Harrah's cutting back on invitations

Discussion in 'Other Games Events' started by LeftNut, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    Reports are surfacing on vpFREE that Harrah's is eliminating all offers except for free rooms to video poker players. I had this (apparently stupid) idea to head over to Windsor to earn "Diamond In A Day" on their 99.95% PickEm in order to finally get BJT invites. This news, if it turns out to be true, certainly sinks that idea.

    This sux. I can't get an invitation to the grand opening of the basement of an outhouse. The Windsor DIAD PickEm idea was the best angle I could imagine. Now that's apparently not an option any longer. Couple of months ago, I ran some significant action thru the VP at Orleans, and mentioned to my host that I'd like BJT invites. Never heard a peep out of them. GEEZ. Lost my azz on their substandard VP and got stiffed.

    On a related note, I have a pretty good idea of one primary reason why BJT's will never approach the popularity of HoldEm tournaments. If you want to play in a poker tournament, show up with cash in hand and buy in. In most BJT's, if you want to play, you can't unless you're a member of the Secret Handshake Good Ol' Boys Society - which is earned by a Don't Ask / Won't Tell policy of required play at games and action levels that will not be revealed beforehand ("gamble what you want and we'll let you know afterwards if we'll allow you in the BJT"). :flame:

    OK, bitching session is over. :D
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  2. As far as I can tell, you are overreacting to the vpfree babbling. My understanding is that there are something like 100 vp players nationwide that have been placed in the no mail category because they were deemed unprofitable for whatever reason.

    If you are interested in playing in the upcoming Harrah's New Orleans bj tournament, call up your host and ask if you can be put in. Their policy is to look at your ADT and quote you an entry fee based on that ADT. You may not get a discount off of the nominal $500 entry fee, but if you gave them more than a minimal amount of action, they will probably let you in. Just because you haven't received a formal invitation doesn't mean that you have been rejected. My experiences with training hosts over the years to let me know when there are events that would interest me has been really frustrating. It takes a long time before the typical host gets the message and acts upon it.
  3. toolman1

    toolman1 Active Member

    I think the situation here is that you have a misconception of the value of Diamond status. Merely having a Diamond Card does not, and never has, guarantee invites to BJTs. My experience is that you must give sufficient action in the geographical area where you want the invites to come from. For example, if you want invites from Harrah's owned Las Vegas casinos then you must give sufficient action to those casinos to warrant a invite. And sometime that doesn't work all the time either because you may not get an invite to all the Las Vegas BJTs but only the casinos where you actually play. As kelly_c_ritter pointed out, sometimes you have to push your host to get the invite. But again this only works if you have sufficient play - just having a Diamond Card is not sufficient.

    So here is a summarization of your steps:
    1) Play a lot in a day (12:01am to 11:59pm) where you want the invites to come from. That play should continue for about 3 consecutive days.
    2) After this play is recorded on you card, get a host at the property and ask if your play is sufficient to warrant future invites.
    3) If your play is sufficient, wait - maybe even 6 months or more.
    4) If the invites arrive and you take advantage of them, make sure you give sufficient side action during the tournament period (side action after 12:00am on the morning you check out will not count much and often works against you) to stay on their "good" side.

    Now after you've done all that, you will probably be disappointed at the quality (prize money wise) of the invites and you may very well say to yourself "why bother". And so it goes.

    PS: In general, seems to me that BJTs at the Harrah's group are on the decline at this time - both in quantity and prize money. So your timing may be bad.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  4. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member


  5. leilahay

    leilahay Member


    we've found that the diamond card will typically only get you the invites automatically at the property where you earned it.* however, all is not lost lol.* if you see a tournament that you want to go to, call the property, ask for a host, give them your card number, tell them you will be visiting the area, and finagle yourself an invite.* the longer in advance you try, the more likely you are to succeed.* if it doesn't work that time, keep trying with another property and another host.* different hosts have different degrees of influence.* good luck.
  6. toolman1

    toolman1 Active Member

  7. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    First of all, thank you for all of the detailed replies regarding the Harrah's system. Some of you have obviously been 'round the horn with them quite a few times!

