Free Rooms Do Cost You

So, some of you were asking me (based on a previous post) what the difference is between playing poor video poker on the Las Vegas Strip is versus playing “Full Pay” video poker off the Strip. Here’s the deal: I haven’t paid for a hotel room on the Strip in Las Vegas in 3 years. I have stayed, complimentary of the Harrah’s corporation (frequently referred to as “comped”, short for complimentary), at Bally’s, Paris, Flamingo, Caesar’s Palace and Rio. Many times, not only have I stayed there for free, I have eaten for free, drank for free, and attended shows/concerts for free and most recently, flown out there from Michigan for free!

So what gives, you ask? Well, first let me tell you I am NOT a high roller by any stretch of the imagination. I am a player, with a limited (and relatively speaking, miniscule) bankroll. So how am I hooking these sorts of deals? Because I play less than stellar video poker pay schedules. I have no problem playing 7/5 Bonus Poker with a payback schedule of 98.01% instead of the Full Pay Bonus Poker which is traditionally 8/5 and pays back 99.17%. I’m giving up approximately $1.16 per every $100.00 I play through a video poker machine because I insist on staying/playing at a hotel-casino on the Strip. But I see myself as making up that lost theoretical money by getting my rooms provided to me for free, as well as the food, shows and airline ticket.

Of course, for some hard-core video poker players, that attitude is blasphemous. Their philosophy is that you play to win, or at least play to make your bankroll last as long as possible. Therefore, they play at “locals” casino which caters to the local Las Vegas resident who demands the biggest bang for their gambling buck. If you don’t mind staying in less glamorous hotel room, off the Strip, this scenario is a great and one I would never poo-poo if that’s your goal.

I, however, do not subscribe to that philosophy and believe that I may not be winning as much (or in the alternative, losing as slowly as possible) but on the flip-side, I have stayed in much nicer rooms, eaten in much better restaurants and have received those perks for “free”. Again, it’s not free; I’m paying for it through my losses, or minimized wins. But what’s the difference, as I would have paid for it anyway.

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