up with a natural four of a kind, and they don’t happen all that often. At 12:05 a.m., I connected on four 7s. Was that my COD? I didn’t know. I hadn’t been over to the kiosk yet to check. Leaving my slot club card in the machine, I use a duplicate card and went to the kiosk. When I did, I discovered that my COD for that day was jacks, so I didn’t gain anything this time by starting early.
But sometimes I will. Starting a half-hour early on a promotion that returns $50 an hour gains me $25 each time I do it, on average. I’m not going to cash it in very frequently, but sometimes I will.
Is This Cheating?
I don’t really think so, but others might argue differently. I see a big difference between me doing it myself and using a partner. I might start a half-hour early, but I definitely won’t start three hours early. Waiting around for a relatively short period of time for midnight to come around may well go unnoticed. Waiting around for HOURS while not playing will NOT go unnoticed.
What Will Happen If I Am Caught?
Probably nothing. A floorman could decide not to pay me if I hit a hand at 11:50 and sat around for twelve minutes, but I doubt that will happen. I tip when I get my $625 COD bonus and the floormen who aren’t brand new know this. It isn’t blatant cheating and most casino employees would choose to let it go.
Be sure to check out some of our other articles on casino loyalty programs & casino gaming :
Casino Loyalty Cards are Similar to Those of Airlines and Hotels — But Not the Same
Video Poker vs. Regular Poker
Why I Prefer Video Poker To Slots
Video Poker vs. BlackJack
Why You Might Be Disappointed With A Straight Flush Jackpot
Bob Dancer is the premier video poker writer and teacher in the world. He has created a number of how-to-win products available at bobdancer.com. He co-hosts a weekly radio show called Gambling with an Edge, which is also archived on his website. (The show is also available on iTunes.)