The holidays are always interesting for gamblers, as many casinos and bars loosen up a bit in an effort to draw play during the traditional slow period. Some offers are better than others, and it’s always fun to see who can be the most creative. This year’s creativity crown goes to the Home Plate Grill & Bar at 4785 Blue Diamond Road, just west of the Silverton.
On Mondays through Fridays in December, play $20 in a machine and get another $20 to play if you lose. I’ve written about loss-rebate deals before, but this one is a bit different, because you can’t cash out unless you hit a natural four-of-a-kind in video poker or a solid five-spot in keno. That requirement dampens the deal quite a bit, but it’s still kind of cool in a way, given that once you lose your first $20, you get a full-out free roll to escape.
The attraction of this bonus is in the opportunity value: Since you don’t have to put up extra money, you’re getting a free shot at popping the quad (or something better). The problem is that the average number of hands it takes to hit a four-of-a-kind is about 420, and playing that many hands on bar pay-tables that hold about 3 percent against even the best players will, on most occasions, eat up your whole free-play allotment. It’s worse for keno, where it takes an average of 1,550 hands to hit a solid 5, so you shouldn’t go in counting on a cash-out.
Don’t forget that, to receive the free $20, you first have to lose $20, and there’s not enough value in the bonus to make that up. But if you want to go to a bar and relax with some video poker and free drinks, you won’t find many deals that are better. Home Plate also runs a good “gambler’s buffet” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, where a $20 buy-in gets you free pizza, pasta and salad—that’s the ideal time to give this one a go.
Because of another offer running concurrently at Home Plate, the deal gets even better for some players. If you have the right coupon, you can redeem it for a 100-coin bonus on your first natural four-of-a-kind, good for up to $200 when playing at the $2 level. Since you’re playing with about a 101.5 percent expected return under this arrangement on the bar’s best-returning game (6/5 Bonus Poker), this deal is strong enough to play to conclusion.
So where do you get this 100-coin coupon? It’s mailed to regular Home Plate customers—and it recently showed up in a Valpak mailing if you happen to live in the right ZIP code. But if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it. Give the free roll a play, if only to get on the list to get that second offer somewhere down the line.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.