I’ve received a surprising amount of e-mail from readers regarding this series of articles. Two themes stand out in the correspondence.
An Editorial Note from the Mad Professor
I’ve received a surprising amount of e-mail from readers regarding this series of articles. Two themes stand out in the correspondence.
The first is the amount of surprise that people express when they find out the value of a match-play coupon that they previously just discarded. People seem genuinely shocked that they have been literally throwing away a huge ~49.3% advantage.
Well dear and gentle reader, NOW YOU KNOW, and your “Thank-you’s” are certainly welcome!
The second theme that emerged from the e-box is that readers want to know how to get started in collecting and redeeming coupons. They want more knowledge about the “ins and outs” of the Coupon-Circuit lifestyle, and to learn what methods the wily “Coupon Rustling” experts use to snag and redeem more coupons, more often. Part IV and V of this series will answer those questions, and so much more.
And Yet Another Great Offer…
There is a free match-play laden American Casino Guide offer (a $15 retail value with about $1000 worth of coupons) currently being offered in liquor stores across most states.
The offer requires the purchase of either 1.75 liters of Schenley American Whiskey, Northern Light Canadian Whiskey or Fleischmann’s Vodka (all from the very deep Constellation Group mega-brand liquor reservoir). The current offer is valid until August 31, 2003, but a VP-marketing friend tells me that the popularity of the promo may see it offered again much earlier next year. The ACG coupons are valid until December 31st, 2003.
Right now, let’s get back to the coupon tour:
Day Two on the Match-Play Circuit
I decided to keep my room at the Golden Nugget for one more night, and check-in for a concurrent stay at NewYork NewYork so that I could take advantage of their $300 in match-plays, and $100 in food-credit offer that was part of their comped Marquis-suite 3-day, 2-night seasonal promotion.
I started off Day Two by hitting all of downtown casino-neighbors of Golden Nugget for a quick redemption campaign. The results were close to Day One’s equal in the money department, but I was able to make the rounds much, much quicker as my confidence and comfort in doing multiple redemptions rose.
Another Try at Golden Gate
My luck for being able to cash MORE coupons at Golden Gate remained exactly the same as the previous day. That is, they restricted me to betting just one coupon per shift, and wouldn’t tolerate any attempt at using BJ-only coupons at the craps table. On the other hand, their $5 and $10 craps coupons did spin a small profit nearly every single day of the remaining week.
I once again used my Long-Ranger grip and throw on their 24-player tables with surprising success. I used to avoid this place simply because of their long tables. I figured that there was no reason to gamble unnecessarily if I didn’t have to. In my mind, the shorter alternatives at most of the other Glitter Gulch casinos offered a chance to engineer more of the risk OUT of my play, while GG’s long tables seemed to make it riskier. Given the choice, I avoided their tables like the plague. NOW, it’s a totally different story, thanks to the Long Ranger.
Long-Ranger Grip & Throw Revisited…
In my five-part series, Long Tables = Po$$ibilitie$, we looked at the creation, development, and the successful use of a new grip and throw technique.
I can attribute most of my current success at the GG’s long tables to my Long Ranger approach. For those of you who experience a dramatic decline in on-axis success as the length of the table increases, a closer consideration of this method may be warranted. While your own personal “mileage” may vary, it may provide you with a solid base from which to bring more consistency from longer throwing distances.
More Opportunities on The Strip
Once I finished my downtown Casino Center coupon-run, I headed over to the Strip, and proceeded to hit a number of places on the way to my ultimate South Strip destination.
My first stop was:
Stratosphere, where I had a ton of $10 and $25 match-plays that were valid for Blackjack-only. My conversion-rate (the ability to successfully use them at a craps table) was VERY low. I ended up selling about twenty of them for just over 25% of their face-value to one of the local coupon-rustling regulars. I did not include that cash bounty into my overall profit calculations, however, I learned that there is actually a “gray market” for the buying and selling of these coupons, especially the BJ ones. A little later in the day, I would put that new knowledge to good (and profitable) use.
