How Much Are You Worth To The Casino?

             During our most recent podcast I attempted to explain what Average Daily Theoretical (ADT) was all about. If you didn’t catch our podcast, listen to it HERE. The idea behind ADT is that it’s what you’re worth (theoretically) to the casino each and every time you walk into their establishment. But I’m not sure that I did the best job of properly explaining how it works in the time frame I was allotted, so I’m going to try again where I have plenty of space to ramble.

            How much you’re worth to a casino is NOT how much money you actually lose, although that certainly doesn’t hurt. What is more important is how much money you risk. While this scenario is just as true at table games, I’m going to stick to slot/video poker for my examples, and really just video poker. One other thing you need to know: This is only applicable for those that have a player’s club card and have it inserted into their machine at which they’re playing.

            The rule of thumb is to try and run approximately $30,000 per day through the machine, doing so over a minimum of four hours. Now, again, remember it’s about putting your money at risk, I’m not proposing you walk into the casino with a $30,000 bankroll. I dare say you could probably get by with $750-ish per day to hit an average of $30,000 per day. So how do I turn $750 into $30,000? Well, first of all I’m not actually walking away up $29,250. What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to put $30K through the machine by winning and giving it back to the casino, then winning some more and giving it back to the casino, all while losing as little of my own bankroll as possible.

            So how do I do that? Well, watch: If I play $5 video poker at maximum bet (always bet maximum bet) I am playing one hand of video poker for $25. The machine will register my first hand at video poker as $25. But I haven’t won or lost yet, what gives? It doesn’t matter! See, if I lose that hand (ie. I’m playing Jacks or Better [herein: JoB], and I don’t get a pair of Jacks [or better]), I’m still credited for playing $25 through the machine. So let’s go back to our hypothetical, but this time I win the hand. If I play one hand of JoB for $25 and I get a pair of Jacks, I get my money back. From a win/loss standpoint, I’m even, right? But from the casino’s viewpoint, I’ve just given them $25 in play…even though I’m even from a bankroll standpoint. Now, let’s say I play ANOTHER hand of JoB for $25 and I get two pair, because two pair pays 2 to 1, I not only get my $25 bet back but the casino awards me $25. So now, I’ve played two hands of JoB, I’m up $25 but the casino sees me as having given them $50 in play. Get it? They take each hand you wager at the video poker machine (regardless of win or loss) and add each hand up based not on what you’re won or loss, but based on how much you’ve waged (commonly referred to as “running through the machine”).

            Whew, you get all that? So now you understand how you get to a $30,000 per day gambling session. One quick point before I move on to more math, and that is the four hour of play per day I first mentioned. Why four hours? Because, again, it’s all about risk and giving the casino a chance at your bankroll when it comes to your ADT. Sure, you could play at a $100 video poker machine, and at max bet, play through $500 per hand and hit $30K in no time at all. But you wouldn’t really be giving the casino a fair shot at your bankroll (over and above the money it’ll take to hit the $30,000 marker). So plan on sitting down at your video poker machine and being there for a minimum of four hours (bathroom breaks are encouraged/allowed).

            So, congratulations! You’ve done the math, you’ve been playing for four hours and you’ve hit your $30K play for the day. If you want to quit, go ahead, you’ve earned it. If you want to keep playing, that’s fine too. But remember, you’ll probably want to play tomorrow, so keep your bankroll and stamina up and consider calling it a day. I like to shoot for $30,000/day while others like to do $20K, $25K, $40K, ect etc per day. I’m quite happy with the Caesar’s Entertainment offers (free rooms, cash, meals) I receive for $30K per day so that’s why I’m writing this post using the $30,000 threshold. Ok, back on track. Now that I’ve played $30K through on day one, if I never wager another hand of video poker for the rest of the trip, the casino would look at me as having an average daily theoretical of $30,000 with them. Not too shabby. But I like to gamble multiple days while I’m in Vegas. So now that means I have start all over again the next day. I have to run through as close to $30K the next day so that I can maintain my ADT of $30,000 and get the great offers I’ve come accustomed too. But what if I only gamble $10,000 through on Day Two? Then what will happen is the casino will add up my $30,000 from Day One and my $10,000 play through on Day Two and average those two numbers into an ADT of $20,000. See why I’m worth more to the casino after Day One then I am to them on Day Two? Now, if you’re okay with an ADT of $20,000 (and I’m not being all judgey when I say that) then $30K on one day and $10K on another is just fine. For that matter, I could do $40K and $20K between two days and I’d hit my self-imposed $30,000/day ADT. The point is (and I swear I have one), keep in mind that the casino you’re playing at will average out how much you gambled through based upon the number of days you gambled.

            Whew! This was a long blog post! I hope you made it through! Now do you understand how ADT works? It’s the amount of money you run through the video poker (or slot, or table game) divided by the number of days you gamble. It’s a pretty safe rule of thumb to figure the casino has an average “per trip” for you, as well as, an ADT based on your past six months and past 12 months. Rumor had it that Caesars Entertainment did this and maybe even kept an average 5 year ADT too. I think that offers are really based on your last 6 trips and last 6 month ADT.

            One final caveat, don’t gamble more than you can afford just to beef up your ADT. It does no good to have a ton of offers rolling in if you’ve maxed out your credit cards getting to that status. Make the most of your bankroll by concentrating your play to as few days as possible, but for the longest amount of time. I dare say that if you could endure a one day $100,000 play through over 10 hour day, do that and don’t gamble for the rest of your trip! Imagine the offers you’d get then!

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About tony

Tony is a solo practice attorney in Mid-Michigan with an emphasis on Estate Planning, Criminal Defense and Business Law. He also enjoys Davidoff cigars, Las Vegas and Bacardi rum.