About the author:
Paul Diamond Blow is a musician, spoken word artist, punk rock star, kung fu master, and part time Space Commander living in Seattle, Washington. Blow is a frequent contributor to the Seattle Sinner magazine and performs regularly in the Pacific Northwest rock club circuit. His book Tales From Outer Space is out now.
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Casino Reward Club Cards: Why You Should Have One, and How to Use it.
How to use your casino club card to earn extra cash and rewards
by Paul Diamond Blow
If you regularly gamble at a casino (either on the tables of the slots) you should join the casino's reward card program. Most all casinos these days have player's club cards, and there are many benefits to signing up for one and using it when you play the games. These casino club cards give you points for playing the games (both table games and slot machines) which you can cash in for food, merchandise, or cash. These player club cards will also often give you discounts on food and merchandise, as well as get you valuable coupons. The question many people ask is: does using a casino club card while playing slot machines bring you bad luck, or reduce your chances of winning? Here I will address that issue and list the benefits of joining the players reward programs at the casinos you visit often.
To sign up for a casino club card, all you have to do is give them your name, address, phone number, and email address, as well as your drivers license for ID. You can do this at the casino or on the casino's website. They then give you a plastic club card which you can insert into slot machines when you play them to earn points. Each point you earn is worth one penny. The rate of points given per dollar wagered varies at each casino: the stingiest casinos offer only 1/5 of a point (or cent) for every dollar wagered, while the most generous casinos offer one full point (or a penny) for every dollar wagered.
Using your club card points for cash
The casino club card points you earn playing the games can be redeemed for cash when you have achieved a certain amount of points -- 2000 points (or $20) is usually the minimum. I personally use my casino club card points for cash. This may not seem like much, but the points do add up, especially if you are a "high roller" who bets over a dollar per spin on the slot machines.
Using your club card points for food or merchandise
The casino club card points you earn playing the games can be also be used for food or merchandise in the casino's restaraunts or gift shops. These points usually cannot be used for alcoholic beverages at the bar, though. There is no minimum amount of points needed to use your points for food or merchandise at most casinos. At most casinos you can also get a discount in the restaurants or buffets with a player's club card (usually a 10% discount).
More benefits of having a casino club card
Many casinos will often send coupons or emails to their player's club card members with offers for discounts on resort rooms, free food, or even free money. A typical offer will be a "$30 for $20" coupon which will give you $10 free money when buying a $20 slot machine ticket. I personally regularly receive such offers which give me $10-20 free slot machine money from two Washington State casinos I frequent. Getting these coupons makes it worth signing up for a casino player's card even if you do not use the card while playing in the casino. Of course, the more you wager while using your club card, the more generous these coupons you receive will be.
Does using your club card bring bad luck on the games?
There is a common thought among gamblers (who by nature are a superstitious lot), that using your casino rewards card while playing slot machines may bring you bad luck, or reduce the chances of winning. The idea is that since the casino does track your wagering (including the amount you wager and the amount you win or lose) when you have your card inserted in the slot games, they could conceivably have the games rigged to keep you from winning too much while using your club card! Of course, this would be highly illegal, but there have been times when I have found that I do better on the machines without my club card inserted. Usually I always play with my club card to earn the points, but in such instances when I am having no luck at all, I will sometimes try playing without my club card and see if I have better luck. Often times, I will. This of course is all subjective, but it may be worth experimenting with.
The truth about "playing for points"
I have heard some gamblers say that while they usually lose at the slot machine games, they are "playing for points" or "playing for comps" -- meaning that even though they are losing money on the games themselves, they are paying more attention to the points they are earning on their player's card. The truth is, one should never play for points or comps as it is usually a losing proposition! For instance, if you are ahead one hundred dollars and feel like it's time to leave, you may decide to keep playing if your points are close to the 2000 minimum to cash out. However, if you do keep playing just to achieve the needed points, you may lose more than you gain! After all, the most generous club cards only give you one penny per dollar wagered, so if you lose $50 just to get that $20 in points you are playing to lose. I've found that it's best to ignore how many points you have accumulated. If you find yourself ahead $100 and feel like leaving, you should leave and save your club card points for your next visit! That is the winning strategy.