I did get to use a quite a few of those cheaper “bet $5 and win $7” coupons at the craps table, where they permitted me about a dozen mp-hits on the Field when I went on a “9, 10, 11 and 12” streak during one part of a particularly good hand. Part of that win was diluted by the fact that $1 from each coupon-win went directly into the dealers toke-box. It was a small price to pay for being able to use so many of them at one time.
From there I headed to the:
They are always handing out those same lower value “$7-payoff-if-you-win-a-$5-craps-bet” vouchers. I was surprised that the tables were so dead at this time of the late morning. Usually the tourists from mid-America have at least one, if not two tables going full tilt. When I got in there, two tables were open but the dealers were “standing dead”.
The Pit Manager greeted me and said, “I was beginning to wonder if there were any craps players left in town.” Much to our chagrin, as soon as I bought-in and started shooting, a couple more players wandered over to have a look. Within about seven minutes, we had nine new players lined up, all with money in hand. My first roll lasted another ten or twelve more throws.
As soon as I 7’d-Out, I caught the eye of the Pit Supervisor and told him I’d get Table #2 started. He moved my Rating Card to the plastic holder beside the idle boxman before I had even completed my own transition. I mouthed a silent “thank-you” as I set up my cheques at the second table.
While I play for profit and not for comps, I want to ensure that I get the full benefits that continuous and accurate player ratings give me insofar as freebies are concerned. By making certain that my Rating Card follows my action, I increase my chances of continually enjoying the “Lifestyles of the Precision-Shooter”. A couple of players from Table #1 soon filtered over, and yet more new players showed up seemingly out of nowhere.
I used another 7-for-5 mp at this table. As I was setting up another bet for my second Come-Out, the boxman glanced over his shoulder towards the Pitmeister in an inquiring sort of way, vis-à-vis my continued use of the match-play coupons. Herr Pitmeister held up one admonishing finger to indicate they’d let me use one more voucher in an unconditional “AND THAT IS IT!” sort of way. I still had a sizeable pile of mp’s that I knew I’d have to hang onto for another day. From there I headed over to the:
Again I was relegated to using their Gambler’s Choice funbooks “$7-payoff-for-a-$5-bet” coupons. I ended up staying here for a couple of hours because my shooting-accuracy became almost unconscious in its preciseness. Normally, my on-axis/primary-face outcome performance never lasts unabated for more than a couple of hands in a row, especially at a semi-filled table. However, the one layout directly in front of the main Cashiers Cage kept right on rolling perfectly for me. The game was busy but not overly crowded. The dice were landing so well that I didn’t mind enduring the wait for the dice to cycle back to me again and again.
To while away the time, I generally used the Short-Leash Choppy Table Method that I explained in great detail in my “Dodging Bullets as a Darksider” article. This is one of the steadiest, low-risk money-makers that is now part of my work-a-day Playbook. On a $5 table, this method brings in a steady $35 to $55 per hour, day in and day out. If you have to endure the random choppiness of random-rollers you might as well take advantage of it while you patiently wait for your turn to shoot again. From the ‘Dust, I took a short side-trip to:
As I mentioned before, I somehow wound up with an armful of S’o’F and CircusCircus funbooks. They both contain the 2-for-1 ($10 payoff if you win a $5 Field bet) coupon. These are excellent payers especially when used by Precision-Shooters who throw lots of crap-numbers, especially on the Come-Out.
I will caution you however that the box-guy starts to get a little crazy if you pull out a tall stack of these “2-Fer’s” when you start to shoot. They’ll tolerate about four or five wins, then they’ll tell you to save the rest for “next time”.