    However, I think I worded the original post badly. This wasn't intended to be about Harrah's - that was just the trigger which set off an explosion that's been coming for some time. This was about the current B.S. "Don't Ask (etc)" system for gaining entry into BJT's. By Invitation Only, don't ya know, and too bad if you don't know the secret handshake. Some of the responses, while quite informative (and thanks again!), illustrated my point perfectly. To wit:

    Toolman talked about playing heavily at any given specific casino in hopes of gaining invitations to future BJT's, and then talking to a host to see if it's enough. WTF is that horse manure???? How much is enough? Don't Ask, Won't Tell - again? Mr. or Ms. Host, don't tell me to go risk my bankroll and then maybe you'll decide if it's enough afterwards. As outlined in my first post, I've gotten smoked by that hustle already, see my Orleans reference in Post #1. Mr. or Ms. Host, tell me how much action you want. Up front. I'm not going to risk my bankroll playing a game I detest so that I can try to hit some hidden target.

    Leilahay talked about having to call a casino to get an invitation that was already deserved, and having to keep calling back in hopes of getting someone else to give a better answer. That tells me that the system is totally screwed up. Mr. or Ms. Host won't tell me up front because they don't even know themselves! Using Harrah's for an example, why the "F" would I want to take the risk to obtain Diamond status if they're no longer going to give BJT invites, or even give their hosts guidelines of how much play is required? Oh, my - forgot - Not only would I need to make Diamond, I'd also have to give side action at the BJT host house for awhile, too. How much and how long? Don't Ask, Won't Tell!!!

    Folks, the point of this isn't my own personal whining, although it sounds that way. The point is that the blackjack tournament scene is badly broken and nobody wants to fix it. I bowled many, many tournaments over the years, and never once was I told that I couldn't enter the event because I hadn't bowled enough or spent enough at the host bowling center. Can you imagine if a country club hosted a PGA national tournament, and then told the golfers that they had to be members of the country club to play? How the hell are we going to dramatically increase interest in BJT participation if we keep making it freakin' impossible to even get in?

    Poker is huge, we all know that. Part of the reason is that anyone with the entry fee can become the next Moneymaker. No side play requirement horsecrap. You pay your money, the house takes a cut, you do your best. Bowling is that way, too, as is golf. BJT's, however, not only require you to play other games to earn entry, but you're not allowed to know how much that required play is.

    What really got me thinking about this was the last two Nugget BJT's in downtown LV. As I looked around, I saw a sea of either bald(ing), gray, or white hair. The vast majority was middle aged, or later, white men (it's OK, I fit that group, too, so I can say that :laugh:). Walk into a poker tournament and you see players of every age, race, and description. Why don't these poker players try BJT's? Because they can't get in!!!! The future of BJT's is horribly bleak unless we change the way they're done.
  8. toolman1

    toolman1 Active Member

    Gee LeftNut, don't be so enthusiastic. :p

    Now seriously, what I'm about to say has been said by me so many times (in different words) that if I had $100 for each time I could retire. With the exception of poker tournaments, all other casino run tournaments (BJ, Slots, Pai Gow, etc.) depend on player's side action to make it worth while for the casino - ya, they want money - surprise, surprise. History has shown that that side action will not come willingly from the players so the casinos have two alternatives: 1) Stop sponsoring tournaments or 2) make them invitational with invites only going to players who have shown their willingness to give side action. That's it in a nut shell. And yes, the players have them self to blame.

