Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Casino Experiment

I like playing slots at casinos.

The main reason I like to play is the same reason most people do:  I like to win.

If you have never been much of a casino person I do have one piece of advice for you:  Sign up for the "club" that every casino has.  Most will give you a card to shove into the machines and more importantly you'll be put onto a mailing list to receive offers for free stuff.

The Tucson area has two Indian tribes that operate two casinos each.  I do a live broadcast at the nightclub inside one of them every other Friday for Mega (Desert Diamond Casino / Hotel).  I like to go to Cosmic Bingo at one of the other tribe's casinos (Casino Del Sol).

I get mailings offering "free play" for both.  They give me free money to play at the casino.  I'm sure its a calculated risk on their part.  They assume most people will keep spending more since they made the trip there.  Its an enticement to go.

I decided to try just using the free play at Casino Del Sol on Sunday.  They sent me a mailer saying there would be $20 on my card for the day.  I figured there must be a smart way to use it to try and win as much as possible.  As you can imagine, $20 in any casino isn't much.  Everything there is pretty expensive (for a radio dj's salary anyway).

I decided to try the quarter slots.  I also decided to just play one credit (quarter) at a time to get the most spins out of the $20.  That meant I had 80 spins to win.  My theory was if there were more spins it would have to increase my chances of hitting something that would win.  And, I wouldn't lose anything since even if I went through the $20 with no wins I hadn't spent anything besides gas money and time.  I'd also get material for a blog post for your reading enjoyment (cough, cough).

I've noticed in my visits to casinos that most people don't just play one credit at a time.  The way the machine lists the payouts the casinos make every attempt to discourage you from being cheap.  I suppose that's how they pay for the fancy buildings and the salaries for their employees and have a bunch leftover to give to the people of their tribes.

It took me 30 minutes to play through the $20 one credit at a time.  I won $11.25.

I had only won $6 until the last two spins.  I had started thinking toward the end that I was barely covering my gas expense for the drive out there.  But I did hit a double bar pay toward the end that helped.

I got another $15 in free play yesterday thanks to a Memorial Day promotion.  I returned to Casino Del Sol to see if I could do better.  Instead I did worse.  Same machine, this time I only won $1.  The woman next to me playing max credits on a similar quarter machine won $300 twice in five minutes.

What did I learn?  If I wanted to score big money at the casino I should have mugged the woman who won $600 while she was on her way to her car in the parking lot.