For some reason, I never seem to have a lot of fun when I play at a happily named place like Slots’ o’ Fun (Cheap Craps Guide – Part Two), even with their $1 or $2 minimum bets. Nevertheless, the night-of-the-living-dead dealers always seem to perk up when I approach the table. I can tell you that it’s not because of my charming personality and warm smile, it’s simply because they know that some small tokes will always be in action for them when I shoot. Both smiles and tokes are a true rarity at this place. From “Lots’ o’ Frowns” I tracked over to:
Hey, it’s hard to hate the ‘Ho (Cheap Craps Guide – Part One) when you peel away the low-rent touristy façade and expose the seedy underbelly of this sawdust gambling beast. I was supposed to meet up with one of the coupon-rustling pros who frequent this place, but he was a no-show. I didn’t have any coupons of my own, but I still played one quick Hit’n’Run session for a speedy, but tiny profit. The table is practically on the street and the throngs of people eating the 18-inch long, 1¼ pound $1.49 Ho-dog (if you're really brave, click here ) as they watch dice fly for the first time in their lives is both amusing and bemusing. I’ve never stuck around long enough to see if any of them actually join in the game (or actually finish off one of those Chernobyl-dogs), but I’m sure both the game and the ‘dogs gives them some stories to bring back home to the folks in Acme, Wyoming.
You Asked and You Shall Receive
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people have written to ask about the basics in taking advantage of these positive-expectation coupons. So, today you get a double bonus. Not only do we trace a few more steps of my weeklong exploits on the Circuit, we also get to share in the knowledge of a bona-fide expert in this field.
Some Good Advice from our Friend, Yahtzee
You may recognize the “YahtzeeCA” message board “handle” since he is a frequent contributor to Las Vegas On-Line, while his posts on Dicesetter and Axiscraps are under a completely different name.
In any event, I want to thank him and credit him for his very valuable contributions to this article, and for giving me his kind permission to share his keen insight.
Yahtzee devotes a fair bit of time to improving his dicesetting skills and is an accomplished craps player, as well as a die-hard Full-Pay Deuces Wild video-poker player. He not only knows his way around the Las Vegas landscape, but also has an excellent view into the inner-workings of Coast Resorts (especially Orleans Hotel and Gold Coast) and Station Casinos (especially Fiesta-Henderson and Sunset Station), where he is on a first-name basis with most dealers, table-game supervisors and casino hosts.
Coupon-Trading Advice from Yahtzee
This is for those of you who are interested in trading coupons on the Las Vegas On-Line Coupon Exchange website.
If you visit Las Vegas only once a year, it might not be worth your time, effort, and/or money to invest in coupon trading (with the exception of the $15 American Casino Guide). Just go and enjoy yourself. Don't worry about saving a couple of bucks here or there. Your vacation time is more valuable.
If you visit Las Vegas twice a year, consider purchasing the ACG and an "online subscription" of Las Vegas Advisor (“LVA”). Membership Benefits and Cost Options are fully explained.
If you visit Las Vegas more than twice a year, it would be foolish not to join LVA. Depending on the nature of your gambling and dining and/or entertainment requirements, you might also consider purchasing one of the Casino Perks packages..
If you do Vegas more than twice a year, as well as a couple of trips to other major gambling destinations like Atlantic City or Connecticut; then I would consider purchasing Casino Player for their bonus-pack that subscribers receive as well as purchasing the American Casino Guide.
A match-play coupon is like real money. In general, it's rare to find people on the Coupon Exchange who will just give away free Match-Plays and good buffet coupons, they want to trade for other valuable coupons in exchange. In addition, most casinos do not usually just give them away unless it's included in a Funbook, coupon-sheet, or when you check-in as a guest.
If you are interested in reading about any of Yahtzee’s ten (10) most recent coupon-run Trip Reports you will find them at:
Check Out this Check-In
Usually whenever I stay at NYNY I get to check in through their VIP Player Lounge. It used to be right behind the regular Check-In area, but they have since moved it to a larger spot just across the hall from its original digs. The only problem with the promo that I was utilizing for this stay was that it did not allow Player Club check-in. Rather, you have to stand in the VIP/Invited Guests line-up right beside their regular guests. This little inconvenience added forty minutes to what should be a three-minute process.
I guess I must be spoiled when the problem of standing behind six other people becomes an issue, but I had been operating on much less sleep than normal because of the excess running around that I was doing chasing after more and more match-plays. It was starting to look an awful lot like “work” to me. Nevertheless, the promotional free-stay offer came with six $50 two-a-day match-plays that yielded a 66% profit-margin (I won four out of the six mp’s) for a net $300 NYNY match-play win.