    Now if you really want to play invitationals, stop moaning and jawing. Find out what you need to know. The casinos will not tell you outright because they want you to play more than necessary and they don't want you playing "just enough" for the computer to trigger an invite. Many have found out what they need to know and have it down to a science for the casinos they want to play. No book or single person has all the answers - least of all hosts. You have to read between the lines and figure things out for yourself. You can do it too but only if you go about it with a constructive attitude. You can use the casino's weakness to your advantage but only if you try. ;)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  9. RKuczek

    RKuczek Member

    Toolman has it right

    Casinos open up poker tournaments, because they are raked - casinos will take anywhere from 3% to 15% of the buy-ins as their rake - and because they are popular, they attract enough players to make them profitable off the rake

    tbj and other types of tourneys are promos - strictly - they are to generate customer loyalty and side action - and for that - they only want the highest rollers they can suck in - and they don't want anyone with any skill showing up to screw up the game for their high rollers - the more luck determines the outcome, the better for the casino - they want their unskilled high rollers to have a shot
  10. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member


    That's the point here, I was waiting for someone to chip in with such a comment. BJT's have been done as promos for years and years, but in the current environment they'll never take off. Thousands of folks took their swing at the WSOP this year, and Harrah's made a bundle off the entry fees (not to mention many other ancillary sources). And you know that most of those folks were playing in the casino in between events. Nothing in BJT's will likely ever come close, but as long as the status quo remains, things will never improve. Let the promoter (the house) make a fair buck from the entry fees, they can comp in whoever they wish, and watch the entry counts rise dramatically.

    Toolman, I understand your position - you've made it clear on a number of occasions here. That's cool. But I think you're missing the point. You're advocating the continuation of business as usual, with good advice on how to go about it. I'm talking about the need to change things around in order to attract legions of new players. It works for poker. Why not BJT's?
  11. deltaduke

    deltaduke Active Member

  12. toolman1

    toolman1 Active Member

    For LeftNut but actually for anyone in general:

    First off, poker is unlike any other game in the casino. It is the only game in the casino that pits player directly against player. It is true competition as in a typical "sports" game. There's drama, there's excitement, there's talking and joking (did I say that), there's humane interest, there's the joy of victory and the agony of defeat, and most of all it is fun to watch - when was the last time you heard some say a BJT was fun to watch. BJTs are dull. They look like 6 old men staring at an open casket wondering who's next. WOW, talk about excitement. Many times there's not even excitement by the first place winner. The attitude is often "oh, I won, how about that - time to go take a nap"). So let's forget about comparing BJT to poker - easier to compare apples and oranges.

    The real problem with BJTs goes back to the first BJT held decades ago. The format was poor but easy to administer so they went with it. This poor format then proliferated with expected minor evolution and now radical change is all but impossible. Just like trying to change some fundamental rules in football, baseball, or do I dare say bowling - just can't be done.

    I may sound cynical here but change it we've tried. We put forth new ideas and suggested that BJTs go where no BJT "has gone before". Two problems: 1) absolutely no consensus and 2) Casinos don't read our comments so they don't get any real solid suggestions to work with - not that they would take any action anyway. As for entry fees providing profit for casinos, in order for the "rake" to be high enough for what the casino needs, the EV would prevent players from attending. For proof just think back how many times you refused to attend an event because of what you considered an outrages EV - although the casino considered it necessary to make a good profit. We are selfish. Just as a retail store marks up their products often 50% or more, casinos need to do the same in order to hold "open" events. But we say no - that's too much, 10% is enough. But 10% merely covers cost.

    It is us the players that must budge and give the casinos a financial reward to hold BJTs. Casinos are not in the business of being nice guys and giving something for nothing. We are willing to pay for other forms of entertainment such as movies, sports events, and expensive restaurants so why not a 3 day casino stay with a BJT thrown in? It can be less expensive than 3 hours in a high end restaurant for a party of 4 - and, unlike the restaurant, thousands of dollars in tournament winnings can be had! On second thought that will not work - we BJTers want everything for nothing.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  13. Monkeysystem

    Monkeysystem Top Member Staff Member

    Live Money

    Here's a question for the old timers on this site. Why have bjt's gotten away from live money formats?

    It seems to me live money formats would be a way for casinos to make money directly from tourneys, as well as attracting players to the casino. What more could a casino ask for than to induce players to double down on hard 17 on a max bet?
  14. askdick

    askdick Member

    Live money events

    Back when, I played the live money events. Entry fee was 150 bucks and you bought in for 500. Kept your winnings and suffered your losses. Doubling down on a hard 17 did not happen when it might cost you a 1000 bucks for a 16% chance. If you won your 1st round the tournament paid your buy in for the next round, but you could still win some money even if you did not advance. Those were the good ole days. Do not know why they stopped.

    I am surprised no one had any comments regarding the Golden Nugget Vegas event the first of the year. (USA Tournaments) I am told there will be 50 less entries and a gaming commission investigation because of the policies that the Nugget chose for this tournament. Maybe this attitude by the casino operators is turning more people to poker or bowling.

    I am one that does not give side action UNLESS the game offers surrender, DAS, resplit aces AND a hand shuffled 6 deck game. This is the only game I can beat with any regularity.

    My strategy is get lucky...
  15. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member


    Did I change my handle to "askdick" or is he just using my signature line? Can I sue?:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

    Billy C
  16. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member

    Good Question

    Tourneys probably attract counters that the casinos fear but their effect might be offset by scenarios like you gave. I preferred live money events because of those scenarios.
    Sadly, there are none anymore that I'm aware of.
    Card counters might prefer funny money events because the penetration improves dramatically.

    Billy C
  17. Billy C

    Billy C Top Member

    Doing it right?

    While realizing that toolman1 (and maybe others) are tired of hearing the virtues of St. Ignace event, let me say this.
    I think they've filled this event last several times and I'm betting they will again in March. It isn't the good waffles, the scenic drive, or even the good rapport with other players that makes this one successful.
    Look at the things you guys want and then look at Kewadin again.
    They ARE doing it right!

    Billy C
  18. LeftNut

    LeftNut Top Member

    Billy, the truth rarely gets tiring. Yes indeedy, they are doing many things right there. :cheers:
  19. toolman1

    toolman1 Active Member

    I haven't been playing BJTs long enough to be an "old timer" at this game but I'll give this a shot anyway. What I'm going to say here is based on rumor without any actual facts to back it up. So "don't shoot the messenger". :laugh:

    The Stardust was probably the last Las Vegas casino to offer live money BJTs. But that stopped maybe 6 to 12 months before they shut their doors permanently. Rumor has it that they were losing money on the live money BJTs so they stopped the practice. If you look at some facts, that rumor may have some validity.

    Players at the Stardust became somewhat proficient at BJTs over the years. They discovered that doubling a hard 18 when they probably would not win the table even if they hit to 21 is not a wise thing to do with live money. So many stopped doing really dumb things in order to preserve their bankroll. Then there is the bankroll of the table winners. Normally, the 2 table winners each amassed about $1,200 (including their $600 buy-in) and it was not that unusual to get up to $2,000. With a live money buy-in of $600 that means the table winners normally won a total of probably $1,200 to $1,500. So that meant the Stardust must make up this $1,200 to $1,500 loss on the remaining 4 players at the table. Note that sometime there were only 4 players at the start of play so that loss must be made up by the remaining 2 players. Now since the players did become more savvy over time they usually had some money left over (and often had a profit) because they began being more conservative when they saw their situation was near hopeless. So the Stardust found it difficult, if not impossible, to recoup the losses suffered from the table winners.

    So, that's what I heard. Is it true? Not sure. But having been there it is certainly plausible.
  20. toolman1

    toolman1 Active Member

    I somewhat disagree. Yes, it is a great value. However, I think there are 2 main reason for the success:

    There simply are no other BJTs available within a large geographical that are paying anywhere near their prize money. Not that its a great payout but its decent money.

    This is probably the main reason. Over time, this tournament has built up a following of very nice people who get along very well. Those players look forward to seeing and talking to each other 2 or 3 times a year. Its become something to really look forward to because good friends (and family of course) is what makes life worth while. So the tournament has become a social gathering point. And that's good. We should all strive to do things in life that make us feel good.

    PS: Yes Billy C, as you speculate I would think many "are tired of hearing the virtues of St. Ignace event". Sometimes it feels like every thread that's started ends up praising St. Ignace. I mean enough is enough - gets to be old after awhile since the same thing is repeated over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Sounds like a broke record, no?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009

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