I decided to use the coupons for Golden Gate in the Las Vegas Advisor Member Rewards booklet. There were three that were of interest to me — $25 match play (worth $12 or so); first blackjack pays 2-to-1, up to $25 (worth about the same); and playing $10,000 in coin-in within 24 hours on video poker gets you $100 in free play. (We’ll talk about how much that is worth.)
Keep in mind that the One Club services Golden Gate, Circa, and the D. If you have a card at one of these casinos, you have a card at all of them. If you don’t have a card, forget the Members Rewards coupons until you do the One Club signup bonus. $20,000 in coin-in within your first 24 hours earns you $400 of free play. (You don’t have to play all of that. If you play $2,000 coin-in, for example, you’ll earn $40 in free play.) They will not let you redeem the One Club initial signup offer at the same time you do the Members Rewards offer, and the One Club one is much better. After you’ve redeemed this sign-up bonus, then go and redeem the Members Rewards coupons. The latter is good until the end of December.
The best video poker games I could find were $1 8/5 Bonus Poker. Playing $10,000 coin-in costs you $83 (assuming you play the game well and there’s no variance. Ha!) In addition to the amount you get from the coupon, you’ll earn $10 in free play for this much play, along with some comps.
With average luck, you’ll earn $27 on the video poker play, plus some comps. With only $10,000 coin-in, however, there’s no such thing as average luck. I mean, that’s 5% of a royal cycle, and how do you hit 5% of a royal flush? That’s a little less than 40% of a “four aces cycle” and about 110% of one “four twos, threes, or fours cycle.” How well you do in 2,000 hands (i.e., $10,000 coin-in) depends mostly on how well you do on these particular hands.
Although you could hit a royal flush and be up a bunch, you could also easily be down $500 or more on this play. This dwarfs the $27 expected win for those who are concerned with today’s score. If you take the longer-term approach (like I do) and realize that over time, all casino things will average out pretty much as they are expected — fine. But many players aren’t like this and for them a $500 possible loss is scary.
Then there’s parking. They don’t validate parking there, and unless you’re at least Maverick level ($60,000 coin-in annually — unless you played on some double tier credit days), you’ll pay. Four Queens validates parking while you’re playing or dining at a restaurant. It’s close enough to the Golden Gate to walk. It’s fairly easy to arrange your gambling/eating so that you can visit both casinos in the same day.
One thing that slightly irritated me was that you couldn’t play off your free play on the same machines you earned it on. The best video poker I could find where you could play off the free play was of the 97% variety. Now if it’s only $100 we’re talking about, an EV of $97 versus $99.17 on the 8/5 Bonus Poker machines isn’t going to kill me. But it is a bit aggravating.
It’s possible you can go across the street and play off the free play at Circa, where there are plenty of 8/5 Bonus Poker machines. Even if this were true, it’s a bit of a hassle for an EV of only a couple of bucks.
There are some advantage slots at the casino. I’m not familiar with how to exploit them. Presumably, they could easily be a better option than video poker for this play. And there are some video poker progressives here. I glanced at them, but the numbers were too low to be playable. For somebody else, waiting until the progressive meter is higher may be an option that yields a higher EV.
A key factor in whether or not this is a good play is what kind of mailers you’re going to get — if any. When Circa opened up, for new signups the slot club gave players $75 food credit per month, for several months in a row. There are no food options at Golden Gate, but the food credits may be spent at either Circa or the D.
Some players get free play as well. When they opened, Circa gave $25 per week in free play for a few months for this much play. Whether they still do that, I don’t know.
For me, whether this is a good play or not mainly depends on what the mailers are going to be — and that is a big unknown when you start. Perhaps others can chime in on what, if anything, they received.
Whether it’s a “good” play or not, it’s at least an “ok” play. Many players doing a coupon run with the Members Rewards Book are not interested in playing $10,000 coin-in. Still, the $25 Match Play and the $25 2-for-1 on first blackjack coupons are pretty good deals. Along with similar deals at other casinos, this certainly makes signing up for the annual subscription money in the bank.