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Calculating cash back

29 May 2009

One of the perks you get if you are a machine player (slots or video poker) is cash back. This is a reward you get from the casino for your loyalty as a player. It's important for you to understand how to get the cash back, and also how to calculate it because it is not the same from one casino to another.

To earn cash back you must be a member of the casino's players' club. You must obtain a player's card (it's free), which you can do at the players' club located on the casino floor (usually there are signs to point the way, or just ask any employee).

Every time you play slots or video poker, you should use your player's card because it will allow the casino to track your play, specifically how much money you bet while you play. The latter is known as coin-in. The greater the coin-in, the more cash back you will receive.

It pays to stop by the players' club on your next casino visit and pick up a brochure that explains the players' club benefits. The two pieces of information that you need in order to compute the cash back percentage are:

  1. How many points does it take to earn $1 in cash back.
  2. How much coin-in do I need to earn a point.

It's relatively easy to find #2 above because casinos like to promote how much players can earn based on so many points. But that information is meaningless unless we know item #1, the amount of coin-in that's needed to earn a point. If you don't find the above two pieces of information in the players' club brochure, then ask the casino personnel manning the players' club.

With the above two pieces of information, you can compute the casino's cash back percentage. The greater the percentage, the greater the benefit for the player.

Suppose casino A requires $20 in coin-in for video poker play to earn a point and 20 points will get you $1 in cash back, whereas casino B requires $3 in coin-in to get 1 point and 100 points gets you $1 in cash back. It's tough to compare one casino's cash back to the other unless you convert the information to a cash back percentage. Here is how to do it.

  • Step 1. Multiply how much coin-in it takes to earn 1 point by the amount of points required to earn $1 in cash back.
  • Step 2. Take the result of #1 and divide it into the $1 cash back.
  • Step 3. Move the decimal point to the right two places to get the cash back percentage.

Try it with Casino A.

  1. $20 coin-in times 20 points equals $400 in coin-in to earn $1 cash back.
  2. $1 divided by 400 equals .0025.
  3. Move the decimal two places to the right to arrive at a 0.25 percent cash back percentage.

For casino B the calculations look like this:

  1. $3 times 100 points equals $300.
  2. $1 divided by 300 equals .0033.
  3. Moving the decimal two places to the right yields 0.33 percent.

By computing the cash back percentage for these two casinos, you arrive at the result that Casino B is more liberal with their cash back (0.33 percent) compared to casino A (0.25 percent).

That cash back percentage is multiplied by a player's total coin-in to determine how much cash the player will get for his play. For example, an average video poker player will play 700 hands per hour. If the player is playing a quarter denomination machine at the maximum five coins per hand, he will bet 700 x $1.25, which equals $875 per hour. Understand that the player will win some hands and lose others but all that matters for the calculation of cash back is the total amount wagered or the coin-in.

Suppose the above player plays video poker for four hours. His total coin-in is $875 per hour times 4 hours or $3,500. That's how much money he wagered over the four hours he played video poker. If he is at Casino B with a 0.33 percent cash back rate, then he can expect to get a rebate of 0.33 percent times $3,500, which equals $11.55.

You can increase your cash back percentage by playing slots or video poker when the casino has a promotion where they will double or triple the amount of points you receive for your play over a 24-hour period.

Suppose Casino A, which offers a 0.25 percent cash back for video poker players, has a 3-times points promotion. This will triple the points earned while playing and essentially increase the cash back from 0.25 percent to 0.75 percent over the 24-hour promotion period. This is a smart way to get more cash back -- schedule your play time when the casino offers multiple points.

With cash back, it's possible to turn a video poker game that pays less than 100 percent to one that has an overall payback of greater than 100 percent.

Suppose Casino A offers the full pay 9/6 version of Jacks or Better, which returns 99.54 percent when you play every hand correctly. Suppose also that you get 0.75 percent cash back because Casino A has a 3-times points promotion. If you add the 0.75 percent to the game's 99.54 percent return you get an overall return of 100.29 percent, meaning you have the edge during the promotion. That's smart play.

Some casinos will give you your cash back in cash. Others will give it to you in free play, meaning you must download the cash back to a machine and play it once before you can hit the cash out button to retrieve your cash. Other casinos will give you bounce back coupons meaning you must return to the casino at a specified time period to receive your cash. The players' club brochure will contain all this information.

Whether you are a slot or video poker player, it behooves you to comparison shop casinos to get the most cash back for your play.

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin