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Deal Me In: Point chasing not permitted

26 March 2010

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: Returning from a stay in Florida, I had a balance of points left on my slot club card at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. Can I give the card to a friend who lives in Florida so she can continue using my card? What would happen if she wins a jackpot on the slots? Delores P.

The player's club card is probably the most successful marketing tool casinos use worldwide to make sure that gamblers return to yank them handles time and time again. Your club card is the key to those complementary goodies that the casino offers. Of course, there can't be any giveaways if Delores isn't playing and her card is not inserted.

That's why it's recommended that every time you play slots or video poker, you should use your card so that the casino can track your coin-in play so you can earn points to justify comps. The greater the coin-in, the more compensation the casino is willing to part with.

So is it legit for Delores to keep accumulating points when she's snowbound somewhere north and someone else is surreptitiously using her card?

Program rules, somewhere in itsy bitsy print on just about every club card brochure, say NO. The wording probably states something along these lines:

Members are only permitted to hold one single person account.

Membership is a privilege granted by such and such casino and may be revoked or cancelled at any time.

Members may not distribute, lend or in any way allow another person to use their card.

Fraudulent uses of the card including point chasing, card manipulation, team playing and any type of point theft may result in the loss of membership, privileges, and elimination of all remaining point balances.

Yep, Delores, they get you on that last rule with the two words "point chasing." Point chasing is defined as allowing individuals other than the cardholder to play on his or her club card.

Now that's not to say that some players don't share cards to chase points, plenty do, but if your friend tries to redeem your points to engage in any transaction related to that account, most casinos are going to want to see some photo identification that better say Delores P. on it.

To date, Delores, I haven't heard of anyone being denied a sizable jackpot because they were using someone else's card on the sly, but why be the first. Besides, your friend should be playing with her own Seminole Player's Club Wild Card and be rewarded accordingly.

Of course, there are exceptions. Many casinos will issue multiple cards to those cardholders wishing to play more than one machine, but two is usually the maximum. Also, some casinos, like the MGM MIRAGE Resorts, allow two players with the same address to link individual Player's Club accounts to share their point and comp balances. A quick web search at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino web site allows the former, but not the latter.

Dear Mark: Are exposed cards in poker always declared dead? Ned M.

Not necessarily, Ned. All poker rooms have various rules regarding cards inadvertently exposed, such as, ruling the card is not legally playable (dead), or dead some of the time, but not others.

Allow me give you a couple examples. In draw poker (high), an exposed card during the initial deal is often not declared dead, but is dead at any time during the draw.

In stud and flop games, down-cards inadvertently exposed by the dealer are usually ruled dead.

Or, take lowball. During the initial deal, some card rooms rule that any exposed card six or higher is automatically declared dead, but any card Ace through five can be kept by the player. Yet, during the draw, any exposed card is considered unplayable to whom it was dealt.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "I wouldn't miss what I've lost so much, if I could only forget I ever had it." --Ashleigh Brilliant, I Feel Much Better Now

Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.