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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Bonus Whoring in Brick and Mortar

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We all bonus whore to one degree or another and one of the biggest incentives at a poker site is the bonuses/rake back . Well these incentives were all added to at least simulate the free drinks and other perks of the Brick & Mortar Poker Rooms and Casinos. Years ago a deposit of $10,000 with the casino cashier was enough to get a comped room and free airfare to Las Vegas. Now it is a little harder but still possible even for a low roller to get some comps. Most of the players' programs are aimed at the table games or slot players. The players drop rate can be easily calculated and comps provided based on a percentage, similar to rake-back. For Poker players the drop rate is a little bit more complicated and most rooms still rely on the dealers, floors and other room personal to evaluate a poker player's "play." Years ago, my close association with several poker room managers was enough to get rooms, meals, etc. but now in an effort to show increased revenue, poker rooms must document how perks increase the business of the casino. So to increase your chances of getting the comps available, the staff not only needs to recognize you but generally have to provide a positive critique to the managers.

Here are jb's 10 rules for getting the best of it when visiting Las Vegas.

1. Select a hotel that meets your needs. Here is a site with excellent reviews and information on Poker Rooms in Las Vegas: If you plan to play in a specific tournament, consider the host hotel or at least one near by. Distances can be quite deceptive on the strip. Most poker rooms require at least five hours of play to be considered for comps. That isn't much but staying at a cheap hotel and playing at the Bellagio, Ceasars, or another big poker room probably won't work. You should stay where you intend to play.

2. Call and speak to someone in the poker room before you make your reservations. Find out if there are any special arrangements required to get the casino rate or other perks. Some rooms may require you to become a member of the casino players' club. Others may not. Also the programs change often so you need to check for changes.

3. Before you check in, go by the poker room. Check out the availability of games, introduce yourself and ask again what is required to get the poker rate or if comps are available. Do any paper work that might be required and then go check-in. If you have lots of luggage you might want to check in first. Personally I leave the big old bag at home and just carry a small one. If I do check in first, I'll still go by the room as soon as I drop off my luggage.

4. Check in, go to your room, clean up and change out of your traveling cloths. Simple, this shows a little class. No one wants to sit next to a player that has spent six hours in a car or on an airplane. It also impresses the guys that you aren't just another poker degenerate. You might also want to get something to eat before you start playing. Go by the poker room and ask which restaurant is the best and the quickest.

5. Finally show up at the poker room to play. Have them sign you in if required and put you on the list for the table you select. If the game/table you select isn't available, but you notice that they could have enough for another game, you may volunteer to help them start that game. For example, although I wanted a seat in the NL game, but they had eight on the list for limit. I would simply tell the brush. "I'll help you start that limit game while I'm waiting." This establishes you as a cooperative "employee" that can only be "paid" with comps.

6. Put in your time at the table, be happy and be friendly. They all wear name tags. Call them by name. Tip. You don't have to tip extravagantly. They should quickly recognize you as a player. The number one indication of a tourist is over tipping. Las Vegas is about entertainment, and you should consider yourself part of the entertainment. You don't have to put on a show; just don't do any of those things that tend to dampen the friendly atmosphere. Tell the occasional funny story and laugh when they tell theirs.

7. When it is time to eat, go to the desk and ask how long you can be away to eat. Most poker rooms have line passes for all of the restaurants, and these can be worth a lot.

8. Stand out. (A kilt works real well.) Dark glasses and a baseball cap, or a Unabomber costume doesn't. About 3 out of 5 players come in dressed like Helmuth or some other TV pro. These guys have seen it and are not impressed. The comments they make about wanna-bes can be quite humorous.

9. One last thing, usually the ultimate decision on your play being worth a comp, is made by the afternoon manager. You want him to know you well, and check with him before you check-out, (usually the day before.) This gives him time to "fix you up".

10. Make sure you bid your good byes to everyone before you leave and tell them you'll look forward to next time. It might not help you now but it will help you next time.

This may not get you everything you want, but it will usually get you everything they can give. Most poker rooms only have a limited number of comps and rooms per night. So, face it. If Helmuth or Krieger show up, they get the room not you. Most can give you the casino rate which is 25-30% less than the normal room rate. . And, finally, have fun.

Good Luck!

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