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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi. Follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.

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Top-10 promotions casinos offer players

17 Sep 2012

By Aaron Todd
Maybe the biggest challenge a casino has is getting patrons in the door. Casinos have lots of people getting paid lots of money trying to figure out how to lure you in the door. But like any player, we have our favorite offers. Here are 10 great promotions that can (and have) motivated me to make a trip to the casino floor.

10. Free hotel room
There's nothing better than getting something for free. Most casinos make the bulk of their money on the casino floor, not on the hotel rooms. So they are often happy to give away hotel rooms – especially during the week – to their loyal gamblers. Giving someone who wasn't going to come to your casino a free room makes more money than letting that room go empty, because odds are that person is going to go do a little bit of gambling and will probably eat a meal or two in a restaurant at the casino as well. A free room is a great incentive for a gambler. I know I'd much rather have $100 more in my pocket when I hit the gaming floor.

9. Groupon deal
Groupon has been slinging deals for restaurants, hotels, massage parlors and just about everything else you can think of for a few years now. It's no surprise that you can find some really good deals on resort casinos on Groupon now, too.

The best part about casino Groupon deals is that you usually get a great deal on a hotel, and you might get some credits towards a free meal or two, and you might even get free gaming credits, too. Do your research, find a destination you're interested in seeing, and get the best deal you can!

8. Free stuff for bus riders
A lot of casinos are willing to give vouchers good for free food and match bets or free slot play to people who arrive for a day-trip on a bus. The deal may be worth more than the cost of the ticket, so people who make frequent trips to the casino from a few hours away can save a lot of money on gas and get some free meals and +EV gambling out of the deal, too. Check the bus companies to see where you can get the best deal and take advantage when you can.

7. Free slot play
Casinos know that getting you in the door is more than half the battle. So sometimes they're willing to give you something for nothing. It's amazing how motivating $10 in free slot play can be. Even at a penny machine, you can run through that $10 in just a few spins (assuming you're playing max coins and max lines). But if a casino is offering it, you should take advantage. I still remember cashing out $6.75 from the $10 in free slot play I received when I signed up for my Total Rewards card from Caesars Entertainment (then Harrah's), and believe it or not, it's one of the best slot machine memories I have. There's something special about winning something without having to risk anything.

6. Match bet coupon
One of my best memories at a Pai Gow table came as a result of two $10 match play coupons. I sat at a table for about 30 minutes, getting push after push. I finally ended up winning both hands where the match play coupon was in play, and I finished up $39 when I never had more than $10 at risk. There's something wonderful about a game where you can sit for half an hour, have a total of two betting decisions that aren't pushes and win nearly 4x your original bet thanks to a couple of match bet coupons.

5. Deposit bonus
In the online gambling world, the big step isn't getting you to the casino, it's getting you to plunk down that first deposit. That's why just about every online casino, poker room and sportsbook is willing to offer you a bonus of some kind when you make your first deposit. The vast majority of that time, the bonus does come with strings attached, most likely some kind of play-through requirement. If you plan on taking advantage of a deposit bonus, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully, but they're a great way to pad your bankroll when you find the right ones.

4. Double points
As most slot players know, the more you play, the more rewards build up on your players card. And while you should never gamble more than you were planning on gambling just to reach a new tier or a certain level of rewards points, you should by all means take advantage when a casino offers you extra points for gambling dollars you were planning on spending anyway. Casinos often try to get gamblers to make mid-week trips to the casino by offering two or even three times the normal amount of points for slot play. If your schedule allows, plan your casino trips around these periods to rack up your rewards and earn free meals, hotel rooms and anything else you'd like to spend your points on.

3. Free sports bet
Another promotion that's unique to the online world is the idea of a free sports bet, offered by many European-facing sportsbooks. The free bet essentially guarantees that if you lose your bet, you get refunded the amount you lost. But buyer beware: If you lose you can't just cash out the refund. You're likely to face some play-through requirements. But that's still better than just being a loser.

2. Poker freeroll
Some poker rooms work very hard to build a loyal player base. One of the ways they do that is by rewarding their regulars with monthly or quarterly freerolls when players hit a certain hourly requirement for a period of time. The freeroll may be for a straight cash tournament or a satellite to a big event like the World Series of Poker Main Event. But no matter what the tournament is for, if you play enough to qualify, take advantage of the opportunity to win some free money.

1. Charter flight and comped trip
Okay, so I've never been offered this one. But casinos that build relationships with high rollers are willing to pay for the expense of charter flights and comped suites for players who are going to make up that expense on the gaming floor. If there's any casino out there that wants to give a $4/$8 limit poker and $10 Pai Gow player a free trip, I'll be happy to take it!
 
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