They gave me a Players Marquis mini-suite in the “Century Building”. It’s not really a suite, but more like an L-shaped room with a cloverleaf-shaped Jacuzzi in the living-room. However it was made all the better since therein awaited a table-clothed room-service trolley loaded with a fruit basket, a wicker barrel filled with wine, assorted preserves and enough plastic hay to make a barnyard full of Fisher-Price animals very happy. I generally “re-gift” these items to some of the service-industry people (dry-cleaners, car detailers, mechanics, landscapers, etc) who help make my life run a little smoother (and cleaner).
A little later, I made the circuit of the surrounding casinos, starting with:
The Tropicana where they have two versions of their popular free coupon-sheets. Only one has a $5 match-play on it, while the other one offers a couple of crappy food and merchandise discounts. As I mentioned previously, they also keep some fun-books under the counter where they hand out and bag the logo-merchandise from their $40-of-slot-play-for-$20 promotion.
Most of the old-time craps dealers know me by name, and the rest know me by sight. I’m continually amazed that some of them continue to work for the declining-Trop, when they are clearly qualified to work at better toke-earning places. I guess they are all comfortable in their current pair of shoes.
The upside of the goodwill that I’ve engendered in here over the years paid off in the fact that they let me play fifteen match-plays in a row without so much as a wry comment. I had taken the fifteen mp’s with me just so that I would have more than enough to play with. Hell, if I had known that they’d let me play all of them, I would have brought over the entire pile (40 in total) that I had been accumulating over the past several months. Even though they are only $5 each, I still yielded a handsome profit of $75 for the effort. When I returned the next day, the swing-shift Pit Boss was a little less tolerant, and only permitted five redemptions at one session. It took a total of five days to employ all of them for a net-win of just under $300.
How I Calculate Net-Profit
The amounts that we discuss in this series relates to match-play coupon bets ONLY. Any money that I made off of craps but without a match-play coupon in action was not included.
The way that I calculate net-profit from these mp’s is to take the total profit that each bet delivers and subtract it from any losing ones. For example, with The Trops $5 coupon, I would bet one $5 chip along with the mp-coupon underneath my wager.
If the bet loses, I lose $5. If the bet wins, I win $10. That win is made up of the $5 profit that my $5 even-money “flat-bet” wins, plus another $5 that the casino “matches” because of the coupon. You can easily see why having a +49.3% advantage over the casino pays off even if you are only winning half of the time. If you only use them on your own Precision-Shooting efforts, a 65% to 75% success-rate is not that unusual at all. With that level of win-rate, your profits easily mount and multiply.
Miles To Go Before I Rest
From The Tropicana, I intended to hit the South-Strip MBG-triumvirate of Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. As it turned out, I didn’t need to go to Mandalay at all because they let me use my MB match-plays at Luxor. Had I known that, I would have skipped the Excal altogether, and used every one of these guest funbook coupons at the more forgiving (and less crowded) Luxor tables in the first place. I obviously still had a lot more to learn about the nuances, tricks and short-cuts of the coupon-circuit business.
From that point, I proceeded to hit Casino Royale, Imperial Palace, The HardRock Hotel and The Riviera (again) for one more late-night round of redemptions. Yes, I was taking a roundabout route, but it was so that I could make a stop along the way to hook up with some coupon-traders who meet regularly at the Key Largo Casino to swap coupons, lies and clank a few beer glasses together.
That stop let me unload a bunch of BJ match-plays that I knew I couldn’t convert for use at their respective craps tables (or for places that don’t even have craps tables). In return, I got a handful of craps-only vouchers that I knew I could use on Day Three and beyond. I also picked up a few pointers from a couple of mp-pro’s who were willing to take me under their wing if I was willing to part with a number of my Free Buffet coupons that I had little intent on using for myself.
That coupon swap-deal would bring a few surprises and a lot more insight on Day Three. I hope you join me then.
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor