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Best of John Grochowski

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Lots of value in the Las Vegas Advisor "Pocketbook of Values"

19 February 2008

The annual Las Vegas Advisor "Pocketbook of Values" arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago, bringing its usual strong collection of gambling deals, assorted freebies and discounts on rooms, meals, shows, car rentals and more.

I've used the Advisor coupons, which come with a subscription to the monthly publication, to stretch my Las Vegas budget for years. Its arrival takes me back to a couple of years ago, when I was thumbing through the booklet on an airplane, and the fellow next to me asked, "I've seen those things before. Are they really worth anything?"

He was primarily interested in the gambling deals, so I replied that coupon play in general, regardless of where the coupons come from, is one way an average player can turn the tables on the house. I've often stretched my good times with daylong coupon runs for fun and profit, getting in my discounted rental car while I hopped from casino to casino to cash in on gambling vouchers and take advantage of free or discounted meals.

Take something as simple as match play — and there are 22 match plays among the 175 vouchers in the Advisor booklet, in amounts ranging from $5 to $25. When you use a $5 coupon along with a $5 bet, if you win, you're paid $10 instead of the $5 you'd get for your wager alone. The Advisor calculates the expected value of match play coupons at $101.97, and of all gambling coupons at $182.77, and I believe it, having had some low-rolling good times on the casinos' dime.

Let's say you use match play on double-zero roulette, which at 5.26% has one of the highest house edges among table games. If you bet $5 a spin on an even-money bet such as red or black on 38 spins of the wheel in which each number comes up once, your risk would be $190. You'd win 18 times, getting your money back plus $5 in winnings on each, giving you a total of $180.

But if you also had a match-play coupon riding on each spin, you'd get your wager plus $10 on each winning spin, for a total of $270. Instead of $10 in losses, your average result would be $90 in winnings. The 5.26% house edge swings over into a 47.4% player edge. That's right. FORTY-SEVEN percent, in your favor. And that's at roulette. The deal is even better on a game with a lower house edge, such as blackjack, craps or baccarat.

You can't really play coupon after coupon after coupon in one spot, and anytime you put up any of your own money, there is a risk of losing it. Still, any time you play a match play coupon, you have an edge — a big one.

There are gambling coupons that carry no risk in the Pocketbook of Values — $10 in free slot play at the Four Queens and another $10 at El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas, $5 at Terrible's Primm Valley location in south Las Vegas.

And some of the biggest bargains have nothing to do with gambling. There are potential savings of close to $2,000 here, although unless you're in Las Vegas a lot more than I am, you're not going to take advantage of all those 2-for-1 or half-price meals. One of the best is the 50 percent off all-purpose comp at the Palms, on Flamingo Road west of the Strip. Use it on your room bill, or for logo wear in the gift shop, or at several restaurants, and you get half off, up to a discount of $50. That's enough to pay in one fell swoop for a subscription to the Advisor, with its monthly news and tips about all things Las Vegas. Check it out at www.lasvegasadvisor.com.

** **** **

While we're on the coupon trail, Casino Player magazine also has come through with its 2008 Casino Funbook, with nearly 300 coupons to clip along with articles on casino basics.

The coupons aren't as valuable as the best of the Advisor's, and they're spread out at casinos throughout the United States and Canada, so you can't just make a daylong coupon run as you can in Las Vegas.

But we can use some of the Casino Player vouchers right here in the Midwest. Here are a few:

Illinois:

  • Empress Joliet: Two 2-for-1 Marakech Market buffets; $49 room rate Monday-Wednesday.
  • Grand Victoria, Elgin: 2-for-1 entrée at Buckinghams steak house; 2-for-1 item at Fox and Hounds; 2-for-1 buffet.
  • Harrah's Joliet, $25 dining credit at Mosaic
  • Hollywood, Aurora: Free valet parking; free dessert at Fairbanks steak house.
  • Par-A-Dice, East Peoria: $50 off hotel stay; 2-for-1 buffet; free gift when you join the Prime Rewards club.

Indiana:

  • Majestic Star, Gary: Earn 25 players club points, get $10; free coffee at Jackpot Java; 2-for-1 Passports buffet.

Michigan:

  • Greektown: $5 bonus play; 20% off at the Gift Shop; 10 percent off at the Alley Grille steak house.

The funbook is included with a subscription to Casino Player magazine, www.casinoplayer.com.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski