Nothing in Life Is Free… and That Includes Wine


I’m no expert at craps by any stretch of the imagination. But I understand enough about the game to know that the “proposition bets” are among the best that can be made — for the casino. You can read more about proposition bets here.

I do know a bit about blackjack. In fact, when I’m in Vegas or some other gaming outpost, it’s usually the only game I play. Why? Because, if played correctly and with discipline, the house advantage is minimal — the polar opposite of a proposition bet in craps, or just about any bet in roulette.

So, what does all of this gambling rambling have to do with wine? Well, in December, the Tuscany Suites & Casino in Las Vegas was advertising a wine-related special. Read Tuscany’s ad: “Play Table Games and Win Wine.” Which sounded like a pretty good idea to me.

Until, that is, I read the details of the promotion.

Basically, the casino was offering a free bottle of wine in exchange for six tickets accumulated while playing table games. Sounds simple enough. Except…

There were three ways to win tickets:

1) Get a $50 payout on roulette. It happens, but it’s rare.

2) Win a minimum $5 proposition bet while playing craps. If you make enough bets, you may win a few… but the odds are long.

3) Hit a blackjack with a minimum $10 bet. This would represent my best chance at winning some tickets, but blackjacks are still relatively rare — and I prefer to play at $5 tables and use a money control “system,” so I wouldn’t even have a $10 bet on the table until I’d won two hands in a row.

Long story short: It would take me a lot of time… and probably a lot of money… to accumulate six tickets.

And even if that were to happen, it turns out that the wine being given away was the “Century Cellars” line from BV. That line typically retails for around $9 per bottle.

In the end, I decided to pass on the promotion. When I thought about it, it reminded me of the redemption games you find at arcades — you know, the ones that award tickets that can be turned in for prizes, ranging from plastic insects to stuffed animals.

When I was a kid, I played a lot of SkeeBall in order to accumulate enough tickets to “buy” my folks a pitcher and set of six water glasses for Christmas. I remember my Dad being curious about how I could afford such an “extravagant” gift on my measly allowance, so I explained how I’d earned the gift over a period of time.

I’ll never forget what he then said: “That’s probably the most expensive glass-and-pitcher set anyone has ever bought.”

Likewise, that wine being given away in Vegas was probably some of the most expensive “free wine” ever.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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